$500 Bathroom Makeover {DIY Plans}

Given that we spent a good amount of money on the dining/office makeover + our current bathroom reno, I need to keep any further updates relatively cheap. We still have a foyer, guest room, office, hallway and guest bathroom to vamp up. But, I truly think the next best room to makeover is our guest bathroom/hall bath.

Luckily, I’ve already re-stained the vanity a gorgeous espresso color, so that huge chunk of work is done. Unfortunately, there’s still oodles of work to be done, and not a lot of money to do it with.

I know $500 is sort of a lot of money in the day-to-day sense, but in the realm of bathroom makeovers, it’s almost nothing. Laughable maybe.

Let me show you what I am working with.

You walk in from the hallway, and you see the vanity/mirror/heinous bulb lighting that makes everything yellow.




Then on the left you have this wall:


Then you walk through another door to the toilet/shower area.





It all looks very, very yellow doesn’t it?

I know.

But here’s my $500 plan.

1.) Restain the oak linen cabinet to espresso and use the same hardware used on the cabinet doors of the vanity.

Cost= $10 ($3/pull + tax)

2.) Rip down all the wallpaper, apply texture, prime, paint. Cost= $50 for paint, $30 for texture? $90 with tax.

3.) Replace all door trim/base boards + add a small backsplash accent.

Cost= $125 with tax

4.) Replace lighting.

Cost= $100 for both fixtures

5.) Replace mirror.

Cost= free! We’re going to use the free mirror that comes with the vanity from the other bathroom reno.

6.) Add accessories (rugs, towels, storage, curtain/blinds). I already have some bathroom accessories (towel bars, robe hooks, glass shelves) I bought years ago from Target (on clearance for DIRT cheap) in anticipation of having a house someday. I finally get to use them!

Cost= $50 max. Must use what I have or revamp!

7.) New shower curtain + curved shower rod.

Cost= $50

8.) New door knobs/doors/hinges.

Cost= $100

Total= $525 (I’ll hopefully make up the $25 overage somewhere…)

Basically, I am going to have to use a lot of what I may already have, but repurpose or upscale it a bit. Creativity is key to success in this challenge. And savvy shopping.

I’d love to replace the fan, but I think cost is going to be an issue because we’d need an electrician. The current fan/heater doesn’t actually vent into the attic, so that’s not something we want to DIY. Definitely something I’d love to do down the line. Maybe I can spray paint the current one with some high temp spray paint? I need to do some research on that.

You may be wondering what I want it all to look like. Well. Not gray. I am trying my damndest to not use gray. I always go to gray, and I am beginning to think I am one of those people who is afraid of color. Given that it’s a small, narrow space, I am leaning towards earthy, but bold colors. Sort of like you were in a fancy, boutique hotel. Like a Kimpton one.

I googled around for some color palette generators, and I fell in love with Kuler.

Here are some color palettes that piqued my interest:













Which color palette do you all like? I love the bright, bold ones, but don’t know if they’ll overwhelm a small, narrow space. And yes, some of the palettes have gray.

I simply couldn’t resist.

The tile in the shower is mustard yellow, the floor is a neutral stone looking faux-tile, so really I have a pretty neutral room once I take down all the Parisian wallpaper.

Ideas? Thoughts? Anything I haven’t thought of? I know I absolutely refuse to work on this bathroom until the other bathroom is done.

That means I have a few months or so.

Will this madness ever end?



  1. Jen
    June 27, 2012 / 2:35 pm

    I like #2… the color combos are great and nice and bold without being over the top!

  2. Carolyn
    June 27, 2012 / 3:18 pm

    I have the exact same pattern of your shower curtain as Amanda's bedspread. How funny. I agree with Jen that #2 is a nice palette without being overwhelmingly bright. If you wanted more muted than that… do #1. We'll be redoing our bathroom after I get back from BlogHer and I can't wait.

