How to update a bathroom for $100

This past weekend, I finally finished up the upstairs bathroom to a point I can live with for awhile. The vanity is still so, so low, but the rest of the room looks good, which means I can wait on the sledgehammer for another year or two. 🙂

To  start, when we first moved in, I replaced the standard shower curtain rod with a curved one and hung it about 3″ from the ceiling. For a tall girl, it made a huge difference and made the bathrooms ceilings feel taller. I also replaced the opaque dusty goldenrod (is that even a color?) shower liner with some white shower curtains with black stripes near the bottom. I also took down the blinds over the window, and hung a clock. That’s it. Very blah, very blue, so. much. cream. tile.

With this makeover, I  wanted a refresh, but I am saving for some bigger projects coming up, so I needed a limit I could realistically stick to. So here it is, $100:


Change #1: $51.16 Over half my budget went to replacing the light fixture. The previous curly cues also pointed down, casting very unflattering light. I replaced it with a 3-bulb vanity light that points up, creating a more indirect light. I reused the bulbs, which I later found out are 40w, but I was out of money at that point, so I will replace the bulbs down the road for something a little brighter. I’ve said this a hundred times, but lighting REALLY makes a difference in the room. Once again, this rings true.


Change#2 $free I realize not everyone has a wood scrap pile lying around, but it makes me giddy that I do, there is space to have one AND we have a circular saw to do something about said pile (heart eyes, every time). I used wood scraps to build a shelf to put above the toilet and added some accessories I borrowed from around the house. The frame shows shells and glass I picked off the beach when we were in Scotland (thought of you, Carolyn and Al!) It says Pittenwiem, Scotland, 2012

I used more wood scraps to add some molding above the window.  If you remember from my craft room, I am beefing up all the window trim in the house, though I think it looks more successful on a longer window. I also considered making a fabric shade, but again, by the time I got to this part, my $100 was gone (it went so fast. poof. gone.) You’ll see more of the window coming up.


Change #3 $11.45 New handles for the vanity made a big difference in updating the space, ornate aged brass just does not do it for me. I also painted the cabinet the same navy as my new accent wall in the living room (free, as I already had the paint). Going from dark to dark doesn’t look that different in the photos, but it definitely adds some punch to the room.

Change #4 $19.36 Framing the mirror has had the biggest impact. You know why I know that? Because my husband just came out of the room a few minutes ago and said “the mirror frame really pops! I never notice stuff, but that looks really good.” Which is fantastic! That’s how I know it’s good:) But I have to agree with him, I think that is what took the room from builder grade to polished.

Change #5 $17.89 I bought a marble tray to hold pretties and a added a real plant near the window. The plant said it was a “plant of steel” and survives on neglect. Really, that’s what the tag said! Which is exactly the kind of plant I need. It does add some life too, and I am hoping it thrives in the moisture.

Ready for the reveal?? And the before and afters??? EEEEEeeeee!!!! I love it!





I chose to keep the baby blue on the walls, since painting a bathroom is so much work. I actually don’t mind it, and it definitely breaks up all the gray in this house. Just LOOK at that fantastic striped wall next to it!!! I can’t get enough. So fresh and clean now.

So, for $100, this bathroom skipped ahead by about 40 years. The next time you see this room (in another year or two) I might have a sledgehammer in my hands!


2 thoughts on “How to update a bathroom for $100

  1. Congrats on another beautiful room in your amazing “new” house! Love that you added a bit of Scotland to your bathroom! Pittenweem really is a delightful destination. We miss not having a reason to go there often! Love, C and A


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