Posted on March 31, 2013 - Filed Under Bath Room Decor
Carol has just purchased her first home and the guest bathroom is 7 feet long by 5 feet wide. It is an older home and her bathtub and sink have seen better days. The paint on the walls is old and faded and the white floor tiles are now a worn out grey.
The first thing I noticed about this bathroom when I opened the door was the fact that it does not have a window. This makes the space feel dark and closed in. The layout of the bathtub, sink and toilet is what I call the “builders standard layout.” The tub is located at the back of the room up against the back wall, the sink is positioned immediately to the right upon entering the room and the toilet is between the tub and the sink. Carol has every reason to want to update this space. Frankly, it was just the opposite of warm and inviting. It was drab and dreary.
Needless to say, because Carol had just spent her life savings on the purchase of her home, there was not a lot of money in the budget to turn her eye sore of a bathroom into a place of escape and tranquility. Not knowing how to accomplish this task on a shoestring budget, she asked me if I would offer her some advice. So here is the advice I gave Carol.
Advice #1: Refinish the bathtub and sink:
Sounds expensive, but it is not. Carol could pay to have someone refinish her tub and sink or she can do it herself. Refinishing your tub is a task that anyone who know how to paint with a roller can do. Purchase a “Do It Yourself” refinishing kit from your local home and garden center. It includes a special primer and paint that is made especially for bathtubs and sinks. I did a Google search for the term “bathroom refinishing kit” and discovered several online merchants that sell the kits. For about $75 she can purchase one of these kits and before the weekend is out, Carol can rest assured that there are no signs of the fact that her tub and sink was built in 1950.
Advice #2: Replace the toilet:
The toilet in this bathroom is so old you cannot see the white porcelain any longer. All you see when you look into the bowl is a rusty brown. When the inside of your toilet is fifty different shades of rust rings, it is time for a new one. The cost to replace the toilet will range anywhere from $100 to several hundred dollars. Here is where Carol should call a professional. Toilets must be installed correctly or they will leak, and leaks lead to water damage, and water damage leads to a very expensive repair job. So, CALL A PROFESSIONAL!
Advice #3: Pull up the worn and cracked linoleum:
Floors are the foundation to any design scheme. It is the number 1 important feature in a room. Floors are where any room design should start. It will set the tone for the entire space.
Because Carol has a small bathroom, she has several options for new flooring material. By far the cheapest way to go would be to lay some new linoleum down. This could run anywhere from $50 – $75. Another option is to install decorative tile on the floor. This could cost anywhere from $75 – $125. It does not take a lot of tile to cover the bathroom floor, maybe 2 – 3 boxes. So, if she wanted to, she could splurge a little and go for a high quality tile. After all, this is the one item Carol will have to live with for a very long time.
Advice #4: Paint the bathroom walls:
Nothing gives a room an instant make-over like a fresh coat of paint. This is by far the smallest room in the house so one gallon of paint for about $20 will be more than enough. Because this is a small room without a window I suggest staying away from dark colors. Dark colors will make this space feel even smaller than it already is.
Choose a light color of paint. Light colors tend to brighten up a space and evoke a happy, calm, and inviting feel. Light colors cause the body to relax and are also used as a way to reduce stress.
Advice #5: Create the illusion of having a window:
Carol can “trick” the eye into believing that there is a window in her bathroom by using a mirror. Stand in the doorway of the bathroom and envision where you would install a window if you had the opportunity to do so.
1) Install a non-decorative mirror in that spot instead. It is important that the mirror is your basic mirror without any type of framing. A framed mirror will look like a mirror you huge up in a bad spot on the wall.
2) Now, install a curtain rod “over” your mirror the same way you would if it was a window.
3) Hang up curtains that have a valance included with the set. A valance is a short curtain that hangs between the two side panels. It is used to hide the curtain rod when the curtains are pulled back. These curtains will hide the top as well as the sides of the mirror.
4) Use the “tie-backs” that came with your curtain set and tie back both sides of the curtain. If you curtains did not come with tie backs, they are sold separately. Be sure you purchase ones that complement the curtains.
5) Install a window planter box (found at your local garden center) across the bottom of the mirror in order to hide the bottom. The planter box should completely cover the bottom of the mirror. Because of this, it is very important that the planter box be slightly longer than the mirror so that you can attach the planter box to the bathroom wall. Use two screws to secure the planter to the wall. If you do not have “studs” in the wall where the screws need to go you must use “anchors.” Ask your local hardware salesman what these are if you do not know. Do not worry, anchors install very easily and quickly. No special tools are required.
6) Plant a beautiful assortment of silk flowers in the box. They can be found in the craft isle of your local home and garden center or craft store. Shop around. You might be able to find a silk floral arrangement that already come in a planter box that fit your “window.”
I do not recommend planting live plants. Most people keep the light off in the bathroom when it is not in use and do to the lack of light you will end up with is a planter box full of dead plants.
Advice #6: Accessorize:
Here is where the fun begins. Because Carol has a small bathroom all she needs to pull her design scheme together is a few accessories.
a) Go to your local bed and bath store and purchase the most beautiful shower curtain you can find. Do not focus on price, FOCUS ON QUALITY. This is a very important element. except for the floors, it is the most visible item your guest will see. EVERYTHING rests on the shower curtain. If it costs more than you have budgeted for, save money someplace else. Keep in mind that quality does not mean loud or flashy. The shower curtain can be very simplistic in style. Quality means that after many showers it will still look new and fresh years from now.
b) Here is a designer secret that I have not shared with many people. Oftentimes, I will purchase a regular curtain that is not labeled “shower curtain.” I’m talking about curtains one might hang up in the bedroom. I purchase a grommet kit from Wal-Mart and simply hang a high quality, heavy duty plastic shower curtain liner on shower hooks and then I add the curtains to the same hooks. Wal-Mart sell heavy duty shower curtain liners in several different colors. Purchase one that will blend well with the main color of your curtain.
c) Add a coordinating area rug in the center of the floor.
d) Every bathroom must have some sort of pleasing aroma. Purchase a candle lantern that blends well with your design scheme and add a scented candle inside.
e) Place the candle lantern on the back of the commode. Just before your guest arrives be sure to light the candle so your bathroom will be filled with a wonderful aroma. For safety reasons, when purchasing a candle lantern, be sure you purchase a style that COMPLETELY enclose the candle. You never want to leave an open flame unattended. Visit The Candle Lantern Shop. They sell over 200 various styles of lanterns all safe for the bathroom.
f) Add a couple of smaller accessories to the back of the commode to complete the look. Keep it simple and do not add anything that will fall off or cause a hazard when the toilet is in use.
g) If you have space around your sink, add a coordinating liquid soap dispenser and a tissue box. Purchase a decorative towel ring and install it on the wall where your sink is. Hang a coordinating hand towel for your guest to use after washing their hands.
h) Install an additional towel bar rack on the largest wall. Hang 2 coordinating towels and 2 hand towels. Layer the towels by placing the large one on the bar first and then a hand towel on top of it.
i) Now stand in the doorway of the bathroom and take at look at all that you have accomplished. Look for any flaws in your design. Did you add to many accessories or maybe not enough? Ask yourself how well do your colors blend together. Have you used one color too much or maybe not enough? Do your bathroom have that WOW! factor that you were after?
As you can see, it is not difficult to turn a small outdated bathroom into a place of peace and tranquility. It does however take a little pre-planning and effort on the part of the homeowner. So, stop complaining about how outdated your bathroom is. Roll up your sleeves and go to work at fixing the flaws. If you start on Friday, you should be finished by Sunday. Good luck and have fun in the process.