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Master Bathroom Refresh Plans and Mood Board

A full breakdown plan for a master bathroom refresh and visual mood board for working around existing 80s beige and worn out ceramic tile floors.

I feel like I should throw my hands up and exclaim, “Welcome to my least favorite room in the house!”

It’s the room that gets picked last in football. The room that no one sees, so who cares what it looks like? Well, Robert and I do. Because when it’s the first room you see every day after you wake up, it matters.

But the thing is even though we are very eager to rip out the ceramic tile that has seen better days, paint over the muddy green walls, and replace the beige 80s shower and countertop for something much more fresh, we also know a full gut job isn’t going to happen just yet.

And that’s okay!

Because I really love a good Phase 1 budget room makeover challenge (we did the same thing in our hallway bathroom two years ago), and this is definitely one of those opportunities where we can roll up our sleeves and make some magic happen with just paint and a couple of do-it-yourself projects.

(Some affiliate links are provided for convenience below. Full disclosure here.)

So here’s the plan I keep envisioning in my head…

(Pssst… If you ever want to know how to make one of these nifty mood board for your own house, see how in this post.)

1. Linen cabinet

This bathroom desperately needs storage and a better hamper, so I’m hauling out this old thrifted and flipped one we’ve been using and replacing it with this linen cabinet I got on sale in hopes of building in a hamper in the cabinet and using the shelves as a makeshift linen closet for holding fresh towels.

Plus, how pretty is that color?! It’s sparked the color scheme we’re running with in here.

2. Blue cabinets

Since our splurge in this space will be the blue linen cabinet, I’ll be painting and antique waxing our existing cabinets to match. The countertop will stay beige, but we can live with that for now. (In our hallway bathroom, we painted our countertop and shower a couple of years ago, but since we have a baby in the house now, I really want to stay away from anything too fumey.)

After seeing this bathroom photo from Studio McGee, my wheels started turning to make blue, beige, and white with a touch of wood work together. Our blue will just be darker and have more of an antique wash.


3. Deep charcoal door

This is one of the only doors in the house that hasn’t been painted Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron yet. That one change alone always makes a space look much more high end.

4. Window Shade

This old blind is yellowed and scraped up and has definitely seen better days. We’re replacing it with a natural woven window shade, and we’ll probably have to spend a bit extra to make sure it has a privacy liner since this bathroom is on the front of the house where everyone and their mama can see in. We might revisit these shades that we used in the nursery in Bonaire Flaxen.

5. Stenciled Walls

I’m thinking we’ll be able to add some interest to this blank corner of the room if I stencil the walls to look like wallpaper.

Something like this look maybe?

Source: Ella Scott Design

I’m loving the look of these three stencils so far but in the colors white, beige, and deep teal blue:

Stencil 1            |              Stencil 2              |              Stencil 3

6. Black and White Framed Art

I can’t decide on the stenciling idea for certain. But some simple framed black and white prints would work well. Possibly my Carolina coastal photography printables that I have yet to frame somewhere?

7. Mirrors and Light Fixture

This mirror has several badly worn places, and the light fixture has a busted socket so it only works well on one side. If we replace the mirror with two of these wooden framed mirrors and replace the light with this not-too-pricey light that works, it’ll make a big impact.

8. Wall Color

I tested out a bunch of whites (which you should always do instead of just looking at a paper swatch) and decided on Benjamin Moore White Dove (that very bottom one on the wall). It’s going to make this room look so bright and clean but still has a slight warmth to work well with the existing beige on the shower and countertop.

9. Flooring

I think this tile floor is beyond help in terms of my usual grout pen trick, but I found this gorgeous vinyl flooring that I swear looks like marble hexagon tile that we’ll lay over it to tie us over until we can rip it all out demo-style one day. It’s going to tie in all of the beige and white and gray beautifully together so that the 80s leftovers will make more sense.

All in all, we should be able to crank this one out in a couple of weeks with no demo and well under $1,000. If this were the show Trading Spaces, we’d totally rock it. 😉

Are you diggin’ the plan? And what do you think? Wall stencil or no wall stencil? Inquiring minds want to know!

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  1. I love your ideas for the bathroom, you’ve also inspired me to do my own projects, one of which was the table and dining chairs. Your bathroom mirror in my eyes is amazing, I’m not sure where it’s damaged but I would have re-used this by splitting in half and using recycled pallet wood made my own rustic frames. With that in mind, your taste in design is wonderful, so I look forward to seeing the finished project! Thanks for being such a great blogger.

