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Update your bathroom in a weekend

Some paint, a little work and a few new accessories will transform a room

As you can see from the “before picture” (see further down) this bathroom needs an update. Barring a full-on renovation it was updated in a weekend with paint and a bit of elbow grease.

The oak cabinets were dated and well used, as was the inset mirrored medicine cabinet. The wall cabinets were taken down and given a few fresh coats of warm-white paint, and the hardware was removed beforehand to ensure a quality finish. The vanity was also given a few coats of warm-white paint, inside and out. The inset medicine cabinet was also removed and the inside got a few coats of white spray paint, which covered up the rusty spots and gave the cabinet new life. It took three coats of paint to cover the oak cabinets so they were painted over two days in order to allow for proper drying time.

After the cabinets and old towel bar and hooks were removed and the walls patched and primed, the walls were given a fresh look with a shade of soft-grey paint. To avoid the difficulty of trying to paint the walls around the toilet, the wall was divided leaving the bottom one-third the existing colour, which was white. This will save you a lot of grief if you’re in the same situation. Use a quality painter’s tape and a level to create a clean division on the wall. If you can’t use this technique (perhaps because the existing colour will not work with your new colour or the walls are in rough shape), then do your best to paint the entire wall around and behind the toilet. It can be done; it’s just a bit fussy.

It only took half a day to paint the small bathroom allowing for the appropriate drying time between coats. Use a bathroom and kitchen paint meant for these rooms specifically. It will hold up better in the long run.

The door and trim were left in their existing warm white, which offsets the new colour beautifully. If your door and trim are dark wood, update them with some new white paint in the same shade used on your cabinets. Painting out dark wood will keep it from looking dated. You can paint just the bathroom side of the door in order to keep a cohesive look in the hallway. The edge of the door should also be painted white. (In a case like this, paint the edge of the door the same colour as the side of the door that opens into the room.)

The cabinet hardware was reinstalled and the freshly painted cabinets were hung back up onto the freshly painted walls.

Spending a few dollars on new bathroom accessories will help update the look. A new black double towel bar, (which you can see in the reflection of the medicine cabinet mirror) and a matching robe hook on the back of the door were installed. The black really pops against the grey walls, and once everything was in place the bathroom was transformed.

So, if you need a quick update, a bit of paint and some time and patience can help you freshen up a room in a couple of days. A small room, like a bathroom, can easily be updated with the addition of new items like towels, a shower curtain and rings, a new toilet seat, bath mats and artwork. Consider covering a pitted shower rod with an inexpensive shower rod cover. New bath mats in a complimentary colour can take the focus off of old flooring until you can replace it. Items like new matching towel bars and robe hooks can be fairly reasonable in price and can make a big difference in the overall finished look. Even seemingly unimportant items like a toothbrush holder and cup set and a new trash bin in a great colour will give your bathroom a fresh look. These are all affordable items that will help transform a dingy bathroom.

What are you doing for the next few days? Perhaps, a bathroom update?

About the author


Connie Oliver is an interior designer from Gimli, Manitoba.

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