Low Budget Bathroom Makeover (Phase 1)

5 Materials
2 Days
Owning a home comes with being able to spruce it up at will. As I've mentioned in previous posts, I'm trying to find my/our style and have a flow through our home--but we're on a tight budget and I'm always trying to find a deal. Last fall I painted our entire house a light grey color with anticipation of selling it eventually and wanting a blank canvas--now I'm hoping to give each room a facelift, one phase at a time. I decided to start with our {only} bathroom, and though it didn't come out exactly how I had envisioned, I'm happy with the clean colors and how it's almost a "zen"-inspired space. What's best of all is the first phase of this bathroom makeover only cost us $70.

Vanity: When we bought our house 4 years ago, I was happy with the vanity because it was a little more contemporary than what was in our previous home; however, over the years, I've felt it has become a dark chunk of wood in a small space.

Shower Curtain: Though I initially loved our simple, monogrammed shower curtain--it started to look tattered, discolored and collect mold (even though I've washed and bleached it a zillion times)

Shower Window: I'm embarrassed to say that since we've lived in this house, we've been using a cut off piece of our old shower curtain. It was dingy and started to smell--it HAD to go!

Accessories: I loved my toothbrush and soap accessories but over the years, they've been chipped and they didn't match our new shower curtain so they had to be replaced.

-Kilz2 primer

-Behr interior satin enamel paint ("Rio Sky")

-rough grit sandpaper

-painters tape

STEP 1: Prep and paint vanity

The first thing I did was tape off the walls and the floor that the vanity touched. If you don't intend to paint the inside of your vanity, make sure to mark off the edge of the inside as well.
Then, I removed the doors and the baby safety locks from the doors.
After all hardware was removed from the vanity doors, I sanded the vanity itself and the doors down. *Note: I didn't use a palm sander, but hindsight I would have. I highly recommend adequately sanding all the wood down.
After everything was sanded, I applied 2 coats of primer--letting the first coat dry before adding another.
Then, after the primer was dried and cured (LET THE PRIMER DRY OVERNIGHT), I applied 2 coats of Behr interior satin enamel (the color is called "Rio Sky")--again, letting the first coat dry fully before applying another.
STEP 2: Apply window film

Once my vanity and doors were finished and drying, I finally (and happily) ditched the nasty old shower curtain window covering and replaced it with this window film.
To apply the window film, I first measured each window, then measured the window film and cut it off the roll to the size that I needed it to be.
To prep the shower window, I cleaned it, then took the backing off of the window film and applied it starting at the top of the window. I took a gift card in order to push out the air bubbles as I laid the film on the window.
STEP 3: Add accents

Once all of the hard work was done, it was finally time to add the accents. I got rid of our monogrammed shower curtain and hung up a new liner and curtain I snagged at Marshalls.
Thankfully, I had kept my old shower rings from before we moved into our house so that was one less thing I had to buy.
I removed my beloved framed Starry Night picture and replaced it with a muted gold mirror I had hanging in our living room. I also got rid of the storage tower that was between the vanity and toilet, and replaced it with a dark wicker basket I had on hand, filling it with toilet paper. Then, I replaced our old blue rug with a new, light grey one (I still have to go grab another one for in front of the vanity).
Here is the after photo of Phase 1 finished. I can't wait to share the next few phases with y'all--make sure to stay tuned for those tutorials. :)
Suggested materials:
  • Kilz2 primer   (Home Depot)
  • Behr interior satin enamel paint ("Rio Sky")   (Home Depot)
  • Shower liner & curtain   (Marshalls)
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Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 7 questions
  • Jennifer B Jennifer B on Nov 13, 2016
    Looks great! I've been wanting to re-do my bathrooms but on a low-budget, and this what I've been thinking of doing. What kind of palm sander would you use- one that is a random orbit or one that just goes forward/backwards?

  • Ya Linwood Ya Linwood on Nov 25, 2016
    Whats a vanity?

  • Irene Lester Irene Lester on Dec 11, 2016
    your covered window blocks out people seeing in during the day , but at night can anyone see in when the light is on?

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2 of 55 comments
  • Deneen Giesen Deneen Giesen on Dec 09, 2020

    Your bathroom is shaped like mine. I would like a taller vanity, and more storage. Do you have a linen closet for all your towels?

  • Cindy Cindy on Nov 16, 2022

    A handy person could add a spacer on top of your cabinet then put your top back on to make your vanity taller