Decorating & Design

November 27, 2008

Budget Bathroom Makeover

Q. We have an old bathroom in an old neighbourhood. We are on a budget and just want to freshen up the space. Since it is a bathroom off a kitchen, we will most likely be putting down white tile flooring in the bathroom, like we have in the kitchen. We want to paint out the wood wainscotting because we feel it is too dated, and are wondering what to do on the window. We are thinking about glass block, but do you have any other ideas? What colour should we paint the baseboard and crown moulding? Also, we have a vanity area with a large rectangular mirror. Should we change it? What about towels and lighting?

A. Your bathroom sounds like it has great potential. Unifying the flooring with that of the kitchen instead of creating another transition is a good idea. White tiles do offer a plethora of colour options for the rest of the space. We also agree with painting out the wainscotting, especially if you want to create a bright room. If you are trying to keep the bathroom style more traditional, paint the wainscotting a warm white, like Benjamin Moore’s Cloud White (OC-130). To keep the room bright and current, paint your baseboards and crown moulding a brighter white, like Benjamin Moore’s Snow White (OC-66), which will contrast handsomely with the Cloud White wainscotting. Paint the ceiling the same colour as the wainscotting.

To add warmth without sacrificing brightness, think about painting the walls a creamy pale sage colour, like Benjamin Moore’s Overcast (OC-43). White and chrome or brushed nickel accessories and accents will look stunning paired with this colour.

For your window, since your bathroom is on the ground floor you will need privacy as well as a decorative treatment. Glass block is a consideration, but it may be the wrong choice for the style this room is taking on. Think about replacing the existing glass with fluted, textured or frosted glass, so you have the option of leaving the shades open if you like. A roman shade in a pale green toile would give a feminine look to the room, or opt for a striped cotton fabric in pale green, grey or black and off-white to tie into the colour scheme of the room. If you want to add a little colour but want to keep the room somewhat neutral, install a tortoise-shell roman blind. The orangey tone of the bamboo will be complimentary to the pale grey/green walls, and will update the room even more.

Replace the rectangular mirror with a large frameless or white-framed oval mirror (make sure the mirror is bevelled for a more finished look). Flank the mirror with satin or brushed chrome wall sconces.

A couple of bamboo baskets for towel storage will tie in with the tortoise blind, and add a little interest as well. Faucets, towel rods and toilet paper holder in brushed nickel or chrome will prove to be stylish finishing touches, and white towels are always classic.