Find out the easy budget-friendly updates I made to my basic bathroom to add storage and functionality in just one day.
In case you’re new here, let me give you a quick rundown about our house. It’s a 1970s log cabin that has been “flipped” into, well, a basic flip house. Although their “flip” job was really just putting lipstick on a pig and calling it a unicorn. We are slowly doing a real remodel of the house and have big plans for tearing out everything in our small primary bathroom, plus doubling the size, but that’s far into our 5 year renovation plan.
But I couldn’t stand the gray walls any longer, and I was so tired of not having anywhere to put my towel, so my husband and I spent one day giving the bathroom some love to make it more functional in the meantime. Today I want to share with you what we did during our mini-makeover, how much it cost, and how long it took. Of course, this is only temporary, but it’s so much better than it was before, and I’m much happier waiting for the real renovation now.
Paint Walls And Trim + Caulk Bathtub Seams
First, we cleaned and painted the walls and trim. The “flippers” were too lazy to remove the 70s wallpaper from the bathroom, so they just painted right over it. We didn’t want to waste our time ripping out the wallpaper since we know we’re going to be demoing the room later, so we just painted over the walls again. Is it a good idea to paint over wallpaper that’s already been painted once? Nope. But temporarily, it seemed like a smart decision.
The walls got two coats of Glidden Maybe Mushroom, and the trim and moldings got a fresh coat of basic white paint I had leftover in the garage. My husband also re-caulked the seams between the tile shower wall and the bathtub, and we gave the vanity a good wipedown.
Total Cost Of Paint & Supplies: $45
Replace Light Fixture
Next, we swapped out the light fixture for a more contemporary one that had more bulbs. My husband wasn’t a fan of the one that was in there because it wasn’t bright enough for him when he’s shaving at the sink.
So we popped on a Youtube instructional video from The Home Depot, removed the old light fixture, and replaced it with a new one that suits our style more. We got the brightest bulbs the fixture would allow, and it’s basically a tanning bed in there now. Kidding! Kind of…
Total Cost For Light Fixture Replacement: $120
Add Shelving For Towel Storage
To add some extra storage, we added two floating shelves over the toilet. These were super easy to install, and we’re very experienced with this project, so it took us no time at all. I’m not really happy with the shelves I bought, though. They seem a little flimsy and unstable, so I’m not going to link them here. I wouldn’t recommend them to you, but they’ll do for now.
The shelves will hold extra towels and toilet paper, so they won’t have a lot of weight on them. We didn’t feel like they weren’t up for that lightweight job, so we left them there. As long as our giant 20 pound cat doesn’t decide to make them his perch spot, they’ll be fine.
Total Cost For Shelving And Hanging Hardware: $50
Towel Hooks, Rings, And Toilet Paper Holders
Finally I got some towel hooks up in here! YES! We had two towel hooks leftover from a bulk pack we had bought for our last house, so we didn’t even have to buy them for this bathroom. We added the two towel hooks beside the shower, along with a towel ring on the wall by the sink.
I did purchase a new toilet paper holder, and I’m so happy with the one I bought. I hate drilling into a vanity, so when I saw that this one on Amazon attaches with super strong 3M tape instead of with screws, I threw it in my cart immediately. It took seconds to install and replaced the original one I had that was freestanding in the floor.
Total Cost For All Hooks: $10 (I owned some of them already)
Organization And Storage
The final thing we did was swap out the knobs on the vanity. The flippers put a basic vanity from Home Depot in there, which is fine and suits our needs. But we wanted to dress it up a little, so we changed out the standard builder-grade knobs with the icy white frosted sea glass knobs. We had these in our old house in the kitchen (in the sea green color) and Ioved them so much I bought them for this bathroom. Guess I missed them from the old house…
Total Cost For All Knobs: $40
All that was left to do was declutter and organize the bathroom. Under the sink, I used a two-tiered mesh drawer system that I already owned, along with a divided utensil basket for my hair appliances and a lazy susan for cleaning supplies. I owned all these already, so no money spent.
Same goes for the vanity drawers. I already had these stackable trays inside the drawer, so all I had to do was a quick purge session to get rid of anything that was old or unneeded. I love those bathroom trays and bins because they stack on top of each other without the use of lids, and they really maximize the space in a small but deep drawer.
In the shower, I added a Command caddy to hold my shower supplies, and a hanging shower caddy on the shower head to hold my husband’s shower stuff. We already had these also, so I just cleaned and organized them.
And to keep the counters neat and tidy, I used a wooden lazy susan on one side of the counter and a wooden serving platter on the other side. These trays make the counter look clean even when things are sitting on it, which is perfect for our toothbrush holder and all the small things we use daily.
Total Cost For Organization: $0 (repurposed things I already had)
Grand Total For Our Mini Makeover
After painting the walls, changing the light fixture, adding floating shelves, installing towel holders, changing the knobs, and organizing the vanity and shower, we feel like we made the bathroom a lot more likable for now. We have big plans for the real remodel, and we have already talked with a contractor about what we want to do, but for now this small project was all we could afford. We are really happy with it, and it will definitely hold us over until the real demo-day.
Total Spent For Entire Bathroom Makeover: $265 ($15 over my $250 budget, but I really wanted those $6 a piece knobs…)
Shop My Bathroom
Here’s a little shoppable collage of some of the items I have in my bathroom. If an item isn’t shown below, it was likely purchased at HomeGoods (like the basket on top of the toilet) so there’s really no way to know the brand or purchase options for it. I love finding things at HomeGoods but I always feel bad that I can’t tell you where to find something you see in my photos that you love. 🙁