Blue And White Builder Grade Bathroom Makeover

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.

blue and white bathroom makeover

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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The tub in a beige builder grade master bathroom

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!

Builder grade master bathroom with beige walls and fixtures

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

A soaker tub in a blue and white master bathroom with toile accents

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

Blue walls in a master bathroom

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

A panel of toile wallpaper inset in a blue wall

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

Blue and white ceramic tile 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

White wainscoting in a blue and white bathroom

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

Butcher block countertops, white sinks and silver faucets in a blue and white bathroom

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.

Blue and white bathroom with wood countertop, white sinks and individual mirrors above the sink

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

Bathroom cabinet made from 2 bedside tables and a butcher block countertop

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

White sink with silver faucets on a wood countertop in a bathroom

I was able to get new sink and tub faucets on clearance, which helped to save some money.

Telephone tub fixture

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

Chandelier and candles in front of a blue and white toile wall

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.

A crystal pendant light hanging in the bathroom

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

Blue roller blind with a blue and white valance over a bathroom window

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

Candles and vases beside the tub

Finally, I added some accessories (like candles and vases) that add interest to the space.

A black and white Paris picture hanging on a blue wall

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 under the counter in a bathroom with blue and white checker board tiles

A blue and white garden stool gives a place to seat without taking up a lot of floor space.

The Finished Bathroom

Blue and white bathroom with toile insert above the tub
Tub area – after

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.

Beige and white tub area - before
Tub area – before

Just as a reminder…here’s the before picture of the tub.

Builder Grade Bathroom - After | How to Beautify a Boring Builder Grade Bathroom
Builder Grade Bathroom – After

The upgraded countertop, sinks, faucets and light fixtures get rid of the builder grade feel.

Beige bathroom - before
Bathroom – Before

Especially when compared to the original builder-grade fixtures and cabinets.

Bathroom wall with white wainscotting and dark blue paint
Bathroom – After

Other room makeovers you might like

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.

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  1. Where did you find the floor tiles? We’re trying to do something similar and are having troubles!

    1. Wanda Simone says:

      Hi Adalaide…I bought the tiles from a local tile store (quite a few years ago so I don’t think these exact ones are still available). They were part of a collection of tiles that had a range of colors to choose from, not sold specifically to go together in case that helps.

  2. Nice job!! Planning to upgrade our bathroom and looked into replacing the vanity…YIKES!! $1180??? No way. How did you remove the sink and countertop without damaging the cabinetry? Ours is covered with 4×4″ tiles and the sink is under counter mounted. I’m afraid I will ruin the cabinets by taking off the tiles! The cabinet is dated, 1977 but with fresh paint and handles it could be updated.

    1. Thanks, Judy. My counter top was attached underneath with screws and some caulking, so it wasn’t that difficult to remove once I figured out where all of the screws were. In your case, hopefully they installed the tiles over a backer board so that they aren’t attached directly to the cabinets…otherwise you might have a bit of a challenge. I have had pretty good luck removing tiles with a reciprocating saw and a scraper blade (but you do need to be careful not to gauge the underneath material). And I agree that a coat of fresh paint and some new knobs makes everything look better!

  3. I am stunned with your incredible transformation. I had no idea just how far you could get from a basic builder-grade bathroom. Most bathrooms that I’ve seen with a beautiful blue like that end up looking like a cave, but the white wainscoting balances it out. I hope you have given yourself some pretty good pats on the back for this. Did you have some sort of pattern for the ceiling? I’m going to go spelunking on your website to see if you have that on the master bedroom pages. Thank you for making my day a little brighter.

    1. Hi Terry…I agree it would have been a bit of a cave without the white wainscoting! There is a post on how to paint a plaid ceiling, which my mother did in her house after seeing my bathroom (and she got even more creative with it!) However, I have had quite a few requests to get a tutorial for this specific ceiling, so I will be posting that “how-to” within the next couple of weeks. Thanks for visiting!

  4. All I can say is, “BRAVO”!

  5. Jordan Le Bouton says:

    Just beautiful. My favorite color and some of it I could do. My vanity is white. Hate the white crappy top. Could not extend with the night stands but possibly just go from wall to wall with top. What I need is the storage tho. My bathroom is big and ugh, yellow. I cringe when I walk in. Thank you for the ceiling. It is so cute. And the telephone tub faucet is the bomb. Washing the dog. I love your mom’s curtains and will defineatly be doing these for bathroom and family room. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thanks, Jordan! I’m glad that you could get some inspiration from my room….and that tub faucet really does make washing the dog a lot easier 🙂