Clever, Low-Budget Boy's Bathroom Makeover

A cool shade of coral, cost-effective updates and original children's artwork turn a boy's outdated bathroom into a playful place to primp.
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November 25, 2014

A Vibrant and Personalized Place for Him

To make this boy's bathroom happy, playful and packed with personality, it was updated with coral semigloss latex paint to complement the sea-foam walls of the adjacent Jack-and-Jill shower area. For one-of-a-kind, kid-centric flair, the walls were covered floor-to-ceiling with framed children's artwork.

Before: Uncoordinated and Outdated

Prior to its three-day, $400 makeover, this boy's bathroom had walls covered in an intense shade of lime green as well as dated cherry-veneer cabinetry. To update the space with a peppy yet less-intense color palette, a medium-toned coral paint was tested in different spots to coordinate with the existing black marble countertop and new charcoal-toned flooring.

In Progress: Time to Prime

Before painting over walls already covered with super-saturated colors, consider having a tinted primer mixed at your local paint store. This will reduce the number of coats needed for proper coverage while also cutting down on time. Note: Coral is a complex color to work with, especially when used in small spaces with limited natural light. During the day when illuminated naturally by the sun, coral appears more orange; however, once lit completely by artificial lighting, it's likely to appear more pink and muddy.

A Pool of Natural Light

During the day, the paint color of this bathroom reads mostly as a true shade of coral once hit by natural light streaming in from the nearby window, except for the darkly shadowed corners which appear more red-orange due to shading.

Coral at Night

Once all natural light has faded, the coral walls of the bathroom appear a pink shade of salmon. When using high-energy colors on walls, many designers suggest testing the paint in several areas of a space, then taking note of how those colors read at different times of the day. This is especially important when coordinating fabrics, tile or wall covering.

Fresh Lighting

Changing out light fixtures in small spaces can make an enormous difference in how they look, feel and function. The key to a swift, successful lighting swap is choosing fixtures which will fit with existing junction boxes. For situations in which junction boxes require relocation, it's best to hire an electrician; however, keep in mind this will create somewhat of a mess due to patching holes with drywall mud and creating dust from sanding. This three-bulb nickel and acrylic fixture features a linen drum shade which diffuses the light, allowing the wall color to read more clearly.

One-of-a-Kind Art Gallery

Children's bathrooms offer a chance for parents to throw out most decorating rules, instead trying something different and fun. Rather than adding one featured piece of art, the entire bathroom including its doors are covered with original pieces. The key to creating a whimsical look is to mix framed art with unstructured pieces as well as random objects, resulting in a saloon-style wall grouping.

Decor on the Door

Many new-construction homes are built with paneled, hollow-core interior doors. These are often considered eyesores, but their presence can be minimized by painting them the same color as the walls and/or covering them with wall hooks to hold towels or robes. Another clever idea is to completely cover the door with art. In order to this this, you'll need anchors to reinforce the hollow veneer of the door and help support each featured piece.

Interspersed Objects

When arranging floor-to-ceiling art in a children's bathroom, keep in mind that anything goes. Add a playful, personal touch by incorporating some of the child's favorite objects and school projects into the mix. Tip: To do this in a designer-like fashion, ensure a variety of shapes, finishes, textures and materials to keep the overall effect looking well-collected. While picture frame nails are ideal for framed pieces and art canvases, lightweight nails work well for small objects such as toy figures and toy cars.

Simple Frames

While mattes are an important element of framing original art, they're not always necessary for dressing up children's pieces. To ensure the intended effect of children's drawings or paintings is achieved, remove matte inserts to keep the full surface of each piece showcased properly.

Sleek Underfoot

Vinyl plank flooring is an excellent alternative to engineered or laminate wood. The cost-effective product is usually less than $1.50 per square foot and simply requires a utility knife for installation. First, measure the surface of the bathroom floor, adding roughly 5 percent to account for waste. Next, pick up the product from your local home improvement store, keeping in mind what finishes are best in regard to the room's traffic. Medium gray tones are excellent for children's spaces used daily since the neutral color aids in hiding dust and flaws. To install the vinyl plank, cut each strip to size with a utility knife, then lay each plank side-by-side, cutting away excess.

Quick Faucet Switch

Contractor-grade bathroom vanities can be easily dressed up with minimal cost by replacing faucets. Prior to this update of this boy's bathroom, the black marble vanity featured a dated plastic faucet. In its new state, the vanity is equipped with a classic faucet featuring an updated farmhouse style. Before searching for a new vanity faucet, always be sure to look underneath to see how many holes are drilled into the countertop. When you arrive to the home improvement store, you'll notice that vanities are sold in single-, double- and triple-hole styles, all made to fit quickly and effectively to an existing countertop.

Unexpected Hardware

Whimsical, unexpected style can also be sophisticated. When replacing the door pulls of a bathroom vanity, consider door knockers rather than pulls or handles. The key to using door knockers effectively is choosing those with the proper scale and proportion for a vanity's door fronts.

Brand-New Coat

Dated, contractor-grade vanities can instantly take new shape with the addition of glossy white paint and classic drawer pulls. In its original state, this tiny boy's bathroom featured a low-end cherry vanity as well as drawers and door fronts void of any hardware at all. After one coat of primer and two coats of ultra-white latex paint in a semigloss finish, the old vanity instantly appears new.

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