Inexpensive Master Bathroom Makeover

10 Materials
2 Weeks

Are you embarrassed by your dated master bathroom. I sure was. I just kept the door closed and tried to ignore it! Without a doubt it was boring and outdated. Since the day we moved in, I had had big plans to completely gut the bathroom, relocate the fixtures and have my dream modern master bathroom. Five years later it still looks exactly the same as the day we moved in. It was definitely time for an inexpensive master bathroom makeover.

Why did I wait so long to make these simple cosmetic changes? Clearly we could have made these inexpensive changes and fit them into our budget years ago and enjoyed the space so much more.

Using the power of paint, tile decals and feather finish concrete we kept on a tight budget. The before and after transformation is remarkable. The bathroom now feels updated, modern and elegant with an industrial flair. The old 90’s bathroom is gone with basically no demo.

Before: Inexpensive Master Bathroom Makeover

The bathroom is a good size, yet it had its flaws. The vanity was plumbed for 2 sinks, but only had one on the far right. We were constantly wrestling for who got the sink space.

The bathroom has always felt cold and sterile. The white tile floor with green grout, (yikes!) white counter and white walls didn’t help it feel inviting.

The light fixture was dated and I wasn’t crazy about the large plate glass mirror.

Design Plan: For an Inexpensive Master Bathroom Makeover

  • Remove the large mirror and add decorative mirrors
  • Add a sink (2 sinks are a must have!)
  • Update the faucets
  • Update the lighting
  • Paint the walls
  • Paint the vanity
  • Make the vanity higher
  • New hardware for vanity
  • Update the floor (w/o removing tile)
  • Update the countertop on the cheap!
Step 1: Removing the Mirror

Taking down a large mirror like this may seem like an impossible task. However, we have come up with our own method that works really well.

Our secret ingredient is Downy, yes the fabric softener. We have now removed 6 large glass mirrors with this technique and have only had 1 mirror break. I think that’s a pretty good track record, don’t you think!

Our mix is 1 part Downy to 2 parts water. Place it in a spray bottle and spray the mixture behind the mirror.

Soon the mixture will start running down the wall from behind the mirror.

For safety, in case the mirror should crack, we placed tape all over the mirror. We generally use large drywall knives along the top and pry the mirror off. However, this time our drywall knives were all over at Steph’s house so we improvised.

We looked for anything we could shimmy down behind the mirror to get leverage to pry it off. We came up with saws. They are quite flexible, but it did the job!

We safely removed the mirror. (We, meaning my hubby, Steve and my son-in-law, Dan. My job is to take a photo  )

Step 2: Create a higher vanity

Creating a taller vanity was really quit simple to do. We purchased 2 x 6 lumber and cut it to go along the back wall (76" long) and then 2 pieces for the side walls and 2 support pieces over the vanity cabinet (4 pieces 17 3/4" long). We secured these to the studs in the wall.

Next, we cut a 1 x 6 piece of pine lumber to fit across the front (76" long). This piece fits flush with the existing cabinetry.

Finally, we cut a piece of decorative trim moulding to cover the seam where the 2 boards met (76" long).

To prepare the vanity cabinetry for paint we caulked all of the seams with a painters caulk.

Step 3: Update the Bathroom with Paint

The walls and ceiling were painted with Sherwin Williams Pure White.

The accent wall above that vanity was painted in Sherwin Williams Caviar.

How do you feel about dark walls? I just love the drama and coziness they add to any space. I’m looking forward to adding “Caviar” in my bedroom soon. Alex and Megan inspired me with their dark and moody walls in their “Man Cave.” You can see their space here.

We did 2 coats of paint in the entire bathroom. This bathroom had the original paint from 1998 and really needed some work.

Pro tip: Painting behind the toilet can be a challenge, however using a mini nap roller and an extension handle makes it quick and easy.

To keep from getting paint all over the tank of the toilet I covered it with a garbage bag.

The vanity cabinet was painted with 2 coats Behr Prairie Rose. We used a brush and foam roller for the cabinet base and our paint sprayer for cabinet doors and drawer fronts. Before applying the paint we applied 1 coat of primer.

All of the woodwork in our house had a glossy clear coat finish, which can make it difficult to allow the paint to adhere properly. However, by using Zinsser Cover Stain Primer there is no need to sand or prep the wood before painting. It will adhere to all surfaces without sanding. It is an oil-base primer that can be used with any topcoat.

This is the same primer I used when refinishing my railing. No sanding needed. Just apply primer, then paint and it creates a long lasting and durable finish.

To see the full tutorial on refinishing a railing click here.

What a difference paint can make! Now we just need to address the countertop and the flooring.

