A bathroom update on a budget it possible! In today’s world of instagram comparisons, new HGTV shows coming out weekly, and a focus on having the “perfect” home it is easy to get caught up in it all. Part of maintaining balance in life is setting boundaries and staying within them! Gutting this bathroom like I wanted to unfortunately did not align with my budget, so I had to use my creativity and determination to make it work! I was impressed with what I was able to accomplish with some simple upgrades and I am confident that if I can achieve this transformation so can you! Below you will find a step by step guide of how I achieved this re-design including all the products I used!
Step 1: Work With What Ya Got
The number one KEY to an inexpensive upgrade is using what already exists no matter how much you hate it. I hated every single part of this bathroom when I moved in, however when it comes to bathroom renos it’s pretty much “all or nothing” in terms of what you rip out. I wasn’t about to pay to redo all the tile, without getting a new tub sink and toilet – if i was going to start ripping stuff out I was ripping it ALL out. I had to dig down realllllly deep in my creative brain to secure a vision for this bathroom, and decided to leave the tile, leave the tub, toilet and sink, and upgrade everything else. Unfortunately the cabinet was a custom size, and they did not tile underneath which meant buying a simple new Ikea vanity was out of the question. The only option left was to paint the cabinet, and put the rest of the budget into new lighting, decor, and mirror. After adding gold accents, I actually didn’t mind the gold tap! I use Pinterest a lot to help me built my design plans. Once I decided to go with a navy vanity I started searching other bathrooms with a navy vanity and gathered some inspiration!
Follow me on Pinterest and take a look at some of my design boards!
Step 2: Set a Budget
I really wanted to keep this upgrade under a couple hundred dollars because in my mind, if I was going to be spending more than that I might as well save up and do the whole thing. I was hoping that I could do enough of an update to be happy with it for year or so before doing a bigger reno down the road, and not feel like I have wasted a ton of money. The items that were a MUST for me were to repaint the vanity, and purchase a new mirror, and the rest would go to decor.
Step 3: Select The Right Materials
I am familiar with cabinet painting from years of refinishing old furniture, but most recently I recruited the help of my local Lowes employees to point me in the right direction of the easiest product for painting cabinetry (I refinished my kitchen previous to this bathroom). I was introduced to Para paints and the overwhelming task of repainting cabinets became a lot less scary! Heres why I love this paint: 1. it is relatively inexpensive, for under 40$ I was able to transform this space; 2. there s a FULL colour range – usually cabinet specific paint comes in a range of basic colours where there is one shade of white, one shade of grey, a black, etc. Para has a full colour swatch range like a Benjamin Moore would have! and 3. this paint has a varnish built into it, no top coat required! I decided to go for something bold in this bathroom as I knew I wanted to draw attention away from the aspects I wasn’t a fan of. Because my counter top was off white (same with tub/toilet) a white vanity was out of the question. A white vanity would make these components look dingy and yellow and stand out anymore. I love the gold/navy combo and because cream leans more towards the gold family I figured this would complement well with Navy. I chose “Marine Bay” by Para to achieve the colour of my new vanity! It was necessary to prime these cabinets as they are oak and they will bleed. Even though this is a dark colour, I didn’t want to take any chances. Take the time to do things right the first time! I have linked all the products I used at the end of this post
Step 2: Prep the Surface
Anytime you are painting overtop of a finished piece of wood, it is important to rough up the surface to give the paint something to stick to. I was afraid I would have to sand the entire cabinet, however after doing some research I decided to go with steel wool instead of sand paper. Steel wool provides enough friction to scratch up the existing varnish, but not so much friction that I would be taking it back down to the raw wood. With all of the grooves in the doors sanding this would have been a big big project. The steel wool may look like it is not doing anything, but it is! I used a Level 3 steel wool and it worked great.
Step 4: Prime!
