Diary of a First-Time Homeowner: $1,000 Main Bathroom Remodel

Diary of a First Time Home Owner

inexpensive DIY Bathroom Remodel that costs $1,000

The main bathroom in my house was not updated by the sellers. They updated the living room/dining room and kitchen. The cabinets in the kitchen were refinished, and a gorgeous backsplash was added. But the main bathroom still had an un-refinished vanity, and similarly outdated features. The mirror was one of those flat mirrors with no frame and it was even peeling off in certain places on the bottom and top. The flooring was terrible yellow laminate and the wall color was kind of drab.

Bathroom Before inexpensive DIY Remodel that costs $1,000

I have wanted to update this bathroom, but kept losing the motivation. Then my mortgage loan officer (and friend) and I had a couple of conversations about refinancing to get out of my mortgage insurance (commonly known as PMI or MIP, depending on your type of loan). In order to do so, I had to have 20% equity in my home. This was the perfect time to update or remodel the bathroom!

Bathroom Before inexpensive DIY Remodel that costs $1,000

When I first bought the house, I replaced that terrible flooring in the kitchen and full/half bathrooms (you can see the full terrible-ness of the original main bathroom on that post). I also replaced the toilets in the main and half baths after my contractor told me how cheap they were, and it would be super easy since the old ones were already pulled out to replace the flooring. The realization that I could have clean, new toilets was enough to stand in the aisle of Home Depot for 40 minutes, trying to figure out what the heck the difference was between all of them.

Bathroom organization Before inexpensive DIY Remodel that costs $1,000

But everything else remained the same, including the vanity with the blue counter top and no storage options.

The Vanity

I had a vanity in mind for a few months, but when it finally came time to start the process, it was unavailable. NOOOO!

I e-mailed Home Depot and asked why, and they told me it was being discontinued, but sometimes those items pop back up online when the stores return them. The Lancaster vanity was for sell in my local store, but only with the “maui” colored top and I wanted the white top. Luckily, one Sunday morning I was trying to find a replacement for my dream vanity, and it popped up as in stock again! Yay! $307 later, my order was placed!

Bathroom Components for inexpensive DIY Remodel that costs $1,000  Not only did I think the white was glamorous looking, it matched the vanity I put in the 1/2 bathroom when I first moved in. I also needed a new faucet and found this one that has a swiveling head for under $38! I was so stoked. I had never even considered a bathroom faucet that could move like a kitchen one. I also liked that it went up so high, because it felt like a hotel or fancy restaurant bathroom.

The Backsplash

My intention was only to buy a new vanity and faucet. But… you give a mouse a cookie… I am still learning this homeownership thing, and didn’t consider that my new vanity would be a different height than the old one. The backsplash was not sitting at the right place, plus I always thought it was super boring. Who puts a plain white tile backsplash on white walls? Don’t do that. It’s boring, and just makes the walls look icky and drab because the tile is so bright and shiny.

Bathroom In the Middle of inexpensive DIY Remodel that costs $1,000

I went to the store during my lunch break one day, and picked out some sample tiles. Then I took a poll of my co-workers. In the end, Crystal Ice ($19/square foot) won and I was so glad because I was swooning over it from the moment I picked it up off of the shelf!

The Mirror

As I updated Facebook on the changes in my bathroom, several people commented on how terrible the mirror was. I did not plan to replace the mirror. But the more I looked at it, the more I saw that it really WAS terrible! One day, while watching HGTV, I remembered the mirror I had bought for my bedroom that was still propped up on the floor. I brought it downstairs and stood in the bathroom for a couple of minutes before it was decided. This bedroom mirror was now a bathroom mirror! I was especially excited because I figured it would be $100-200 for a new mirror for the bathroom, but I found this one on sale from Fred Meyer for only $25 a few weeks prior!

Bathroom in the Middle of inexpensive DIY Remodel that costs $1,000

A few days later, my contractor came back and started work on the backsplash. I spent about $120 after taxes on the backsplash. Then it didn’t mold right with the mortar, so we had to start over and I spent another $120 on the backsplash. He wasn’t going to charge me for the second round, but he is a friend of ours and does such amazing work, I actually didn’t mind, and forced him to take my money. The only bummer is that I don’t save my Home Depot receipts because they get e-mailed to my account, and I used a different card for the backsplash purchases, which wasn’t linked to my e-mail yet. So I can’t deduct that sales tax on my taxes.

The Paint

Before we knew the first backsplash wasn’t setting right, I went and picked out a variety of paint colors, and painted large swatches on the wall. I settled on Light Pelican Grey. Just so you guys know, there are like 8,000 versions of grey paint. Why isn’t there just GREY? I was so scared because after my first coat of Light Pelican Grey, it was PURPLE!

