Our Spur of the Moment Budget Bathroom Renovation

farmhouse bath

At Christmas Chad suddenly announced that he was sick of our bathroom and that he was going to renovate it for me.

We’ve been holding out for a major renovation that won’t happen for years. Meanwhile, his suggestion was to cobble together extra tiles someone gave him and the least expensive everything in order to just have a finished room. I wanted marble counters and a skylight.

We compromised….

bathroom details

Here’s what we’ve been living with for the past 3.5 years…


For realz. We’ve been using this bathroom just like this. Only with more junk on the counter.

The walls were badly messed up from the old wall paper, and the ceilings were still popcorn.


When we first moved in there was crazy wallpaper on the walls and it made me feel like I was going to have a seizure so I pulled it off, and then did nothing else in this room because we were focused on everything else on this property.

bathroom10when we moved in

One of the things that bothers me about this bathroom is that it is tiny and has no window and is dark, so from the beginning we’ve had a long-term plan of totally gutting it and switching it with our closet which is on the outside wall of the house so we could have a window and make the space bigger.

Since moving a bathroom is a huge undertaking, and we had more important rooms on our list: kitchen, barn, upstairs bath, my office  (and again) (and I’ll be sharing more updates next week) and all the ceilings and trim, we knew this bathroom move would be waaaay down on our list. We have two other huge renovation projects already scheduled for this year that we can’t put off any longer (pool and basement!) so once again, our big bathroom makeover was going to have to wait.


Meanwhile we were living with this and apparently it was driving Chad crazy so he decided to do the most inexpensive “temporary” bathroom renovation ever.

But once we thought about it, we figured that if he was going to do the work, we should at least like the materials he used. So we didn’t use the free tile someone gave him, but we did use leftover tile from the boys bathroom and added to that. Our one splurge–a new toilet with some pretty details–but even this was only $100 more than a builder grade toilet. My marble counters got vetoed, instead we bought the bigger version of the Ikea sink and counters we used in the upstairs bath. Plain and simple, but pretty enough that we could live with it for a long, long while.

Chad got advice from Sean who stopped by once or twice a week for moral support, but he did the entire renovation himself. Learning as he went, it was a complete gut job. He started January 2nd and finished January 31st. This bathroom was his full-time job during January.



bathroom reno

Here are my disclaimers:

  1. remember, there is no window in here so these photos are horrible, but in real life, with all the white walls and ceilings make this room SHOCKINGLY bright! Like, we might not need to move this room after all, bright! In these photos I don’t even have the overhead light on, it’s just impossible to get photos in here!
  2. if I were a better blogger I’d remove that weird, low, second shower rod before I took photos. Here’s the thing, I LOVE tall shower curtains–meaning, I always use drapes for shower curtains because real shower curtains are too short (please someone change this!) so I always end up with two rods, one for my “shower curtain” and one for the inner liner–and that one has to be lower because liners are only 73 inches high. If this photo were going in a magazine, I’d take out that lower rod for the photos. But this is real life. (UPDATE: you all are the best and found me some LONG shower liners!!)
  3. I can’t decide if I want to paint the wood door or not, so for now he’s staying



bathroom5suddenly, I can’t believe we lived like this for so long

bathroom after

This was a hugely disruptive project–everything was a mess and dusty –the front porch, back porch, side yard where Chad threw all the junk out our window, our bedroom, hall–EVERY room was affected. DIYing is not pretty until it’s over, it’s mostly learning to live with a bunch of mess, and being patient.

bathroom makeover mess

I am SO happy with these changes. Now this bathroom looks like it came with the house. And it was VERY much worth the few hundred dollars extra to use materials that we liked. They weren’t my first, top choice, but I also didn’t hate them. Now this room is SO lovely, just a simple blank slate that’s finished and pretty and I can live with it for a long, long time if we need to.

bathroom details

I think we spend about $2000 on materials–nothing was special ordered, everything was right off the rack:

  • Sink & Cabinet: Ikea
  • Tub: Lowe’s Clearance sale
  • Floors: Lowe’s
  • Walls & Ceiling: Luan (same method we did in the rest of the house)
  • Lighting: Lowe’s
  • Hardware: Lowe’s
  • Tile: Lowe’s
  • Toilet: Lowe’s
  • Paint: Ace Hardware/Clark & Kensington Designer White (same color in our entire house)
  • Mirror: Goodwill years ago
  • Grout: Shower (silver) floor (charcoal)
  • Towel hooks, hand towel & mini shades: Hobby Lobby
  • Towels: World Market
  • Wall art: Vol 25
  • Shower Curtain (Drapes from HomeGoods)

master bath farmhouse style

My only regret–that we didn’t do this three years ago.


I am a big believer in the temporary fix. I know a lot of people warn you to never do something in your house “for now” because you will never change it. But it can be so worth the sanity to invest a little to upgrade your quality of life. I feel like a real person now who actually has a place to put my hair dryer!

And because we spent a few hundred dollars above the bare minimum, if I ended up keeping this bathroom forever, I’d be okay with that.













