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Home » Primary Bath Makeover Reveal – In My Own Style

Primary Bath Makeover Reveal – In My Own Style

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On a budget Bathroom makeover DIY white/neutral after with a color pop of sky blue.

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I finally finished. It took me longer than expected to makeover the primary bathroom in my house to fit my personal style of decor.

A few weeks ago I created what I thought was a well-thought out bathroom makeover plan. I then changed it after stumbling upon a pair of mirrors when out shopping for supplies.

While doing the work needed to makeover the room, I also ran into unexpected problems from the wall paint color, the light fixtures and two more hold ups that I will detail in this post.

Primary Bathroom BEFORE

Grey master bathroom color scheme

First, let me tell you why I wanted to makeover this bathroom that the previous owners of the house did. As bathroom decor goes, this bathroom looks current, but there were a few things about it I just didn’t like. The biggest one, the color and fixtures were just not my style.

The next is the mirrors, they are very nice mirrors. (They are now hanging in my clothes closet.) The narrow size of the mirrors left a big space between them on the wall. I like minimal decor on walls and didn’t want to have to add something just to fill the space.

The next reason I wanted to make changes was the room was dark and gloomy at times. It is a north facing room full of shadows. It is the only room, besides the foyer in the house where the windows don’t face the lake. I often had to put the lights on, even during the day to see my reflection clearly in the mirror.

Granite countertop colors choices

The faucets had squared off bases and handles that never matched up, plus I like polished chrome, not brushed nickel. The lights hung over the top of the mirrors which I will explain more about further down in the post.

Oh! and we can’t forget the color and pattern of the granite countertop paired with the dark grey. As I mentioned in my post about my bathroom plans, the counter had to stay. I needed to challenge myself to keep the makeover budget-friendly.

painting a bathroom in progress

So I got to work. I started off by painting the vanity cabinet white, using chalk paint and wax. Then I painted the walls and that is where the biggest delay in my progress began.

Before I go into the details, let me show you the after.

Primary Bathroom Makeover: AFTER

white flowers on bathroom counter

Totally different from my original plan, but one that I love and so does Ed. It fits the house as a whole and my White & Woodsy style.

Diane Henkler, blogger happy with bright and refreshed primary bath

The best part though is the room is now light and bright all day long.

I can see myself easily in the mirror now.

master/primary bath after getting a makeover to make it brighter.

I even like the granite counter, it has taken on a “beachy” look. The whole room is fresh and bright with lots of light.

The Bathroom Makeover Details

rustic wood framed large mirror

The change in my makeover plan all started when I stumbled upon a pair of mirrors while getting a few supplies at Hobby Lobby for another project.

wood framed mirrors being treated with a plaster finish

I initially wasn’t going to get new mirrors, but the style, wider size and thickness of these wood frame mirrors were better suited for the wall space than the existing narrower mirrors.

I was hesitant at first as I didn’t like the dark brown rustic finish. I wished it were lighter, then I remembered a furniture finishing trick I learned from Amy Howard at a DIY blogger’s conference using plaster that I could use to lighten the finish, which I did.

I have an upcoming post on how I did this. The mirrors were also half price, so I grabbed them and brought them home and started a new decor plan.

I chose to paint the vanity cabinet with chalk paint since I love the way the finish on chalk painted pieces never gets gunked up on the surface over the years as most water-based latex paint can over time.

If a section on a chalk painted finish gets damaged, you just sand, paint and add clear soft wax over it with no sign of a fix. You can’t do this with other paints.

When people think of painting with chalk paint, they presume that the paint has to be distressed to look old, it doesn’t. I didn’t distress the finish.


What I like more than anything about using the color white as a color scheme is that I can use decor accents in almost any color. Here I have white hydrangeas on the counter.

master/primary bath after getting a makeover to make it brighter.

When I need a fresh look, a pop of pink looks just as nice.

sky blue towels in towel ring in neutral color bathroom.

Sky blue works well also, the color coordinates with my bedroom color scheme of white and blue. 🙂

4 Problems That Delayed Finishing the Makeover

As a reader of my blog you are witness to all the projects I DIY around my house. Most go smoothly. Sometimes a problem may arise and I note that for readers so if they run into the same problem they have a fix.

For the bathroom, I didn’t have one problem, but four. Just to keep it real I thought I would share a bit of what went on behind the scenes to get to “the after” of this bathroom makeover.

The first problem that arose was when the polished chrome faucets I ordered online were delivered. I didn’t like them. They were cheaply made and the finish was off, so I sent them back. I had to shop around again to find something better.

polished chrome bathroom faucet installed on granite sink vanity.

I found this style that looks similar to the ones I sent back. These are made of real brass with a chrome finish.

Ed has replaced at least a dozen faucets over the years in the houses we have lived in and never had a problem. Well, that streak ended, when the hot water hose burst under the sink where he was installing the first new faucet. Water started spraying out into the cabinet.

We couldn’t turn it off under the sink since the turn off valve also broke off. So I ran to the garage to turn the water off to the house via our water filtration system, it didn’t stop!!! I grabbed a few buckets and towels and ran back into the house to catch the water.

To turn the water off at the main, Ed had to first find the water key and run all the way at the top of our long driveway and open the hatch in the ground to access the water control. You need what is called a water key to turn the water off. It is long piece of metal in the shape of a T with a fork at the end that we keep in the garage.