    1. Thank you! I’m so glad to hear that! I figured by the time I took the time and expense of trying to salvage the existing mirror, I could just pay for the pair that I liked better. And I found them on sale, so that was a plus. 🙂 But you can definitely add wood trim! We did that in this bathroom makeover for the Lowe’s Spring Makeover a couple of years ago and it was perfect: https://www.blesserhouse.com/lowes-spring-makeover-bathroom-reveal/

  2. Your ideas are beautiful, especially love the blue color for the cabinets! Home Pepit really has some beautiful furniture on their website. I definitely think all of the changes will help the 80’s countertop and showers blend in and look great. I personally would not do the stenciling on the walls, especially with the patterned flooring. It is a lot of work only to find it may be too much. I personally would suggest adding pattern with a shower curtain to dress up the shower door, and perhaps a simple matching curtain topper for the window shades ( you could easily make your own wth little to no sewing using fusible fabric tape). You could also look for wallpaper or fabric in a pattern similar to the stencil designs you like (or create your own by stenciling canvas yourself) and frame to hang in that area. It would be a lot simpler and easier to change up later. I would also suggest getting different faucets, perhaps in a darker color, or if you want to stay with the brushed nickel, maybe a style with a higher arched faucet. Looking forward to seeing the results! Your home is beautiful❤️

    1. I agree! I’m holding off on the stenciling, and if it feels too busy, I’m circling around a Plan B that I think I might end up liking better. 🙂 I thought about changing out the faucets too, but I figured since they’re working just fine and we’re trying to keep the budget to a bare minimum, that we could live with these until we fully gut the place. I would definitely LOVE new ones though.

  3. I really love the blue on that linen cabinet! It will be beautiful with the other colors you are planning. I personally would not stencil (maybe I’m lazy. Ha!) I love the idea of the black and white photos. Could the budget handle changing out the faucets with black ones? You might not like black ones but I think that would really tie in well with the dark gray door and the black door knob (right beside it) and the black and white photos, if you decide to go that way. Just an idea. I am sure it will be beautiful, as always, with whatever choice you make.

    1. Haha! No, trust me. I’m NOT looking forward to stenciling and the more I think about it, the less I want to tackle that job. 😉 I like the idea of changing out the faucets. The question is more so… budget. That’s always the battle. Maybe I’ll luck out on an inexpensive pair that will work though. I’ll have to look around at a few.

  4. I live in Palm Springs ,California, and love your ideas. You are so lucky to have a window in your bathroom. My guest bath is landlocked and has no natural light. I live in a great house but it is still a giant drywall box. No personality and not many ways to make it interesting. But I did a nice makeover and it looks great. Thanks for the ideas, I scour them all. Your follower in the California desert where the winters are fabulous!

    1. Aw thank you, Laura! You are too sweet! Yes, I am very thankful that we have a window in here! We’re lucky that there is only one room in our entire house without a window. Natural light was one of the many reasons I fell in love with this house. 🙂

  5. Lauren, I love the Home Depot furniture but I remember when you guys did the “built-ins” for the family room that looked beautiful and it would appear the only difference between those and the HD cabinet is the trim. Trim is not hard! If you built your own you could utilize all the space, put in what you need/want and copy the color.
    I really like the light fixtures you are considering and I like the mirrors but it feels like it is a very diverse mix of styles; the mirrors look like they need something. If you throw in another style with the stencil I am a little concerned. Did you notice in the photo of the starburst stencil you liked….the flooring really grounded the “exuberance” of the stencil and all the other furnishings were very simple. Whatever you choose …I know you will make it work.

    1. The more I think about it, the more I’m ready to nix the stencil to go with just art on the walls because I definitely agree with you on the busy concern. The built-ins we did were made from IKEA bookcases, so those weren’t built from scratch, unfortunately. And with a 3 month old, we’re holding off on major furniture building at the moment anyway. I need sleeeeeeep! Haha! In the future, I’d love to try to build something similar though! We keep thinking we need a pantry cabinet solution in our kitchen too, so maybe we’ll try something like that there down the road.

      Thanks so much for all of the feedback, Mary! I’m so glad I get to have others along on this journey to bounce around ideas with.

  6. I LOVE!!! the idea of a stenciled wall. But I think I would use the same tip that Linda provided regarding wall paint color. Once some of the other elements are in place stencil a poster board and prop it on the wall to see how it looks.

    Thank you for sharing and providing all your wonderful tips and tricks. You have inspired me to redo my own bathroom.

