boys’ bathroom refresh

Marian ParsonsAll Things Home, Bathrooms, Decorating, My House, Room Makeovers40 Comments

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Walmart. As always, all opinions and words are honest and my own.

Believe it or not, there are rooms in this house that have been furnished, but are otherwise untouched.  I haven’t painted the trim or walls or intentionally decorated them.  One of those rooms was the boys’ bathroom.  And, it was probably the worst room in the house.  The paint had been slopped on the walls, getting it on all the tub, floor, and all of the fixtures.  The faucets were crusted from 13 years of running without a water softener and the light fixtures were rusted.

With some paint, repurposing, new fixtures, and a few new accessories, this bathroom feels like a completely new space.  The best compliment I received was when Marshall looked over my shoulder while I was editing the photos and asked who that bathroom belonged to.  (He hadn’t seen it finished, yet.)  “It’s yours!”

Here’s how the bathroom started…

It had the same peachy off-white walls and trim as the rest of the house.

The shower curtain rod was crusted with hard water residue and the sticker was permanently affixed to it, so I decided to replace it.  I also wanted to install the rod higher.

You can’s see it in the photo, but the tub had splatters and drips of the wall paint all around the edge and the top, so I took some time to get those cleaned up.

And here is a closer look at the rusted light fixtures…

So, now that you’ve seen how the room started, let’s back up and break down the refresh.

I knew going into this makeover that I didn’t want to spend a ton of money on a bathroom for two pre-teen boys.  So I ended up combing Walmart Home for things that were nice but would be inexpensive.  The light fixtures, faucets, and accessories all elevated the room without busting the budget.

First of all, I painted the walls and trim the same colors as the hallway.  I looked at all sorts of paint and wallpaper swatches and thought about different techniques I could try, but in the end, I decided to use paint I already had and keep it simple.  That was partly to keep the budget down and partly because I’m still having issues with my shoulder and I didn’t want to get too ambitious.  Plus, a mid-tone color is great for a bathroom.  It’ll hide splashes and splatters.

It also looks cohesive given that the room is at the end of the hall, so you can see it from anywhere in the hall and from the bottom of the steps.

HERE’s a link to the lined laundry basket.  (I need to throw that rug in the dryer to try to get the creases out!)

I removed the towel bar and replaced it with THIS towel ring.  I find towel bars to be messy and prefer hooks for bath towels and rings or hooks for hand towels.  I rehung my original lighthouse watercolor, but I added an octopus print and some shell art I made.  A tutorial is coming soon.

Jeff helped me replace the crusty faucets and the rusted light fixtures.  (I also put on new white plastic switch plates.)

The light fixtures ended up hanging over the mirror a bit, but I really don’t mind the look.  If I could redesign it, I would move them up, but that’s a bit more involved than a refresh!  The fixtures have a clean, nautical feel that works well with everything else.  THESE are the ones I bought.

The biggest splurge in the room is the Cassidy faucets from Delta.

They make such a difference, though!  I love the handles and the spout that gives a little more room for washing hands and getting a drink after brushing teeth.  And the faucets needed to be replaced for the sake of function, not just looks.

I also picked up an inexpensive soap pump.  I couldn’t find it online to provide a link, but I purchased it at my local Walmart.

On the other side of the sink, I hung another piece of shell art (THESE are the frames I used) and a framed Child’s Prayer that I was given when Marshall was born.

It’s a beautiful reminder for our boys (and us) and I try to always have it hanging in a visible place.

On the floor in front of the sink, I added a runner with a rubber back, so it won’t slip around and will catch drips.  It’s also thin enough to fit under the door as it opens and closes.

I found this sweet antique stool at Gold Rush a couple of weeks ago and it’s perfect for this room.  The boys are tall enough that they don’t need a stool, but I’ll put it under the window.

On the other side of the room, we hung two coastal wall art prints (they came in a set with the octopus.)

I used the TP holder we already had, but I cleaned it all up (it was splattered with paint) and it looks like new!  I’ll share how I did it in another post.

We removed the old shower curtain rod and replaced it with THIS ONE.   The trick to raising a shower curtain is to use a shower stall liner.  They are longer but not as wide as a traditional shower curtain.  The reduced width means they will fit a hemmed piece of decorator fabric, too!  A longer curtain visually fills the space better.

