Sage here. Working as a pair on a blog is so much fun, and one of the greatest parts is that we always have each other to turn to when we need a second opinion or advice. A lot of the time it’s pretty casual, but we thought that sometimes it would be entertaining to make it a little more formal and share it on the blog. Last month Naomi shared some awesome recommendations for my sunroom. After all her amazing and creative ideas I figured I had to repay the favor, so I asked her to pick a space she could use some advice about. She chose her bathroom. Here’s what she has to say about it:
“When we first bought our house, our bathroom was by far the most attractive room. That’s hard to believe now. Still, it is not terrible, and given what a BIG DEAL bathroom renovations are, we’ll probably wait a while to take it on in full. A good long while.
But given that timeline I am itching to find a way to spruce up our sink and vanity area while we wait for a real update down the line. For now, I just subtly miss getting it in the frame in my bathroom photos.
It’s not that it is so bad. The vanity is plain white laminate that is in solid shape but aesthetically is pretty beat up and stained. That means that even if it is freshly scrubbed it still seems dingy, which is a real downer.
Inside, there is just one big shelf, so I’ve had to rig up divided storage using IKEA boxes, which works for organization but isn’t my long-term vision to say the least. The tiles surrounding the sink are painted white, rather than actually being white, so in a few places the paint is chipping away to reveal salmon-pink tile underneath. That is not a good look.
And having only under the sink storage is a real pain, because keeping all our stuff on the vanity ends up looking pretty cluttered. I use trays to help corral things, but it is still not ideal. The sink and faucet themselves are okay, but just aren’t what I would have picked out if I started from scratch.
The light that we have is pretty ugly but really handy, as you can flip it on while still standing right there at the sink.
Overall, while the whole setup is working fine, it all just looks dingy and depressing.
So, Sage, help! I would love to find a way to keep our existing structure, sink, and faucet but make it look better and/or be more functional in the interim before we renovate for real. To add to that tall order, how about not a whole lot of work, and also pretty affordable? I don’t want to sink (puns are awesome) a ton of time and money into a temporary fix.”
Okay Naomi, challenge accepted! First of all, let me say that I’m feeling a ton of pressure to recommend something amazing after you did such a thorough and creative job advising me on my sunroom. I’m not going to suggest you paint your bathroom turquoise so that already handicaps it, but hopefully I can come up with some other helpful thoughts!
To get my creative juices flowing, I spend approximately 1,000 hours online looking at photos of other people’s bathrooms. I did a lot of pinteresting to a secret board (couldn’t have you seeing my ideas prematurely!), and I also put together a board over at Hometalk — here are some of the pretty pictures that helped me start thinking about the possibilities in your bathroom:
For your bathroom, I thought I would break my suggestions up into some discrete chunks, since you’re dealing with a number of different questions: The mirror, the light, the sink + vanity, and storage.
So first up, the mirror. First, let me reassure you that a wraparound mirror can look amazing:
You definitely could add some framing around the mirrors, but I’m worried that it will look strange because there would still be so much tile between the top of the vanity and bottom of the framing. So I’m thinking that you should probably keep the mirror as is, an understated background for some of the other changes I’ll recommend.
One caveat, though, is that I kinda, sorta want to recommend you build some narrow shelving along the bottom edge of the mirror to add some off-counter storage. I’ve seen some bathrooms with a similar concept that look awesome:
I love the natural wood in these inspiration images, but I think something dark could also tie into your color scheme well. Am I crazy thinking that this could look cool?
Having made a confident recommendation on the mirror (here’s where I need sarcastic font), it’s onto the light! Right now, you have this convenient but not-quite-high-design light mounted on the mirror above the sink:
Of course, these are all probably more than you want to spend — between $150-$200 each. There’s a Home Depot knockoff version of the first one, but even that’s $100. So…what to do?
I’m loving some version of this project idea for you:
All you need for this is an inexpensive fixture from Home Depot or Lowes and three Edison style light bulbs, plus oil rubbed bronze spray paint if you want the ORB finish rather than silver. Here, here, and here are a few fixtures that caught my eye for this project.
Oh and since your current light is a plug in , you’ll need to do a quick rewiring of the new light fixture. However, Lindsay over at Hawk Hill assures me that this is very easy, and just requires a part that was $9 on Amazon when I looked (affiliate link — read our policies). I couldn’t find any good vanity light plug-in options, so this seems like the best bet.
Sink and Vanity
I think there’s a lot of potential with the sink and vanity. For the vanity, I recommend adding some shaker-style detail on the vanity doors by attaching plain trim around the edges of each door and then giving the whole thing a fresh coat of paint and some new knobs. Kind of like so:
And I love the idea of painting the vanity a fun color, like this mint green:
But in the small space, keeping it white might work better. Still, with a fresh coat of paint, I think it will look a whole lot brighter and cleaner. And I could go down an endless rabbit hole of fun knobs, but I have to leave some of the fun to you. As you know, ATGStores.com has some great and affordable options.
As for the sink, there are a few options for refinishing. Because it’s in the bathroom, you need something that will stand up to heavy moisture. One method that seems popular on the internetz is spray painting, but you don’t like to spray paint inside for health reasons so I put that idea aside. The other most promising options seem to be Rustoleum countertop paint (which has pretty mixed reviews), and the blogger favorite: concrete coating.
Even though bloggers are obsessed with Ardex Feather Finish for this, Henry Feather Finish — which is sold at Home Depot, unlike Ardex — is basically the same and gets very good reviews (from the likes of Vintage Revivals, no less). We basically won’t be legit bloggers unless we try this. No pressure, or anything….
A few other thoughts — for the chipping tile, you could try Ceramifix paint (affiliate link — read our policies) to do some touching up, just $9 on Amazon when I looked. You might also consider replacing the faucet, but that’s going to cost some money. An intermediate and inexpensive option is to remove the faucet and spray paint it oil rubbed bronze. Look how ORB transformed this terrible faucet!
And lastly: storage! The most fun of all. Okay so it’s not exactly as pretty as the other updates, but it can be so satisfying. Here are some options I think could help add a lot of functionality under your sink:
These are all solutions that I think would be very useful and not too pricey. Of course if you did want to splurge on fancy organizing contraptions, under your sink could look like this:
But who are we fooling? No one’s bathroom sink really looks like this. Maybe you could find a middle ground by adding some pretty contact paper or something.
You could also add some more organized storage on the counter (especially if you don’t add shelves along the mirror), either something tiered:
Or a long basket or tray along one edge of the counter:
And one last thought on storage is that you could put that “convenient door” to use, with some over-door hanging storage in this vein:
Okay, so I know that’s a lot to throw at you. I thought if I put a lot of ideas out there, you’d be bound to like at least one of them! So when should I come over to help skim-coat the counter with concrete?
(Sharing at Tip Junkie and The NY Melrose Family)