Small Bathroom Makeover {The Full Before & After}

Last week I shared a little bit of the makeover I gave our small bathroom and I'm back to give you the full details of what I did - all the way from the beginning. I feel like you need to see the true before photos to really appreciate how it looks now. :)

In case you haven't been around since we started renovating out little row house in Philadelphia back in the fall, let me show you where we started with this bathroom beginning with a real estate listing photo:

Helloooo purple! Two shades of purple, in fact. This was the actual photo the real estate agent put in the listing (crooked, poorly lit and just so much stuff). They certainly weren't doing the house any favors here, but thankfully we were able to see past all that and realize that the bones were good - it just needed some serious help in the paint and decluttering department.

Let's move on to how it looked once all the previous owner's stuff was gone:

Please forgive the crazy lighting here and the other junk. This was taken before I figured out how to shoot this tiny, windowless room and right before I was about to paint! :)

The first step in this bathroom makeover was getting rid of all that purple. I gave it all a coat of Kilz primer then two coats of regular paint: Behr Ultra Pure White on the beadboard and Benjamin Moore Winter White on the walls. I also took down the glass shelf by the mirror, the small accordion vanity mirror and the two towel rings on the linen closet doors. I felt like all of those things were making an already small room feel cluttered.

Again, the lighting in this photo is terrible! Oh well - can't worry about that now that it's in the past. Even with the terrible lighting, it was looking so much better already.

The next step was to paint the boring white medicine cabinet mirror a beautiful matte metallic brass from Modern Masters. I talked all about that in last week's post, so head over there if you'd like more details.

This mirror just blended right into the wall when it was white...

Then boom. Brass. Now it's a focal point!

After the mirror was done, it was time to really make that wall a showstopper with some pattern. I talked a lot about wanting to use wallpaper in here, but in the end, I realized I could get the look I wanted for a fraction of the price using paint. Plus, with paint there's no need to worry about humidity issues that can sometimes be a problem with wallpaper in bathrooms.

I picked up a sample pot of paint at Lowe's in Valspar's Gotham Gray. Depending on the light, it looks like a charcoal gray with some blue in it or nearly black. I love love the color.

I sketched out some patterns on a piece of poster board and ended up with a simple repeating hash pattern (is that what you'd call it?). It's almost like a basketweave. I decided to throw caution to the wind and freehanded it all the way across the wall. It took a couple of afternoons to finish, but was surprisingly therapeutic. Here it is in progress:

And here's a finished section:

Now let's get to the good stuff and see the whole thing!

I'm thrilled with how well the pattern plays with the brass mirror. In an all white room, this was just the pop it needed!

The other small change I made had to do with the sconces. They're not my favorite, but purchasing new ones wasn't on my list for now, so I decided to get creative. Here's a closeup of one of them pre-update:

I realized that I could swap out the glass shades since they were a standard size, so I snagged two of these more modern ones from Lowe's while I was picking up my sample pot of paint. (The online photo does not do them justice - I'm glad I saw them in person first!) When I got home, I flipped the sconces upside down and put the new glass shades on. I like them so much more now!

These small details can make all the difference, can't they?

So that's full story behind our sub-$50 bathroom makeover. I'm thrilled with how it looks and it makes me so happy to go in there now. Three cheers for the power of paint and a little creative thinking!

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  1. that is incredible! i am impressed with your free handing!

  2. damn you freehanded that! I'm impressed, but you know what, it totally gives it a more "wall paper feel" than if you went full on with a stencil and would've ended up having the color be more solid. and i love that blue/gray color!

    Plus the simplicity of just flipping the sconces and replacing the glass! great updates!!

    1. Thanks! I agree with your thoughts on not going with a stencil. I wanted it to look a bit more "organic" and I think it worked out well!

  3. Beautiful makeover! I love the accent wall. Great work!

  4. I love this! And flipping the sconces - genius yes so simple! I may try a freehand on our small bathroom... That I currently hate! It needs some lovin'! Thanks for the great ideas!

    1. Thanks for your kind words! Good luck with your small bathroom - taking a risk (like that freehanded pattern) can really make a room!

  5. wow. totally wow factor, and i can't believe you did all that freehand. that's awesome. my first thought when i saw all that purple: oy!

  6. Just discovered you today! I LOVE your bathroom! You did a fabulous job.

  7. I wasn't convinced by the mirror against the white wall but against the hashes it looks great.

  8. This is so great! I LOVE every detail! and you've got mad freehand skills!

  9. Gorgeous makeover! Your free hand work, stunning!

  10. Your post is just extraordinary. I always have fun reading your works and I always learn something new. I just wish you keep it. - packers and movers in marathahalli

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  12. Nice post. As a women I love your ideas, I think every women can copy your your idea for decorating small bathroom. It's the best deal for women. Thanks

  13. Small bathroom makeover is not that much easy. Showbox for android

  14. Can you tell me what type of paintbrush you used? i'm getting ready to do a freehand technique on my wall. I practiced a bit and found the paint kind of flows around the edges on each side for a slightly raised look on each side of the brush stroke, if that makes sense. I'm going back to Michael's to look at more brushes but I thought you might have a suggestion.

  15. I am also curious what kind of brush you used and any tricks for the freehand pattern. Where did you start on the wall? On a corner?

  16. incredible job!! i can't believe you hand-painted that- it looks amazing :)

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