Not all home renovations are created equal. Sometimes walls come down, tile gets changed, and fixtures are replaced. Often though budgets require dealing with a room that may not meet your aesthetic expectations for much longer than you wish. This can be especially true for bathrooms. This one particular space tends to show its age and abuse much quicker than other rooms, and bathroom renovations don’t come cheap. Another problem is living in a rental where change is just not an option. Luckily, there are some simple fixes and changes you can make to help your bathroom feel clean and fresh without taking out a construction loan.
I’ve had both of these issues in my last two living situations and at times it is frustrating. The bathroom in my previous home was renovated sometime in the late 90's, but the finishes were unattractive and cheap and the quality of work left a lot to be desired. Ripping everything out wasn’t an option, so I had to make do with the room I was given. Even if a home is fairly new and in good condition, many times builder’s grade fixtures and finishes are installed. Not the worst, but definitely not the most desirable conditions.
The first option for any room upgrade is obviously paint. Freshening up the walls with a coat of paint, and cleaning your baseboards and tile is the easiest way to start your space off with a new palette. Contrary to what most people believe, paint is not the magic eraser to making an ugly room better. It takes more than just throwing on a new color to improve the overall feeling of a room. People waste so much time and energy on selecting the perfect paint color when their time would be better spent looking for accessories and interesting fixtures. It is important, but not the saving grace of your room.
Since the finishes in my bathroom were boring, I chose to use paint to create a pattern on the wall. I wanted the space to feel playful and upbeat, and I love the way my polka dots turned out. It was an inexpensive way to add interest to my walls. Painting the bathroom vanity is another way I upgraded my space and was actually fairly easy. You must take your time, use the right products, and sand in between every coat for a nice smooth finish. I didn’t want them to stand out so I picked a light gray paint color.
I was stuck with the existing tile and countertops, so I focused on what could be changed. I could easily replace my mirror, lighting, and cabinet hardware. Actually the hardware was something I already had, it wasn’t my first choice but worked well enough. If I would have lived longer in the house I probably would have ended up changing the faucet as well. Lighting is such an important fixture, and I’m so tired of seeing builder’s grade lights in so many homes. It is a wasted opportunity to add something interesting and pretty to the space. I love my lights, but looking back I wish I had chosen something more substantial to balance the long vanity. Every project is a learning experience.
Adding in accessories was my favorite part in upgrading my bathroom, and really gave the space its personality. I think bathrooms are overlooked as spaces to utilize decorations, but they go a long way in making the room feel cozy. I didn’t want the dots to come off as childish so I incorporated reclaimed wood shelves, a tailored shower curtain, and a traditional rug to cover my plain floor tile. Adding art was another way to help the space feel like an actual room and not just a purely functional space.
The total cost of the room was minimal, but the improvement on my mental state when occupying the space was enormous. The best part was that I was able to bring all of the pieces to use in my current apartment, so no money wasted. Everything except the dots, I often wonder if the current owners kept them.
The moral of the story is that even if you are not in your ideal living or financial situation, it doesn’t mean you can’t take small steps to improve your home. A decorated home is one that looks loved and cared for and your family and visitors will notice the difference.