February 26, 2019

These Budget Updates Will Seriously Upgrade Your Bathroom

For the longest time, my bathroom was the most depressing room in my apartment. So many things about it offended me. The peeling cabinet and vanity. The gross tile grout that had yellowed over time. The floor tile with the peeling silicone where the toilet met the floor. And the toilet itself. It was slightly crooked, more or less due to the leaning of the building itself (they’re working on that).

I wanted to re-tile the walls and floor, replace the toilet, get a new vanity and cabinet. I thought about it every which way, and it just seemed like it was hoping to be expensive no matter what I did. I had to figure out the cheapest way to make it look fresh and new. And I did.

The subway tile on the walls was actually fine. It was installed just a few years ago, so the grout was in pretty good condition, albeit mildewed in spots. I toyed with the idea of just re-grouting it but again, that was labor intensive aka paying money to have it done. I vaguely remembered seeing a grout pen online, which essentially colors-in the tile. I found it on Amazon and bought the light grey one.

It is kind of amazing. Firstly, you make sure the tile is completely clean, and this is quite difficult. If there’s any mildew or silicone residue, it will ruin the tip of the pen before you’ve had a chance to see how great it is.

For this reason, you should start on tile that hasn’t been abused by water and soap and all sorts of splashes of lotions and potions. When you get to the shower area, it is a little harder so again just make sure it’s clean as a whistle before hitting that pen.

As for the vanity and cabinet, I ordered a vanity from All Modern and the cabinet and faucet from IKEA.

I talked to a tile guy who said it would be fine to tile over the existing floor tile. That saved me paying a full day of labor, since there was no tearing out of any tile.

I bought a toilet from All Modern. I wanted a one-piece, slim toilet without visible ridges and screws, so it would be super easy to clean. Yes, I had to hire a plumber to install both the toilet and the vanity, but it was so worth it.

I decided to do black and white wallpaper and when I saw the Ladies pattern by Chasing Paper, it felt right. Girl power etc. I’ve installed peel and stick papers in the past and am quite good at it now. I even managed to do the inset bit around the window, which I’d never been brave enough to try before. It makes a YUGE difference and I don’t recommend skipping it. Give it a try, you’ll be glad you did.

Click through the slideshow to see how I did it all

These Budget Updates Will Seriously Upgrade Your Bathroom

When using a grout pen, you should start on tile that hasn’t been abused by water and soap and all sorts of splashes of lotions and potions. When you get to the shower area, it is a little harder so again just make sure it’s clean as a whistle before hitting that pen.

These Budget Updates Will Seriously Upgrade Your Bathroom

I was even able to wallpaper the bit around the window.

These Budget Updates Will Seriously Upgrade Your Bathroom

Tiling over existing tile saves a fortune in labor and a lot less mess.

These Budget Updates Will Seriously Upgrade Your Bathroom

Fresh! Clean!

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