One Room Challenge

Before and After: A “Cookie Cutter Condo Bath with Dull Gray Walls” Gets a Spa-Like Redo for $400

published Jun 1, 2022
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Credit: Tessa Ariane

Even the most builder-grade of bathrooms can have some good bones to start with. As long as the setup is functional and in good shape, there’s a lot you can work with. You might be able to add a frame around a basic sheet mirror, for instance, or spray paint the existing light fixtures. You might even be able to dress up the existing vanity with new hardware.

Credit: Tessa Ariane

DIYer Tessa Ariane’s existing vanity from her once-“cookie cutter condo bath with gray walls” looks new again in her freshly revamped space. Although her bathroom lacked intention and felt draining to be in” before, she was able to make a big impact with $400 worth of swaps and DIYs in the 2022 One Room Challenge.

Credit: Tessa Ariane

First, Tessa gave the walls a more interesting coat of paint in a teal-gray shade (Behr’s Half Sea Fog). Landing on the right color took longer than originally expected. Tessa first planned on painting the space aubergine, but decided to switch to a cooler palette for her design. She tested three shades of teal before landing on this one. Tessa’s advice is to test your paint on the walls because in the space, it can look very different from the tiny paint strip depending on the lighting in your space.

Credit: Tessa Ariane

Tessa swapped the existing plain sheet mirror for a circular one and the chrome light fixture for a long and sleek rectangular one.

Tessa also created some DIY artwork for the space and dressed it up using frames she already owned. “I picked up a roll of raw cotton twill, used black tea, turmeric, and watered down terra cotta paint to stain it in a watercolor style,” she explains.

Credit: Tessa Ariane

The biggest, most time-consuming DIY in the space, though, is the slat wall, which required a lot of sanding — plus getting the hang of the brad nailer.

The new wall detail adds texture, warmth, and visual interest without adding too much physical stuff — given that the size of the room is fairly small, Tessa shared on Instagram. Plus, it’s extra practical because it has built-in hooks and continues all the way down to the floor to become a bath mat. “It was my first time putting up a slat wall, and I couldn’t be happier with the results,” Tessa says.

Tessa’s big-impact makeover rang in at just $400 — a testament to the power of small swaps and clever DIYs.

Credit: Tessa Ariane

Her main takeaway from the project? “Tackling simple projects can breathe life into a home,” she says on Instagram. “Taking cooker cutter boxes and giving them personality can really make a world of difference. You’re not the same as everyone else, nor should your space be!”

This project was completed for the Spring 2022 One Room Challenge, in partnership with Apartment Therapy. See even more of the One Room Challenge before and afters here.