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DIY Bathroom Makeover with 6 Easy Solutions

Have you ever had a space in your home that you just ignored? Maybe it is just too ominous to tackle? Well, I sure have (a few actually). This bathroom is one of them. It was sad, awkward, and seemingly hopeless. I had big dreams of demolitions and new tile, but, well, life happened. After feeling a bit down about it, I decided to tackle it and make the best of what I’ve got (pretty good motto for life, I’d say)! I’m sharing how I solved some common design problems with my DIY bathroom makeover!

DIY bathroom makeover with easy solutions for common issues
before photo of bathroom makeover

Shall we just remind ourselves for a moment of what this space looked like earlier this fall? Stuck somewhere in the 70’s and 80’s with a clunky layout, this bathroom was a challenge!

In fact, I hit a wall with this space just a few weeks ago – check out how I got myself out of the decor rut.

You might remember that I started this project as part of the One Room Challenge. However, after a few setbacks and life hurdles, I needed to bow out and finish this budget bathroom makeover on my own time.


I got 99 problems and this bathroom had them all! I’ll narrow it down though and tell you about the biggies and how I solved them.

bathroom before update
bathroom before update

Problem #1: Drab Vibes

The tan brown paint might’ve worked in a space with natural light (though I’m generally not a fan of tan!) but in here, with no windows, it just felt dreary. The light bounced off and made it feel kind of pinky brown.

Solution #1: White Paint

You don’t need me to tell you that nothing makes a space feel fresh quite like a new coat of paint. And personally, I love the magic of crisp, neutral white walls. Here, I used Chantilly Lace from Benjamin Moore to brighten up the previously drab walls.

Chantilly Lace is a modern, neutral white that feels fresh, not boring. I used it in our entire home and it’s one of my favorite neutral paint colors.

bathroom decor

Problem #2: Outdated Details

The hardware in here wasn’t necessarily the worst ever. However, it was pretty basic and didn’t have much contrast. Plus, outdated details just brings the whole space down.

Solution #2: Swap Out the Hardware

Besides paint, the second fastest way to create major impact is updating the hardware! I love mixing in brass but it doesn’t always read well in dated spaces. Instead, I opted for hardware with a matte black finish.

I started with the Matte Black Vanity Light gifted from Savoy House at Capitol Lighting which instantly brought this bathroom into modern times. I opted for rounded light shades to mix up all the straight lines and angles in here.

Then, I swapped out the cabinet pulls with these black knobs (similar to the ones in my kitchen) and replaced the faucet. I also installed a Modern Toilet Paper Holder and Double Wall Hook from my brother’s business (replacing the ugly and impractical towel bars).

custom framed bathroom mirror

Problem #3: Huge Builder Grade Mirror

I love a good bathroom mirror (have you seen the one in our powder room?) but to keep this project budget-friendly I decided to keep the builder grade mirror. Frame My Mirror stepped in and gifted one of their amazing custom mirror framing kits!

Solution #3 Framing the Mirror

frame a builder grade mirror for instant update

This step was so easy, I wondered why I waited so long! It single handedly upgraded this space in an instant. I chose the Weston Mirror Frame in Black and after a tiny bit of prep, the mirror was framed.

painting a bathroom tile floor for instant update

Problem #4 Peachy 80’s Tile

These are the ceramic tiles that came a dime a dozen in the 80’s. Peach faux marble. I priced out some options and ripping them out was soon crossed off the list (plus, I know that once you start ripping something out, it’s a domino effect of projects).

painted bathroom floor with rustoleum floor tile paint kit in black

Solution #4: Painted Floor Tile

Paint the tile! Ok, admittedly, this was the biggest gamble with this DIY bathroom makeover! I really had no Plan B. But as ugly as these tiles were, they were still in great condition.

So, after a TON of research, I finally bit the bullet and used Rustoleum Floor Tile Paint Kit in Black. And, after a weekend of painting, we’ve got a new modern floor that feels like it fits in with the rest of the house.

hanging bathroom shelves and hardware
My brother Seth, from Cascade Iron Co., helped me hang my hardware with his fancy laser level

Problem #5: Empty Space

Empty Space. I’m ok with some blank walls and a lot of white. However, most bathrooms, like this one, have that awkward space above the toilet that really needs something.

bathroom shelves make great use of space of above toilet

Solution #5: Wall Shelves

Put a shelf on it! This is pretty much my go to solution especially in the bathroom. Shelves add function along with some texture and dimension to a space! I created a similar shelves in our small bathroom remodel and I love how it makes great use of otherwise wasted space.

For these shelves, I since there was so much white space, I installed brackets with the legs beneath the shelves to break up the white wall. I used these Shelf Brackets (from Cascade Iron Co. – my brother’s business & where I also work!).

Then, I added two 5.5″ x 24″ long wood shelves. I had them on hand, but these wood shelves are similar.

Read my post for Bathroom Shelves above the toilet for all the details.

bathroom decor

Problem #6: Lack of Interest

Basically, this bathroom felt a little flat. Without more expensive elements like a stone countertop, wall tile, or a custom vanity, how could I make it more dimensional? Well, styling goes a long way on this front I think. I strategically chose warm wood elements, patterns, textured baskets.

Read How to Add 7 Elements of Interior Design to Your Home.

I also imagined what my dream bathroom might look like and tried to give that a subtle nod. For example, I have a deep love for penny tile, which was obviously not an option for this budget makeover. Instead, I recreated that pattern I love so much with a Polka Dot Towel Set gifted from Slow Tide and the Vinyl Mat from VMat.

diy bathroom makeover reveal

To complete this DIY bathroom makeover, I shopped our home, pulling items from other areas that would work well here, looking specifically for contrast, texture, and function. And of course, lots of plants!

bathroom room design board

DIY Bathroom Makeover Sources:

  1. Matte Black Vanity Light from Savoy House at Capitol Lighting
  2. Wood Shelves or just common lumber
  3. Black Custom Mirror Frame from Frame My Mirror
  4. Matte Black Sink Faucet
  5. Metal Hardware: Modern Toilet Paper Holder , Double Wall Hook , & Shelf Brackets (these are all from Cascade Iron Co. – my brother’s business & where I also work!)
  6. Rustoleum Tile Paint Kit in Matte Black
  7. Plush Dot Towels from Slowtide
  8. Eucalyptus Downloadable Art Print