What’s blue, dated, and has zig zags all over? This bathroom that needed a major makeover, that’s what! This past Thanksgiving, my sister and our spouses decided to update my parent’s guest bathroom as a Birthday gift. My talented sister-in-law and fellow DIYer, Cassie (check out her projects out here) and I took on the majority of the project and we had a blast finally being able to collaborate together!
Below you will find details to our full design process, descriptions and direct links to the products we used, and all things budget related – our total amount spent and where we cut corners without sacrificing quality.
- Inspiration and Overall Plan
- Products and Tools – direct links and brief descriptions of each
- Step by Step Process From Start to Finish – tutorials, tips, and photos as we transformed this space
- Budget Details – how much we spent and areas we cut costs while still keeping quality where it counts
- Full Gallery of Pictures
INSPIRATION AND OVERALL PLAN
As I mentioned, this bathroom is in my childhood home and although it’s a guest bathroom, it’s also my dad’s bathroom. With this in mind, we wanted to make sure the look had an energetic vibe and a modern, masculine feel.
- Remove wallpaper and paint walls and built ins
- Spray paint hardware that isn’t being replaced
- Paint blue tiles white
- Freshen up window, floor vents, and vinyl base boards with white paint
- Update shower with grout pen
- Caulk around sink and edges where tile and wall meet
- Replace all silver brass/nickel hardware and switch plates with gold
- Install extra towel bars and add curtains
- Replace old decor and towels with new items
PRODUCTS AND TOOLS
Cassie and I used some of our favorite products for this bathroom flip and found some new brands along the way! Direct links are below.
To make it easy, we numbered our mood board so you can find the exact brands and products to use on your own project!
TOOLS, PAINT, AND PRODUCTS USED
- You’ll need a ROLLER FRAME and paint rollers of various types depending on your surface and sheen. We used a 3/8″ nap roller and 1/4″ roller.
- This is one of my favorite products. The RUST-OLEUM HOME FLOOR COATING KIT can be bought as a KIT or individually. Either way you will want to pick a Step 1 tint color for the base coat and a Step 2 sheen for the top coat. We used the STEP 1 BASE COAT IN ULTRA WHITE and the STEP 2 TOP COAT IN SEMI-GLOSS.
- Another awesome product, this RUST-OLEUM METALLIC GOLD SPRAY PAINT is the perfect gold to match hardware. It’s not too brassy or too light. We used this spray paint to paint the visible pipes underneath the sink and toilet along with the mirror handles and toilet paper holder.
- To bring some color, boldness, and masculinity to the bathroom we picked the paint color RAGING SEA by Sherwin Williams. **Please note: The wall color in some of the photographs come off more ‘Kelly Green’ than the bold, but calming blue green that it is. I guess that’s the fun of trying to take pictures in a half bath!
- For a bright, but warm white that would freshen up the trim along the window and floor, we used the paint color POLAR BEAR BY BEHR.
- This bathroom is small so the project came with a lot of edging and corners, which also meant paint brushes were key. We used my favorite brush brand Trylon. The TRYLON 3IN FLAT CUT and 2IN SHORT CUT ANGLE for both the walls and tiles.
- I thought all paint tape was the same until I tried FROG TAPE! It’s such a game changer and was used for all of our painting needs on this project.
- We used this simple GROUT PEN to clean up the interior of the shower. It acts just like a marker. Scroll down to see the impressive before and after!
- We went with these TOWEL BARS in brushed brass. Quick note – the brushed brass color is slightly warmer than the online picture (which we liked because it matched the sink perfectly).
- These TOWELS were the perfect accent to rug and wall color.
- The abstract art we chose isn’t available online, but TARGET has many similar pieces!
- We chose these GOLD SWITCH PLATES.
- This GOLD FAUCET in brushed gold is available on Amazon and I was so impressed with the quality…less than $60!
- We ended up finding a perfect soap dish at a thrift store, but this ACRYLIC SOAP DISH is from Williams-Sonoma.
- I love this RUG! It’s affordable, well made and tied in all of the colors and textures perfectly.
- This WOVEN WASTEBASKET was the perfect layer of texture.
- I’ve used these CURTAINS in several projects. They are the perfect amount of sheer if you’re not needing full privacy (this bathroom already had blinds) and they come in various stripe colors. We chose the color ‘Ivory Stripe’. We also chose this CURTAIN ROD and these CURTAIN CLIPS which match the towel bars and sink!
STEP BY STEP PROCESS
As you can see from the ‘Before’ pictures, the bathroom had good bones, which means we were able to makeover this entire room without ripping anything out, including tiles! We definitely had our work cut out for us though.
STEP 1: REMOVING WALLPAPER
First on our list – removing wallpaper! There are lots of wallpaper strippers you can purchase at the store, but I learned a great trick from Cassie that is faster and non-toxic!
