Several weeks ago, I went antique shopping with my friend, Cheri, and I stopped at a local consignment shop on the way home.  I had found a few small things, but not any of the larger furniture pieces I was looking for in the antique shops we visited, so I was hoping I’d find one of those pieces at my favorite local consignment shop.  I didn’t have much luck finding a dresser or daybed (I later found both), but I did find a homemade secretary desk that I thought would make a perfect bathroom shelf.   It was a nice size, I loved the curved details, and it was inexpensive (around $30.)

It also reminded me of something my Opa would’ve built.  He made a few small cabinets and shelves and this looks a lot like those.  There is a signature and date on the back, but I forgot to take a picture of it before we hung it on the wall!

While my parents were here, I had my dad remove the desk components (there were some envelope slots and a few smaller shelves that wouldn’t be very practical in a bathroom) and replace them with one shelf.

painted bathroom shelf before | miss mustard seed

I initially thought about putting it above the toilet, but I decided it would be perfect for the niche above the tub. I always envisioned shelving in there and this option would be a lot simpler and less expensive than building custom shelves.

master bathroom makeover before | miss mustard seed

I sanded, primed, and then painted the shelf in the same paint I’m using for the trim (Benjamin Moore Advanced, satin, in the factory white.)  My dad and I hung it up and it looks so sweet.  I didn’t need a ton of storage, but just something to fill up the space, so this works perfectly.

painted bathroom shelf | miss mustard seed

I filled my new bathroom shelf with French soaps, some architectural pieces, an artificial plant (from Ikea), brushes, washcloths, and some vintage pieces.

painted bathroom shelf | miss mustard seed

painted bathroom shelf | miss mustard seed

I’m still playing around with the bathroom shelf styling, but it’s close…

painted bathroom shelf | miss mustard seed

The bath brush is from Iris Hantverk.  You can find the brush I have and other styles HERE.

painted bathroom shelf | miss mustard seed

English cold cream jar | vintage Bakelite razor | I couldn’t find another milk glass cotton ball dispenser

painted bathroom shelf | miss mustard seed

On the shelf underneath, I have an antique pharmacy scale (HERE is a similar one) and a glass jar filled with lavender bath salts and a wooden scoop.

glass jar of bath salts | miss mustard seed

It makes it easy to throw a scoop into my bath at night as opposed to keeping the bag in the linen closet where I’ll forget about it.

We have our final inspection of the bathroom plumbing today and I need to paint the cabinets, but the makeover is almost done and we’re already loving it.

You can find details for all of the selections and finishes for our bathroom makeover in THIS POST.


  1. Michael Wurm Jr

    I LOVE shelves like this and have been desperately hunting for them every time I go antiquing. I can never find one I like. Haha. I suppose that’s how it goes when you’re looking for something specific.

    This couldn’t be more perfect here and your styling is so on point! BRAVO!

    xo Michael

  2. Teddee Grace

    This is probably a better location. I found that having storage over the toilet can, unfortunately, result in small items being knocked off into the toilet and flushed by accident. Ask me how I know! Love the styling.

    • Marian Parsons

      That is so funny! I certainly would’ve styled it differently with rolls of toilet paper and larger items, but that’s still a perk of its current location!

  3. Bea

    What a cute shelf you found. Now transformed it’s perfect for you space at the end of your tub. You have scored some great finds lately!

  4. Sharon B.

    Hi Marian,
    Your bathroom shelf looks beautiful! I did the same thing in my master bath and hall bathroom. I loved how you have styled it. I can’t wait to see your bathroom finished!

  5. Arlene

    Perfection! Love it!

  6. Michele M.

    You did a great job with this shelf!!! Now is it a trick of the eye – or is that shelf sitting further to the left and not in the exact middle of your nook area? If to the left I am wondering why?

    • Marian Parsons

      No, it’s in the middle. That’s just the camera angle.

  7. Fran Harris

    Lovely addition to your bath! Where did you find those blocks of soap? I just love those, but haven’t had mush luck finding any.

    • Marian Parsons

      I linked to them in the post. I used to buy and sell them, so I kept a huge stash for myself! The ones I have are from that stash, but I linked to similar ones.

