Hall bathroom plans

I got to that point the other day where I just couldn’t take it anymore.  The dinginess, and ugliness, the less-and-functioning-ness.  It was all too much.  The culprit?  Our hall bathroom.  Maybe if this was a bathroom that seldom got used or seen it wouldn’t bother me so much, but this is the bathroom that guests typically use and you can see it from our dining room.  When we first bought the house the bathroom looked like this:

hall bath before

Old oak vanity in terrible shape, terrible 80s lighting, a HUGE old toilet, beige wallpaper, beige and brown tile, beige tiled counter, beige sink, barely functional faucet, strangely placed towel rods, and a brassy shower door.  We did our best to fix it up by addressing the functional issues: the toilet got replaced shortly after we bought the house because it just stopped working, we bought a cheap new faucet that our kid could actually use on her own, and added some additional hooks.  And we tried to cover up some of the ugly by removing the wallpaper and painting the room (which was a HUGE pain!), removing the brassy shower door and putting up a pretty shower curtain instead, replacing the hardware on the vanity, putting a rug down to partially cover the floor, and adding some art.  So currently, the bathroom looks like this:

hall bathroom new shower curtain

An improvement for sure, but still this room just never feels nice to me.  It probably doesn’t help that the grout on the counter was patched badly and now is always looking like it is growing something no matter how much we clean.  Or that the beige of the sink and floor is a really terrible dingy purple-y beige.  Or that the vanity is so worn that it just looks shabby.  Or that those darn vanity lights date the space horribly no matter what nice things you add to the space!

Which brings me back to the other day when I had had it with this room.  While I would LOVE to do a total gut job on this room like we did in the master bathroom (see that space here), there’s just no money in the budget for a full bathroom remodel this year–and probably not for many years.  I think that also when I was honest with myself about how long it will actually be before we can fully remodel this space, it got me thinking that there had to be something budget friendly that we could do now to improve the space.

So after a ton of thought and many mood boards later, I think I have a plan to spruce up this space without spending much money.  The nice thing about a “Phase 1” makeover of a space that you plan to eventually completely rip out is that it can be a great opportunity to try something you wouldn’t normally try design-wise.  Something more daring or trendier than you would otherwise choose if you were laying down big bucks for a bathroom you’d need to live with for 15+ years.  So that got me thinking a bit more “out of the box” than I normally would, and I came up with this mood board for this mini makeover:

Hall Bathroom Mood Board

My goal with this makeover (other than to do it on the cheap) is to brighten up the space so it feels fresh and clean and bright.  This is a really tiny bathroom, so I’m hoping that by lightening things up a bit in there it will help it not feel so cramped.  Here’s what I’m thinking this makeover will involve in terms of DIY:

  • paint the existing vanity and medicine cabinet soft light gray
  • replace the hardware with some sleek brushed nickel bar pulls to help modernize the style of the vanity
  • install some simple white board and batten on the walls (I’ve read that this can help make a space feel more spacious–plus I think some more white in the room will help bounce light around and make the space feel brighter)
  • cover the existing tile floor with inexpensive peel-and-stick vinyl tile (like we did on our back stairs)
  • put up a white shower curtain with textural interest (I love the one we have in there now, but I think an all-white curtain may help visually connect the space once the board and batten is up

And here are the things that we’ll need to hire someone to do

  • install a new inexpensive laminate counter, white sink, and brushed nickel faucet
  • replace the existing light

I already have a quote for replacing the light, so I’ll just need to figure out if I can replace the vanity top, sink, and faucet on the cheap.  I’m hoping that this is something I could have Home Depot or Lowe’s do for me as a package deal.  I’ve looked into sinks a bit and a new small white sink will definitely not break the bank, and a new faucet won’t be too expensive either.  Most of the rest of the updates will be mostly our own labor and inexpensive materials (paint, vinyl tile).   So I think we can do this on the cheap.  Here’s hoping!  I’ll be sure to share updates along the way as we start to makeover this space.



7 thoughts on “Hall bathroom plans

  1. Have you thought about getting a quote for just replacing the whole vanity ensemble? I think by the time you change out the sink/faucet/counter it might just be more effective to replace the whole thing. What about this one?

    or this one that you could paint?

    There are a lot of youtube videos that could show you how to change out the vanity light. I promise it’s not that hard! If you do that part yourself you could spend a little more on other fun stuff…

    • Hi Helen! Yes, I definitely did consider that option. What I failed to mention in the post is that we don’t have a simple vanity and top currently–the top extends from the sink towards the wall, narrows, and provides additional counter space over the toilet. So if we buy something off the shelf we’d lose that extra counter space which we really like having. However, I’ll definitely be considering purchasing something new if the quote for getting the new counter fitted is significantly more expensive! I was definitely planning to switch out the light fixture myself this time around, but because we’ve found some definitely not-to-code wiring elsewhere in the house, DH insisted we have an electrician do the investigating, just to be on the safe side.


  2. I renovated 2 bathrooms for my grandmother and did a banjo top similar to yours in one and an off the shelf one in the other. I checked out IKEA and Home Depot for the banjo top and found that it was cheaper to go to a local countertop fabricator and get them to make one out of a remnant from a larger job. (We’re lucky in that I could walk into multiple granite places on the same street to get quotes. I just wish I had someone to go in and haggle in Chinese for me in some of them.)

    But you can save a lot of money if you put up a couple of wall shelves above the toilet and use a standard top with sink included.

    Also, I agree that if the wiring is weird or the old electrical box isn’t where you want it, it could turn a small job into a big one. Thoush that wouldn’t stop me from trying to save abuck, haha. But installing the countertop and faucet was really easy. Just put a bucket under the sink for the first couple days to catch drips and tighten things up more as needed. And get the braided metal supply lines. Definitely. They’re good.

    • Thanks Chad! With two suggestions to go that route I’m definitely considering it more heavily now! I’ll still get a quote for both just to be sure, but I sure would love a totally new vanity and nice top–especially if it is cheaper!


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