Do you ever get a strong desire to just DO something? I sometimes get this restless energy and just feel the need to accomplish something. It can be big, it can be small, but I just want to see tangible progress and a finished product. Last week, I got that urge. I wanted to channel my restless energy into a project, which is all well and good but … I also felt strongly that I did not want to spend any money. Hmm.
I looked around my house and decided to challenge myself to do a $0 makeover to one of our bathrooms. Using only items that I already had around the house, I set out to transform this room and I have to say, even without spending a dime, I’m absolutely thrilled with the result!
I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this endeavor, but I decided to just dive on in without giving it much thought (seriously, I decided to do this and then started a half hour later). Sometimes it helps to not overthink things and just get moving!
Here’s what the bathroom looked like last week:
Located right off our laundry room, just a few steps from the garage, this full bathroom is handy to have if you get really dirty outside and don’t want to track dirt through the house, or if you happen to be in the middle of a pandemic and want to shower after work before interacting with your family (who would’ve thought?!). Otherwise, the only time it gets used is when we have multiple guests staying with us and we use the nearby office as a spare bedroom and this as its accompanying bathroom.
The bathroom itself may not be used much, but since we use the garage as our main entry to the house, we see this room every single day. I would love to gut the space and expand our laundry room, but we’re probably at least 10 years away from making that dream a reality. In the meantime, I wanted to freshen this dingy and sad bathroom, and so the $0 bathroom update challenge began!
The very first thing I did was take down the old medicine cabinet mirror. Since we don’t really use this bathroom, there was no need to for that storage anyways. And bonus – I then sold it on Facebook Marketplace for $15, making this my first (and likely, only) renovation to actually turn a profit! Once that was down, I wiped down all the walls, filled all the old holes with plaster, sanded, and primed all the walls.
I keep all the leftover paint from past projects and I raided my stash to find a color for the walls. I decided to go with a two-toned look and measured up 5 feet from the floor and taped a line around the room. I used Benjamin Moore Smoky Mountain on the bottom portion, trim, and baseboards (the same paint I used in our guest bathroom and secret nook) and Sherwin Williams Alabaster on the top and ceiling (the same paint I used in our basement kitchen).
Justin took leftover pine 1×3 boards we had in our barn and cut them to size and I painted them with stain from a previous project (Miniwax Provincial). We used a nail gun to attach them to the wall over the colorblock line and I love how this wood detail adds character and warmth to the room. We have a mudroom with all these unused hooks on the walls (the previous owners stored all their outdoor coats there) and I raided the stash to find three black hooks to add to the wood trim for towels. Perfect!
On to my favorite update: the vanity! After removing all hardware, I used deglosser leftover from painting the kitchen cabinets to prep the wood. I painted a layer of primer over top and went back to my stash to pick a cabinet color. This was a trickier process, because I had to find something that worked with the other colors already in the room. None of my initial colors felt quite right and I worried I didn’t have anything that would work, but then…waaaaaay in the back of my drawer full of paint samples, I found a small sample size of Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray that I bought last year as a contender for the walls in our Phase One master bathroom update. I can’t even believe how perfect it is for this space and it made the vanity look 1000x better.
I originally planned to keep all the handles and just spray paint them, but then I noticed the handles in our main floor powder room…
Eventually, we will update this half bathroom, but until then, it can have ugly old gold and white handles. 😉 I took the half bathroom’s vanity handles and spray painted them with a black spray paint from my stash.
I didn’t originally plan to replace the counter and sink, but as the project was underway, I remembered that we had an extra vanity top out in storage. We bought it at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore over a year ago – we thought we could use it in our guest bathroom and it was too good a deal to pass up (new for $45!!) so we bought it, only to come home and realize it was not the correct size. It’s just been in our barn ever since. Turns out, it was the exact size needed for this vanity – feels like it was meant to be! I guess this could feel like cheating the $0 goal since it’s something new, but since we’ve had it for over a year and didn’t spend the money specifically for this project, I’m still counting it as just using something we already had. 🙂 We caulked the sink in place on the cabinet and then ran another line of clear caulk (leftover from the basement kitchen project) around the edge to seal it along the walls.
The “new” faucet and stopper came from the old sink we took out during the guest bathroom renovation – we had kept it in our barn and the faucet was still in really good shape so we swapped it in and it completes the look! I like that it brings in a mixed metal look and ties in all the silver from the shower area.
I kept the same light above the mirror and the toilet paper holder, but I gave them a few coats of the same black spray paint I used on the vanity handles to give everything a nice cohesive look.
The last thing I needed to find was a mirror. I was super committed to spending $0, but it was tricky to find a mirror in our house that worked in the space. We tried three different ones – one was unframed and too hard to attach with the wood trim. One was too big, one was too small. I went searching the house in search of the “Goldilocks” mirror – one that was just right. I found the perfect mirror in the kids’ bathroom upstairs!
I loved the size and style, but did not love the color. I tried updating it with Rub n Buff, but that was too shiny and looked cheap. Then I tried my favorite gold spray paint and that was just right! I used this same spray paint to give a little update to the fan light on the ceiling too.
I raided my house for decor to finish off the space. The gorgeous pottery bowl on the wall was a wedding present – I have loved displaying in our previous homes but I hadn’t found the right place for it in this home until now. I love how it plays off all the different colors in the room and the round shape brings some softness to all the straight lines and angles in the room. I pulled an old planter that wasn’t being used and transplanted a few leaves from the snake plant in our playroom. I pulled soap from my stash (and even the colors work perfectly!) and a towel from my basement kitchen. A few items I had previously thrifted without a specific purpose in mind were suddenly just right for this space: a decorative bowl to store spare toiletries and washcloths and some cute pottery vessels to hold cotton balls and q-tips. A glass vase I had and some branches from a bush in our yard. It always amazes me how things I’ve had for years can feel fresh and new when I put them in a different place!
I could not be more thrilled with how this space turned out. Not only does it make me so happy to now have a cute bathroom instead of an eyesore, but this challenge served as such a great reminder that creating a home you love doesn’t have to cost a lot of (or in this case, any!) money. Shopping my house for decor, using up leftover paint and supplies from other projects, giving old fixtures a fresh look with simple spray paint, repurposing items from other renovations instead of just junking them . . . instead of just buying something to fit my needs, taking things I already had and getting creative with them is so satisfying! It stretched me and challenged me and that makes me love this bathroom even more now.
Wall Color: Sherwin Williams Alabaster (top), Benjamin Moore Smoky Mountain (bottom) both in Eggshell finish
Vanity Color: Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray