At least once a day for the longest time, I would walk past the master bathroom in my house and sigh in frustration. I hated the wall colors, hated the tiles, hated the fixtures … you get the idea. But even more, I hated the idea of spending a lot of money to “fix” such a small room. After all, bath renovations are generally the most expensive projects per square foot of any room in the home.
I couldn’t justify spending big money, but wanted to do something. So recently I hit on the idea of doing a “mini-redo.” I would just tackle the things that could make the most difference for the least money. I didn’t give myself a firm budget, but wanted to keep the cost low. (We’re talking in the low hundreds -- not thousands -- of dollars here, to put my goals in perspective.)
First up was the hardest part: A new coat of paint. Nothing freshens up and changes the look of a room (any room, not just a bath) faster than new paint. I painted over the dated green walls in my room with a classic creamy white. It took two coats, and I needed matching trim paint, but the total cost (using a good but moderately priced brand of paint) was only about $65 for two gallons. Because it required two coats and I needed to do some wall repairs, this part of the project took most of a weekend.
Next it was time to spruce up the decorative look. There was no money budgeted for new fixtures, but I quickly realized that the room’s most distinctive visual element could be the shower curtain. So for about $30, I trashed the old, plain white curtain and added a new decorative one. Nowadays there are decorative shower curtains to suit just about any theme or look. Beaches, mountains, trees, clouds, inspirational words … you name it, if you can think of a theme, there’s probably a shower curtain for it.
(An easy add-on to the new curtain would be matching bath towels and/or rugs to carry the shower curtain’s theme forward. I didn’t do this, but many shower curtains these days are part of sets with matching towels, rugs and accessories. Or you can mix-and-match complementary pieces to create your look. You might spend $30 to $100 here.)
My project’s final element was a new shower rod. This might seem frivolous for a low-cost project, but the old steel shower rod in my bathroom was a rusty eyesore. For under $40 I replaced it with a rustproof aluminum shower rod that curves outward for more shower room. Even better, it’s a tension rod, meaning I didn’t have to drill holes into the newly painted walls to install the rod.
Final tally: A grand total of about three days’ work and under $150 in cost. My “new” bathroom isn’t likely to be featured in House Beautiful or Architectural Digest, but it looks 100% better than before. And the mini-redo project has at least put an end for now to my sighing in frustration every time I walk down the hall.
Moral of the story: Don’t let a lack of time and money stop you from sprucing up your bathroom today! You can start small today and continue when time -- and money -- allows.