Budget Bathroom Makeover: Embracing the ’60s Yellow

There is a room in my house that few people even know exists. The door remains closed at all times (and I do mean ALL times). It is a room trapped in 1966, when yellow toilets, sinks, and tile seemed like a good idea. And it is the first room (other than my bedroom) I see when I wake up, and the last one I see before I go to bed.

It is my Master Bathroom.


It’s funny to even call it a “master bathroom,” since most people’s closets are bigger than it, but it’s the bathroom off our bedroom, and one of the very first things we wanted to remodel when we moved here 5+ years ago. And yet here we stand today, still living with the yellow. You see, when we moved in, I was 6 months pregnant with our first child, and then she was born, and as all first time parents know, life gets kinda crazy. So we put it on the to-do list, in hopes we’d get to it in the next year, when life calmed down a little.

Then my first born turned 9 months old and we found out we were expecting. Again. So Baby #2 joins the family, and you know the story. Life’s even crazier, put the bathroom on the to-do list for the next year. Again.

Then when Baby #2 was 6 months old, we found out we were expecting. Again. (I know what you’re thinking, we should probably figure out what’s causing all these babies, right?!) 😉 Anyhoo, here we are again, with a hideous (putting it mildly) bathroom, but of course, kids are kinda expensive, and eating and paying the mortgage trump gutting our master bathroom, right? We have decided though, in the next year or so, we WILL gut it completely and start fresh and get a kick-you-know-what master bathroom FINALLY.
(And in case you’re wondering, we did figure out what was causing all those babies, and unless God has a hilarious sense of humor, we shouldn’t be discovering we are expecting Baby #4 anytime soon;)

But in the meantime, until we can afford that major renovation, I wanted to see if I could make do with what we had, on a very small budget – it became like a game to me – just how little I could spend on this room, and make it look, well, pretty. And since I know in the not-too-distant future we will be renovating, I wasn’t concerned with how well it will hold up, or how long things will last. I just wanted a quick fix, so that my husband and I don’t stand there brushing our teeth every night, laughing at the hideousness that surrounds us. (This is 100% true – we actually do stand there and laugh as we point out certain “beauty marks” of the room, like the yellow toilet with the mismatched tan seat, or the tile that is missing from the floor, or the shower that has been regrouted so many times we can’t even count…oh, it’s a show in there, let me tell you.

So then it hit me: yellow and grey are everywhere these days and I am completely digging the combo. Well, we have the 1960s yellow tile, shower, toilet, sink, everything in our bathroom, so why not incorporate grey into the mix and try and hide as much of the yellow as I possibly could? Mission accomplished, and I have to say, what was once the biggest eyesore of my home, is now one of my favorite rooms:)

Without further adieu, here is a pic of the before:

Sweet. Do you feel like you’re in a time warp? Here’s some more…

Awesome. Now here’s what it looks like now, after I spent less than $72 – yep, and that includes paint!:

Ahhhhhh. Dare I say, I almost like the yellow sink and toilet now?! Ok, here’s what I did:
1. Bought 2 of those $5 Sherwin Williams samples in Essential Grey. It’s such a small space, I probably could have gotten away with just one, but I needed more for the shower sheet – yes, I’ll get to that – Total: $10
2. Painted the floor with some white semi-gloss I already had – yep, I painted that tile floor. Will it chip, peel, be a disaster? Highly likely, BUT like I said before, I was looking for a temporary pretty fix, and besides, even if it does peel or chip, it’s still a HUGE improvement from the lovely yellow and brown tile, am I right?! And I bought 3 scatter bath rugs to hide most of the floor anyway, so it’s all good. Total: free, since I had the paint already
3. Picked up the rugs at Walmart. Total: $33
4. Bought a toilet seat at Home Depot. Now, they don’t sell that kickin’ yellow anymore, so I figured white was a step-up from the brown one. Total: $5 (I kid you not! I’m looking at the receipt right now – what do I care if it’s plastic or wood enamel or whatever the good ones are made of?! I just want a decent looking one that will last me a year or 2.). 
5. Bought a tension rod for the shower, a twin bed sheet and some clip rings. Total: $17
6. Bought a soap dispenser from the Dollar Store, you know, because my Nate Berkus tells me to always upgrade your soaps into prettier dispensers, and I have to agree in this case. Total: $1
7. Picked up 2 sheets of scrapbook paper to give my cabinet a prettier look: Total: 60 cents
8. Bought 2 yards of plain white fabric from Walmart to make a sink skirt. Total: $5

Things I had on hand that I did use include: paint rollers, brush, painter’s tape, hem tape, velcro tape, white spray paint, a canvas, yellow acrylic paint.

