Saturday, February 25, 2017

Decorating a Small Bathroom on an Even Smaller Budget

Over the past five years, I've realized that owning a horse and more recently a farm can be an costly proposition.

Source: James Yang, New York Times, Nov. 18, 2014

All those necessary expenditures mean that when I redecorate a room in the house,  I try to "design on a dime."

As I detailed in an earlier blog post, the previous owners were very fond of wallpaper. So far I've stripped wallpaper in the dining room and foyer.  One more room was left--the small half bath off the laundry room.

The day I moved in I decided that the "woof woof" wallpaper had to go!

The ladies who board their horses on my farm use the small bathroom.  I told them that they were not allowed to come out of the bathroom without a piece of that hideous wallpaper in hand!  Even after two years of tearing it off in bits and pieces, there was still a long way to go when I finally was ready to tackle the bathroom update.

I'm quite certain that the paper was applied with industrial strength adhesive.  It took days to remove it.  As I cursed my way through stripping the walls, I had plenty of time to work out my plans for upgrading the bathroom from the dog motif.  I had almost a gallon of paint left over from the living room redo, so I decided to use that as my first cost-saving measure.  I painted the trim white.

The vanity was in perfect condition but it was a boring 1980s oak color.  I opted to paint it dark gray and change the knobs. I used chalk paint because it's perfect for the lazy or time-starved DIYer. You don't have to do any prep except wash the surface--no sanding or priming. With everything I have to do around the farm and for work, I really appreciate any time saver.

The dog mirror left by the previous owner was certainly colorful but not my taste.

The owner also left a small wood-framed mirror in one of the bedrooms.  It was the ideal size and shape so I painted it with the same grey paint as the vanity.

The most expensive part of the renovation was changing the beige vanity top and '80s brass faucet.

I thought about changing the light fixture but the $200-300 price tags were enough to spark my creativity.   The existing fixture was brass so I spray painted it brushed nickel to match the faucet and knobs. The spray paint cost about $7.

I honestly would love to buy something more appropriate for a farmhouse.  Maybe someday when I have some extra cash--oh wait, scratch that.  I own a farm and a horse.  No spare change likely any time soon.

Now it was time for the fun part--finding interesting decor.  In keeping with a farmhouse, I wanted rustic pieces.  I found this white ???? at a thrift store early last year.  I honestly don't know what it is or if it had a function other than decorative.  It was cheap, I liked the pattern and I knew I could find a use for it someday.  Sure enough, it's a departure from the usual choice of framed art to fill in the large blank wall.

I found the other two items at Home Goods (one of my very favorite stores although every time I go in there I have the urge to redo another room in my house so I can buy some of the very interesting furniture they often have).  My problem with decorating is that I can visualize exactly what I want but then get to the store and can't find anything like it.  I must have circled the store ten times, putting things in my shopping cart and then taking them out each time I found something better.

I finally stumbled upon this metal piece and then found three artificial plants that fit in each section perfectly! The plants are apparently very realistic because a friend asked me how I expected them to survive with no natural light in the room.

I decided to use what is supposed to be a coat rack for the hand towels.

And there it is!  The finished bathroom cost about $300.  A "new" bathroom and plenty of money leftover for feed, hay, supplements for Queenie, stall shavings, tractor payment, etc. etc. etc.

Another room done but I'm not resting on my laurels.  Next project--the family room.

My mother was always working on one project or the next while raising a family.  She would sit down for a short rest and after a few minutes, she would state, "this isn't getting anything done."  We used to call her "Hurricane Hattie" because she was always busy.  I think I inherited that gene and a little of her talent for "do-it-yourself" decorating.