There are a ton of things you can do to inject some life into a dull and uninspiring bathroom without forking out on a new suite or even new tiles. In 3 steps over the course of 2 days, I took my bathroom decor from halfway-there to what is not just a unified scheme but a fun, trendy one too.
So to start, let’s look at what I was working with. When we moved into this house a couple of years ago, I started decorating this room before I started on my bedroom. I had been blessed with any amateur decorators dream; a blank canvas of a bathroom, apparently untouched since the house was built ten years ago, a square room with a classic white suite, cream walls and a cream carpet.
The carpet had to go immediately. Which meant I would need tiles. While shopping for tiles, I came across these vinyl wood effect floorboards. A little bit tacky for flooring but hey, they made a great panel for the glaringly bare, white shiny face of the tub. The greyish faux floor-boards sparked a love of blueish, dusty grey and led to the choice in floor tiles. And so, I learned to tile a floor for the first time using my uncles angle-grinder to get around awkward edges and wearing sunglasses as eye protection (don’t try that at home!).
And what about the walls?? I knew I needed something bold. As a back room in this north-facing house, the bathroom is one of the few places that can truly make the most of the glow of sunlight through the window so I chose a bright and slightly dirty yellow. I wanted it to be bright but not too cute, and not too clinical. I loved it.
But the decor stopped there. A few wooden accessories (from Sainsbury’s and IKEA) to hold my toothbrush and stack my toilet rolls on. But although the room was apparently done, it never felt done.
So here we are, a year or so later. I’ve finally taken it upon myself to get it looking like something out of the Great Interior Design Challenge (does anyone else watch that show? I love it!).
Here’s how I did it all in 2-and-a-bit days and 3 steps.
Well, nothing says original design like a unique, hand painted piece of wall-art, right!
First I primed my chosen wall and radiator with two coats of an all surface primer. Then, using 2 tester pots of paint (I’m not gonna splash out on a proper pot for only one wall!) I coated the wall twice with this beautiful deep inky blue; Valspar’s ‘Victorian Dusk’.
This gorgeous colour not only compliments the yellow beautifully but also ties into small details around the room such as the stripes in the blinds and the new tiles which I’ll get into in my next step. I had already sketched out an idea for my mural so the rest was easy as pie….
Well, I’ll let you have a look and see. Watch a timelapse of me painting my mural here.
I painted it using Dulux white satin wall paint, I wanted to know that it would last, especially in the ever-damp bathroom environment. If I were doing it again though, I might’ve gone for a simple acrylic as the satin paint wasn’t quite as opaque as I would have liked.
The next step was to tackle the tiles. The original colour of the feature strip of tiles never really sat right with me. They had a sort of hospital feel to them and didn’t compliment the colour of the walls at all. I had a simple solution for that. Marble contact paper has always been my fave decorating tool. You can use it almost every where to transform dull surfaces into things of luxury.
I cut each individual tile shape directly onto the wall using the dip of the grout as a guide, rather then preparing ready-made tile-sized pieces. If you’re attempting this yourself, you might be able to get away with pre-cutting your tile stickers (it would probably be a lot quicker) but, because the uneven grouting and- in some areas- sloppy workmanship of the previous tiler meant that there were slight differences in each tile, I needed to be extra-precise. And I wanted it to look as real as possible.
What do you think of the difference? I’m shocked at how well such a small change can transform the room.
Finally, all that was left was to ‘dress’ the room. Bring it all together, as they say. And the only thing that was really getting in the way of that was the stuff on my shelves. Stuff.
Since a minimalist challenge I set myself at the end of last year, I do have considerably less junk on my bathroom shelves, but the few things that were left were’t contributing to the scheme as they were so I made a few tiny adjustments that made a massive difference.
I switched out my pale blue flannels for a posher-looking pile of crisp white ones, got rid of a green plant pot that wasn’t complimenting anything at all, sacrificed my cute but cluttered collection of rubber duckies, and tucked my spare bottle of mouthwash just out of sight behind my newly-neatened-up tin of cleaning supplies.
Honestly, this step took about 5 minutes but look at the difference it’s made.
So what do you think? I hope you’ve been able to find some small inspiration in this, even to do the tiniest thing (or, even better, why don’t you do a full-blown mural yourself?). Thanks for joining me 🙂
It was supposed to be a very simple, stripped-back ink drawing but of course I couldn’t stay away from my beloved gouache and