the unimpressive, free, one-hour bathroom makeover

by | Mar 7, 2022 | Bathrooms, Decorating, My House, Room Makeovers | 35 comments

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Blogging has been (and I’m sure will continue to be) a weird, wonderful job for me.  It has allowed me to roll the things I enjoy into my business and has helped me unearth and develop skills I didn’t even know I had.  Work for me can be anything from going to an antique store to making a slipcover to organizing a closet to drawing a pattern.  It is a strange job, but I really love it.  As with all jobs, though, there are perks and pluses and then there are drawbacks.  Some of those drawbacks are just embedded in the nature of the job, but some are definitely of my (our) own making.  One of those drawbacks is, over the years, I have built up this idea in my head that unless I’m really going to give a room a makeover, I mean, give it an overhaul worthy of sharing before & after pictures on the internet, then it’s not really worth doing.  I’ll just wait until I have a vision and the time/budget to execute that vision.  But, sometimes, a fresh coat of paint is enough.  And that leads me to the unimpressive bathroom makeover.

Typical bathroom makeover | miss mustard seed

This bathroom makeover will most likely be reminiscent of many, many bathroom makeovers that have happened in bathrooms all across the world.  But, it’s nothing anyone is going to get too excited about…except perhaps to see their own home in it.

Typical bathroom makeover | miss mustard seed

This is our basement/guest bathroom.  I don’t think I’ve ever shared a picture of it here on the blog because, well, it’s just a pretty basic bathroom.  It has nice cabinets but is otherwise pretty builder-grade – beige tiles, plastic tub insert, typical hardware store vanity lights, large plate mirror.  It was painted in a flat, off-white paint that feels more like a primer than paint.  The towel bar and toilet paper have both fallen out of their wall anchors over the years and hung precariously, shedding drywall dust every time they were touched.

When we moved in, I put a rug down, hung a shower curtain, and added a couple of preserved boxwood topiaries to add a little bit of life to the room.  We replaced the toilet paper holder and towel bar, hanging them in studs and/or using better anchors, and patched the walls.  And that was the extent of the care and attention this bathroom received, other than regular cleaning.

Typical bathroom makeover | miss mustard seed

But, as Jeff and I were going around the house last weekend, making a list of annoying projects that should be taken care of, I added “paint the basement bathroom” to the list.  It was against my nature to do so because a proper blogger bathroom makeover would involve woodwork, a new mirror, new fixtures, perhaps a tiled surround topping off an updated tub, jacking out the floor, and replacing it with something more custom and interesting.  It would be a few weeks and a few thousand dollars of work in this tiny basement bathroom.  And, honestly, I didn’t want to spend my decorating dollars and time on it.  Maybe one day, but not any time soon.

So, a fresh coat of paint, while unimpressive, was really all this room required right now.

I cracked open a can of paint that I already had leftover from painting the boy’s bathroom and I painted the bathroom in about an hour.

Typical bathroom makeover | miss mustard seed

When the paint was dry, I cleaned up and declared this bathroom makeover complete.  It’s not dramatic, but it really is amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do for a room.  Just having the patches covered up makes the room look worlds better.

Typical bathroom makeover | miss mustard seed

While I used leftover paint and didn’t intentionally pick this color for the room, I like how it plays off of the floors and the color of the cabinetry.  It is Stonington Gray mixed at 50% in eggshell.  The paint not only looks better, but it feels better, too, and scuff won’t be as much of an issue.

Typical bathroom makeover | miss mustard seed

The rug is one I designed for Annie Selke a few years ago.  It was the perfect fit for this bathroom!  You can purchase the rug (and it’s actually on clearance now.)

Typical bathroom makeover | miss mustard seed

While I know this bathroom makeover post isn’t filled with clever ideas and decorating inspiration, I hope it is a makeover that offers encouragement.  Makeovers don’t have to be dramatic or “Instagram worthy” to be worthwhile.  This one was free and it took about an hour.  Definitely worthwhile.

If you would like to see more inspirational and interesting bathroom makeovers with new tile, wallpaper, and fixtures, you can find some HERE.

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    1. Sharon

      Now your talking my level of expertise!!

    2. Kris

      It’s refreshing to see a non-dramatic makeover. Many of us don’t have the time/money/know-how to do all the fancy stuff. Sometimes “good enough” is …. good enough!

    3. Betty Bashaw

      Thank you, Marian. Large makeovers are not part of our life right now. Yes, we’ve been there in the past. But life is busy, and priorities shift. I’m thanking you for giving us permission to do what we can, when we can. Our homes should reflect who we are and what we are about. A coat of paint, new towels, a plant … these are my kind of makeovers!

    4. Terri

      Marian, this is a great “beautification project” as my late husband called any type of update/cleanup/fix, etc! While some may not even notice, you will notice! It makes us feel good to give our homes tlc, whether big or less big. Love it! and as always, thank you for including us, your fans!

    5. Fran

      Loved this makeover! As your readers, I also think it’s important to see/read about little, but significant, things that we can do in our homes right now. Thank you for sharing this!

      • Susan

        Basically you mean what “normal” people do. You didn’t need to add 1000 disclaimers about how this wouldn’t be a dramatic change. I think the average person doesn’t do over the top make overs. They do what they can with what they have. Sounds like YOU aren’t ok with just doing a “basic” makeover more than we, the readers. It’s vastly improved.

        • Marian Parsons

          Thanks for sharing your perspective on that. I hope I didn’t offend you. I meant to highlight that I was silly to think the makeover wasn’t worthwhile because it wasn’t something that would be exciting to share and to sort of poke fun at myself for it. For over a decade, I have styled and shot rooms for a blog, social media, books, magazines, and home decor websites, so yes, my perspective is a bit skewed. That’s definitely to my detriment, though, and I’m glad I just took an hour to give the bathroom a fresh coat of paint. 🙂

    6. Irene Kelly

      Looks great and much cleaner but I am disappointed in how you placed the towels on the towel bar. Certainly you have more hand towels to add maybe in another color. I like to layer my towels.

