Before and After: This Bathroom Gets a Fantastic Update for $1,500

Maybe this little bathroom didn’t have spectacular style, but its real issue was a maddening one that many can relate to: “No matter how much I cleaned it was still dirty.”

The window is so lovely, but all that daylight probably just helped to highlight the issues reader Amanda Walker was dealing with:

When we bought the house the bathroom was dirty and dingy, no matter how hard I scrubbed it never looked clean. The shower surround was old, scratched fiberglass, and the floor was peeling, faded linoleum. The sink was in relatively good shape, but it was way too big for the room and the color didn’t match anything.

(Image credit: Amanda Walker)

What a fantastic update! The black-and-white color scheme is classic, but it works especially well with the old pink tub. Throwing in a bit of gray via the shower curtain and wall was another smart choice, as gray is always wonderful with pink. This particular paint was an “oops paint” from Lowe’s—an excellent money-saver—and the new sink and vanity is much less looming than the old one.

This bathroom upgrade has an interesting timeline, stretching from approachable and affordable to a major undertaking with an extra comma in the final price. There were some unforeseeable challenges that plague most renovations, especially bathrooms:

This started as me just replacing the floor on my day off. Once I had the new floor in the shower looked so much worse so an $80 weekend project turned into $1,500 over six months.

We gutted the shower down to the studs, pulled up the linoleum and replaced it with tile, and replaced the sink with a new smaller one. The whole process took about six months of nights and weekends. The biggest setback was how many layers of wall there were in the shower. The fiberglass was glued to tile, that tile was on gypsum board over the plaster and lathe, before we finally got to the studs. The only professional help we had was a plumber double-checking my sink and toilet hookups. Because of the house settling, getting the toilet right required a bigger seal made of rubber and foam instead of a regular wax ring.

(Image credit: Amanda Walker)

There are three different tiles in this small bathroom, but they all work well with each other and with the geometry of the door. Like a monochromatic quilt, all of the black-and-white elements form one graphic whole.

The new storage options are super helpful, and the subtle green of the glass complements the pink tub nicely. The mix of open and closed storage allows both easy access and privacy.

After six months of work, Amanda is pleased with the results of all that labor and has some advice for anyone facing their own renovation:

I love that my bathroom is now clean and cleanable; and since we kept everything classic black and white, the pink tub no longer sticks out like a sore thumb. If I were to do it over I’d stick to my guns on penny tile instead of the hex in the shower for ease of installation. I’d also probably get a tile cutter to speed things up.

Reuse what you can—we kept our toilet and tub which really helped keep the budget down. They were both in good shape and that bathtub isn’t coming out without being smashed up or removing a wall. We also sold the original sink on Craigslist to offset the cost of the new one.

Thank you, Amanda Walker!

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