Before and After: $300, 5 Paint Colors, and 2 Weeks Help a Plain Bathroom Pop

published Oct 29, 2020
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Before: bathroom with gray walls and dark vanity
Credit: Nancy Eiseman

Sometimes you get lucky when you move into a home and the place is in great shape—but that doesn’t mean you don’t have the opportunity to put your own spin on your new digs.

Nancy Eiseman had a pretty nice bathroom in her Philadelphia row home, thanks to previous renovations done by a pro builder. But while the finishes were perfectly fine, they didn’t excite Nancy. “There was nothing wrong with it, but it was a sad, dreary bathroom,” she says. That wasn’t helped by the mid-tone gray on the walls and the dark vanity.

Credit: Nancy Eiseman

“I wanted to give it a higher-end, updated vibe with more personality,” Nancy says But more than that, she says, “I wanted it to be a brighter and happier space.”

Credit: Nancy Eiseman

Nancy got to her goal in a little over two weeks, taking on every part of this project herself. She stared by painting the upper walls a cement grey (Benjamin Moore’s Balboa Mist) and the lower walls a clean, bright white. On the white portion, she used two different shades of gray (Benjamin Moore’s Silver Fox and Abalone) and a geometric stencil to mimic the look of graphic wallpaper.

“If you are thinking about stenciling, do a little at a time and touch up as you go,” Nancy advises.

For the vanity, Nancy chose a bright coral color (Benjamin Moore’s Soft Glow). “I love how the coral vanity pops against the neutral colors of the walls and floor and brightens the space,” Nancy says. She used a thin stripe of the coral above her stenciling to separate the patterned and solid parts of the wall and help tie it in with the vanity.

Along with the new paint job, Nancy added new polished chrome hardware on the vanity. She also styled the bathroom with a bouquet of paper flowers custom-made for the bathroom by her sister-in-law.

Nancy spent about $300 on the whole project, which makes this happy redo budget-friendly, too.

Credit: Nancy Eiseman

“I love how fresh and clean the bathroom looks now,” Nancy says. “It has so much personality! Even though the lighting has not changed, it seems so much brighter than before.”

Inspired? Submit your own project here.