Before/After, Frugality, Home Projects, Homemaking, Our Home

$100 Bathroom Makeover (with Before/After Pics)

A sneak peek at the “before” of the bathroom

Remember when we moved into our new house a year and a half ago, and for the first few months, I did all sorts of fun house update posts? And then remember how it’s been radio silence ever since?? REMEMBER THAT?!

I have six words for you:

No time. No money. No energy.

Or just one word:


That’s apparently what happens when you try and tackle a ton of projects on top of moving in to a new place, and those are the main reasons we haven’t done much updating around here. But, with the energy and motivation that seems to be floating around in excess during this time of the year, we have started tackling some long-put-off house projects, and I cannot wait to share more with you!

First off, you will notice that interior design is not my calling in life. However, even despite that limitation, I still have loved these fresh updates and think that they are perfect for US, even though they won’t be winning me any prizes anytime soon.

But let’s start with the fun stuff, eh? Because I know the REAL reason you’ve come is to see some good before and after shots.

***There are affiliate links in this post, which means I get a small percentage of any sale made, at no extra cost to you. Thanks for supporting To Love and To Learn!

Here is a pic of the bathroom from the online listing by the previous owners:

The lighting is bad, but if you can’t tell, that’s a red accent wall, a black shower curtain, and black towels/accessories

Here are a few more pics we took before moving in:

They left us the shower curtain, as you see

Interesting fact about our house when we bought it—there was a LOT of red throughout the house. Red accent wall in the front room, in the kitchen, in this upstairs bathroom, AND in the second bedroom upstairs. Second interesting fact: we painted over all of it. (There was also a dark brown accent wall in the basement. That also was one of the first things to go.)

So we painted the whole bathroom a crisp white (Behr’s Bit o’ Sugar, in case you’re curious), put in our own shower curtain that we’d had previously (which is this $14.99 one from Target), and that’s basically all we did. For 19 months.

As you can see, still a big improvement, but a bit boring (or a lot boring).

One of the reasons we waited so long to do anything else in here is because of what we EVENTUALLY plan to do (which I’ll go over in more detail at the end). Because I knew that we eventually wanted to do a pretty big overhaul of this whole space, I felt like it was a waste to do anything in the interim, since it likely just meant some of that money would be wasted when we changed the whole thing in a couple years.

But then I read The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful and thought—This is totally silly of us to wait to do anything until we can do it perfectly how we want it. The fact is, we’ll probably live in this house at least a year or two longer (if not more) without being able to make these bigger changes we want, so it doesn’t make sense for us to just live in a bare-bones bathroom in the meantime.

So I got to scouting around on Pinterest for ideas I liked (you can follow me here, if you choose). I started pricing out some low-cost options that would give us the most bang for our buck. And then I invited my mom up so she could do all the work, ha ha. (Except seriously, she basically did most of it…I was just there to learn from the master.)

And I totally LOVE it. Every time I walk past the bathroom or use it now, I just am so glad we didn’t wait any longer to make some updates that we could enjoy NOW.

So, moral of the story—

If you can’t afford your dream reno now, there’s still no reason not to make the space as beautiful as you can RIGHT NOW.

But let’s move on to what we’ve actually done already!

I knew the first thing I wanted to do something about was to put up something on the blank wall behind the toilet, and I thought that some wood shelves would provide some natural texture in there as well as provide a way I could easily swap out decor whenever I wished.

I first had Matt saw off two small planks of wood (Douglas Fir pine, if you’re curious) for the shelves (we ended up going 9-3/4″ x 16″), which he sanded down and smoothed out but which we otherwise didn’t do anything else with.

Then I purchased four of these shelf brackets, which we then placed against our wood planks to see where we’d want them in relation to the edge of the shelves and made pencil marks on the wood and also pencil marks on the wall where they’d be drilled in. (Note: we wanted our shelves to be about 14″ apart, which meant we needed to put the bottom of the bracket just 8″ above the bottom shelf.)

I also wanted towel hooks to replace our standard towel rods/holders, so we removed the old ones and had to patch and paint over where they’d been screwed in first. Initially I’d thought about putting the hooks in where the towel rod had once been, but then we didn’t like the look of the towels hanging so close to the floor, so we hung them quite a bit higher and I liked that MUCH better. (You’ll notice in the full ‘after’ picture that we also replaced the small towel bar with a hook as well.)

Finally, because I’ve always hated the hardware that came with the house (we have the same ones in the kitchen), I decided to replace it at the same time I was ordering the hooks (since I got them from the same place–D. Lawless Hardware, which I’d heard about from another blogger and who I will use from now on because their prices and variety are amazing).

To finish it off, I put up a painting done by my mother-in-law (you can check out her work here), a glass bottle we were gifted, a woven basket we already had (which I used to store toilet paper), and two plants (one live one from Lowe’s and one fake one from Ikea).

So, our cost breakdown for the bathroom looks like this:

  • Paint – $35
  • Shelf Brackets – $28
  • 2 Planks of wood (pine) – Free (owned already)
  • 4 Towel Hooks – $9
  • 2 Bar Knobs – $4.60
  • 4 Brass Knobs – $9.20
  • Ikea Plant + Pot – $5.78
  • ‘Brasil’ (live) plant from Lowe’s + concrete pot (clearance) – $9

Grand Total: $100.58

And here’s how it looks now!

$100 Bathroom Makeover
$100 Bathroom Makeover
$100 Bathroom Makeover

Not bad for just $100, eh? I’m pretty amazed at the difference when you compare the before and after shots side by side:

As I stated above, there are a few (okay, a lot) of things we’re hoping to change about this bathroom in the long run. The first item on the list–which I actually hope to do this year–is to update the light fixture in here. I’ve got my eye on this one:

I like a lot of the bathroom fixtures by Progress Lighting, but I’m drawn to this one because A) I feel like it’s a steal at $97, and B) it has four lights across, which I know I’ll want to go at least that wide to replace the current fixture (which is actually 6 lights across). I’ll have to measure our current fixture and then check measurements on this one, but even if I don’t get this one for our upstairs, I think I might get it for our downstairs bathroom, at any rate.

The other things we plan to do in this bathroom that will probably take a lot longer to do are:

  • Put shiplap or board and batten up on at least one wall (shiplap we would probably just do on the wall that the cupboards are on, and with board and batten we would do it on both)
  • Paint the cupboards (I was thinking maybe a dark gray or perhaps a muted blue-gray)
    • I’ve been actually wanting to jump on this one right away since it wouldn’t be that expensive to do, but I hate the look of our current countertops and so I’d hate to paint the cabinets in my ideal color only to have it clash with the current countertops. And since replacing the countertops will require quite a bit more in the budget, that’s why we’ve stalled on this particular project.
  • Replace the laminate countertops with something more heavy duty and pretty OR (if we’re brave enough) try painting them to look like marble
  • Either replace the sink, or, at the very least, replace the faucet
  • Update the flooring in some way, whether it’s through heavy-duty stick-ons, spray painted stencil design, new tile…I haven’t decided yet. A lot of this will be determined by budget.

So, like I said, it’s a decent-sized list that I’m anticipating will cost us at least $500 (even if we do all the work ourselves), so it will be probably a few years into the future at least.

All in all, I’m really glad we didn’t wait any longer to make some updates, just because we really have no idea when all the above will happen (if ever).

What do you think? Not bad for $100, eh?

Did you know you can sign up for my email list and get exclusive content only available to my newsletter subscribers? If you want more loving and learning in your life, you can sign up here!


$100 Family Bathroom Makeover // To Love and To Learn

Liked this post? Then you'll probably also like...