Grand Total: $71.60

Not too shabby, huh?! Now, I still have yet to make some curtains, but the window is always hidden behind the door anyway, but I’m sure I’ll get to them soon.

So let me tell you about that shower…I have no idea where the idea came to me, but I wanted to find a way to hide that big yellow eyesore, so I thought maybe I could hang a curtain/fabric in front of it, and simply slide it out of the way when we needed to take a shower. Since this became my mission to find the cheapest ways to decorate this room, I picked up a $5 white twin sheet from Walmart. I cut it to the length I wanted, no-sew hem taped it on the bottom to give it a clean line, placed painter’s tape across to give it wide stripes, and used the leftover Essential Grey. I started out measuring the distance between each lines, and seeing if the lines were straight, but I wasn’t even finished the first stripe before I gave up on that. I figured, the sheet would always be bunched anyway, so even if the lines were a little droopy or off, it wouldn’t be noticeable. Besides, we know patience with stuff like that is NOT my strong suit. That’s just how I roll.
After the paint dried, I hung a tension rod up high, and attached it with clip rings.

We just get out of the shower, slide the curtain across again, and poof! The yucky yellow shower stall is hidden, just like magic!

Another update I did was give my existing mirror a slight facelift. It was an off-white color, so I covered the mirror and gave it a glossy white finish with some spray paint I had. See, it pays to have an enormous collection of spray paint, for times just like these. You never know, am I right?!

I also had a canvas left over from a project, so I stenciled ‘you & me’ on it in grey, but it needed something else, so I had some yellow acrylic paint and wrote ‘always’ along the side. After all, it is our bathroom, we’re the only two people who even go in there, and the word always is our “thing.” We have it engraved on the insides of both our wedding bands, and ever since the dating days, we’ve signed all our cards, little love notes, etc., with that word. (I’m sure Hubs is thrilled I’m sharing mushy stuff with you, but he’ll live…;)

I wanted to hide the rusty pipes under the sink, and all that lovely stuff like the plunger, trashcan, etc., so I looked for a pretty piece of yellow/grey print fabric, but didn’t have much luck. A perfect one probably exists, but when you’re at JoAnn’s with small children, the clock is ticking, so time to search for the perfect fabric isn’t always in the cards! I decided to just grab some plain white, thinking I’d stencil some print on it, but was dying to even see if my plan was going to work first, and put it up as is. I can always do it later if I want, right? Now, this was a total shot in the dark, and I am honestly shocked it worked. I realized I didn’t even take pics of this process, probably because the whole time I was doing it, I thought it was going to a big ol’ fail. But it worked! And now I have no pics for you…I apologize. But I CAN tell you how I did it! First, I cut the fabric to the length I guesstimated I’d need. Again, got my trusty no-sew hem tape out and hemmed the bottom and sides. I started stapling – yes, stapling – some pleats. I did a super tight pleat, that was super cute, but realized those 2 yards I bought weren’t going very far at that rate, so I had to unstaple and do very few pleats in the end. Then I attached velcro sticky tape onto the outside of the skirt, and the opposing velcro onto the underneath/inside part of the sink. Sounds WAY confusing, I’m sorry! And MUCH to my surprise, it WORKED! And it hides all that yucky business underneath the sink, and hides more of the painted floor, since I don’t even know if one can actually paint a floor….

Speaking of…in case you were wondering about the floor…I just cleaned the heck out of it, dried the heck out of it, and started rolling white semi-gloss paint right onto that sucker! Crazy, I know, but I didn’t care if I ruined it, you know? I let it dry between coats, and did 3 coats. Slapped a bunch of rugs on top, and it looks wayyyy better.

Now, I showed you the cabinet in my last post, you can read about it here in case you missed it. Here’s another pic, just because…

Oh, and my mom found that cute white tray for a buck at a yard sale this weekend! Score!

Whew! I think I covered it all…if you see something in there I missed, let me know and I’ll address it:)

Ok, one more look, since I love it so stinkin’ much!…

There you have it. My Bathroom Makeover for $71.60. I think we’ll be very happy in here for the time being, until the day comes when we can tear that puppy apart. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d say this, but I might actually be a little sad to see it go now! WOW!!!!

Yay for my pretty budget bathroom! Hope you like it!


  1. You did a great job on your budget, although after just seeing the final make over of your complete bathroom I am still in bathroom dream land! Did your floor last the three years?

    • It did! There were a couple scratches where the paint chipped off, but I’ve been told to use exterior paint and it would hold up better, might want to give that a try?

  2. Love what you did in the bath! You have a real flair for doing so much on a not very big budget, I’m impressed. Sent you a post on the stair railing done with the gel stain, hope it went through. Looking forward to seeing more of your work.

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