  1. Beth Colvin says

    I Love it!!! Tell me about the luan being around the shower – like near water…. it doesn’t warp?? I love this idea! What a smart way to get the same look! We are right now thinking about redoing the master bath. And it looks about like yours did. Seriously!! ???

  2. Kelly Davis says

    I love seeing this! Especially because we are in the midst of our own temporary / long term reno of our daughter’s bathroom, and actually have a very similar look! used 16″ wide white subway tiles and the 12 / 24 dark grey floor tiles . We want it to look good, but we also can’t do the marble counters, and that is ok:-) We’re actually going with wood counters- have them in our bath and love them! I have to choose grout colors, and seeing yours has helped me tremendously- thank you for sharing! I love this bathroom!!

  3. Most people don’t have $10k-$30K to spend on a bathroom that only 2 people use. This is refreshing and real and beautiful.

    • We have 12 people using our bathrooms (we have 3 baths, so that helps!) and we don’t have $10-20,000 to spend either 😁

  4. How have your bathroom ceilings held up with steam and moisture from showers, etc? I’m dying to plank our ceiling in combination with installing a bathroom vent fan, but my husband is nervous about mold and mildew buildup behind the planks even with the vent fan. Our bath is tiny so my plan is to use tongue-and-groove. Do we have to seal it or is it better to let it breathe?

  5. We had the SAME disgusting color tub, sink and toilet combo with ugly wallpaper and popcorn ceiling in our bathrooms-lol. I’m guessing your house was built circe 1978? I think they called that color “Harvest Gold”, I called it “puke” and lived with it for an embarrassingly long time until we finally did a complete overhaul! LOVE how your bathroom turned out, Myquillin! Great Work!

  6. It’s nice to hear you say you’re not getting your first choices, but are very satisfied with your second. I think it looks amazing!

  7. I applaud Chad’s ambition and willingness to put a whole month into the project! I think he did a wonderful job :)

  8. “DIYing is not pretty until it’s over” <—I need THAT hand lettered STAT and hanging on my wall. It's lovely, and really I think the photos are very nice even though they are taken with no natural light. :)

  9. Your bathroom is beautiful! I was able to find a double shower curtain rod (tension) on Amazon. I also purchased an extra long liner on there, as well. I had two rods before for the same reason.

  10. I would love this as my permanent, long-term bathroom solution! Gorgeous!

  11. Looks great. We are getting ready to do ours. I’ve never had to pick this stuff up before. Can you tell me the name of the tub you got on sale at Lowes? How about the subway tile and floor tile and grout? Do you have the names of these? Thank you. Did you get a porcelain or fiberglass tub?

  12. Please tell me where you found the lovely vase? I need it! Also keep the door — it is simply beautiful. What a great space this is!

  13. This looks beautiful! And I love seeing bathrooms that don’t have windows – adjusting to two bathrooms without any natural light has been a bigger hurdle to overcome than I expected.

  14. I love your bathroom, and I read your book, The Nesting Place, in a day! I love your writing and I love the spaces you create. Creating a home is so special to me and I so appreciated your encouragement in my journey…”It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.” It is easy to feel like my home is not good enough when I look on social media, but as I read about your story and saw the beauty you create in your home(s), I was truly inspired to create more beauty with what I can do! Thank you!

  15. This is SO pretty! When we redid a bathroom in our old house we used that same IKEA sink (only smaller version) and I loved it! The choices you make are just beautiful and will last a long time. And now you have more $$ to put toward that beautiful outdoor area you are doing this year. Oh – and I really love the look of the stained door with the bathroom. So pretty and put together!

  16. This question may have been answered in one of the 75 previous comments and if so, sorry?
    I tried using a curtain panel as a shower curtain and it wasn’t wide enough. Are you using two panels??

  17. The renovated bathroom looks so much better than it was before. I particularly like the fact that it feels so much brighter and and stylish. Definitely a successful renovation job.

  18. Hi buddy, your blog’ s design is simple and clean and i like it. Your blog posts about Online Dissertation Help are superb. Please keep them coming. Greets!!

  19. Wonderful tips! Love these pictures. Very inspiring when you are thinking to renovate the bathroom.

  20. Very informative blog you share and I will save your blog in future reference.

  21. Thats a really nice tips your are conveying to us through this blog. It really helps when we look for a renovation for bathroom. Thanks

  22. Your bathroom is beautiful! I was able to find a double shower curtain rod (tension) on Amazon. I also purchased an extra long liner on there, as well. I had two rods before for the same reason.

  23. This question may have been answered in one of the 75 previous comments and if so, sorry?
    I tried using a curtain panel as a shower curtain and it wasn’t wide enough. Are you using two panels??

  24. Ferdows Music School: Music training at the best music school in Tehran, beginning enrollment in Ferdows Academy music classes.

  25. Mimos-style SEO Website Services: We help businesses invest in SEO properly

  26. Book the best and most luxurious hotels in Tehran

  27. The latest news of Iran and world music

Leave a Reply to Proficiency Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.