Staffers' Challenge: Budget Bathroom Makeovers

Closet storage
Three staffers give their bathrooms a budget-savvy makeover with soothing colors, sleek storage, custom window treatments, and home improvement store finds.

Water Works

Decorating inspiration can come from anywhere, and for Katie Leporte, art director for Do It Yourself magazine, it came from a single seafoam green glass mosaic tile. She sprinkled the bright hue throughout her bathroom -- on the walls, the floor, and the bathtub surround. Together with cool white fixtures and artistic flourishes on the walls, these elements give Katie's bathroom a chic update for just $1,635.

Modern Accents

Silver accents and touches of black ground Katie's bath and give the seafoam tiles more weight. The brushed nickel faucet, towel ring, and mirror add a modern touch to the cottage home's bathroom. Opting for an oval mirror, rather than a traditional medicine cabinet, gives the bathroom a contemporary flair.

Personal Touches

Katie created the display shelf by removing the door of an old, shallow built-in cabinet. She painted the border and shelves black and decorated the back with coordinating scrapbook papers. To add even more flair to the area, she drew a simple design on the wall and painted it with black acrylic paint.

Attention to Details

The sink received a splash of seafoam green with the addition of new hardware. To stay within budget, Katie and her husband bought the hardware, sink, faucet, and vanity at a local home improvement store.

Storage Central

Katie credits her successful bathroom makeover to adding sparkle and color to stock items. To personalize the white storage cabinet above the toilet, she painted the knobs black and decorated each door with scrapbook paper.

Editor's Tip: To prevent the papers from warping in the moist bathroom environment, coat doors and paper with a paper sealer.

Wall Wonders

Katie hand-drew designs on the wall above the beaded board wainscoting for a whimsical touch. White picture frames add visual interest to the painted leafy bough.

Beautiful Designs

Karin Edwards, former editor of Beautiful Baths, gave her tiny 1950s bathroom a sleek and sophisticated update by contrasting dark brown and white hues. Natural accents, such as the grass-cloth wallpaper, and minimalist designs helped her achieve this goal for just $1,650.

On the Ledge

Storage is essential in a tiny bathroom, so to add interest to the bathroom storage, Karin mixed methods. Shallow floating shelves hang behind a deeper, narrower unit with glass shelves. The floating shelves helped bridge the awkward space between the shelving unit and the sink cabinet.

Editor's Tip: When mixing types of woods, coat each piece with a dark stain. Dark stains are easier to match than lighter hues, and the dark color adds a sense of depth and character.

Simple and Sophisticated

The original 1950s layout cleverly tucked the toilet behind the shower wall to hide it from immediate view. To keep the small space from feeling cramped, Karin added a simple wall hanging and a towel bar. Leaving one wall free of cabinets and decoration gives the small bathroom a spacious and uncluttered feel.

Surrounded by Glamour

Before the bathroom's renovation, the bathtub surround was a fleshy pink hue. For just $175, Karin resurfaced the tub and gave the bathroom a modern look. The white porcelain gives the bathtub a neutral backdrop that goes with this color scheme and those of future homeowners. The cream shower curtain with tan geometric shapes adds even more modern flair to the bathroom.

Touch of Color

The raw selvage edge on this valance looks like fringe and creates a ready-made border that picks up the rich texture of the grass-cloth wallpaper. The misty, blue-green grass cloth and navy circles in the window treatment add subtle color to the bathroom's neutral scheme.

Serene Green

Kate Malo, graphic designer for Kitchen and Bath Ideas, gave her dated 1980s bathroom a modern spa-like remodel. The first step in the $2,070 project was making the bathroom feel larger. She and her husband chose one solid color for the bathroom walls.

Look for Less

Floating shelves above the toilet add storage and display space to the room. Inspired by shelves spotted at a posh retail store, Kate painted budget-friendly pine shelves dark brown to match the dark wood in the bathroom. Inexpensive artwork adds a personal touch to the walls. Kate printed initials on her computer and then matted and framed them.

Modern Styling

To give the bathroom a designer look on a budget, Kate skipped the standard-issue medicine cabinet. Instead she hung an oversize framed mirror above the sink.

Get the Look: Place a framed mirror over the sink to give the bathroom a custom look and make the room seem larger. The larger the mirror, the more light and color it reflects.

Open Forum

The sleek vanity gives the bathroom a contemporary look. The vanity cost $400 --Kate and her husband saved money by installing it themselves. The open base cuts down on the room's storage, but they made the most of the space by stowing baskets full of bath salts and sponges. The drawers hold washcloths, hand towels, and soaps.

Mix and Match

To add interest to the bathroom, Kate chose two coordinating fabrics for the shower curtain and Roman shade. She and her husband replaced the faux-tile paneling with sage-green mosaic glass tiles and painted the walls a coordinating green color.

Storage Central

To make up for the lack of storage throughout the bathroom, Kate made the most of the room's narrow closet. Baskets and bins eliminate clutter and keep essential items within reach. Painting the closet frame white connects the wire shelving to the rest of the room and makes the green walls pop.

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