This blue and white bathroom makeover demonstrates that a builder grade bathroom doesn’t have to look like one. Some paint, a new floor and upgraded fixtures can make all the difference.
After finishing my primary bedroom update, I decided I needed to tackle the adjoining bathroom so that they looked like they belonged together.
This took a little more effort and money than the first room. But bathrooms usually do.
Fortunately, I liked the layout of the bathroom so I didn’t have to spend the money to change plumbing. (Otherwise, it would have cost a lot more!)
And I did all of the work myself (with help from my mother) so that saved a lot of money on the installation.
The Bathroom – Before
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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. It had 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 primary 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!)
The Bathroom – After
Here’s a sneak peek of the finished room.
The blue and white color scheme makes the bathroom look completely different than it did when I started.
Keep reading 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.
Because it’s a bathroom, 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 primary bedroom.
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 than stone, 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.
Then I added a chair rail molding 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.
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.
Other room makeovers you might like
- Small guest bathroom makeover
- Blue and white toile primary bedroom
- Small blue and white toile home office
Do you have comments or questions on our blue and white bathroom makeover? Tell us in the section below.
This post was originally published on September 21, 2015 but was updated with new content on June 29, 2023.