  7. I have needed some ideas for a phase 1 bathroom and this is great! Thanks for sharing your sources! And yes, I think you should stencil. You know you want to…..:)

  8. Love your ideas! I always found stencils nice, but a lot of work-for me anyways! Have you considered removable contact designs? I used it in my bathroom to great effect. And, so easy to change if I want something different.

    1. Thanks!! I know what you mean; they are a TOTAL pain. Which makes me hesitant… do I really want to spend a day stenciling? Haha! Good idea about the removable route.

  9. Hey Lauren~
    Your bathroom is going to look amazing! I absolutely LOVE the idea of using the stencil. It may require a little work, but boy will it be beautiful. I am toying with the stencil idea in the bathroom on our main level. I have already chosen the stencil. You, my friend, have given me the courage, inspiration and the green light to go for it. I see stenciling in my very near future. 🙂
    Have a great day and an awesome week.
    ((Hugs)) Deb 🙂 🙂

    1. Go for it! Bathrooms are so fun to go outside of your comfort zone to throw in a wild pattern or color. We have patterned wallpaper in our powder room and it’s one of my absolute favorite spaces!

  10. I love all of it! Can’t wait to see which stencil you choose, too. At least the room already has crown molding….

  11. You have wonderful ideas for the redo and I love the colors and fixtures you’ve chosen. You do have a LOT of blank wall space in there. I say go for it! You have great taste and it’s only paint. 🙂

    1. Thanks! Very true about paint. I might have to wait until the floor is in to decide for fear of it being too busy. 🙂

  12. I love the mood board. That mirror is to die for and two side by side in going to be stunning. As a retired Interior Designer, I would like to offer a tip. Paint a piece of poster board or other large piece of something (!) and prop it up behind the counter top. Live with it for a few days and see if it turns the beige counter top an unpleasant color. Point is, some white make some beige look dirty. It is hard to tell without the paint right up against the counter top in DIFFERENT light and in a large enough swatch to really be able to see the comparison. I used this comparison trick for a lot of years and saved a lot of folks disappointment or more work. On the other hand, it can confirm without a doubt your choice! You can use this comparison to check out any two surface colors. Hope this is of some value! Can’t wait to see the finished project!

  13. Love this!!! I like the idea of laying the vinyl over the tile to save some $$ – question: how do you deal with the different heigh levels of the flooring at the doorway?

    1. So I’ll be writing a blog post addressing this, but I’ll be using thin set mortar in the grout lines to shore up the floor and I’ll trim out the threshold.

  14. Love all your ideas! I also admire how you are perfectly okay with a phase 1 in a room! I love how you and your hubby just get right in there and do the work yourselves! Thanks for always keeping it real! ❤️
    P.S. I like the idea of stencil!

    1. Thank you! I just hate living with a space for a few years that just feels depressing while we wait out for a full renovation when I know just some paint would make it feel happy again. 🙂

  15. Looks fabulous!
    Going to look at your sources…especially the lighting & flooring!
    I vote ‘no stencil’. It just reads as busy to me. I think I would tire of it pretty quick in my master bath space IMO.

    1. I’m worried about the busy factor too. I think I’ll wait until the floor is in to decide for sure on the stencil. Good call. 🙂

    2. I was going to say/type the same thing! IMO the floor will be busy enough, and then there is plenty of other details and shapes with the mirror, light fixture, and moldings on the linen cabinet – I think it could end up looking “thrifted” (aka thrown together) if there isn’t some sense of calm and cohesion. Just my opinion though. And that’s okay if you feel differently. Whatever you do always comes out beautiful!

      1. I totally agree, Cami! The more I think about it, the more I’m liking my Plan B of art. Plus, stenciling is a total pain. Haha!

  16. I LOVE the idea of stenciling your bathroom walls and really like #3. You can always paint over it when you are ready for demo day. Looking forward to seeing the finished space!

  17. Just beautiful!! You gave me so much inspiration for our own bathroom remodel and, lol, did some of the hardest work for me….the sourcing!! Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas and for always being so down to earth yet classy and affordable for the average person!! Love, Love ❤️ your blog!

  18. I’m in the thought process for our hall/guest bath. I’m thinking about stenciling walls too, I have the stencil I want to use, just trying to be brave ??

    1. Go for it! I keep going back and forth with the idea for this bathroom, but we did a patterned wallpaper in our powder room and I LOVE it! I feel like bathrooms are the wild cards where you can play around a lot more with patterns and colors. 🙂

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