Nothing decreases the value and appeal of your home like an outdated bathroom, but you don’t have to break the bank to complete a bathroom makeover. Some paint, a new vanity and faucet, and a few decorating and design ideas can give your bathroom a much-needed facelift, in just one weekend.
Replace a Vanity
Your vanity is one of the most used items in your home and so it can quickly look worn and dingy and make your bathroom look the same. Replacing your vanity can be a great way to make a big impact on your bathroom makeover. Vanities are available in a variety of colors, dimensions and finishes, ranging from inexpensive basic models to designer originals. When you’re shopping for a new one, pay attention to size — you can go a little larger than your existing vanity, as long as the replacement won’t crowd existing fixtures or overpower the room.
Consider the best sink height for your needs. Do you have young children? If so, choose a low vanity so they can reach the sink. Vanities that are a few inches taller are easier for adults, who don’t have to bend as much to use them.
If you already have a wood vanity, you may consider sanding down and staining the bottom half of your vanity a different color and simply replacing the sink, faucet and cabinet hardware for a more budget friendly option with the same amount of impact.
If you are installing a new vanity, follow these steps to remove the old unit and install its replacement:
Step 1: Remove the Old Vanity
Shut off the water, and then disconnect the plumbing lines. Remove the sink, followed by the cabinet’s mounting screws. Now slide out the old cabinet from the wall.
Step 2: Measure and Mark
Use a pencil to draw the outline of your new vanity on the wall where you plan to mount it. Measure the vanity’s height and width at its highest point, and draw a corresponding line on the wall. Now draw vertical lines down to the bottom on both sides. Be exact, and make sure your lines are straight by using a straight edge tool such as a yardstick. Use a stud finder to locate any wall studs that may be located within the outline you just drew. Mark their location with your pencil. They will provide a sturdy base for anchoring the vanity to the wall. If your vanity has a back panel, be sure to make holes for the pipes extending from the wall. Mark on the back with a pencil the location of the pipes and cut holes using a jigsaw or drywall saw.
Step 3: Install the New Vanity
Slide the vanity into place, following the outline you drew and align the holes you just cut for the pipes. Use a level to make sure the unit is straight and even on all sides. If the vanity isn’t level, it’s probably not the unit that’s to blame. Often the culprit is an uneven floor. If the vanity is not level, even it up by placing wooden shims underneath.
Fasten the vanity to the wall using washers and 3'' wood screws (check again to ensure it is level before tightening). Use a power drill to drive screws into the wall and into the studs for a secure installation. Seal its entire top edge to the wall with a bead of latex caulk. If you removed the vanity doors, replace them now.
Don’t forget about the shims. Use a chisel and hammer to carefully trim away portions that protrude.
If the shims are large, hide them by placing decorative molding along the bottom of the cabinet, using finishing nails to secure.
Replace the Faucet
It might be time for a new faucet as well as a vanity. Plan so that the color and style of your new faucet matches your décor, accessories and countertop in your bathroom. There are a number of colors available. Popular choices are in various finishes of chrome, nickel and stainless steel, among others.
Step 1: Remove the Existing Faucet
Before you begin, shut off water to the fixture by turning the water valves for both hot and cold water located under the sink. Turn on the faucet to drain any remaining water in the lines. Use an adjustable wrench to disconnect the water supply lines. Now spray the faucet tailpiece, mounting nuts and coupling nuts with WD-40® spray lubricant to loosen them up if they are hard to turn. Detach the coupling nuts first with a basin wrench or channel-type pliers. Next, unscrew the tailpiece mounting nuts and remove the faucet base from the sink. Clean the now exposed surface underneath with mild detergent, a rag, brush or sponge, depending on how dirty it is. If stubborn plumber’s putty remains, scrape it away with a putty knife or gently with a razor blade.
Place a small bucket or pot in the under-sink cabinet to catch any water that might spill while you’re disconnecting water lines.
Step 2: Insert New Faucet
Insert the new faucet into the empty opening where the old faucet sat. Caulk the base of the faucet with either silicone caulk or plumber’s putty, applying a bead about 1/4" thick. Move the faucet into position, being sure that the base is parallel to the back of the sink. Now press the faucet down firmly so that it’s tightly sealed to the sink. Scrape away any excess caulk from the surface of the faucet. Let the putty set.
Step 3: Make Connections
Use your basin wrench or channel-type pliers to connect the metal friction washers to the tailpiece underneath the sink. Then attach the mounting nuts. Attach the supply tubes to the tailpiece, and then use your basin wrench or channel-type pliers to tighten the coupling nuts.