I modified a curtain I made for Calvin’s room in our PA house by adding buttonholes at the top for the shower curtain rings.  I will share a tutorial on how to make a custom shower curtain.

Since this isn’t as wide as a typical shower curtain, I will make a second one (I already have the fabric).  When open, we can have a curtain on either side or push them both to one side.

I like THESE RINGS, because they slide across the rod easily, they don’t pop open, they don’t rust, and they look nice and clean.

So, that’s it!  Quite a dramatic difference!

At some point, we’ll replace the floor tile with leftover slate from the foyer project.  I’m also planning to replace the cabinet hardware, so it matches the chrome fixtures (or I might go with glass), but I haven’t found something I really love, yet.  I also might paint the cabinets eventually, but we’ll tackle the floors first before I decide.

I asked Calvin if he liked his new bathroom and he said, “Oh yeah.  It’s awesome!”

That’s a big win from an 11-year-0ld.

I’ll share how I cleaned the TP roll holder and tub along with tutorials for the shower curtain and custom shell art soon!


boys’ bathroom refresh

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40 Comments on “boys’ bathroom refresh”

  1. This looks wonderful. I have similar tile/cabinet colors in our son’s bathroom and have been struggling to pick a paint color as the shower curtain is black and white. Could you share the wall color? I can’t seem to find it in old posts though I’m sure you’ve mentioned it before. Thank you

  2. Kinda of surprised at a coastal theme in Minnesota, but I’m glad the boys like it. I have custom longer shower curtains but they are wider, not two curtains hanging separate. I still love the look of fabric shower curtains vs. glass doors.

    1. I think coastal themes work no matter where you are! 🙂 Both of my boys loved the beach and it worked with the color palette and what we already had. And, really, the only things that make it coastal is the art and shells. I can easily change those out down the road.

    1. Yes, I was wondering the same thing.. It looks odd in that location and not very convenient to access. Personally, I don’t care for TP holders permanently attached to the wall. I’ve had one of those free standing holders for years and still love it.
      Love the shower curtain – they are really sooo simple to make.
      Overall, great redo!!

    2. Wow, I feel judged! I’m just kidding… apparently, the people who owned the house before us hung it there and we’ve kept it there because there is nowhere else to hang it within reach. The room is too wide to hang it opposite of the toilet and there isn’t a wall next to the toilet.

    3. I agree!! We just bought a new home and we have the same situation!! It’s like WHAAAAT I swear we go through more toilet paper too!! Love the overall new look though

  3. Nice Redo for a kids bathroom. One thing that jumped out at me was the big white lightbulbs. So many new more decorative choice on the market now. Might be a topic for a whole new posting -showing us the new options and how/when to use on what? Love your blog!

  4. What a clever refresh. I like seeing how a room can be improved rather than overhauled. Budget, time and physical limitations don’t always allow for a the complete redo of our dreams. Thanks for keeping it real.

    As for the controversy over the location of the t.p. holder, I used to believe it needed to be close at hand. But in practice, I’ve found it easy to deal with a wide range of setups, so I am no longer as doctrinaire as I used to be.

    An exception would be for disabled access. Thank goodness that’s not a consideration here.

  5. Love the update! I’ve been slowly working on our basement bathroom where everything but the vanity is on a pedestal!!!!! And it was done in the 90s so super dark wood trim EVERY WHERE! Trim and walls have been painted to compliment the existing almond tile. I’ve painted the vanity a beautiful jade green like color and replaced the hardware. Next up will be a new mirror and light to replace the wood tri fold medicine cabinet and the five light wood light fixture. Thank you for sharing your updates!!! It’s beautiful as always!

  6. I love your bathroom makeover- it looks for clean and fresh and blue and white is such a beautiful combo. I live in the Midwest and have blue and white, along with glass canisters full of shells in my decor in the master bath. I don’t think of that as coastal so much as just water-related. Works for me!

  7. Oh I just love everything you’ve done in your boys bathroom! It’s very fresh and inviting. I also love the warm wood of the cabinets with the pretty wall color. Very nicely done!

  8. There is nothing better than a great outcome without having to spend the bank on it. Your bathroom refresh is perfect. I just crystallized some seashells with borax and have been deciding what to do with them. I look forward to your shell art tutorial, perfect timing!

  9. I love it! I live in Colorado and had a coastal theme in my bathroom in my previous home. Your idea about the shower liner is brilliant…I have used the standard liners before but me thinks I will change them😊.
    P. S. I also love your new cabinet in the entry way…I knew you would know what to do when you saw the right piece!