I had to go back to the store to get more paint because I thought a quart would be enough for a bathroom (it wasn’t). I didn’t really want to start over so I figured I’d try it and see how it looked after a couple of coats.  Once it was all finished, it looks mostly grey. In the areas where the light doesn’t hit very well, it had a bit of a purple undertone, but it’s not bad.

By the way, I hate taping before painting. It seems like a huge waste of time. But I’m also not good at staying between the lines when using colored pencils, let alone tape. So I use SHURE edgers to paint the corners. I swear by them. You can buy them at Home Depot for less than $5, and the refills are like $2-3. You can also (affiliate link) order them on amazon. They will change your painting life, and I’m not exaggerating.

To entertain myself through the re-organization process, I watched Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. The above photo was in the middle of the backsplash installation. You have to let it set overnight before you can move onto the next step.

While I waited for the Light Pelican Grey to finally dry and tell me if it was grey or purple, I painted the trim and the door to the medicine cabinet “Whisper White.”

You can sort of see how it’s grey paint, but above the shower, it looks purple-ish. (I spent about $40 on paint).

Bathroom After inexpensive DIY Remodel that costs $1,000

The Random Accessories I Didn’t Consider

When I was at Home Depot for like the 8th time in this process, which I know is not weird because I run into people I know there ALL THE TIME now, I also bought a toilet paper holder thing, and a new shower rod. After the new vanity was installed, the backsplash was finished and the mirror was hung, I just couldn’t stand the white shower rod. I got a toilet paper holder ($21) that matched my other fixtures, and upgraded to a curved shower rod ($33). I love those. They make showers feel so luxurious just by adding a couple of extra inches of elbow room!


Bathroom After inexpensive DIY Remodel that costs $1,000

The Finished Product!

By then, the bathroom was finished! I was so pleased with how everything looked! By doing half of it myself, and getting help for the heavy/tedious parts (my contractor also helped me hang the mirror so it would be even), I saved a ton of money! My contractor is a friend and gives me a great rate. I had set aside a certain about of money (about $1,000) for this project. I gave him the remaining cash for his time and effort, and a little bit of supplies he bought because I didn’t know what they were.

Before and After of a Main Bathroom Remodel Completed for $1,000

Now, I have a gorgeous bathroom that makes me feel like I live in a hotel, and my home appraised for more money than I invested, which helped me refinance out of my PMI! Yay! Before and After of a Main Bathroom Remodel Completed for $1,000

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  • Reply
    Ashley @ Life on the Parsons Farm
    January 26, 2017 at 8:00 am

    I love it so much!! When we bought our home in 2008 there were NO updates from 1989. So we’ve been slowly fixing that. New vanitys in the bathroom have been on my list since day one but for now they have a fresh coat of paint.
    Ashley @ Life on the Parsons Farm recently posted…Things I’m Loving – home edition

    • Reply
      February 24, 2017 at 1:00 pm

      Fresh paint can make a world of a difference on a vanity too! It’s such a huge purchase to make sure it’s the right fit for your family’s needs that I can totally understand why new ones are still on the list :).

  • Reply
    January 26, 2017 at 8:31 am

    Your faucet looks just like the ones we have in my house, I love them! Wish we had that great back splash though. Our mirror comes all the way down to the edge of the counter, so it catches all the splatter. But it makes the bathroom look so much bigger. Look great!

    • Reply
      January 27, 2017 at 9:36 am

      Oh I bet that looks fantastic, Sarah!

  • Reply
    January 26, 2017 at 10:11 pm

    It looks awesome! Having the white in there makes it seem brighter and even bigger. This makes me excited to own my own house! :)

    • Reply
      January 27, 2017 at 9:35 am

      Thank you, Carina! It’s so fun to be able to make the different rooms my own. It’s also seriously harming my shoes and dresses budget haha. I’m glad you like it :)

  • Reply
    Cait Weingartner
    January 26, 2017 at 11:58 pm

    Wow! Such a beautiful transformation. You’ve really changed the whole look of your bathroom. I am in love with that vanity!

    • Reply
      January 27, 2017 at 9:33 am

      Thank you, Cait! I was so surprised at what a major difference it made!

  • Reply
    January 28, 2017 at 10:38 am

    Your bathroom looks amazing!!!
    Bailey recently posted…Our Debt Snowball Plan: A Second Take at Paying Off Debt

    • Reply
      January 28, 2017 at 10:39 am

      Aww! Thanks, girlfriend!

  • Reply
    February 3, 2017 at 7:33 am

    I agree about the curved shower rods – who knew a few more inches would make the biggest difference? The after looks great! I really like the vanity!

    • Reply
      February 24, 2017 at 1:02 pm

      Thank you so much! I took a shower at someone else’s house recently with a normal width shower and it felt so luxurious to go home to my curved shower rod!

  • Reply
    February 7, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    dang girl! that looks AMAZING! you’re hired ;D

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