Before and After: A Bland Bathroom Gets a Simple Modern Makeover for Just $150

The before version of this bathroom was perfectly functional and updated, but bland. It has great storage, but completely lacked in character. This is the first home I have owned (and lived in) in my adult life. Even as a kid, I grew up in rentals. I’ve always harbored dreams (and vision boards) of how I would customize my future home. None of it was too radical, but they were rarely rental-friendly edits. So my entire home has basically become a canvas for me to live out all of these ideas. I started with the bathroom because I believe in starting small and everything I wanted to change was cosmetic. If I “messed up” along the way, I could easily backtrack and pretend like it never happened!

Everything (decor and materials) came to less than $150, the most costly items being the faucet and the new door levers. Those averaged $35 each. I spread out the tasks, mainly because I completed them as I thought of them. The first one, naturally, was painting the cabinet. It set the tone for the rest of the decor. That took me about four hours from start to finish, and I ran out to Target in between coats to buy the cabinet hardware.

I didn’t install the new faucet until almost a month later because I had a few more pressing expenses, since the original was in working condition; I just wanted a prettier one! I did everything myself (including installing the new faucet), and really the only setback I faced (and am still facing), is getting my towel bar to stay put!

The accent was a super late edition; I just kept feeling like something was missing. So I went back to my trusty black paint (it is the same leftover paint from the cabinet job), and started to do a brushstroke design. It literally took me 10 minutes, and pulled the entire look together. The other small change I made that made a huge difference was replacing the switch plate. It was silver (why, I don’t know) and I changed it to white. Voila!

My best advice: Use any inspiration rooms online and in magazines, etc. as points of departure or reference points, but not as a literal blueprint. I think a lot of projects in the design blogosphere are beginning to look the same, because we are afraid that if we don’t produce a carbon copy, the look won’t be achieved. But I think the projects actually turn out better when there are pieces of our character and story infused into them.

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