  3. Pink Coquette
    June 27, 2012 / 6:37 pm

    Hi! First time on your blog. Found it through Pinterest. LOVE everything I've seen so far. I usually LOVE bright over-the-top colors, especially for bathrooms but in this case, I would not choose the last one (numer 6). I haven't seen the room except in your pictures, but I worry about the fuschia clashing. I think I would go with number 2. If you feel you want brighter colors, I would still choose the second palette but 'up' the brightnest. I hope I'm being clear. (english is NOT my first language and this is a bit 'technical')Can't wait to see what you pick and the final look.Caroline, aka Pink Coquette

  4. Pink Coquette
    June 27, 2012 / 8:40 pm

    Hi! Me again.. I was on kuler (such a GREAT site, thanks for sharing!) looking for color combo ideas for my living room whenI came across this palette that made me think of your guest bathroom. A Passing Feeling. It has the same feel of the second palette but a bit more vibrant. Just thought I'd share. Caroline

  5. Brie Holtrop
    June 29, 2012 / 1:54 pm

    Sounds like a great plan. Your smart to buy things when you see them for cheap instead of waiting until you need them – it really saves so much money 🙂 As for the color palettes…I really like 3, 4, and 5. And 1 too 🙂 Good luck! Excited to see how it turns outBrie @ Breezy Pink Daisies

  6. Micah and Nicole
    June 29, 2012 / 3:35 pm

    I like 1 & 4 color pallets. But I tend to go with soft colors!!

  7. Ben or Cortney
    July 3, 2012 / 1:12 am

    #3! I love gray too!

  8. Delta Doodler
    July 8, 2012 / 1:18 pm

    Try spray painting the light fixtures!

  9. obxhag
    July 11, 2012 / 3:01 pm

    This my dear, is my weekend project. Wish me luck. You're how to was truly inspiring!!

  10. Minty
    July 18, 2012 / 1:19 am

    Number 3 and number 1 are my favorites. Especially number 3 though!

  11. Kim Marie
    July 21, 2012 / 5:40 pm

    Aha, I found your recent posts. I really like #5 but considering the color of tile In the shower maybe #3. Personally I'm a fan of the grays and neutrals so that I can spice things up with accessories and when I want to change things down the road it makes for a quick, easy, inexpensive update.

  12. Elizabeth Fetherolf
    August 14, 2012 / 3:01 pm

    I like 1, 3, and 5. 5 would tie espresso cabinets in beautifully. I love 2 and 6 but they could get old quick and may be overpowering. 4 is a bit feminine for my taste but still nice. You do a great job on here. Don't give up 🙂

  13. beck campbell
    August 23, 2012 / 5:57 pm

    After many remodels, take this advice….1)scrape the popcorn ceiling! You are retexturing the wals anyway, so scrape them, sand lightly with a Sheetrock sander and texture when you do the walls…you won't regret it!!!If you can't replace the tile behind the stool with something else, headboard or mock panel molding (my suggestions) then prime and paint it the are color as the trim….I would suggest a whitish trim and then a darker color on top! 3) 0verstock is a GReAT source for sinks and faucets….got sinks for all three of my baths there and they have some seriously pretty vessel sinks when you can afford to replace them.4). Vent fans are super easy to replace or repair…and relatively cheap at places like Lowes….I would suggest a square recess on…if you can replace a light fixture you can replace a fans!!!!

  14. beck campbell
    August 23, 2012 / 5:57 pm

    Stupid iPad….BEADBOARD…not headboard….geez.

  15. Katie Howden
    January 28, 2013 / 6:41 am

    I don't know if this has been said before but for a temporary fix for tiles that you may not like the color of or want to add a punch to they can actually be painted! (with special prep and materials of course) People can paint just about anything these days, which includes tile! Though I have no guarantees on whether painting tile IN a shower is a good idea or even possible, it would be great for tiles that don't see so much wear and tear like wall tiles.

  16. Shelley Sargent
    May 1, 2013 / 6:38 pm

    Look for me on Pinterest (Shelley Sargent) and look under my "For the Home" or "Projects". I have a bathroom mirror upgrade you can do to the new mirror when you place it – that will quickly and CHEAPLY make it look awesome and tie into the rest of your decor! It's basically using self-stick 2x2in stone finish tile, and framing. VERY cute! I plan to do it sometime this year! BTW- I love your candor in the blog, you remind me of me…and well, Im pretty awesome! LOL j/k