The second step to upgrading my builder grade house was to re-do the master bathroom. This took a little more effort and a little more money than the bedroom update (which you can see here). Fortunately, I generally liked the layout of the bathroom so I didn’t have to spend the money to change plumbing. And I did all of the work myself (with help from my mother) so that saved a lot of money on installation costs.
Click Next to see the builder grade bathroom that I started with.
Builder Grade Bathroom – Before
This is what I started with. When I bought the house, I did pay for the bathroom upgrade package to get the separate tub and shower, and I am so glad that I did!
But the rest of the bathroom needed some help…standard builder-grade cabinets, really ugly fixtures, vinyl flooring and beige paint.
Here was my wish list for the bathroom:
- a blue and white color scheme to match the master bedroom
- tile floors
- some way to break up the boring wall space
- a better-looking cabinet without the faux-marble countertop
- more drawer space
- prettier lighting (you can’t see that in the pictures, but it was the standard light bar over the sink and round white fixtures over the tub, shower and toilet)
- a different mirror over the vanity
- a towel warmer (okay, this was really not necessary, but after having one in a hotel in Paris, I decided I had to have one at home, too!)
Click Next to see a preview of the updated builder grade bathroom.
Builder Grade Bathroom – After
Afterwards, the blue and white color scheme is complete! And it looks completely different than it did when I started!
Click Next to see the steps I took to make this builder grade bathroom look so much better.
Step 1: Paint the Walls and Ceiling
I started by painting the walls with a dark blue color in a semi-gloss finish (mostly because it’s a bathroom so the semi-gloss stands up to the heat and humidity better than a non-gloss paint would).
I also painted the same gingham pattern on the ceiling that is in the master bathroom.
Step 2: Add a Wallpaper Panel
Since this bathroom is attached to my bedroom that has blue and white toile everywhere, I decided to add a little of the same toile pattern in the bathroom to tie the two rooms together.
This is the same kind of panel that I had installed in the bedroom…basically some very inexpensive molding nailed onto the wall to make a frame, and then wallpaper applied in the middle.
Step 3: Tile the Floor
I took up the vinyl flooring and went with blue and white ceramic tiles on the floor. Generally, ceramic tiles are less expensive, and we installed them ourselves to save on the installation costs.
The pattern on the floor mimics the pattern on the ceiling and helps to tie the room together.
Step 4: Add Wainscot
I added beadboard wainscoting to the bottom half of the walls to break up the wall space. Painting it white added some more light into the room.
This comes in panels that are already cut to the right height so no cutting was required…it just had to be nailed to the wall. A chair rail molding was added to the top to finish the top edge.
Step 5: Upgrade the Countertop and Mirror
I changed out the faux marble countertop for a wood one. This is finished with a boat-builder’s urethane so it is completely water proof.
The one big mirror was replaced by two individual mirrors that can be tilted to the angle that suits the person using them.
Step 6: Add More Storage
I didn’t want to spend the money to change out the original cabinets, so I painted them white.
Then I bought 2 unfinished bed side tables, removed the tops and painted them white as well to add the extra drawer storage. Running a piece of countertop all the way across the top of them gives lots of room to spread out.
Step 7: Upgrade the Fixtures
I was able to get new sink and tub faucets on clearance, which helped to save some money.
I love the “telephone” tub faucet that makes it easy to rinse off when you are taking a bath…and it’s also perfect for washing the dog 🙂
Step 8: Upgrade the Lighting
I love chandeliers in general (they always add a little sparkle to the room), so I had to add one to the bathroom over the tub. (If you are doing this, make sure that it is high enough that it isn’t a safety issue).
I think candles also add to the atmosphere.
Then I also added the crystal fixtures on either side of the mirror. I think having light on the sides of the mirror is more flattering than the overhead lights that are installed over the mirrors (better for putting on makeup!)
Step 9: Sew Window Treatments
My mother sewed a window treatment that pulled in the toile from the bedroom again. The top part is a simple valance that is stapled to a 2×4 which is nailed to the ceiling.
The pull-down part of the shade is a roller blind covered with a plain blue fabric.
Step 10: Add Accessories
Finally, I added some accessories (like candles and vases) that add interest to the space.
I like hanging pictures in the bathroom. If you are going to do this, it’s probably best not to use an expensive print since the extra humidity can cause issues with the paper or canvas.
A blue and white garden stool gives a place to seat without taking up a lot of floor space.
The Finished Bathroom
The finished bathroom checks all of the boxes on my “want to have” list. And looks a lot better than it did when I started.
Just as a reminder…here’s the before picture of the tub.
The upgraded countertop, sinks, faucets and light fixtures get rid of the builder grade feel.
Especially when compared to the original builder-grade fixtures and cabinets.