  10. I was going to ask the same question re: the paint colors, both the grey and white that you used. I see that you answered about the grey, but didn’t mention what paint company. Additionally, I am not familiar with paint mixed at 50% strength. Would you explain please?? And tell me which white paint you used……..Thanks so much!

  11. This is a great refresh for not a lot of money! I’m not surprised you and the boys love it! Personally, I think the TP holder is in a great space! You don’t have a lot of options with your setup. Hanging it lower could mean the end of the roll would fall into the garbage…ugh. it doesnt look like you have a lot of options for moving the trash either. So, it works! Who knew the location of a TP holder would bring so many comments! 😁

  12. Looks great, my only suggestion would be to change the outlet by the sink for a GFIC (ground fault interrupter) outlet.

  13. Great look now in this bathroom!
    Shower curtains and liners can be purchased in extra long size so you could have the length and still have the width for a regular tub/shower combo.

  14. Looks great! Goes to show how much can be done with a little effort. The only other thing I would do is add moulding to the mirror to frame it out. Nice job.

  15. What a lovely update. It looks so fresh and inviting. I love the shower curtain. It really makes a statement. It’s extremely rare to see shower curtains where I live, with most homes, having glass shower doors or nothing (in newer designed wet rooms). I’m always interested in how fittings and furnishings change from area to area! Hope you enjoy your trip to Europe.

  16. Wow! What a marvelous refresh of the bathroom!
    Marian, you are incredibly talented and I am always in awe of your projects.
    That navy and white buffalo check curtain is exactly what I plan on making for my guest bathroom.
    I live in Raleigh, NC, and I have some gorgeous sea prints in my downstairs family room bath. They are beautiful and work anywhere.

    P.S.: Next time you come to Raleigh, I’d love to meet you!

  17. MMs, What a charming pre teen boy’s bathroom. No wonder they’re thrilled.

    Back to school hugs,
    Diney on Camano Island

  18. It looks beautiful and perfect for tweenage boys. I picked up the same soap dispensers this weekend for both of our bathrooms. I loved the why they looked and the price was fantastic!

  19. I love your bathroom refresh! I love seeing how a few small changes can have a big impact. Great job!!

  20. It looks like a new bathroom! It’s amazing how little touches can change the look of a room completely!

  21. It’s beautiful! I love all of the touches. I have my son’s bathroom with a coastal touch too. It’s very tranquil and will be carrying it over into my new home. A great refresh.

  22. I love this refresh! Reading your post reminded me of our recent ‘refresh’ which ended up becoming a major redo. I just wanted to paint the walls and perhaps place newer art on the walls. I politely asked my husband if it were possible to get rid of and replaced our very 70’s and very blue toilet. He asked what I was going to do about the matching bathtub/shower plasticy insert. I replied that my shower curtain would remain closed and company wouldn’t see it unless they were snooping. That wasn’t good enough for him. We ended up with a new white toilet and tub with beautiful tiles surrounding the tub. I even managed to sneak in a few shelves and a niche in the tub/shower. All of that beauty led him to suggest I start looking for new counter tops for the vanity. My ‘refresh’ is a lovely retreat that is my happy place after a hard day. He loves it so much that he wants to ‘refresh’ our other bathroom. 😉

  23. Are you able to hang the light fixtures with the globes pointing up so that they don’t extend past the mirror? Some of them are able to be hung either way. I think it looks great but if it bothers you this may be an easier solution.

  24. All that rust on the light fixtures and shower curtain rod makes me wonder if you have a vent fan in that room? I know, when the houses were built the fact that there was a window allows it to pass code but…. in the middle of winter opening the window to allow the moisture to dissipate isn’t possible so…. you might want to look into having a vent fan added. With two growing boys using that room you will really need it, ask me how I know? 🙂

  25. It looks great! One thing we have done in every bathroom that we have ever had where there is a ‘builder grade’ mirror is install white trim around it to make it look a bit more finished. It has always elevated the feel of the space for very little money.

  26. Love it! As you update but don’t want to spend the money to change the ivory outlets, I found the TayMac 2000W paintable outlet cover wall plate works great. It covers the old ivory outlets rather than leave them exposed. I bought mine at Home Depot but available elsewhere including on Amazon.

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