Before and After: A Cozy $485 Redo for a 1980s-Era “Ugly Eyesore” Bathroom

published May 7, 2022
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Before: Dated bathroom with clunky vanity and yellowed floor
Credit: Sherri Robinson

When guests come over, you want to your entryway to make a strong impression (see these 12 ideas for doing just that), but you might also want to give a little love to your guest bathroom, which is often the second stop a visitor will make after they walk in the door.

In Sherri Robinson’s house, she hated that the “ugly powder room that was overpowered by the huge vanity was the first thing people saw.” It was “absolutely not a reflection of the rest of the style in [the] home,” she says.

Credit: Sherri Robinson

The bathroom hadn’t been renovated since 1985, and it showed. The vanity was too large for the space, and you had to move to the right to even shut the door, Sherri recalls. The singular “boob light” fixture was boring, and the walls were yellowed — and the yellow-y beige paint wasn’t helping matters. The floors were also dirty and dated.

“That powder room was just a big, outdated, ugly eyesore,” Sherri says. “Time to refresh!” 

She and her husband, Steve, gutted the whole place and started fresh. First, they installed a grayish tan waterproof vinyl tile that extends into the entryway, “making it appear so much more spacious,” Sherri says, as opposed to switching flooring styles at the threshold.

Credit: Sherri Robinson

Once the flooring was down, they painted the walls an oatmeal shade, Behr’s Sculptor Clay. To make the room appear taller, they painted the crown moulding the same shade. “The eye doesn’t stop at different color of crown moulding nor a white ceiling,” Sherri explains.

Sherri and Steve donated their old vanity and light fixture once they’d removed them, then set their sights on something a little less clunky and a little more modern. The couple chose a $390 two-door vanity from Home Depot, and for something that took up the majority of their project budget, Sherri says it paid off big time. “We loved the stone top, the dark brown stain and, most of all, that there would be space between it and the left wall of the powder room, Sherri says. “That bit of space was crucial to making the room look bigger and the dark brown finish and stone makes it look like a piece of furniture. It was also not as deep as the original vanity, so there was more space added to the room that way.”

Credit: Sherri Robinson

For the light fixture, they wanted “something edgy, something unexpected,” Sherri says. They found a $19 light fixture from IKEA that’s no longer available, but you can find similar here and here. Sherri says the pendant adds “a modern industrial vibe.”

Credit: Sherri Robinson

The statement mirror in the space is something Sherri already owned; she bought it from a salvage shop. “It sat in my basement for a few years,” she says. “I loved it at first sight but wanted to hang it in the exact right place. It’s the perfect fit for the powder room and because it’s quite large [and] gives that extra feeling of space.” Now, it looks right at home.

Credit: Sherri Robinson

To complete the space, Sherri hung vintage posters she’d collected that date back to the 1920s. In all, she loves the way the details came together and she loves that it feels fresh and updated — not to mention less claustrophobic — all for less than $500. “All in all, a great project,” Sherri says. “Now we love our powder room.”