A $100 Bathroom Makeover

Last fall we decided to put our lake condo on the market. As we were prepping to sell, I new I had to do something about our 3/4 bathroom/laundry room. I have always hated this space. Is is just awful, faded yellow linoleum, 1980’s builder grade oak cabinets, dingy yellow paint. This bathroom has been on my project list for a while, but it just never made it to the top of the list. Time was of the essence and I did not want to spend a of of money so I went thru my Pinterest idea boards and came up with a plan for a bathroom makeover for just over $100.

Ugly bathroom that needs lots of work
Boy, does this room need work!

First, up was the cabinets. My first thought was paint. I recently did my kitchen cabinets with Valspar cabinet paint and they turned out great. But that project took a while, with multiple coats of paint and sanding. I just did not have that kind of time. I finally decided on gel-stain. I refinished a Goodwill dresser find for my son last year using dark walnut stain and it turned out great. Hiding all those blemishes without needing to spend hours sanding. That’s the ticket!

I used Minwax Gel Stain in coffee. The manufacturer says Minwax Gel Stain is a non-drip stain that adds natural colors and accentuates the beauty of a wide range of wood and non-wood surfaces including wood, plywood, veneer, fiberglass, metal and molded fiberboard. Given that my cabinets had wood fronts ad veneer side panels, this was just what I needed.

I washed the cabinets with Krud Kutter Gloss-Off left over from the kitchen project. This stuff is amazing. It removes all the grease and grime, while also breaking up the gloss finish so you don’t have to sand as much. Do wear gloves when you work with this stuff though, because it will cause skin irritation. Next, I used a fine grit sanding block to further remove the cabinet finish. I wanted to be sure the stain took so I wouldn’t have to do too many coats.

After, wiping away the sanding dust with a tack cloth, I was ready for the stain. The finish on these old cainets was really uneven in some places so I wasn’t sure what to expect. If this stain didn’t work, I was ready to go the more labor intensive route of painting the cabinets, but I was hoping for the best.

I used a regular paint brush to apply the stain. I did not wipe it off and I let it set for about 30 min. This first coat looked great in some places but blotchy in others. I applied the second coat in the same manner and it started looking better. This time, I let it sit over night. The next morning it was still sticky in some places and splotchy in others. I went over the splotchy parts with one more coat of stain and let it dry for 24 hours.

I bought some wipe on poly to seal the stain, but I had to wait a week for the cabinets to be fully dry. I probably could have not applied this, but given that this was a bathroom, I wanted to be sure the stain was sealed.

Finished bathroom makeover
Nautical theme brings it all together

We already had sort of a nautical theme going on in this bathroom, with an oar turned towel rack, so I added cabinet hardware with rope accents and an anchor towel holder next to the sink. I got these from Hobby Lobby on a 50% off week . I repainted the walls with a neutral grey, added a new navy blue shower curtain , a new woven rug and wallah, a bathroom makeover for under $100

Make Over Supplies

  • $13 Minwax gel-stain, coffee
  • $13 Minwax Wipe-On Polyurethane
  • $12 new shower curtain
  • $20 new rug
  • $14 New cabinet hardware
  • $8 Towel holder
  • $32 New wall paint
  • $0 Existing supply of Krud Kutter, sanding blocks and paint brushes

Total Bathroom Makeover: $112

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