Thursday, July 30, 2015

Budget Bathroom Remodel II

When we bought our house, I knew I'd want to change just about everything, this bathroom included. A recent plumbing leak mandated that it was the next in line for a makeover!

As with everything house project I take on, I did the best I could to keep costs low, but without sacrificing style.
Because of the plumbing problem however, this time it would have to be an actual "remodel" (as opposed to the cosmetic changes I've been able to make with the rest of the house).
Basically, I couldn't just cover up surfaces this time, everything actually had to come out!

First Things First; Wallpaper

Now, don't get me wrong, I LOVE birds... just not so much on old peeling wallpaper. It had to go.

The best method for removing wallpaper (that I found worked) was to:

-First, pull off anything I could using just my hands. Luckily I was able to get most of the top layer off this way.
-Second, I made a mixture of 2 parts hot water, 1 part liquid fabric softener and 2 parts white vinegar.
-Third, I used a rag to liberally apply this mixture to the wall.
-Last, (after letting the mixture sit for a few minutes) I used a paint scraper to scrape off any remaining glue and paper.

Removing wallpaper is never an easy job, but it's worth the pay off! If you have kids, put them to work too. Mine LOVED taking the paper off the walls!


This is pretty self explanatory. 
Chip away old tile, cut away wood rot and remove any moldy sheetrock. This is a fun way to put your trusty sledgehammer to use!

We had to take it down to the studs and floor joists in some places due to water damage. However, if the "bones" of your bathroom are still in good condition, you can probably get away with leaving the sheetrock and subfloor. 

Add In The New

Before to long it was time for to start adding new elements back into the room. We started with the tub.
The old tub was shot, so we opted for a new cast iron tub that is wider and taller than the old one. 

It was super heavy, and getting it into the space wasn't easy, but they did it! Next up, tile...

Tile Tub Surround

Since I wasn't too keen on the "before" tile, we went with something different. 

Tile Before

Close up "before"

To keep costs low we selected large subway tile. It creates a classic style, and is relatively inexpensive. Also, because of its larger size, it uses less labor time (helping to keep costs lower and/ or saving you time). We ran the tile tub-surround around the window, and all the way up to the ceiling.


We just went with "ice white" from Home Depot. It was cheap and easy! Then we finished off the clean look with a self sealing white grout.

Soon it was time for the floor. 


The original bathroom floor was tile. But the subfloor underneath was rotten, so it had to go.  If you would like to salvage your tile floor, but don't like the color, try painting it! (See link below for product info). It works miracles! I had used it on this floor the year before, to disguise the old tile.

(Painted) Floor Before

Again to keep costs low we went with an inexpensive and easy to install floor. The very cheapest flooring option in a single slab of laminate, but I don't care for that look. So instead we went a step up and used a self adhesive "snap together" flooring. 


*Also note that, even small changes like the color of the metal strip between the carpet and bathroom floor can help update a house.

This type of floor comes in many different patterns and colors, including some pretty convincing synthetic wood grains. However, because I knew that someday we'd be putting wood in the hallway, I didn't want something that would clash with wood, or be "too close" to wood. So we chose a grey cement/ slate look. 

This floor went in quickly and easily. After installation we were careful to calk every single corner or seam that was near a water source. This is very important, especially if you have kids like mine who enjoy splashing in the tub!

A New Vanity

Because we needed to select everything in just one shopping trip (the day we had a babysitter!) to keep things easy, we also ordered the vanity from Home Depot. I did see it for a little less elsewhere though (including on

Old Vanity

I wanted to be choosy about the countertop, we chose a model that didn't come with a top. But, many do come with a top and sink all ready to go, and they are quite nice. To save on labor costs measure carefully and do your best not to have to move the plumbing. 


I chose a single facet (instead of one with handles) with sleek lines, mainly because I knew it would be easier to clean!



I went with a brushed nickel finish. Oil Rubbed Bronze hardware is lovely. But it's very trendy right now, and I think it is more likely to look dated sooner than chrome or nickel will. 
For continuity, be sure that all of the hardware in your bathroom is made from the same metal (from drawer pulls and light fixtures, to shower faucets).

Adding in More Elements

Both the light fixture and the mirror were original. They were circa 1972, so not quite old enough to be back in fashion again! They had to go!


We chose a nice new light fixture that matched the rest of the hardware and installed it in the same location.


Then, I found an inexpensive beveled edged mirror at a discount store (Ross) for about $40. The frame was hideous, but I painted it with matt finish chalk paint (get the cheap stuff here, or the real stuff here).


We also replaced the old shutter style medicine cabinet with a new mirrored one. Mirrors are always your friends! They make a space feel larger and brighter, use them whenever possible! 



Just one thing to keep in mind... open the package and check your mirror before leaving the store. We had to exchange this one because the first one came with a chip. This is the second time that's happened to me with a Home Depot mirror. 

