Monday, September 17, 2012

Makeover Your Bathroom in 6 Easy Steps

That’s right…my beautiful new light kicked off  a mini bathroom makeover. Warning: This is a picture-heavy post! Let’s look at my gorgeous new light again, shall we? 


Okay, now let’s take a step back and check out the bathroom before. (You can see where I beefed up the medicine cabinet with some trim here.)



The biggest pet peeves in my bathroom were the towel bar and the circus light, both of which I inherited when I bought the house and have lived with for seven years. I’ve been talking my mom’s ear off for months about the towel bar and I finally tackled this incredibly easy project. As you can see in the picture above – I had a towel bar in the bathroom. In fact I have two – this one and the one inside the shower.


The problem was that folding towels doesn’t allow them to dry very quickly and also, I’m lazy so sometimes my towel looked like this:


That’s right – I’m too lazy to fold the towel so it would hang over the toilet paper roll – not ideal. This towel bar is also where the hand towel hung so I had to address that as well with my new layout. I decided I wanted to make a DIY towel bar that could hold at least five towels (for when I have company) and wouldn’t require any folding. The first step was to remove the old towel bar and toilet paper holder. If you’ve never removed these – it is incredibly easy since each are attached to the wall with a hanger that the rod is attached to with tiny screws on the underside. So, unscrew the tiny screws and then the larger ones attaching the hanger to the wall. 



I then filled in any holes with spackle, sanded it when it was dry and repainted the wall. Anyone else have a hard time touching up Satin paint? You could see where I did touch-up so I ended up painting the entire wall – not ideal but still easy. While the wall was drying I got to work on the new towel bar. To make it I bought a 11/16” x 3.5” x 10’ piece of primed MDF from HomeDepot for $7.62 (which I had them cut in half in the store so I could fit it into my car) and five double robe hooks for $2.98 each.

I then cut one edge of the MDF board at 30 degrees so that it would slope towards the shower tiles and cut the other edge so that the bar would extend the entire length of this wall (which was just shy of 55”). I used my trusty stud finder to locate the studs on my wall and then made those same measurements on my new board so that I knew where to drill pilot holes for the nails that would hang the board on the wall. I recommend always trying to hang things into the studs – especially something heavy that may pull from the wall over time.


Before hanging the board, I also figured out where to place the hooks on the board and pre-drilled the holes for the screws that would attach each hook to the board to make my life easier. Finally, I was able to hang the board on the wall, making it nearly even with the hook in the shower for consistency. Why did I use nails? So that I could use the nail setter to sink the nail heads into the board and putty the holes so you wouldn’t even see the nail heads.




Once the board was up, I filled in the nail holes, sanded them, caulked where the board met the wall and tiles, and painted the board with two coats of the same semi-gloss white paint that I use on the trim in the house. I waited for that to dry for a couple of hours before the last step - attaching the robe hooks. There are a lot of hook styles you can go with but I love these since I find that the towels hang better on them than coat hooks or the single robe hooks (I’ve had the same double hook on the back of my door for the past seven years and guests always hung their towels there without any issue).


The next thing I tackled in the bathroom was the vanity. I have a standard white vanity in my bathroom that works for my needs. I decided to upgrade it a bit by installing new rod pulls ($7 for a pack of two from Meijer). Naturally I forgot to take close-ups of the old ones but they were curvy, cheap, chrome handles that came with the unit. These instantly updated the look of the vanity.


I then had to figure out what to do with the hand towel. I didn’t want to hang it over the toilet since that creeps me out and I couldn’t hang it next to the toilet on the side of the vanity since I moved the toilet paper rod there (which naturally I forgot to take a picture of but you can see it below in the ‘after’ pictures). You can buy ring towel holders that I contemplated for a less than a minute since the only place to hang it would be next to the sink and I felt that it would protrude too much there and made the tight space feel tighter. Then I noticed that expanse of white nothingness on the vanity above the doors. I wondered if a simple door pull that matched the ones I just hung would work. Enter Lowes. I bought a satin nickel door pull from them for $10.77 online and had it shipped to the store the next day. 

