Hi friends! It’s taken me a little while to put this post together, but I’m excited to finally share all the details about our budget guest bathroom remodel, including what we did and what we wish we would have done differently!
Here’s what our guest bathroom looked like before:
I know this is a pretty common look, since these tiles were very popular with builders a few years ago. But the combination of the tan floor and bath tiles, cherry vanity, and gold granite countertop was just too dark for me. With no windows in this small space, it felt like a cave when you walked in.
Actually, it used to be even darker in here because the walls were beige, too, but I painted them a couple of years ago (with Simply White by Benjamin Moore).
And here’s the after:
I love the lighter, brighter feeling of this space now. It’s gone from the darkest room in our house to the brightest!
Our Budget Guest Bathroom Remodel
To stay within our budget (originally around $1000, but we ended up spending closer to $1200), we kept the original bathroom layout and reused the same vanity, toilet, tub, mirror, and faucets. By the way, these are the Bergshult shelves from IKEA, attached with the Granhult brackets.
1. Paint the bathroom vanity
My first step was painting the vanity. If you remember, when we remodeled our kitchen, we paid someone to paint all the cabinets. They came in, taped off everything, removed the old hardware, cleaned all the cabinets, did a light sanding, primed, painted, took our cabinet doors and drawer fronts to their shop to spray paint, and then installed them, along with our new pulls, just a few days later. It was wonderful!
But, as I said, this was a budget bathroom update, so I decided to give painting the cabinets a go. I figured if it didn’t turn out, I would just have to squeeze the cost of a new vanity into our budget.
Thankfully, I was surprised at how easy it was to paint our vanity–and how well it turned out!
If you’re thinking of painting your bathroom cabinets yourself, see this post for step-by-step tips on how to paint bathroom cabinets.
2. Add new pendant lights
Next, we replaced the old lights with these globe pendants. I ordered them in the brass finish because I planned to eventually change the cabinet hardware and faucets to brass. Later, I decided not to go with brass in here, so we painted the metal & plastic parts with matte black spray paint.
I’m so glad we added the new light fixtures early on in the remodeling process because they added much-needed light to this space, making our job a little easier as we tackled the rest of the projects in here.
3. Remove old tile and install subway tile around tub
Initially, I planned to paint the brown tiles in the tub surround with this product. However, after reading all the warnings regarding fumes, etc., Dave offered to remove the old tile and replace it. (Yay!)
For the tub surround, we went with classic white subway tile, an easy and budget-friendly decision. I did choose a longer, 12″ version for a slightly different look.
I wanted a clean all-white look, so I went with sanded grout in “White.”
Dave had the old tiles out within a couple of hours, but some of the tile was permanently attached to the wallboard, so he ended up pulling out all the old backer board and installing new. This added an extra day to the project, since he had to tape, mud and sand before he could start tiling.
As you can see, he covered the tub with a piece of plywood so it wouldn’t get damaged during demolition.
4. Replace old countertop and sink
I knew I wanted a white quartz countertop for the vanity, so I went to the kitchen and bath department at Lowe’s and ordered a custom quartz countertop and sink. Since the vanity top is only about 5′ long, we picked it up at the store and Dave installed it himself, saving us quite a bit of money.
5. Tear out old floor and re-tile
I also initially planned to paint the floors in here, and purchased this stencil; however, after Dave finished the tub surround, he offered to remove the old flooring and lay new tile. (Yay again!)
This part of the project happened during the first few weeks of lockdown. Dave had a bit more free time and was ready for a project, so I ran into Lowe’s one day, feeling weird about being out and about. Normally, I would have hung around in the tile aisle forever, trying to make the perfect choice. But this day, I grabbed the first tile I saw that I liked (I knew I wanted something geometric), along with grout and mortar, and got out of there.
Maybe it was a good thing I was forced to make a quick decision, because I ended up loving the tile I chose.
Dave, on the other hand, wasn’t too thrilled about grouting around and inside all those tiny tiles–so it’s probably not a choice we’d make again!
6. Add trim to front of cabinet doors
The very last thing we did was add trim to our formerly-flat cabinet doors to make them look more like Shaker-style cabinets. First, I bought inexpensive 1/4″ thick furring strips at Lowe’s and primed & painted them.
Next, Dave cut the strips to the right size and installed them on the front of the cabinets with glue and brad nails. The extra 1/4″ width on the front of the cabinets does make them stick out a bit more than the drawers, but I don’t think most people would notice–and I like the look much better than flat fronts.
That’s it! I hope this post was helpful to any of you who are thinking about remodeling your bathroom.
I love that we were able to give our bathroom a much-needed makeover, while (mostly) staying within our budget.
Like our kitchen renovation, this project was a labor of love from start to finish, and I’m so grateful for my husband’s amazing talent and hard work during every step of this process.
After living with this dark space for 10 years, I’m excited to have a bright and cheery bathroom for our guests to use.
If you have any questions regarding our guest bathroom remodel or how to paint bathroom cabinets, send me a message or leave a note in the comments! xo Jane
For additional bathroom ideas and inspiration, check out these posts:
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