When we moved into our home 8 years ago, we automatically knew there were things we wanted to change right away and some changes we would have to make at a later time. One of the rooms that had to be changed immediately was our small master bathroom.

This picture was taken 8 years ago when my husband first moved into the house.

When he toured the property, the previous owners had an updated sink that was fairly new. After our offer was accepted and we closed on the house, he was surprised to be left with this masterpiece. Apparently, the previous owners decided to take whatever they could including the bathroom sink.

We had to come up with a game plan on how we can update the bathroom inexpensively and fairly quickly so we weren’t using the guest bathroom all the time. Below are some things we did to update our small bathroom.

Cleaned thoroughly

Cleaning up a space can instantly change its look. The best part is it just requires a little of your time. We scrubbed, sprayed, and sanitized. We removed caulk and recaulked. The bathroom instantly looked much better.

Changed the paint color

The paint in the bathroom was neutral but we wanted to lighten it up. Having lighter walls in a small area makes the space feel bigger. For bathrooms, use eggshell or semi-gloss paints. When it comes to choosing a paint color, the rule of thumb is to match your paint with the grout color or the lightest color variation of your tile. But remember, it’s ok to venture out of the norm.

Buy the right vanity

If I redid this bathroom again, I probably would have picked a different style vanity but have the same functionality. In our bathroom, it wouldn’t make sense to put in any type of sink.

We wanted it to be slim but yet functional. I picked this vanity because it had good storage space and extra accessories like a place to hang jewelry and an area to put soap and toothpaste.

The vanity was bought at Ikea and we were able to use their space planning tool to see if the item would fit in the square footage of the bathroom. Also, the price was right. Ikea doesn’t sell this exact size anymore, but here is something similar.

Accessorize and organize

This is the fun part. Once all the key pieces are in place, make the bathroom your own. We purchased our mirror from Home Goods and this shower curtain at Target for $19. I added a bit of trim on the bottom of the curtain to make it a bit longer which draws the eye up. I’ve learned if you want to make a bathroom look more “spa-like”, buy darker bottles in different sizes, remove the label and add your own. 

I already had these bottles from previous purchases so I reused them by adding my favorite products to them. I just placed stickers on them with the first two letters of the product. SH for shampoo, CO for conditioner.  

Create drop-off areas

To keep items off the sink counter, I created a drop-off area for items we use often. I tried hiding them in different areas to keep our area clean, but it didn’t work out for us. We found ourselves leaving these items in random places. I saw this slim basket at the thrift store and tested it out for a week. It worked for us.

It’s always good to have one of these and keep it nearby.

Here are the before and after shots:

Toilet/Shower area


The cost breakdown is listed below.

Ikea vanity: ~$200

Hired Plumber- $75 including parts

New toilet from Home Depot- $109

Paint from Home Depot- $35

Mirror at Home Goods- $45

Shower curtain Target- $19 

Hem tape and fabric trim at Walmart- $10

Caulk-$0 (had from a different project)

Faux plant-$2.50 (from Hobby Lobby)

Total cost- $495.50

Please keep in mind that more than half the cost was replacing the vanity and toilet.  If your bathroom doesn’t need these items, be prepared to spend even less.

How are you updating your bathroom? Please share.