Decorating & Design

November 27, 2008

Bathroom Makeover Ideas

Q. I have a horrible bathroom that I’d like to redo. It has a pink tub, bowl and sink, black ceramic tiles on the wall (half way up) and the other half is black wallpaper with pink flowers on it. The vanity is also black and there is carpeting on the floor. Any improvement ideas would be great! I don’t want to remove the tub, since it might be too expensive and time consuming (since we are planning to do the work ourselves). I will be getting rid of the pink toilet bowl and sink as well as the carpeting and black ceramic tiles on the wall.

— Elvie

A. It does sound as if your bathroom is ready for a facelift! You’re off to a great start with replacing the carpet, wallpaper, black tiles and pink fixtures. If you don’t want to replace the bathtub, think about having it resurfaced. There are several companies that will re-glaze your existing tub, erasing all traces of the original colour.

Install floor tiles in either stone or stone-look porcelain or ceramic, and if you want to save money, think about installing a simple chair rail and wainscotting where the wall tiles were. Paint the wall above the wainscotting a shade darker than the creamy wainscotting for a neutral bath, or a brighter colour for more impact. Sheets of beadboard wainscotting are available at home centres for easy installation, or create wainscotting by simply installing trim and chair rail onto the wall, then finish off with paint.

Chair rail tip: Chair rails at least 1-1/2” deep will allow for leaning framed pictures or mirrors right on the wall.

Renting a steamer will help make the job of removing the wallpaper easier, and remember to use semi-gloss paint as it is the best finish for bathrooms. It is easy to wipe clean, and will withstand the effects of steam. Choose a colour scheme that you enjoy; neutrals for a tranquil bath, or bolder colour to suit your style. If you go neutral, think about clean, earth tones paired with black or dark brown for sharp contrast. Paint your vanity white (leaving it black might actually add rich contrast too), and the wainscotting the same warm white. Benjamin Moore’s Timid White (OC-39) is a good choice.

Choose either antiqued bronze-finished hardware for towel rods and faucets for a more traditional feel, or brushed nickel to add a spark of modern to your new spa-like bath.

If storage is lacking, shelves over the toilet will provide space for a grouping of wicker baskets, perfect for housing necessities. A basket on the floor can hold toilet paper, hooks in the same finish as the towel rods for hanging towels and robes, and plenty of fresh, white towels will stylishly wrap up the look of your new bathroom.