The other day, my attention deficit was acting up more than usual. So I took a “brief” study break to the bathroom—and was immediately distracted by HOW UGLY our half-bathroom was. So off I went to Home Depot. Three days and $81 later, we had a new half-bath. Wanna see? Well hold your horses.
This is what I started out with:
Our half-bath is a tiny, long and narrow space. The laminate floors were gross and from the 60’s (probably). The walls were a dark olive green. The mirror and cabinet under the sink were old-school wood. Obviously, this place needed a serious redo. WANNA SEE?!
No. First, let me finish convincing you that this place was ugly…
Ok, now I we can talk about the redo-ing part.
Now get ready, because I am about to share my best DIY/home improvement tip of all time: Every time you go to Lowe’s or Home Depot, swing by the paint section and ask where they keep their “Oops paint.” Whenever people return paint they don’t like, or paint is mixed incorrectly and produces the wrong color, the store resells it at a crazy low price. This is known as “Oops paint.” As long as you are not very picky, you can stock up on an assortment of cool paint cans, ready for when your next project calls. And let me tell you, I’ve never regretted a purchase. A few months prior to deciding this bathroom needed a redo, I purchased a gallon of a bright Tiffany-bluish paint for $7. Yes, seven dollars. For a gallon. Turns out, it was just what our ugly bathroom needed (besides new floors).
Here are a few other tips prior to painting:
Ok, now you can paint. If you are planning on changing out the floors as well, then definitely paint the walls before you do the floors. This way, you’ll get a smaller heart attack every time you accidentally drip paint everywhere (as I was very good at doing).
Next tip: Laminate floors are the easiest, quickest, and cheapest way to completely change the look of a room. Laminate squares range in price from $0.59 to several dollars per square foot, depending on the style. Because I’m a high-roller, I chose a $0.99/square foot option. I kept it extremely simple and chose a style without much design, because the more simple, the more timeless. Trust me.
I had no idea how to lay down laminate floors. I still have no idea. Apparently they sell fancy tools to cut around tough edges (like toilets) to perfection. But I decided I didn’t need fancy tools. All I used were heavy duty clamps, a heavy duty exacto knife, a little bit of ingenuity, and facetime (so my dad could tell me over the phone how to fix the messes I was creating). What I can tell you is that you should start laying the laminate tiles from the center of the room, and work your way out; you should strive to make your cuts as precise as possible; you should probably invest in the fancy tools I refused buy; and you should buy yourself a tube of all-purpose white caulk to disguise your screw-ups.
This is how caulk will save your life during projects like these: Because you probably will refuse to buy the fancy tools too, you will inevitably end up with visible spaces between your tiles and with imperfectly cut, uneven tile pieces. My dad would have NEVER approved of my work. But with caulk, you will fool the world! Check it…
Make sure you clean off the excess caulk immediately. Otherwise, it will dry and get really dirty as soon as you step on it. And the floor will never look clean. I’m still paying for that mistake.
Another example of the wonders of caulk:
When I finished laying down the floor, I placed heavy objects all over it and let it dry undisturbed overnight.
What do you think of the sneak peek of the new paint color? It’s so much more… alive. I also painted the mirror and cabinet in glossy white. Then I made a quick trip to Michael’s and bought a few decorative accessories.
Enough. Ready for the big reveal?
Looks better, eh? Here’s the breakdown of what I spent, so you see I’m not lying:
- Paint, $7
- Laminate floor, $30
- Caulk, $4
- Wall decal, $12
- Bird and birdhouse accessories, $10
- Painter’s tape, $6
- Towel rack, $12
Grand total: $81. BAM!!!
Hope you enjoyed that. I’m pretty proud of it! Using the drill to take down and put up the door, and hammering paint cans open and closed at 4 am didn’t make Jeffrey happy with me. But when he woke up in the morning and saw the finished product, he wasn’t mad anymore.
Have a great one, everybody!