With a little bit of paint and perseverance – and $75 – I’m tackling a long-overdue DIY powder room update! My goal is to completely transform our 1980s downstairs bathroom with a floor-to-ceiling makeover during this fall’s One Room Challenge.
I mentioned yesterday that I hadn’t planned to participate in the One Room Challenge this fall. I didn’t have a particular project in mind; instead, I was planning to focus on several smaller projects this month. Then, without realizing what I was doing until I was halfway through, I started removing the horrible wallpaper in our half bathroom one afternoon.
And a One Room Challenge project was born.
I have hated our powder room since the first time I saw it back when we toured this house in 2009. Ok, ‘hate’ is a strong word, so let’s say I have ‘strongly disliked it’. ‘Powder room’ is also a strong word. We call it the downstairs bathroom because we’re not fancy, and neither is it.
What’s so bad about this downstairs bathroom? The ceiling isn’t all the same shade of white, the wallpaper is (was!) hideous, the mirror is too big for the space, the sink is a seashell (just like the sinks in the other two bathrooms), the ugly linoleum floor has weird marks and stains on it, and here’s the big one: the pantry is inside it.
You read that right. Back in 1989, the builder apparently realized at the last minute that he hadn’t given future owners of this house a pantry and decided to throw it into the spare space under the stairs with its only entry in the powder room. Genius.
So if I’m cooking and people are over, or even if it’s just us…I have to make sure the bathroom is empty before passing through it to grab some spices or pasta. It’s so weird. I think it was intended to just be a closet, but there is no other attempt at a pantry in the kitchen, not even a cabinet. So…?
Over the years, I’ve come up with a pretty amazing roughly $10,000 solution to this weird situation. But we are regular people who don’t throw around four to six digits’ worth of cash when two to three digits’ worth would do the trick. So while we don’t have the budget to blow through walls to fix it, we can put our efforts and a little bit of cash into a DIY powder room update.
The pantry problem is going to remain a problem, but I’ll reorganize it again. I know that sounds redundant, but I do mean ‘REorganize AGAIN’ because, like many heavily used areas in a house, organized spaces can become un-organized over time and require attention again. The pantry is one of those spaces. I don’t plan to buy a bunch of pretty containers, but I’ll toss the expired items and rearrange the remaining ones.
Let’s start with a little background on this project and why I waited 8.5 years to tackle it.
I don’t know what the previous owners were thinking when they added this Venetian plaster treatment over the existing wallpaper (whose 3-D pattern you can still see through the texture of the Venetian plaster). I might perhaps not dislike it so intensely if it were a less offensive color.
When I broke down and paid to have the laundry room painted prior to last fall’s One Room Challenge (during which I also removed some wallpaper), I got the painter’s advice on the wallpaper situation in the bathroom. His suggestion? Just paint over it. Sand it down a little so the texture’s not so obvious. With that plaster stuff on it, it would be a nightmare to remove.
I didn’t like that suggestion. So the hideous walls stayed as they were for another year.
As luck would have it, back in 1989 the wallpaper installer apparently forgot to trim the edge along the side of the door; I assume because it was hidden behind the open door and he just forgot. It turns out to be a blessing that he wallpaper has remained this way for nearly 30 years now, because after staring at it for the 8+ years I’ve lived here, wondering what would happen if I tried to remove it…I finally tore at it one day. Just to test it.
It came off so easily. The painter missed out on a really easy job.
Another weird thing about this house is that when the previous owners installed tile over the linoleum in the kitchen and laundry room, they left the bathroom/pantry untouched. It’s even weirder because there’s a stack of leftover tile sitting beside the steps in the garage. So they had the material but just chose not to use it.
Now we have the materials, and we also choose not to use them. We’ve never tiled anything, and we don’t have a desire to pay someone else to install these tiles, which we really don’t love in the first place. I’ve thought for years about trying to paint the linoleum. If I did a terrible job, we could just break down and pay someone to install the leftover kitchen tiles! But I’ve never prioritized that project.
Fast forward to October 2017, my now wallpaper-less bathroom, and the Fall One Room Challenge…and I’m going to do it!
So, in no particular order, the plan is to:
- Paint trim + door frames, doors, and vanity
- Paint walls
Replace faucet(replaced in June; not part of the budget but it feels good to check it off the list:-))
- Update light fixture with spray paint and new globes
- Paint floor
- Reframe mirror
- Replace door hinges
- Spray paint doorknobs + cabinet hinges and knobs + towel & toilet paper holders
- Paint ceiling (to make the whole thing one color)
- Organize the pantry (for at least the 4th time)
Oh, the other goal? Spend next to nothing. I’m talking under $75. I’ll keep the budget low by using items and supplies we already have.
I’ve already got two sets of door hinges (leftover from replacing some others), leftover Faint Maple from other rooms I painted over the summer, and plenty of satin finish brushed nickel spray paint. What I can’t buy new, I’ll paint over! Since we replaced the faucet earlier this year, its cost is not going to figure into my $75 budget.
I really want to keep the budget under $50. After talking it over with the Mister, though, we raised it to $75. We decided that instead of using paint we already have with a few coats of Polycrylic (which we also already have) on top, I should use real porch and floor paint to ensure that the stenciling holds up. As the only downstairs bathroom, it’s a pretty high-traffic room, and I don’t want it to wear down anytime soon. Forking over an additional ~$25 for this paint makes it impossible to keep the total investment under $50, but it should be worth the additional $25 in the long run.
Other than the floor paint, the main investments will be new globes for the light fixture, a stencil, materials for the mirror (which will be nearly identical to the new DIY framed mirror in the master bathroom), and a few photos in new frames if there’s any room left over in the budget. Otherwise, I’ll relocate some from elsewhere in the house.
I’ve never painted a floor or a ceiling, so those will both be firsts! I can’t wait to see what this finished room looks like, but one thing’s for sure: no matter what, it’s definitely gonna look so much better than it did before!
Read about Week 2’s (free!) DIY vanity update and follow along on Instagram to see my progress. In the meantime, hop over to Calling it Home to see what sort of projects 200 other bloggers are working on this month!
See you next week!