To grab the key and run to the water main took time as the water was spewing out of the bottom of the sink where I was placing buckets and dumping them into the other sink.

After about 10 minutes, Ed got the water shut off and I mopped up the mess. He then replaced the hose and got the valve working again. The second faucet installation went smoothly. 🙂

painting a bathroom in progress

The next problem that arose was after I chose the white paint color to roll on the walls. I had a few white swatches and chose a warmer white to take away the grey north light shadows. The color that looked best was Sherwin Williams paint in the color Alabaster. One coat and the walls still looked very grey. I wanted bright white. So I went back to taping swatches on the wall.

So many of the warmer whites to offset the grey looked too yellow. I ended up using the color Extra White. I rolled on a coat and when it dried the wall color was brighter, but the wall look spotchy. After it was dry, I rolled on another coat and another until the 5th coat did the trick.

bathroom sink area in newly redecorated primary bathroom in a home.

The next problem I thought I was ready to deal with. It is where the existing electrical boxes for the lights were placed over the mirrors. They are a bit too low and when a light fixture is mounted, the globes overlap most of the mirror sizes available to buy. I thought the new wood framed mirrors being shorter would alleviate the problem.

We did try turning the fixtures so the globes went up. It did solve them going over the mirrors, but the light hit the ceiling too harshly. Plus the light around the mirrors darkened a bit. Ed likes it bright so he can see well when shaving, so we turned them back around.

I also didn’t want Ed to have to have to redo the electrical on the wall, so I brought home a few different light fixtures to try. None were perfect as when the globes on these were placed on with the new shorter wood framed mirror under them, they still overlapped the mirrors.

I thought about using round mirrors. This sounded like a good idea until I measured it out and found that if I wanted a round mirror centered over the sink, the outer side was going to touch the adjacent wall. Not a very balanced look.

I thought buying shorter globes for the fixture would solve the problem. They did look better, but they were clear glass and a new problem came to light… literally.

crackle glass and polished chrome bathroom light fixture.

Lightbulbs!!! I am not a fan of the newfangled bulbs sold nowadays. Most do not look nice when a clear globe is used on a light fixture.

The only 100 watt clear light bulb sold at Lowes and Home Depot these days that are clear have a bright yellow filament in them that looks awful when the lightbulb is not on. I wish we could still buy clear incandescent light bulbs.

So eventually I will change these bulbs or frost the glass on the globes. I have to live with them for awhile until I come up with an idea. If you know where they still sell 100 watt clear light bulbs without the yellow filament, please let me know.

The final problem came when I opened up the box of polished chrome drawer pulls to attach them to the newly painted drawers. I ordered them in a 4″ wide size to fit the existing the holes drilled in the drawer fronts.

When I went to put them on they were 1/4″ too long. To use them I would have had to drill two new holes, then fill, sand and repaint the old holes in my newly smooth and painted drawer fronts. No way was I going to to that.

I sent them back and found pulls that were exactly 4″ wide that I like just as much.

Handy DIY Tip:

When making over a room, keep the old fixtures, especially the cabinet knobs or pulls as the new ones may not come with the length screws needed to fit through the thickness of your drawer and door fronts.

It will save you a trip to the hardware store to get the length screws you need as you can just use the screws from the old hardware. Once the room is done, then you can discard all the old fixtures.

The Decorative Details

Once I got the problems solved I added the finishing touches to the room. (All the resources for the decor I used is listed at the end of the post.)

polished chrome and lucite cabinet drawer pull on vanity

I found these polished chrome and lucite pulls at Home Depot that were the standard 4″ wide. They are also sold on Amazon.

glass and polished chrome cabinet knobs on white bathroom cabinets.

The glass cabinet knobs are the same style I have in my kitchen.

white hydrangeas in a white pitcher on a bathroom counter.

The sinks are white. To create a balance of the color on the counter, I use a white ceramic tray to corral a few items so the counter doesn’t look busy or cluttered. The granite does that all by itself. 🙂

glass soap dispenser and cut crystal jar on bathroom cabinet.

Shiny glass soap dispenser and cotton pad holder.

polished chrome towel ring on white wall.

Simple towel rings…

nubbly white cotton bath mat

…and spa style mats finish the space.

white flowers in white tray on bathroom sink vanity counter.

This room is all done. I know I will enjoy placing different colors of flowers in the room, especially now that my hydrangeas are started to come to life. I never know each year what color they will be.

I do know that no matter what color, I can place them in the bathroom. Seeing them will make me smile everytime I enter and that is what a home’s decor should do, make you feel good.

You may be thinking what did I do to the other side of the room where the shower and toilet are. Well, not much except the walls are now white.

white walls and toilet in a bathroom

I would like to find the perfect piece of art to go above the toilet, but am not in any hurry to buy just anything. I will wait until I find something that truly speaks to me. I may have to create it myself. 🙂

It took more time than I thought to give this room a fresh new look, but step-by-step I got it done. If you are thinking about giving a new look to a room in your home that seems too daunting to take on, take note that it doesn’t have to be done in a day. Take your time and work one step at a time until you make all the changes and you will be rewarded for your efforts.

On a budget Bathroom makeover DIY white/neutral after with a color pop of sky blue.

More Before & After Bathroom Makeovers

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