Keep it Simple

I like to change up my decor often. So, as you can see from these photos all of the big (read: costly) changes we made in the bathroom were subtle. We used a lot of white. This way I can easily switch out things like towels, shower curtains and rugs to change the look of the room, with only a minimal amount of work. 
The remodel is also less likely to look dated 10 years from now, because we avoided using anything overly trendy.

One of my favorite ways to create a versatile space is with my go-to paint color.

Benjamin Moore's "Ivory White" (number 925) works EVERYWHERE. I've used it on kitchen cabinets, walls, and even furniture. It's the perfect warm white, and goes with everything. So, naturally, this was the color I painted the walls.
Paint stores don't always have samples of this color out, but they can mix it for you, just ask.

Then, with a neutral base of whites (remember, you can always mix different shades of white in the same room) and grey tones, I was free to make bold color choices with my accessories. 

Adding Finishing Touches

Now came my favorite part, accessorizing!

Gone went the ugly plastic toilet brush and dirty waste basket, and in came new brushed nickel models to match the rest of the metal in the room. I chose this: 

and this:

Then it was time to add some color! I held back on adding any color to the more "permanent" aspects of the room, so it was time to let loose and bring in some bold hues!

I already had the monogramed green towels (a generously homemade gift from a friend). So I used those as a springboard for creating a pallet. 
To "help" kids remember to hang up their towels, we used hooks in the place of traditional towel racks.

Because it had the green I was looking for, and a variety of other colors too, I went with this shower curtain. It was a little bit of a gamble, buying it online (site unseen). But, overall I am happy with how it looks. This one was my second choice! I still love it too :)

Then I added a pop of color to the floor with this inexpensive orange rug:

I already had the turquoise photo frames (from Target) and I took another gamble on the luxurious yellow towels by buying them online. Online shopping is a mother's best friend! I was a little disappointed that they weren't as vibrant as I thought they'd be. But still, it was better than dragging three small children through countless stores, looking for bright yellow towels!

Overall, we are quite happy with the end result, and hope to enjoy it for many years to come. Stay tuned for future updates and changes to the decor. Happy house fixing!

Thanks for stopping by!

Linking up to these fun parties:


  1. New bathroom looks awesome! Colorful, simple, fun... perfect for the kids! If you ever need to get away from the green, just let me know and we can hook you up with a new set of monogrammed towels ;) I will say, however, that Annike is going to miss the bird wallpaper!

  2. Shoot, I should have saved her a piece!

  3. Your bathroom turned out super cute!! Nice job! Thanks for joining Home Sweet Home!

  4. This looks awesome! Your post has been Pinned,Tweeted and shared on Facebook! It will be featured this week on the Friday Favorites Link Party at Come by and see your feature and share what you have been working on this week! The doors open Thursday at 7PM. Hugs - Christine at Must Love Home

  5. Your new bathroom theme looks so simple but marvelous! The spotless ivory white walls and cabinets are just enough for one to think and of calmly while inside. Well, looks like the risk of buying items online turned out fine for you. Congrats on the success of your bathroom makeover, Hayley!

    Lynn Williamson @ DAL Builders

  6. Really a nice collection of bathroom interiors you have shared here with us. All designs are so adorable.There are many innovative sites with which we makeover our small bathrooms with creative bathroom floor tile and bathroom design ideas and get your bathroom looks wonderful.

  7. Bathroom remodeling can be a lot of work in contrast to its size. And it seems that you’ve stripped off everything! But I think it’ll be worth the effort in the end. I see your walls are a lot better with the white tone. You also have a pretty impressive sink and mirror there, and making everything still in exact position is a clever idea. Well, I could say the plumbing leak was something of “blessing-in-disguise.” All the best!

    Evon Brow @ Athens Plumbing

  8. It's scary what damage goes on behind the leaking parts of a bathroom, but you rescued it so well and turned this fairly small space into something really wonderful. The bathroom's one of the most important rooms in the house and yours is the epitome of style and vibrant colour. I particularly love the shower curtain.

    Wilfred Andrews @ LB Plumbing and Heating

  9. I think the way that you reused old pieces in the small bathroom is extremely impressive. It all works despite the fact that you're using slightly different colors and accessories. The bathroom looks so much better now after you put in just a bit of time and effort. Congratulations on a job really well done.

    Maxwell Frey @ Design Build Duluth

  10. Awesome! What a beautiful bathroom. I especially like the vanity unit. We are also renovating our bathroom at the moment and we bought a similar vanity unit at: I hope that our bathroom will be as beautiful as yours.

  11. It’s looking Awesome! I had hired "IPC Restoration and Renovation Contractors" few days ago. And going to discuss with him about this design.

  12. Great Information sharing .. I am very happy to read this article .. thanks for giving us go through info.Fantastic nice. I appreciate this post. loft conversions london

  13. This is awesome! I've been trying to do some bathroom renovation , and this gave me some great insight for things to try. Thanks for sharing!

    Ensuite Renovations

  14. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  15. Personally I was looking for some general information about bathroom remodel and your post was just perfect.thanks for sharing and Hope that you will continue to do posting.
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