Step 4: Reconnect Water Supply
Now that the supply tubing is attached to the sink, connect it to the water source at the shutoff valves using compression fittings. Tighten the mounting nuts, first by hand and then with an adjustable wrench, turning them 1/4 of a turn to make sure they’re not too tight.
When you’re tightening the supply tubing to the valve, hold the valve with another wrench to keep it from turning.
If your new faucet has pre-attached tubing, it is not necessary to connect tubing to the faucet. Connect the pre-attached supply tubes to the shutoff valves with a basin wrench or channel-type pliers. The tubing with a red label connects to the hot water source and the tubing with a blue label connects to the cold-water source.
See more detailed articles on installing a new faucet, along with more ideas for updating your bathroom like regrouting bathroom tile.
Update Your Bathroom with Paint
Painting your bathroom is one of the quickest, easiest and most affordable ways to give your bathroom a fresh, new look. And nothing makes a bigger impact than color — especially in a small bathroom, where there’s limited space for decorative furnishings and accessories.
Colorful walls can create a feeling of size or warmth and can also help fixtures blend with their surroundings. Choose colors to match or complement other rooms in your home or simply because you like them. As with clothing, light or neutral colors make things look larger, while darker colors have the opposite effect. Warm, sunny shades make rooms seem intimate and inviting, while cool colors, like those found in the ocean and sky, create a sense of quiet, rest and relaxation. For assistance choosing a color, the paint experts at your local True Value hardware store can help you with your decision.
You can learn the step-by-step process of how to paint by checking out the helpful project, Paint a Room.
Light It Up
You can use light to enhance ambiance and mood in your bathroom. For example, add a warm glow to a small space by adding a pair of decorative sconces. Overhead lighting controlled by a dimmer switch adds ambient lighting, or if your taste and budget allow, recessed lighting is a fashionable option. If your bathroom is too dark, consider buying a fixture that provides more illumination than your existing one (or maybe it just needs higher watt bulbs). If it has frosted globes, replace them with clear ones that reflect more light.
Eliminating clutter is a simple way to make your bathroom makeover a success, while highlighting the new accessories and decorations you’ve added to the space. Get rid of unwanted items in the medicine cabinet, on the counter and under the sink. Stash items you don’t need visible but still need, out of sight in cosmetic bags and/or storage bins, or display them in attractive containers on the counter.
You have many storage options to choose from. Make sure you have enough space to accommodate containers so they don’t end up adding to the clutter. Store cleaning supplies in a portable plastic container under the sink or on a high shelf.
If you have small children, always secure all cabinets, drawers and the toilet with childproof latches.
Replace old, dingy or just plain boring cabinet hinges, doorknobs and drawer pulls with new ones to instantly give your bathroom a fresh new look. If you have a more traditional eye for style, shop for brushed or polished finishes, in brass, bronze, pewter or even ceramic pulls or knobs. If your style is contemporary, choose high-gloss metals such as nickel or stainless steel. For a more modern look, choose sleek nickel or stainless steel pulls, instead of knobs.
Don’t forget to make sure your new hardware matches your new faucet. You don’t want brass hardware and a stainless steel faucet.
Don’t just swap out knobs and pulls. You also want to replace hinges and catches to match the new exterior hardware.
Remove existing hardware with the necessary tools. In most cases, this will be just a screwdriver. For cabinet doors, as opposed to drawers, remove the door completely by detaching the door hinges from the cabinet frame. Attach new hardware the way you removed it, by attaching it with a screwdriver and the screws or other fasteners provided with the new hardware. If you have to make new holes for screws, do so with a power drill and a bit that is approximately the same or a size smaller than the screws that will fasten the hardware to the door or drawer. Before drilling, measure the drawer’s surface with a tape measure to be sure you’re installing the knob exactly in the center of the drawer’s surface.
If you’re installing pulls with more than one screw location, measure the distance between each screw on the hardware and transfer the measurement to the cabinet or drawer and mark the locations with a pencil. Be sure you place the pull in the center of a drawer by measuring the drawer face. Also, use a level to be sure your new pull will be installed in the right place.
Fashionable rugs, shower curtains, window treatments and towels are easy on the budget, but provide lots of color and design interest. Eye-catching wall art and vases reflect your unique personality. If space allows, add a chest, armoire or comfortable chair to make the room more inviting.
That’s all there is to it! With just a little effort and some DIY know-how, you’ve made your bathroom new again.
Project Shopping List
Here’s what you’ll need to complete this project successfully.