Before and After: This Tiny Bath Gets a Big Refresh, with Paint, Paper, and More

published Jan 26, 2021
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
About this before & after
Home Type
Project Type
Skill Level
Rental Friendly
Before: bathroom with white walls and dark wood vanity

Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with a room — it just feels “off.” Even if it’s new or has nothing obviously amiss, if you’re not vibing with a space, it’s going to be a constant annoyance. That’s how Kendra Barnes of The Key Resource felt about her bathroom. Since her home was built in 2019, the fixtures were all new — but the finishes were just… dull. The walls were white, the mirror was frameless, and the faucet and hardware felt generic.

“I was ready for my next DIY project and really wanted to do something that involved wallpaper and I knew this was the perfect space,” Kendra says. Since the bathroom’s small, the investment would be low, and it wouldn’t take as long to finish the project as it would with a giant living space.

Kendra was determined not to hire any of the project out, which helped her save plenty of money on labor. She started her project with fresh wallpaper on the upper half of the walls from Livette’s Wallpaper in a cool brushstroke-y pattern.

For a little bit of texture, Kendra gave the bottoms of the walls a beadboard effect. Rather than buying wood panels, she used thick textured wallpaper; when topped with wood trim and painted a deep green, it looks pretty convincingly like the real deal.

Kendra swapped the boring brown vanity for a new one that has a modern shape and an industrial-inspired wood-and-metal finish. The new black faucet and black-framed mirror tie everything together. Kendra also installed a new light fixture.

Of course, DIYing the whole project came with challenges, Kendra says — especially in replacing the old boxy vanity with the new open-bottomed one. “I realized after the old vanity was removed that there was no tile under it, so I had to install tile and I have never done that before,” Kendra says. “Thankfully our builder left us some extra tile and I used that.”

But even with the setbacks, Kendra was able to do everything without pro assistance. “I was adamant on not hiring any part of the job out and I am so proud of myself for completing it!” she says. Her work included tiling, papering, wiring, painting, and light plumbing — and she was able to do it all in three weeks with $3000.

As for the results? Kendra says she’s satisfied. “I love how modern it feels!” she says. “The colors, the patterns, the mood… it just makes you feel good!”

Inspired? Submit your own project here.