      • Tammy

        Really?! I am always amazed when bloggers take time to post, allow us into their homes and then, people like you criticize something so trivial.

    7. Wendy

      Many (most?) of us aren’t in the position for major reno/decorating projects and your reminder of what a coat of paint can do, offers encouragement and understanding. And as a guest, I would be thrilled to have the luxury of my own bathroom.

    8. Sue P.

      Sometimes small, inexpensive changes can make a nice difference. We recently “refreshed” a secondary bathroom in our home. My husband used old chair rail molding we’d taken off the bedroom walls to make a frame for the large mirror like the mirror in your bathroom. He painted it gold like the new gold cabinet hardware and it made the mirror look so much better.

    9. Katie

      One of your best posts ever! ♥️? I love everything you do. My current phase of life with teenagers means I need to wait on some major remodeling. These little projects give me a boost until I have time to tackle the real issues. Great job!

    10. CathyR

      I think a couple of your ship paintings would look wonderful in here. You’re right, a quick refresh and it looks a lot better?

    11. Betsy

      Looks good. We have a similar bathroom. We painted the cabinet in a dark navy and my husband framed our ugly mirror in a lovely molding. Not a lot of time or money but it made a big difference.

    12. Rebecca Miller

      You know what else would look nice in here? Some of your paintings!

      • Addie

        I agree!!! Throw in some paintings!!! Even though it is “not done” it will be Marianized!!!!

      • Maureen deBruyn

        Very nice refresh Marian! I agree that your beautiful paintings would be so nice in here!

    13. Sara

      It looks great! It’s amazing what a can of paint can do! Thanks for sharing your mini makeover 🙂

      • Helene

        I agree about adding some of your ocean themed art! I just hung up some of your pear prints and we are all enjoying them. They add so much to the space they’re in. Your bathroom looks great!

    14. Sherri

      Thank you! It’s a beautiful bathroom and dare I say, it IS pinterest worthy!

    15. Helène Reid

      Always amazing what a fresh coat of paint can do for a room. You can always add more flair with rugs and some new towels. Looks clean and refreshed and the patches are a thing of the past.

    16. Laura

      Thanks for doing a simple thing to make a big difference. Not everything must be a huge projects!

    17. Babs

      Looks great…a total refresh.

    18. Pamela

      It is these small inspirational redos that are so encouraging to those that must rent. It shows how a little paint and well-chosen accessories can make a big difference and not cost a lot of money. Many landlords will allow repainting but not much else. I think many need to see more of these as $$$ gets tighter.

    19. Beth Kinsey

      This is an amazing post! Love how simple and attainable for something I could do and not cost a lot of money, time and effort. Your simple decor also gives inspiration, for some reason I have the hardest time with bathroom decor. It all flows well. Unfortunately, the rug is out of my price range. Do you have any other suggestions or ideas for bathroom rug?

      • Anita Sams

        Please! This is the rug Marian designed, and it won a competition. It’s not something she bought for the bathroom. It’s something she already had, and it looks great in there, as many others might, but this one is classic Miss Mustard Seed.

    20. Rita

      It looks great. You are right, a can of paint goes a long way in making a big impact. Sometimes it’s the small projects that bring the most satisfaction. A check off on your list, and you can now move on to others. I’ve got my list as well. A lot of them are like that – paint the door, caulk the trim, etc. Need to set me a timer and just do a little here and there.

    21. Sandy

      Marian, the bathroom looks fresh and lovely. You are a sweet encourager to all of us. Just a little can make a big difference. ?

    22. Kathleen

      This is just the inspiration I needed for our downstairs guest bathroom! I would love to do a total makover but it’s not in the budget. What I can do is patch and repaint in a fresh new color. Thank you and I love all your posts!

    23. Kari

      Dear Marian, I came to your blog a while ago for the decor and pretties. I stay because of the life wisdom you are cultivating just as vigorously as your impressive painting, decor and crafting skills. This post is a loving wise gift to your readers. Sometimes fresh paint is just enough and very worthy of a post. Now, off to go paint my dingy back hallway and not make a two month project (that I don’t have time for) out of it. Thank you!

    24. Kari

      Dear Marian, I came to your blog a while ago for the decor and pretties. But I stay because of the life wisdom you are cultivating just a vigorously as your impressive painting, decor and crafting skills. This post is a loving, wise gift to your readers. Sometimes a fresh coat of paint is just enough and very worthy of it’s own post. I’m off to paint my dingy back hallway and not make a big project out of it (and push off as I don’t have the time right now). Thank you!

    25. Carolyn Dietrich

      I suggest changing the towels to something with blue in them and putting molding around the mirror. Wouldn’t cost much and would add a bit more interest. I don’t see any need to do a complete makeover. It’s a nice bathroom.

    26. Kelly

      Nice job! I’d be very happy with such a bathroom.

    27. Carrie

      Marian, I love the simplicity of this bathroom refresh. I’m glad you shared it with your audience. It’s perfect for how you are currently using it.

    28. Lynnett Ratchford

      Great post, Marian! I was thinking your paintings would look great here as well. Another idea is ne of your antique or vintage finds hung on the wall. Have you ever used those stick on mirror moldings for the large mirrors? I’ve seen them and thought they were interesting, but I wonder how hard they would be to clean. Keeping my mirrors clean is a challenge, but they do make our small bathrooms look larger.


    Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

    I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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