Blog post by Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault
Photography By Larry Arnal
Originally posted in RENO & DECOR Magazine
I’m always up for a design challenge. Fortunately, pushing the budget boundaries to prove that it is possible to achieve high style at a low cost just happens to be my forte. But occasionally, a project comes along that forces my creativity to a whole new DIY level, and that was certainly the case with this once-tired mauve and melamine bathroom that had a modest makeover budget of only $500.
Now, since I always preach that great style has little to do with how much money you have, but rather how creative you can be with your budget, I was determined to put that $500 where my mouth is and show that if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and put in a little good ‘ol fashion elbow grease, you can save BIG without sacrificing quality and style.
Here are the five ways that I achieved a champagne bathroom on a beer budget…
1. Give your existing cabinets a splash of personality
If your existing cabinets are in good condition, then why bother going to the expense of replacing them when you can affordably transform what you already have with a few DIY ingredients? I reused the existing flatpanel laminate doors with wood handrail, and simply added some shaker-style applied mouldings to the fronts to create instant architectural detail. Then, I painted the entire door, including the handrail, using Chalked paint from Rust-Oleum in a fresh hue called Tidal Pond to turn the vanity into a focal point full of eye-catching personality.
If you’re planning to tackle a DIY cabinet overhaul of your own, the key is to invest in the right products. Chalked paint is a great option because it doesn’t require a primer coat beforehand on most surfaces, it can be easily brushed or aerosol sprayed, and the two-coat application dries very quickly, leaving a smooth, velvety finish. But, the most important step is to apply a clear protective matte coat to the cabinets after painting to ensure their durability and longevity.
2. Update your hardware with a fresh metallic finish
I always think of hardware as the jewelry in a bathroom, but if new handles or knobs aren’t in the budget, then give your existing ones an instant, inexpensive makeover with a coat of trendy, metallic paint. In the case of this bathroom, I scored a pre-loved brass set at the ReStore, painted them with Universal metallic spray paint in brushed nickel, and then attached them to the door fronts. One of my favourite DIY tricks is to buy budget lighting and knobs in a less expensive brass finish, and then transform them myself to the finish of my choice. It’s an easy way to get a high-end look for little investment, and no one will ever know the difference.
3. Dated bathtub or tile? Yes, you can paint it!
Although mauve bathtubs and floral wall tiles were all the rage in decades past, it was time to give this throwback bathroom a fresh face. The only problem was that removing the old elements and replacing them with new simply wasn’t in the budget. So, after doing some DIY research, I discovered an affordable epoxy acrylic product appropriately called “Tub & Tile Refinishing Kit,” that would allow me to quite literally brush on a smooth, porcelain-like finish in just a few hours. I have to tell you, I was a bit skeptical, but the results far exceeded my expectations.
And as with all successful do-it-yourself projects, I took the necessary steps to prepare the surfaces before painting, which included using an etching solution to dull the original glossy finish, removing all caulking, and thoroughly cleaning the tiles and tub before the refinishing fun began. After the new finish dried, I re-caulked the surround and the tub was back in use within a few short days.
4. No quartz? No problem!
If you’re living with outdated, worn or damaged laminate, and new natural stone countertops simply aren’t in the budget, why not roll on a fresh, durable coating that will give you the look of quartz without the hefty price? RustOleum’s Countertop Transformations collection offers a paintable solution in a selection of neutral colours that has just about everything you need in a DIY-friendly kit, including a protective topcoat with mica flecks that made the once-bland bathroom counters glisten like quartz. It’s the perfect weekend project if you’re craving an affordable cosmetic countertop refresh.
5. Custom shelving without the custom price tag
Adding shelving in a bathroom is a great way to pepper in additional storage and make use of vertical space, but if you truly want to create a customized look, head straight to your local home improvement store for some stock lumber and stain. I wanted to add teak wood shelves in the Boho-inspired bathroom, but didn’t want to pay the teak wood price tag, so I had pine boards cut at the store to a custom length and then picked up a pint of “Early American” Varathane stain to create my own luxe-for-less finish. I affixed the boards to some inexpensive brackets, and voilá… custom without the custom price tag.
If you’re looking to tackle a budgetfriendly bathroom makeover, then just remember that all you truly need is the right products for the project, a little sweat equity, and a splash of creativity to turn your design dreams into an affordable reno reality.
A self-proclaimed DIY ninja, Leigh-Ann believes that great design has little to do with how much money you spend, but rather how creative you can be with your budget. As an expert on CityTV’s Cityline, Leigh-Ann embraces every opportunity to spark creativity and instill confidence in others who strive to “DO IT YOURSELF.” For more information, visit huelala.com @leighannallai