My idea was simply this: What can I do in just 2 days with $200 dollars? I wanted a transformation that wouldn’t consume my life or break the bank. There are lots of budget friendly ideas out there, but some of them are quite labor intensive. I wanted to give our outdated 90’s basic builder grade bathroom a QUICK and AFFORDABLE makeover without investing lots of time or money. One day we plan to do a complete overhaul of this room, but after 5 years of living with it like this, I decided it was time to at least give it a quick budget-friendly makeover. The goal was improvement, not perfection. So I decided to challenge myself to make over this space in just 2 days with $200 dollars.
Here’s what it looked like BEFORE:
Yikes. This space is the epitome of yellowed outdated 90’s basic builder grade bathroom. It functions, but has absolutely no style whatsoever.
So here’s what I created in just 2 days with $200 dollars:
And here’s how I did it:
Step 1: Improve the appearance of the glossy orange vanity.
Our vanity takes up a good deal of space in the bathroom, so I knew that in order to improve this space, I needed to improve the look of the vanity. I have always loved the look of bathrooms with a rustic wood vanity, so I decided to sand this vanity to see if I could achieve a similar vibe. I used an orbital sander (because that is what we owned) and 80 grit sand paper and got to work sanding off that glossy orange exterior. After doing this, I loved the color variation that remained and the way the vanity appeared lighter and almost “aged”, so I just put on Minwax Polycrylic clear matte sealer to seal it. It’s important to get a WATER BASED MATTE sealer, because the water based ones will not yellow (don’t want that, thank you very much) and the matte ones will not make it shiny. I purposely sanded the glossiness off, so it was important to have a matte sealer so that I didn’t add it right back. Another important step to making this piece better was to add hardware. Our basic builder grade cabinet never had hardware in its 20+ years of life. And it was time to change that. A few matte black handles later, and I’ve now got a vanity that looks much better and more reflective of my personal style.
Step 2: Paint is my friend.
I knew that the key to improving this space on a budget would involve paint! The transforming power of paint is incredible, and I was counting on it to work its magic on this space. I gave the walls and trim a fresh coat of Snowbank by Olympic (which was leftover from a previous project so it cost us nothing). And I used Rustoleum black satin spray paint to paint the towel rack, toilet paper holder, light fixture, and wall-cabinet hinges black. That $6 can of spray paint was soooo much cheaper than replacing all those items.
Step 3: Elevate the entire space by creating one beautiful focal wall.
In order to transform this room on a budget, I decided to focus most of my efforts on the wall behind the vanity. If I could make that look wall look updated, I knew it would elevate the rest of the room. This is where the subway tile wallpaper was key! Creating that focal point elevates this entire room. I used Benjamin Moore’s Kendall Charcoal paint (leftover from a previous project) to paint the upper half of this wall to give a nice contrast to the subway tile wall paper.
Step 4: Replace the basic blah mirror.
Our previous mirror was one of those ridiculously large rectangular sheets of mirrored glass that came in just about every builder grade home built in the 90’s. I’ve never liked it, but honestly the thought of taking it off the wall always intimidated me. I thought for sure it would be difficult to remove or weigh a million pounds, and so I just left it there. For 5 years. When I started this challenge, I wasn’t even sure if I’d take it down. But then on a whim, I went for it. And can I just tell you that is was the best decision I made! It took me less than 2 minutes to remove, and about another 2 minutes to spackle the holes. Why in the world did I wait so long to do this?! Replacing that mirror with a modern round mirror made a world of difference in making this room feel like a new place!
Step 5: Give The Light Fixture a Custom Makeover:
Originally I planned to buy a new light fixture. But I couldn’t find one I loved that would keep me on budget, so I decided to work with what I already had. First I had my husband remove the light fixture from the wall (If you do this, please make sure you have turned off the power to your fixture first so you don’t electrocute yourself!) Then I removed the yellow marbled glass globes and threw them out. I used a fine grit sandpaper to gently sand the light fixture so that the spray paint would adhere better, and then I sprayed it with 3 light coats of spray paint, and let it sit to dry outside to dry for several hours. Then I added copper washi tape to exposed part of the light fixture where the glass globes used to be (the credit for this idea goes to one of my followers who shared it with me, Libby@_ourlittlewhitehouse – thank you, Libby!). Then I put clear Edison bulbs in the fixture and voila…a brand “new” fixture with a modern industrial deconstructed vibe. Is it my perfect dream light fixture?…Not really. But is it a million times better than what was there, considering it cost me less than $30?! Heck, yassssss.
Step 6: Paint those yellowed linoleum floors.
This idea seemed a little crazy, but a simple google search revealed that others had successfully done this before. And this bathroom seemed like the perfect place to give it a whirl. After all, even a botched paint job couldn’t be worse than that awful yellowed linoleum that was there before, right!?
So I went for it. I’ll be doing an in depth tutorial on how I painted linoleum floors, but basically the steps were: sand it, clean it with THP heavy duty cleaner, prime it with drywall primer, roll on multiple coats of porch paint, let it dry…and dry…and dry. This drying step was definitely one that tested my patience, but here we are!
I’ll share more details on this process in a separate blog post, but I can tell you that I am so glad we did this in this bathroom because it made a world of difference! But I’m not sure I would do this in a large area or a high traffic area like a kitchen. Just being honest.
So here’s the breakdown of all the costs:
3 Pairs of Drawer Pulls/Handles: $12.94 + 9.56 + 5.94
Quart of Valspar Porch Paint $12.98
Minwax Polycrylic Clear Matte Sealer 17.97
Rustoleum Black Spray Paint $6.18
Subway Tile Wall paper: $34.99
Hobby Lobby Mirror $65.00
4 Edison Bulbs: $23.92
Charcoal Paint & White Paint: free (used leftover from previous projects)
Copper Washi Tape: free (already had some from my shop packaging supplies)
Frames, art, baskets – free (shopped my home and used what I already owned)
Toilet – free (this was removed from our powder room that we just renovated and it was in better shape than the one here so we moved it up here)
I’ll admit, this room turned out better than I expected! I’m thrilled with the transformation that took place in just 2 days with 200 dollars. And my husband’s comment that “the bathroom looks 2000 times better than before!” was great validation that this was #2Days200Dollars well spent!
Now it’s YOUR turn! I invite you to join the 2 Days 200 Dollars challenge. What can you do in your home to drastically improve a space without investing a ton of time or money? It can be any space, big or small. A whole room or just a closet or a mantle.
And remember the goal is to improve the space, not to create your dream room.
Keep that healthy perspective in mind, and then roll up your sleeves, and go have fun getting to work on your own #2Days200Dollars challenge. And if you join in, please use #2Days200Dollars and tag me @cynthia_harper_ on instagram so I can see what you’re up to. And I’ll be featuring my favorite transformations in a future blog post, so that we can all keep inspiring one another!