Update your Bathroom in a Weekend

Reality check: If the decor/artwork in your bathroom is from the early ’90s, it is nearly 30 years behind the times! (And if you redecorated your bathroom in 2010, that’s almost a decade ago.)

Stand at the door of your bathroom and take a picture or two with your phone. What do you see? Is it TOO: Beige-on-beige? Girly? Masculine? Busy? Exhausted? Contractor grade? Not-Quite-Finished? Grungy? 1990s? 1970s? 1950s, but not in a good way?

(If you are a designer, you won’t need the following information. Feel free to thumb through a magazine. This is for the rest of us.)

A weekend is enough time to make your bathroom fresh and inviting. Don’t wait until you are going to sell. Do it for your soul. Do it for yourself. Here’s a checklist:

In the weeks before:

  • Sign up for a free account houzz.com. Browse. Read. Dream. Plan. Repeat.
  • Youtube DIY tasks you think you might want to tackle.
  • Watch “Tidying Up” with Marie Kondo on Netflix. (Keep tissues handy.)
  • Plan ahead. Measure your drawers, cupboards, and wall space.
  • Shop ahead. Gather materials BEFORE the makeover weekend! Trips to the store eat precious weekend time.

Here’s a list that will help:

  • Paint, brushes/rollers/rags/drop cloths/ spackle, towels, shower curtain and rings, bathmat, dollar-store containers for the drawers, caulk, new drawer pulls, a “statement” light fixture and efficient bulbs, mirror, cleaning supplies, flooring and whatever it takes to install it.

Target is my choice for bathroom decor. For under $20, you’ll have lots of great choices for art that is simple and modern. (Remember, if you found your current decor at a garage sale, thrift store, etc., someone else already decided it was out of style, and they were probably right.)
Houzz is a great source for art or decorative baskets, but the price point is not quite as friendly. I sometimes browse Houzz and then buy something similar at Target. Why not?

Things to consider:

  • Paint Color. Work with not against the things your budget can’t change. If your fixtures are cream-colored, forget grey walls. Chose a neutral-ish color that isn’t beige! Maybe find a shower curtain first and pick one of its colors. Rule of thumb — avoid any color reminiscent of baby diarrhea. Ask the store’s pro for the right kind(s) of paint for a bathroom.
  • Window coverings. Minimal curtains or set-in blinds will be fresh, modern and save you a few square inches. The fabric from a second, matching shower curtain can transform a plain, roll-up blind and pull the room together. (Repetition is unifying.) “Frost” a window — easy and inexpensive.
  • Mirror or Mirrors. Buy the largest mirror or a pair of mirrors that comfortably fit your space. Use baseboard to frame a plain mirror. Paint it white or a darker shade of your wall color.
  • Flooring. DIY-friendly vinyl planks are an inexpensive and modern solution.
  • Countertops. New laminate isn’t expensive but might be a challenge for a new DIY-er. Your best bet might be to take the attention away from a boring countertop with artwork, etc.
  • Wooden toilet seat and towel bars? That was a trick question. Even in 1970, those were a bad idea. Consider replacing towel bars with decorative hooks.

As the sun rises on the weekend, eat some protein, grab a mug of coffee or tea, and keep yourself motivated by listening to a good book while you:

  • Declutter. Remove everything but the fixtures. Remember the above suggestion/assignment to watch some “Tidying Up” videos? You are going to want to KonMarie the heck out of those drawers and cabinets. If you feel the need to keep threadbare towels for flooding emergencies, store them in the garage or laundry room, etc.
  • Apply Elbow Grease. Scrub smarter not harder. A Magic Eraser works wonders on walls, but it can take the finish off laminate countertops. (Ask me how I know.) Don’t forget the inside of the drawers.
  • Re-caulk. Mold is never in fashion.
  • Fill in holes with fast-drying spackle leaving a blank slate for your new art.
  • Paint walls, the door, and/or cabinets and knobs (think metallic spray paint for knobs!).
  • If you are installing new flooring or laminate, do wait until AFTER you paint.
  • Put organizers in drawers and put like things with like things (brushes with brushes, makeup
    with makeup).
  • Put up new hooks, mirror(s), towel bars, curtains/blinds, lights, and artwork.
  • Finally, put up the new shower curtain and the new towels.

Take another picture and enjoy!

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