One Couple + Two Dogs = Our Waldo Bungie

Renovating a Bathroom for $600 (or Less)

September 6th, 2012 | Posted by Emily in Bungie Traditions | DIY | Emily's Parent's House | Fishing for compliments | Home Improvement | Light fixtures | Overly dramatic | Potty Talk | Summer Fun | Thrifty Revamps

It has become customary for Daniel and me to spend our three-day holiday weekends at my parents’ house fixing up a room. There was the kitchen renovation (and follow-up), kids’ room revamp, my old bedroom update, mom’s birthday pendant lamp installation and dining room table overhaul, and that time we re-painted the living room and hallway. Basically, I am the best daughter (and Daniel is the best son-in-law) on the planet we just really enjoy getting our renovation on, holiday-style. And this Labor Day weekend was no exception as we took on The Hideous 70s Vanity of Death my parents’ bathroom.

As you can see, my parents’ “master” bathroom was anything but masterful. From the insane-asylum-white walls to the crappy old vanity, this bathroom had a face not even a mother could love. It needed a major overhaul. But being the requester of impossible things thrifty lady she is, my mom had a strict budget for us. $500 … or $600 if we absolutely had to. With the average U.S. bathroom renovation totaling $16,000.00, we needed a strategy to stretch our $500-600 as far as it could go. First, we established our needs (below) and timeframe (48 hours). Luckily, the toilet was recently replaced and the shower is in decent shape, so we could focus on other problem areas. Since my dad primarily uses this bathroom (my mom claims the hallway bathroom), we wanted to shoot for a classic, masculine look while bringing elements of light into the tiny room.

1. Paint the walls a beautiful but masculine color that would hide wall imperfections and (hopefully) make the room look bigger.
2. Replace the dated vanity (including a new sink and faucet) with a classic vanity that would age well with the house.
3. Paint the closet and replace rotting wooden shelves with new ones.
4. Paint doors and trim with fresh coat of paint and replace old brass handle on closet door. Hang towel hooks.
5. Replace medicine cabinet and light fixture over vanity in a classic style to match the new vanity.

1. Buy a quart of Behr premium paint (semi-gloss) in Creek Bend. (Masculine color with a nice sheen to reflect light – 1 quart was just enough to take care of the whole bathroom with no extra. An easy way to save $10!) ($18)

2. Buy a pre-assembled vanity (with sink included) from Home Depot. These are usually very cheap because they are made with MDF boards instead of hardwood and the hardware is crappy. We chose a 24 inch white Glacier Bay vanity with sink included from Home Depot ($88).

To make the vanity appear expensive, we bought the Martha Stewart Cylinder cabinet handles ($9 for two) to replace the ones it came with, along with the Pfister Pasadena faucet ($49). In my humble opinion, if you have a classic look, people notice your accessories, so just have a decent vanity and focus on the faucet and handles!

3. For the closet, we planned to use the same Behr paint as the rest of the bathroom to save on paint costs. For the shelves, we purchased one long Rubbermaid laminate shelf ($8) and had the folks at Home Depot cut it down to size for 5 shelf boards (free).

4. For the trim and door paint, we went with regular Behr hi-gloss paint in ulta pure white (right off the shelf – no added colorant) ($14). Tip: For trim and doors that always looks fresh and never looks dirty, hi-gloss ultra pure white is the way to go! Bonus: Ultra Pure White paint is ALWAYS available so it’s easy to grab a can for touch-ups when needed. We also found large, sturdy coat hooks ($13 for 2) to use for the towels and a Defiant brushed nickel doorknob ($10) for the closet door.

 5. For the light fixture, we chose a Hampton Bay brushed nickel lamp ($70) that we thought would work well with the brushed nickel mirror ($70) that would replace the medicine cabinet.

Stil following me? Okay, so here’s how it went down… first the destruction…

Then the painting…

Followed by assembly (which required lots of instruction reading)…

Throw in several return trips to Home Depot for unforseen issues (on the plumbing side – $15), one bout of extreme illness (me – $15 in cough drops and medicine), trips to two different Targets ($150 for a new rug, towels, diffuser, toothbrush holder, clear glass cylinder vase to hold extra toilet paper, and baskets for the closet), and one lighthouse framed print (FREE – borrowed from another room), and voila! The bathroom was f-i-n-i-s-h-e-d!

When all was said and done, we came in at approximately $600 (give or take a few bucks). Even though the paint color we picked was darker than the former asylum-white, the bathroom now appears to be much bigger because the semi-gloss paint reflects the light off the mirror and the bright white vanity and the hi-gloss white doors and trim frames makes the bathroom cheerful. The towel hooks are less intrusive than a towel rod, so they blend in with the wall as opposed to becoming a focal point of the bathroom. The lighthouse print, with its muted color palette, is the perfect piece for the masculine, classic look we were going for. When all is said and done, I feel like we accomplished what we set out to do, and then some. One more room at my parents’ house is now officially finished!

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