I realized when we bought our first home that it was going to need some updating. As with a lot of people, we found a nice home that was structurally sound, but in need of a makeover. Not long after we signed the paperwork, I began doing research for easy home improvement ideas.
I wanted to start with a small room in the house to begin my quest, so I chose the half bath for guests. It wasn’t long before I had plenty of ideas. I had so many ideas, that I wasn’t sure where to start! I learned a lot along the way.
Begin and End
Knowing what you are beginning with and where you want to go with it is a great goal to set right from the start. After all, there’s no need to try to make a mountain out of a mole hill. In this case, I had a very small space to work with. There was no intent of enlarging it since it was to be for visiting guests. Even though, it was just for guests, I wanted it to be warm and inviting. I wanted it to look nice, but not something that should take months to complete. I wanted simple, yet satisfying for me and my guests.
I began with wood paneling walls, out-dated toilet and sink, and the floor covering was the original when the house was built. When I say small, I mean 7 and 1/2 ft by 3ft. It had a toilet and a sink with somewhat of a vanity with two cabinet doors under the sink. It also had a regular sized window-which I never quite understood because the bathroom itself was so tiny.
Of course, in my mind, I was thinking that since it was small, it would be easy……and possibly cheap, too. After the old toilet, the vanity with sink, and the old floor covering were removed, I had my canvas ready for the masterpiece.
What Kind Of Materials To Use
My first order of business was to get rid of the out-dated wood-paneling walls. But I was trying to go the low-cost route, so I didn’t try to tear it out and replace it. I had noticed that wall paper now seemed to be popping up in stores that I visited more and with a larger variety. Even though it was a small space, the wall paper was a little more than what my budget was going to allow. Everyone has their own ideas of what they want and how much they want to spend. As always, everyone loves to save money! I set out on my quest of what to do that would look good, but not break my bank account.
I decided just to paint it. I had seen this done in several houses I had visited in the past and it seemed to look fine for the project I was taking on. Since the room I was painting was so small, I decided to go with white. I had done enough research and watched enough DIY shows to know that white makes the room look bigger, which surely wouldn’t hurt. I felt as if this would be the biggest part of the job, then adding all the accents and highlights after.
I had to prep the walls to get them ready for the paint. Over 50% of the work you do will consist of prepping the area. Since the walls were wood paneling that had some type of varnish, I first sanded them slightly-just to rough them up a bit. Next, I wiped them all down to make sure they were clean and free of dust from the sanding. I had to prime the walls since the wood paneling was so dull. For the primer coat, I used Kilz, which is easily found at any hardware store. I used a regular 3/4″ nap roller to be sure to get into the crevasses in the paneling. I had long decided to just paint the baseboards and trim work white as well. As I had mentioned, it was a guest bathroom and I was not trying to spend anymore than I had to. Some people may not like this look and will want to remove those items before priming the walls. For my purposes, it was going to be fine.
The next day, I was ready to paint. I decided on Benjamin Moore Ultra Spec 500 semi-gloss finish, not too shiny and not too flat. If you like, you can choose gloss. This gives a more shiny appearance, but shows little imperfections a lot more. The flat paint is just that-flat, but it does look very good on walls. For the actual painting of the walls, I used a 3/4″ nap paint roller since it had worked so well with the primer. I applied one coat and let it dry overnight, then applied a second coat. The painting was the bulk of the time used to actually do the job. Now for the finish work.
The Finish Work
I had the base, now to finish it off with all the little things to make it cozy. I searched the internet, watched more DIY shows, and looked for things I had lying around that I could use. I found a nice toilet on sale to replace the old one. My husband gets the credit for building the vanity, which I also painted white. The doors for the vanity I painted white with a rather neat design of leaves outlined in gray. There was really nothing wrong with the old sink itself, so I re-used that to save money. The faucet needed some work, so I searched until I found how to make an old faucet look new again. I sanded down the faucet, cabinet handles and hinges, then primed them with Rust-oleum automobile primer and spray painted them gray Rust-oleum Universal Metallic spray paint to match. I caught a mirror on sale that I repainted a bright yellow, which I chose as my accent color. I also used some shelves that my husband actually put together with some lumber we had lying around under our carport, which I also painted gray.
Now for my accent wall. I did some research and found that you can actually use vinyl floor tiles on walls. I found a nice, gray wood grain tile and used that.
I put some small finishing nails on all four corners just to make sure they stayed in place, but I found that it actually made them look more realistic. I found a three group vanity light set at a garage sale for a little of nothing that fit perfectly over my mirror and into my creation.
I found a few small pictures with gray and yellow accents to hang. I finished the floor with the gray accented large peel and stick tile that wasn’t expensive at all. Now some white curtains, silver toilet paper and hand towel holder, a little of greenery/yellow flowers in a vase on the vanity, some gray rugs, and I was done! Whew!
I did it! I had completed my first easy DIY home project and it looked GREAT! It took me all of about 5 days to complete my project for the small bathroom. As I stood back and looked at how far I had come from where I had started, I felt that I had finished quite an achievement. I had performed an easy home improvement idea (with some help from my husband) on the bathroom in only a 5 days and it didn’t put a big dent in my bank account. I loved the final outcome of the project. I hope to share many more cool DIY home projects with you in the future.
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