How to Start a Low Cost Small Bathroom Makeover


You guys, I have something I need to admit. While I might possibly have the world’s most boring hallway, I most definitely have the world’s ugliest small bathroom. No kidding. It’s the downstairs half bath tucked in the (boring) hallway connecting the front door entryway and kitchen. It’s functional. It works. But man, it is UGLY. After we bought our home, we moved in and realized that the previous owners took the mirror off the wall when they moved out. I didn’t realize they would do that until I walked into the small bathroom and wondered why it felt like a closet. Oh, right. No mirror. Since we moved into our home, we’ve done a number of projects, but we’ve yet to tackle the world’s ugliest bathroom. It’s just been too big a hurdle to cross. But we’ve decided to move back to California this summer, so the project needs to get done. Where oh where to begin. After much brainstorming, I think I have a rough outline of the project plan. I look forward to sharing with you all the steps we intend to take to start the small (hideous) bathroom makeover.

But before we jump into renovations, let’s take a look at what we’re working with. Brace yourself. I’d like to introduce you to…

Our Ugly Small Bathroom

On our tour of the ugly small bathroom, I’d like to take you along to several key stops including:

Follow the Yellow, Yellow, Yellow Brick Road

You can see our lovely little IKEA shoe cabinet and cute little nautical mirrors perched against our soothing gray painted walls. And then, ah, that brass door handle. That yellow door handle gives you a picture of things to come. Yellow, yellow, yellow undertones as far as the eye can see.  I don’t mind our oak hardwood floors, despite their orange hue.  But coupled with the oak cabinet, yellow lighting, and beige sink, it’s all a little golden.

How to Renovate a Small Bathroom


1987 Called.  It Wants Its Faucet Back.

The sink faucet is functional.  Just, well, ugly.  (Have I said that word yet?)  In fact, I think we might have had a similar sink faucet in our bathroom growing up in 1987.  Enough said.  Plus, the previous tenants put a super sticky thing on the edge of the sink, which you can see peeping in the upper right corner.  Nope, even after we’ve lived in the house for a whole year, we still haven’t taken it off.

How to Renovate a Small Bathroom


The Floor to Cabinet Oak Mirage

The cabinet is, again, functional.  If you squint your eyes, it blends straight on into the floor.  Is that a plus?  Probably not.  You can see on the wall above the sink where the previous owners hoisted away their mirror.  Sneaks.  (Didn’t even occur to me that we would need to get a mirror before we moved into the house.  Whoops.)

How to Renovate a Small Bathroom


Go Beige or Go Home

Side note: it’s actually really difficult to take pictures in a tiny bathroom.  I climbed up on the sink, rather acrobatically, if I say so, to take this shot.  And the photo still looks all skewy.  Don’t blame me, though, blame the ugly bathroom.  The toilet is beige, too.  Because, why not?

How to Renovate a Small Bathroom


How to Add More Yellow to Yellow

I really feel like the golden lighting brings out the yellow in the yellow, don’t you?  And why not have one golden light bulb when we can have five?  More is more, am I right?  You can’t really see it in the photo, but the metal edges of the light fixture are all rusty, adding a certain classy ambiance that might have been missing otherwise.

How to Renovate a Small Bathroom


Twinkle When You Tinkle?

Oh, and then there’s the piece de resistance: the ceiling.  Not only is it the same color as the walls, but it has these hooks placed randomly throughout.  Like, what would you hang at such odd intervals?  Plants?  I’d figure plants, but they’re screwed into the drywall and barely hanging on.  Plants would’ve ripped them out.  Twinkly lights?  Twinkle when you tinkle?  I’m honestly perplexed by the hooks.

How to Renovate a Small Bathroom

The Small Bathroom Makeover Plan

So needless to say, I have my work cut out for me.  So are you ready for the grand DIY plan? I mapped it out in a picture.

How to Start a Low Cost Small Bathroom Makeover (3)The Small Bathroom Remodel Budget

Okay, let’s get down to brass (UGH BRASS) tax.  As a DIY mama with a big move ahead of her, we need to mind our pennies these days.  So, I can’t imagine we’ll spend more than $300 or so on this renovation, and that’s probably an outside figure.  Thankfully, we have the paint so that’s a huge cost we won’t need to spend.  Also, because I’m handy with power tools, I’ll be able to whip up so rustic wooden floating shelves lickety split.  So, not a big cost there.  The cost will really be in the fixtures and toilet.  Wish. Me. Luck.

Stay tuned for more brainstorms as I troll every bathroom fixture store known to the interwebs trying to find the perfect, affordable, vintage inspired fixture.  And if you have any brilliant, non-brassy ideas for how I can transform this space, pop a note in the comments below!  I’d love to hear them.