  8. Margo

    I have a very similar piece made of oak that had a drop down front to hide the cubby holes. I too really wanted just the shelves so my husband removed the drop down front and trimmed it so that it would fit in the space between the two top shelves. It makes a nice backing and this way we got to keep the lovely carving. Though we originally planned to paint the piece, once we cleaned it up we felt it looked great in its original oak finish. The top is a bit more decorative and has a small aged mirror set in. I use it in my kitchen to display a few pieces since in our small house there is no room for a hutch or any type of furniture display. But we essentially did the same thing.
    It’s so much fun to find a new way to use an old piece.

    • Marian Parsons

      Sounds like a lovely piece! I originally planned to leave mine unpainted, but the wood was just the wrong tone for the bathroom and it looked odd, so I painted it to match the trim.

  9. Vickie White

    Nobody has that styling eye like you….that shelf is nigh on to perfection!!!

  10. Sally

    That turned out perfectly! You certainly have an eye for design!

  11. Janet Bennett

    What is the piece that is between the three soaps and the plant?

    • Marian Parsons

      It’s a piece of coral!

  12. Lisa

    What a fabulous find and a perfect location! I have several of these types of shelves myself and they are wonderful. I must say though, having a few years on you and being a seasoned antiquer myself, I have never seen that type of cotton ball dispenser. That is so adorable! Now I have something new to look for!

  13. monique

    An ideal piece! When I saw your first photo I already knew what it will become in your hands, I guessed right, great in white.

  14. JC

    I love how paint transforms! The shelf is perfect in the new location! I love the sneak peek of marble! Did you all do the tile work yourselves or hire it out? Seems to me this went super fast! Then again life in general is going super fast!

    • Marian Parsons

      We hired out the tile work. I’ve done tile before, but I wanted it done by a professional in a bathroom, since it has to be perfect and waterproof! I acted as my own general contractor to save money, though, and hired out specific tasks.

  15. Patricia Kasparian

    This looks terrific in this spot. I especially love all of the styling you did. And your parents? <3

  16. DeAnna

    ? The shelf looks great! Love the big jar of bath salts too!

  17. Carlotta

    That looks SO nice!!!! You “kill” me with how quickly you accomplish things. Finding that piece, having the idea(& then getting your dad to fulfill your wish) to re-do the shelf cubbies & replacing with a single shelf & then painting it!!!!!! You just “act” on your ideas where I’d put off doing something for weeks, months or even years. It’s perfect for giving that space dimension & depth.

  18. Jenny

    It’s amazing! I love every single detail

  19. Teresa

    Love the shelf! So perfect for that space and the vintage items give it so much charm!

  20. Carol

    It’s precious. I’m curious as to why you didn’t use your milk paint.

    • Marian Parsons

      I thought about it, but decided I wanted the color and finish to match the trim. It’s a big bathroom, but still a small space and I didn’t want too many competing finishes and colors.

      PS – I sold the milk paint line, so it isn’t mine anymore! 🙂

      • Carol

        Oh, I see, makes total sense.
        You may have sold the line but it will always be yours and when I buy Miss Mustard Seed milk paint I’ll always know it’s Marian Parsons!

  21. Jenn Anderson

    The shelf is just perfect! I love it! and the styling too. So many neat old things!! That cotton ball dispenser and cold cream jar!

  22. AnnaRae

    I love it. Beautiful!

  23. Amanda

    Love how you have the bath salts out in that pretty jar with that awesome wooden scoop! My bath salts are in the bag in my vanity, your idea is great! The whole display is pretty. ?

  24. Hannah

    It’s beautiful, like the rest of your house. I am wondering where you got your lovely wooden scoop? I think your pretty crocheted cloths would look nice on the shelf and add some cool texture. I know many see them as ‘dishcloths’ but who says they can’t be viewed as washcloths in a bathroom as well?

  25. Kathy M

    I’ve been painting my own furniture for 40 years and I’m still amazed at what a difference a coat or two of paint makes, like on this shelf. It’s so perfect for this niche and I love the color you chose! Styled perfectly too, of course. 🙂

  26. Hyedi j

    Looks like it was made for that nuke!

  27. painters in plymouth ma

    Im so inlove with the color of your shelf that is why I going to repaint my own bathroom shelf soon.


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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