DIY TIP: For a quicker, more precise way to remove wallpaper, use a steamer and putty knife! The steam will work faster than a spray bottle and is a great non-toxic option compared to store bought wallpaper removal sprays.
Lastly, before painting we plastered any holes in the wall that were hidden by the wallpaper and used a piece of sand paper to ensure adhesive is all off!
STEP 2: PREPPING AND SANDING TILE
This is my second time working with the RUST-OLEUM FLOOR COATING KIT and I was excited and intrigued to try it on a tile wall versus the floor! This product is amazing and I can’t say enough good things about it. However, one key step in the success of the paint is to prep your tiles correctly. You do not want to rush this step and you’ll want to read the back of the paint can very carefully. So let’s get to it!
The biggest thing to know is that if the tile has a sheen to it at all, you’ll want to sand the tile first. When you read the back of the can, it details how to test a portion of your tile if you’re unsure about sanding first. The blue tile in our bathroom project was very smooth and had a glossy coat to it, so we skipped the test and went straight to sanding. You’ll need 60-80 grit sandpaper and a Random Orbital Sander (we recommend this DEWALT SANDER which is under $75). I do not recommend using sandpaper sheets if you need time on your side.
Next, sand the tile to rough up the surface. If you have very shiny tile like we did, know that you don’t need to go over each tile for a long time, but do try and hit each edge and corner a few times. If you look at the tile after and it doesn’t look visibly ‘sanded’ like a piece of rough wood would, this is normal. We were nervous about this at the beginning because the tile wasn’t showing much sign of the sheen wearing off, but once we painted we could tell the paint was grasping to the tile very well.
After sanding, you’ll want to clean the tile with a degreaser. We used what Rust-oleum recommends, KRUD KUTTER CLEANER DEGREASER. Give the tiles a few minutes to dry and you’re ready to paint!
STEP 3: SPRAY PAINT OLD HARDWARE THAT ISN’T BEING REPLACED
To keep costs under budget, instead of replacing some of the bathroom hardware, we spray painted the pieces gold to match the new faucet, towel bars, etc! I don’t recommend this on hardware that is used often or has a large surface area that is easily visible, but for underneath sink and toilet pipes that aren’t covered by a cabinet, spray paint is a perfect solution! We also spray painted the back metal portion of the toilet paper holder and the knobs to the mirror. Just make sure to sand the metal ahead of time and do light, quick coats. Less is more! If looking for a great gold spray paint, I recommend my favorite Rust-oleum SPRAY PAINT.
PAINTING WALLS AND TRIM
There is no right or wrong order for painting the walls, trim, or tiles first, but one thing to keep in mind is that the tiles takes 2-3 coats of the base coat (each coat needing 6 hours to dry in between) and then 1-2 top coats. Because of time constraints, we started on the tile first and painted trim and parts of the wall while each coat was drying, but if you have a longer timeframe, it may be easier to do each chunk at once so you don’t have to add and take away tape more than needed. Whatever you decide, I highly recommend using FROG TAPE. This was my first time using this brand and I was blown away by how well it adhered to surfaces, kept paint out, and easily came off without damaging the surface it was on. I am now obsessed!
STEP 4: PAINTING TILES
First off, I have only worked with the ‘Ultra White’ tint, so application and amount of coats needed may differ if doing another tint color. As I mentioned before, the directions on the back of the base coat and top coat cans are extremely detailed and SO helpful, so run through that portion as a full checklist and use the below as a guide.
Once the tiles were clean, dry and taped off, we started painting the first coat. Although we had a paint roller ready, we found it easier to use paint brushes for the entire surface area, not just the perimeter. I think this was mainly due to how small each wall area was in the bathroom. When I used this product to paint floor tile a few months ago, the paint roller was preferred, so use whatever comes easiest to you. Both ways will turn out great, just make sure to fill in the edges and then paint in the same direction (vertical or horizontal) the entire time.
One more important note, the first coat will look uneven and thin (see above). The first time I used this product, I was nervous that the paint wasn’t taking to the tile. Know that this is normal and as long as you don’t have paint puddling, you are good to go. Keep in mind that dust will settle easily on these surfaces, so as you finish base coats and are giving them time to dry, try to limit traffic in or near room and close the door if possible. I learned this the hard way on my first project a few months back.
For ‘Ultra White’ the can notes to only apply 2 coats, but for both projects I’ve used this paint with, I have ended up doing 3 coats and had no issues.
