Before and After: A $300 No-Paint Update Transforms This Dated Bathroom

published Oct 25, 2020
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About this before & after
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Before: Bathroom with outdated vanity and tile floors

There are a lot of good ways to save money on renovations—but some not-so-good ways, too. The master bathroom in Keryn Francisco‘s home suffered from upgrades in the latter category. “The original bathroom was clearly a hack job of DIY renovations with available or cheap materials that were found on a clearance rack over the years, such as the vanity, floor tiles and hardware,” Keryn says. “The fixtures seemed to have been replaced as haphazardly whenever necessary so there was a mix of fake brass, gold and chrome everywhere.”

Keryn wanted the bathroom to feel both more cohesive and more polished—but since she was renting, she was limited to only rental-friendly updates. “No painting allowed!” Keryn says. Fortunately, she was able to make a huge transformation without picking up a paint brush.

“Because I couldn’t paint over the generic wood cabinets and floor, I focused on swapping out the mismatched and dated hardware to give my bathrooms a bold and modern upgrade,” Keryn says. “I knew I could take these accessories with me when the time came to move out, without the messiness of paint and epoxy.”

On the vanity, Keryn swapped the boring old knobs for T-shaped pulls in a modern black finish. She also took out the old faucet—a generic-looking single-handle model—and replaced it with a much more refined gooseneck faucet in a matte black that matches the knobs.

Keryn also removed the clunky old medicine cabinet, replacing it instead with a round wood-framed mirror that complements the wood vanity. The old vanity light got the boot, too, in favor of a sleek and simple black wall sconce. The black-and-white patterned rug helps tie everything together while also masking the old floor.

“This project was less messy than most “refreshes” because it was mostly me and my toolbox to tackle hardware,” Keryn says. “I’m pretty handy, so I was able to do the electrical and plumbing myself, but I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone!”

But because this whole job was a DIY, Keryn’s total cost included only supplies (plus her own elbow grease)—only $300. “I like to replace hardware to make a bold and unexpected design update to any space, whether it’s my personal property or a rental,” Keryn says. “Because packing and moving is such a pain to begin with, I personally prefer unscrewing things than re-painting walls when moving out.”

And now, her bathroom’s the sophisticated and relaxing space she’d craved. “I love spending my ‘golden hour’ of solitude, before my son wakes up, in a spa-like environment that helps me start the day off in beauty and serenity,” Keryn says.

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