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DIY powder room makeover on a budget

Hi guys, I wanted to talk to you about my recent DIY project! This was honestly my first time taking on a larger project like this (without any physical!). We recently moved, and bought a home that is from the early 2000's. Everything was tan, taupe, or some shade of brown. Which, if you know me, isn't my style. After renovating most of our main level; kitchen, dining room, and family room; our dark, outdated powder room stuck out even more, and was ruining the "flow" that my main level had.

One of the first things I thought about was "how much do I want to spend on this renovation?". Since it was our powder bathroom, and not one of the main bathrooms (so we didn't spend as much time in there), I knew I wanted to keep the budget to be under $500.

At first I thought about getting a whole new vanity, but after looking online, and in store at numerous places, I didn't find anything I liked to be under $600. Our current vanity was actually in good condition, had a granite counter top, was all wood, and was really ornate with design. With all of these things it had going for it, I decided that I would salvage it, and turn it into something new, by painting it.

My main goal in remodeling the bathroom was to make it feel more "bright", and of course updated, and flow well with the rest of the design of the house. I had some paint left over from our dining remodel, and it was a really pretty blue from Benjamin Moore called "Waters Edge". I immediately knew I wanted to use it for the color of the vanity (and also, money saved!).

At first I thought I would be able to use some other paint I had left over, for the bathroom walls, but the white I had turned out to be too white (and stark), and I didn't end up liking the hue of the gray, because I thought it would compete too much with the color the new vanity was going to be. So, I ended up spending money on some new paint ($50), and it turned out exactly how I wanted it.

I started by disconnecting the vanity from the plumbing (and turning the water off). I got a bucket of soap and water, and used a sponge to really clean up any dust or grime that had built up on the vanity. Next, I removed both doors, the hinges, and old hardware. I then took some sand paper (120 grit), and did a light sand on everything. After this, I had to re-wipe everything down, to remove any dust that the sanding left. I started out with my small roller, and rolled on a very thick coat of primer (you can see the middle pic below, it's looks like splotchy white paint). After the primer dried for a couple of hours, I started with my first coat of paint on the vanity. I used my roller to get most of the paint on, but then switched to a brush to smooth things out, and especially to go in between all of the tiny ornate millwork that was at the very top of the vanity (all the squares).

The first part of the process took me most of the day (10am-4:30pm), and I was very tired and worn out at the end, so I called it quits for the! The next day I woke up, and was more determined than ever to finish my project. I'm one of those people that likes to keep things neat and tidy, and having a bathroom that was disassembled and messy, was starting to annoy!

I started with my second coat of paint on the vanity. One of the trickiest things I faced was trying to paint the vanity doors, and find a place for them to dry. The first mistake I made was leaning the wet doors up against the bathroom wall to dry. Can you guess what happened? Yep, the paint dried, and the vanity door ended up getting stuck to the wall, so when I pulled it off, some of the paint came off of the wall, as well as the door! The wall didn't matter, since I was going to paint over it anyway, but I had to re-sand part of the door that had gotten stuck, and repaint it. I decided that I couldn't take any more "shortcuts", and got out an extra plastic tarp I had, covered the washer and dryer with it, and only painted one side of the door at a time, so they could lay flat, and dry properly.

The vanity only took a few hours to dry, so I headed to my local Benjamin Moore paint shop to look at some colors for the wall. I knew I wanted my powder bathroom to be brighter. It is such a small space, and with the current tan/peach color that it was painted, it was making it feel too dark, out of date, and not inviting at all. I ended up choosing a creamy warm white called "Swiss Coffee". After reading a few other blogs about the color, and seeing the results, I knew it was the perfect color. I got it mixed at 75 percent strength (as advised), so it wouldn't pull too much of a yellow undertone.

I'm not going to bore you with my whole painting of the bathroom walls, so I won't...but let me just say, it's way more work then you think it is (wiping down the baseboards, taping everything off with painters tape, etc.). My one piece of advice I can give you is to start by doing some of the corners, and top of the boarders first; then using a large, extending paint roller for most of the job. I also invested in a very small 4" roller for behind the toilet, so I didn't have to disconnect it. This also came in very handy because I have those "curved" corners that a regular, larger roller couldn't get.

So, there you have it, my complete DIY bathroom makeover! Doesn't it look so much better?! Also, the total amount of money I spent was way under $500! Everything, including all of the paint supplies, came out to $275! Can you believe it? I spent half of the money on paint and supplies, and the other half on accessories. Initially I was going to a new sconce, and towel rack/toilet paper holder, but the old ones ended up going well with the new matte black mirror and vanity pulls I bought.


  • Vanity Paint color is Benjamin Moore "Waters Edge"

  • Wall color is "Swiss Coffee" at 75 percent strength, also Benjamin Moore

  • Egg Shell finish in both

Wall Mirror is from Target and can be found here

Floral wall art is from Target also

Woven planter basket from Opalhouse

Hearth and Hand hand towel

Faux plant from here

Black matte hardware knobs


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