When I got it home I held it up in place since to determine the best location – I decided to hang it a little closer to the top (not centered vertically). The bar was just deep enough that I could easily hang the towel over the bar but not so deep that it got in the way while washing your hands.




I love that I can slide it from side to side to get into the doors below, it would hold two towels when I have a party and the simple rods look great.  Now that the towels were all figured out I focused my attention on the light. As I mentioned, I bought a clearance light from HomeGoods for $39 that I painted with some Rustoleum Universal Satin Nickel Metallic spray paint. Six coats later and the gold was replaced with a gorgeous metallic satin.

Before I could hang it I had to remove the old light…


…by cutting through the caulk the old owners had applied around the stupid thing. Once I was able to remove the light I had to patch the wall and repaint before hanging the new light. When it came time to hang the new one, I simply connected white wire to white wire, black wire to black wire and the yellow wire was attached to the grounding screw. Easy enough – the tricky part was not banging up my new light fixture since I was balancing it on the medicine cabinet door while I attached the wires (tip: if you have another person around – get their help but you can certainly hang lights by yourself. I’ve done it in the kitchen, office and now bathroom without issue). Before hanging it all up, I tested the light to ensure it worked and was thrilled when it did!


The fixture was then attached to the mounting bar with four screws and the white shades were put back in place.


The final thing to address was art. Since I took down my frame gallery to hang up the towel bar, I wanted something in the bathroom. I remembered a free print from Two Twenty One that I thought was fun and colorful so I printed it out on regular paper (she suggests using cardstock but I used what was already in the printer). I placed it in a white frame from Michaels ($4) with a navy mat (also from Michaels for $2). I liked it placed on the toilet tank but I decided to try hanging it for now next to the sink.

bathroom_art_athomewithhI also relined the inside of the medicine cabinet with left over liner paper I had from upgrading the dining room cabinet and added a fun new tea light that I got from Target this weekend. (You can find my chalkboard project here.)



In the post title I mentioned six easy steps – they are:

  1. Making a DIY towel bar ($22.52 – not including paint/nails/wood filler)
  2. Moving the toilet paper to the side of the vanity ($0 – I reused the old one)
  3. Swapping out cabinet pulls ($7)
  4. Installing a cabinet pull as a towel rod ($10.77)
  5. Hanging a new light fixture ($46.28 =$39 for fixture  and $7.28 for spray paint)
  6. Making and hanging bathroom art ($6)

Let’s tour the updated bathroom (man is it hard to take pictures of a tiny bathroom!):






I like the mix of chrome with satin nickel so for now the sink faucet stays as do the knobs on the shelf above the toilet but maybe someday I’ll tackle those as well.


  1. I love it! It really is amazing how a few changes can change everything. I am totally stealing your towel bar and hanging towel rack ideas. Pinned!

  2. Thanks! Have fun making your own towel bar!

  3. i love the design..our toilet should be well organize and it will also be clean cause it reflects our personality..better use some accessories in your bathroom and in your i always want that my toilet and my bathroom should be look good so i bought some accessories in Sydney bathroom supplies, they provide everything that you've wanted for your toilet and in your bathroom..

  4. This is great! Why didn't I ever think to put my hand towel directly on the vanity? Brilliant! :)
    I also plan to use the "so fresh..." printable in my bathroom makeover. That's how I found you.

  5. Hello! Found you from The Ugly Duckling House's single DIYers link party - nice to meet you! I love the small, but helpful changes you made to your bathroom. I really like the hook rack you made - I like this idea better than towel rods (especially in a guest bathroom where you may need places for more than just one or two towels to be hung). And I love that you changed the lighting yourself. I need to remodel my master bath and it's good to know that changing the lighting in there will be fairly simple enough for me to do myself.
    Following you on Bloglovin'! Looking forward to more posts! :)


Thanks for stopping by!