Our first floor bathroom wasn’t terrible, but I definitely knew I wanted to update it after we moved in to our house. A few cosmetic changes and it looks completely different and 100x better! If there is one thing I’ve learned from all of the house projects we’ve done, it’s that everything takes more time and money than you would expect, especially on these older homes.
The icky flat green paint, poor lighting, and the mismatched tile had to go. The vanity wasn’t bad (it did have a granite top) but I felt like it took up too much space and that the room could use a more updated look. Easy, right?!
I love bold wallpaper and think bathrooms are the perfect place to use it! They are small enough that you can’t really get overwhelmed even if the design, patterns, or colors are busy and bold. I wanted to pick a wallpaper pattern that was large enough that it wouldn’t compete with the small basketweave floor tiles original to the house.
I didn’t know how expensive wallpaper can be until I started shopping around. I found this wallpaper on sale at Wayfair that would work with our budget. Three rolls was what we needed for our space with the pattern repeat. Thankfully my mom already had wallpapering supplies (tray, sponges, rollers, flat edge, etc) so I didn’t have to buy those for this project.
Tile, Tub, and Shower Surround
The existing tile was in good shape, but the wall tile was a different color than the baseboard tile around the perimeter of the bathroom, which was a different color than the floor tile. We also had a small spot under the bathtub faucet where the finish had eroded and needed to be reglazed so it didn’t rust.
I found Cream City Tub and Tile on Angie’s List and they were running a special for bathtub reglazing. I asked if they could also spray the surrounding tile so everything was a nice Kohler white – mismatched tile problem solved!
Lighting and Ventilation
We replaced the old light fixture that had two bulbs with a new, three-bulb light fixture. Just the one extra bulb makes a huge difference in how light the bathroom is since there is no overhead lighting. We also took off the fan to spray it with a fresh coat of white paint, only to find that it wasn’t venting anywhere – just spraying the humid air straight into the attic! Awesome. So we hired our neighbor, owner of Cornerstone Roofing, to come over and put a vent in the roof so we could hook up duct work to properly vent the bathroom. (This was our only unexpected cost.)
I didn’t want to spend a lot on a new pedestal sink so I spent a few days searching Craigslist for something used. I came across a new-in-box Kohler sink that I loved the look of and it was priced pretty reasonably. Turns out that it was being sold by AB&K Bath & Kitchen out of Greenfield. One of their clients had purchased the sink but decided she didn’t like it, so it was just sitting in the showroom basement. They actually have quite a bit of returned or unused stock down there – everything from sinks to cabinets to countertops to hardware, etc. If you’re looking for nice products at a reduced price, try giving them a call and seeing if they have anything available that they’d like to get off their hands! The owner said they often just don’t have time to take pictures and post it all on Craigslist. We also bought stainless steel/chrome plumbing accessories to replace the ugly PVC piping that became visible after removing the vanity.
Timeline and Budget
- Buy wallpaper and collect wallpapering supplies
- Remove towel bar, toilet paper holder, medicine cabinet, light fixture, and fan
- Sand all walls to remove sand texture (so it won’t show through the wallpaper)
- Scrape out any areas of bad grout and caulk
- Replace cracked and missing tiles
- Grout around new tiles
- Prime walls with wallpaper primer
- Hang wallpaper on all walls (two days)
- Paint trim with fresh coat of white paint (outdoor waterproof paint for the window in the shower)
- Reglaze bathtub and tile (one day) – Cream City Tub & Tile
- Install no-slip bottom in tub, caulk around newly glazed surfaces (next day) – Cream City Tub & Tile
- Buy mirror to replace medicine cabinet
- Install vent in roof – Cornerstone Roofing
- Hook up ductwork from fan to roof vent
- Buy new sink, faucet, and plumbing accessories
- Replace PVC pipes with new stainless steel/chrome plumbing
- Hook up plumbing for new sink (attempts 1-20)
- Finish hooking up plumbing for new sink (attempts 20-50)…not sure how many tries it took us, but it was a lot! The pipes were a little crooked under the old vanity so getting the new ones positioned correctly was tricky to say the least.
Budget vs Total Cost
- Budget: $1,500 and 2 weekends
- Total Cost: $1,700 and 6 full weeks
- Wallpaper: $189
- Reglazing: $950
- Sink: $120
- Vent in roof: $50
- Paint: $15
- Faucet & plumbing accessories: $200
- Mirror: $65
- Light fixture: $99
- New toilet paper holder: $12
Even though it took much longer than expected, this bathroom was one of my favorite projects because it was big impact for relatively low cost, and we did almost everything ourselves. What do y’all think?
Also, if anyone is interested in redoing her bathroom, hit me up! After researching for this project I have lots of fun design ideas and a pretty good idea of how much the improvements will cost. #makeyourbathroomgreatagain