Priming is a helpful step for most refinishing projects, however in this particular bathroom makeover it was absolutely essential. I used the PARA SuperStick Primer for mine (linked below), and it is THICK. I wanted a thick primer for a couple of reasons – 1. I wanted to ensure the wood wouldn’t bleed and change the colour of my paint, and 2. I wanted to try and hide the grain as much as possible. This thick primer gave me a nice smooth surface for painting. It also gives the colour something to really stick to and will prevent peeling! I like to do 2 coats of primer with time to dry in between.
Step 5: Hardware
I really wanted to try out the gold and navy trend for this bathroom makeover, however the right type of gold hardware was either very hard to find or verrrrry expensive. I happened to have 2 packs of knobs I previously bought from homesense, however they colour was no longer what I was picturing for this design. I decided to again work with what I had, and I sprayed the knobs in a champagne gold tremclad spray paint (liked below). I did 2 coats on all the knobs, and I used the same spray to change the colour of my hinges. Painting your hinges makes a HUGE difference! Make sure you do both sides of the hinges as you will see it if you don’t. Updating hardware is one of the easiest ways to make a big upgrade with a modest budget.
Step 6: Paint!
Now its time to paint! I have tried two different techniques for painting cupboards; spray and brush. For a kitchen or a room that has a lot of light in it, spraying the cupboards is always preferred as it will give you that seamless finish. For the bathroom makeover I decided to go at it with a brush as the paint was very dark and much more forgiving than a light paint. You will need to ask which base to use (natural, light, deep) depending on your colour choice, but I purchased everything I need at Lowes. The paint is made to fill in lines and go on evenly, and it worked exactly as advertised! I paint chip was also true to colour and I got the exact shade I was hoping for.
Painting your walls is also a simple way to achieve an extraordinary transformation. I wanted to go as light as possible in this bathroom as there are no windows. The paint I chose was Gray Owl by Benjamin Moore!
Step 7: Dry Time
Do not rush this part of the project as you will regret it later. I did 3 full coats on these cabinets, and had tons of paint left over from a small quart can- this paint goes a long way. If you do not let your painted doors and drawers dry long enough, you will end up with finger prints in your paint. If you can, I would recommend allowing them to dry overnight between each coat, however if time does not allow this at least allow the final coat to try overnight-two nights before putting them back onto the vanity.
Step 8: Put It All Together
Attach your hardware and ensure they they are aligned. It is helpful to leave the screws loose until everything is aligned and then go back around and tighten everything up. You will be shocked at the makeover you can achieve simply by updating existing cabinets and hardware.
Step 9: Decorate and Accessorize
Most of the decor in this bathroom were pieces I already had around my house and I really wanted to keep the budget low on this project so I tried to use whatever I could. I wanted to avoid using black in this space because it is an accent in a lot of other rooms in my home, and it is also a small space with no window. I found the grey frame on the mirror kept things light and airy while still adding a bit of a farmhouse feel which I love. I like to mix styles and I don’t think there should be any rules when it comes to design! I like to add greenery to almost every space I can because it brings life (even if they are fake) to the room and adds a pop of colour. For art, I like to buy inexpensive pieces mostly because I like to move things around so often. Look for some fun pieces that complement your colour schemes but don’t cost a fortune.
That’s it that’s all! I hope this gave you some info and confidence to get started updating your bathroom on a budget!
Mirror:Home Outfitters 90$ – Similar one HERE
Painting: Homesense Clearance – 30$
Soap: Bath and Body Works: Bergamot & Wild Lavender HERE
Wall Paint: Benjamin Moore Grey Owl
Painting Tape: Frog Tape is the only tape I use for painting projects! This tape rocks and leaves a perfectly clean line.
Greenery: Homesense 30$ for both – similar ones below
Candle: Bath and Body Works: Bergamot Waters HERE
Paint: Para Ultra Malamine Cabinet and Furniture HERE
Primer: Para Superstick HERE
Spray Paint I used HERE
Paint Brush: HERE
My Favourite Hooks for Pictures
I introduce you to… the Monkey Hook! These things are awesome. A friend of mine who is a home stager showed me these because they are strong and only leave a small hole (Thanks Wendy!)
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