Once you have your base coats finished, you’re ready for the top coat! First, gently brush off any dust that you notice so the particles don’t get stuck in the top coat. Then, with a paint roller and brush, apply the first coat of the top coat using the roller and then the brush for detail and evening the coat out. For detail, I found it helpful both on a floor or wall to use the thin orientation of the brush to fill in each grout line (perimeter of each tile), trim, and any uneven surface. Another tip, is to do small portions at a time (2’x4′ roughly) and check back on areas a few times to smooth out any puddling or drips (see below).
Once you have your first top coat applied, you are finished if painting a floor, but if painting a vertical wall (like we did for this project), you will need to apply a second coat once dry.
Once finished, the top coat just needs 24 hours to dry and 7 days to fully cure!
STEP 5: SHOWER UPDATE WITH GROUT PEN
After painting, we moved on to updating the shower. Since the tile paint isn’t meant for shower areas and there wasn’t time or room in the budget for fully updating the shower, we decided to use a grout pen to freshen up the look. This is also one of Cassie’s favorite products and once I saw the before and after, I was hooked also. This GROUT PEN is such a budget and time saver if you have great tiles, but old grout that needs a refresh.
STEP 6: CAULK EDGING AND SINK AREA
Next, we caulked the edging where the tiles and wall meet. This wasn’t in our original plan, but once we saw the space fully painted, we realized we needed a clean connection between the two wall textures. We also realized the sink had an awkward spacing between it, so we caulked that as well!
DIY TIP: When caulking, once you have the line of caulk down, dip your finger in a cup of water before running it through the line. This will give you the perfect curved seal and the water will help make a fluid line without any bumps!
STEP 7: REPLACE OLD NICKEL HARDWARE WITH GOLD
Switching out and adding new hardware is one of the biggest differences in this before and after. To give the room a brighter, more modern feel, we went with brushed gold hardware. We swapped out the faucet for a new CENTERSET FAUCET. This was one of my favorite purchases for this project! If you’re new to installing faucets, this YOUTUBE VIDEO gives a great step by step for centerset styles.
We also added new TOWEL BARS and SWITCH PLATES and added CURTAINS. These are my favorite CURTAIN RODS and CLIPS.
STEP 8: DECORATE!
Lastly, we put the finishing touches on the bathroom by purchasing new towels, rug, wastebasket, art and decor, and lots of plants. We thrifted the soap dish and plant tray, shopped at a local plant store for the plants, and bought the rest of the decor at Target! You can shop the exact decor items at the top of this blog post in the section ‘Products & Tools’.
Our budget for this room makeover was $500. This included new towels and decor. We ended up spending $561 partly because we needed another can of paint for the tile, but overall we kept to our goal! Below I listed out our full costs and included some tips on ways to flip a room while keeping to a low budget! For instance, $143 of our total was new decor and new towels. If you can use some of the current items in your room and tie them to your new design, that is a huge budget saver!
WHAT WE SPENT
- $46 – Rust-Oleum Floor Coating Kit (includes both the base coat, top coat, but you can buy each separately and in gallons if you wanted)
- $22 – Extra can of tile base coat
- $22 – Sandpaper
- $9 – Paint rollers for base coat
- $5 – Paint roller for top coat
- $16 – White Paint for trim
- $25 – ‘Raging Sea’ paint for walls
- $20 – Paint brushes
- $20 – Frog Tape for painting
- $5 – Gold Spray Paint
- $15 – Drop cloths and masking film
- $8 – Switch plate
- $16 – 2 Grout Pens
- $59 – 2 Towel bars
- $60 – Centerset faucet
- $16 – Sheer Curtains
- $26 – Curtain rod
- $28 – Curtain clips
- $25 – Art Print
- $25 – Bath rug
- $78 – Hand towels and wash cloths
- $15 – Wastebasket
- TOTAL SPENT – $561 ($418 in DIY needs and $143 in decor)
WAYS TO CUT BUDGET WITHOUT SACRIFICING QUALITY
There are a lot of ways to get the look and feel of a total remodel without having to pay for a full remodel. Here are some tips and ideas we used for this project.
- Figure out one or two items that you know you want to ‘splurge’ on. For us, it was the new faucet and towel bars.
- Pick some currently owned items that can work with the new space. Since this was a gift to my parents, we bought new towels and decor, but towels, rug, etc are great pieces that can save money on the budget if you can work them with the new vibe also!
- Use DIY hacks to accomplish other design wants for less. We decided paint the tile instead of installing new. We also kept the built-ins instead of replacing and just painted them the same colors as the wall adding a cleaner look. We spray painted some of the metal hardware such as the visible pipes instead of ordering new.
- Thrift instead of buying new! This can also give more character to your new space. I found a fun gold leaf tray for one of the plants and a cool tribal dish to hold soap!
- Determine areas that can be freshened up instead of remodeled. A great example in this project is the tile and shower. The tile itself wasn’t an issue, just the color and dated look. So we painted the bathroom tile and used the grout pen for the shower!