Step 4: Update the Countertop

Our countertops were damaged. Not only were they stained, but excess water must have been left on the countertop again and again. It was cracked and chipping off.

I knew that I wanted to spend less that $100 on the countertop and that meant definitely a DIY project.

I looked at the possibility of covering the existing countertop with a film that resembled marble. However, I was concerned about the damaged areas as well as how durable it would be.

We decided to remove the existing countertop and make our own countertop base out of wood. We had oak plywood leftover from another project, which we cut to size. (76" x 21 1/2")

To make the countertop appear thicker, we applied a 1 x 2 x 76" board along the front edge. We first ran a bead of glue the entire length, then aligned the top edge and secured it with a pneumatic nailer.

Using the template that comes with the sinks we marked and cut the holes with a jigsaw.

For the countertop itself, we chose to do a concrete. We decided to use the Henry FeatherFinish with Ardex technology.

This product is spread on using putty knives. I was at first a little apprehensive about trying this. Looking at many different tutorials using this product, I believed it would give me the look that I wanted and best of all it was CHEAP.

I really didn’t want to spend a lot of money on the countertop. Eventually, I do plan to do a major renovation on this bathroom and move fixtures around so that I can have a free standing bathtub.

After reading and watching tutorials using this product I thought it was going to be more difficult and messy than it was.

Luckily, I was doing a bathroom countertop that was a little longer than 6 feet. So, not a huge project like a kitchen.

I quickly found out that it was fun, like frosting a cake! You simply spread on a thin layer of the concrete mixture, let dry and sand. Repeat until you have 3 layers of the product. Then, do a final sanding to get it smooth.

There will be a full tutorial of this countertop project next week if you are interested in giving this technique a try.

The countertops turned out amazing!

It cost me a little less that $20 for the Henry FeatherFinish with Ardex technology product and $30 for the sealer. Much less that the $100 budgeted.

Step 5: Update the Lighting

We replaced the large existing light fixture with 2 modern black and antique brass light fixtures. I was thrilled to find them at for less than $70 a piece.

Step 6: Update the Flooring

The last area that needed addressing was the flooring. To say that I hated the flooring in this bathroom is an understatement.

We began by using a white grout pen to cover up the green grout and make it a fresh white. We used 2 markers (it took 2 coats to cover up that green grout!) 

Since the existing tile was remaining, we needed to cover it up. I considered painting and stenciling on a fun pattern. However, that seemed like a lot of work. Then, when I priced out primer and 2 colors of paint and a floor sealer, I figured I would be spending almost $200.

I had heard about these vinyl decals and I was intrigued that I could change the entire look of the tile. I found that my tiles were not a standard size. They were 12 3/4″. With a little more research, I discovered SnazzyDecals on Etsy. They were able to print and deliver custom tile decals quickly and they were affordable. We had our vinyl decals in just a week after they were ordered, great customer service as well.

We covered about 70 sq. ft for around $200.

To install, simply peel the backing down about 1″ and crease.

Align the tile decal with the edge of the tile and grout then press down. Before removing all of the backing, make sure the decal is covering the entire tile.

Then place a straight edge on the top of the decal and slide along as the backing is pulled off.

We will have a complete tutorial and video on installing the flooring next week. Be sure to look for it!

By the way, these SnazzyDecals can be used on walls, backsplash, even in the shower. We are planning on installing them later in the shower to cover my mauve and green tile.

What are your favorite elements of this inexpensive master bathroom makeover? Are there elements you would like to try in your own home?

Do you have any budget saving ideas you would like to share with us? We would love to hear from you!

To see more step by step tutorials for other projects in the inexpensive bathroom makeover click here.

Thanks for stopping by! We hope you’ve been inspired to recreate your own master bathroom retreat.

For more decorating ideas on a budget please go to our website.

As always here at Sunny Side Design, we hope to bring your home to the sunny side of the street.

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  • Lori Ward-Laatsch Lori Ward-Laatsch on Mar 16, 2022

    So pretty I love it!!

  • Doreen Doreen on Mar 16, 2022

    Did u coat the floors. Can’t imagine how decals will hold up on floors and in shower but sounds great if it works. Turned out beautiful 🤩

  • Debby Debby on Mar 23, 2022

    We have 4 inch ugly floor tiles. Would these stickers work on this?

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4 of 118 comments
  • Beth Beth on Jun 02, 2022

    Simply stunning.

  • C C on Jan 17, 2023

    I love your stunning black wall with the beautiful and unique gold mirrors. Well done.

    • Sunny Side Design Sunny Side Design on Jan 17, 2023

      Awe, thank you. I love the feel black adds to a room and the gold add that touch of elegance. Have a wonderful day. For more home inspiration, please visit our website.