Bathroom Renovation: A Custom Upgrade on a Budget

Posted by: on July 7th, 2014 | 12 Comments
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Bathroom Renovation: A Custom Upgrade on a Budget

Bathroom renovation is a very popular home improvement. And a little can go a long way when it comes to upgrading your bathroom.

Gwen Hefner knows all about home renovation. She writes about decor and home renovation on her blog The Makerista

Here she shows us how she and her husband made her bathroom look fantastic, and did it without spending a lot. 

Like many couples, in our home improvement efforts we somehow put the master bedroom and bathroom at the end of the to-do list. In the last five years we’ve renovated every other room in our home, and it was finally time to tackle our personal space. I’m sorry we didn’t do it sooner.

When brainstorming this space, we had a few things to consider. As far as functionality, the layout works for us and we didn’t see a need to move anything around. We never use the corner hot tub, but for resale purposes we decided to keep it in–it seems like something no one uses but everyone thinks they want.

The room has wonderful, natural light and I wanted to play off of that, keeping things bright and clean. I also knew we wanted to try and think outside the box to create something with items anyone can get, but make them feel custom.

That’s where the flooring came in. With a budget of $2,000, we dove in to create a classic space that still packs a lot of personality.

Bathroom Renovation: A Custom Upgrade on a Budget

We decided to cover the walls with tongue and groove boards and classic subway tile.

There is something to be said for being able to easily wipe down bathroom walls, and tile is great for that. The boards come with a bead detail running down the center of them, so we simply flipped them over and used the back to get a wider plank. In order to create a seamless look from one material to the other (the boards are thicker than the tile), it was necessary to build up the wall behind the tile. Adding a layer of drywall made the transition seamless.

Bathroom Renovation: A Custom Upgrade on a Budget


The Walls

We started by laying the wall tile, followed by gluing and nailing on the boards, and then priming and painting them. The boards have knots in them and you can choose to fill them in with some wood-filler, but it wasn’t something that bothered me, so we left them alone. After two coats of primer we used an off-white paint to match to the tile. The black liner tile helps to give you eye a place to rest on the wall and also tie in with the floors.


Bathroom Renovation: A Custom Upgrade on a Budget

Bathroom Renovation: A Custom Upgrade on a Budget

Bathroom Renovation: A Custom Upgrade on a Budget


The Tile Floor

Next we moved on to the floor.

These were definitely the most time consuming part, but the application was rather easy.

Figuring out how much tile was necessary, but a bit tricky. I determined the percentage of each color in a single pattern and then used that percentage on the total square footage of the space. I ended up needed three boxes of white, two boxes of antique, and one box of black for our 50-foot floor. The pattern is bold, but classic, and it was a fraction of the cost of more high-end tiles.

The Vanity

Bathroom Renovation: A Custom Upgrade on a Budget

To pick up on the black tile, we painted the vanity a charcoal color. The nickel knobs we added tie in well with the chrome towel bar and toilet paper holder.

Bathroom Renovation: A Custom Upgrade on a Budget


Lighting and the Mirror

I thought we would definitely be replacing the builder-grade counter tops, but it’s amazing how adding the sconces and changing the faucet and mirror gave the countertop new life.

Bathroom Renovation: A Custom Upgrade on a Budget

Bathroom Renovation: A Custom Upgrade on a Budget

Without doing a total bathroom overhaul, we were able to create a space that feels classic, with custom touches–all on a modest budget.

Here are the Home Depot products Gwen used in this bathroom renovation:

Check out more bathroom ideas here on The Home Depot Blog. And shop our Bath and Faucet and Tile and Flooring departments when you’re planning your bathroom renovation.  If you need help with your bathroom renovation, our installation services offerings enable a licensed professional to come and do it for you.


Gwen received a Home Depot gift card to complete this project. The opinions she expressed are her own.


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Leave a Comment

  1. Bray says:

    Wow, it looks amazing, Great job good transformation. I appreciate your excellence and brilliance. Well done, everything is done beautifully!

  2. amy says:

    How did you lay the tile? Did you have to do it piece by piece? Can you tell me the process?

  3. Adam says:

    It is hard to believe that this bathroom is a budget upgrade. The floor looks beautiful and goes well with the wall tiles.

  4. [...] Gwen Hefner •   The Makerista  •  Home Depot’s The Apron Blog [...]

  5. So so gorgeous!! Everything looks so amazing together! Great job:)

  6. [...] 1.  Bathroom Renovation written by Gwen from the Makerista, featured on Home Depot’s blog here.  [...]

  7. Berdj J. Rassam says:

    Renovating the bathroom is one of the most popular home improvement ideas out there.

  8. I love the bathroom, the floor is amazing!!! I also like the unexpected piece of furniture in the room!! Beautifully done!

  9. Nice job, Gwen! You did an amazing job! It’s so, so beautiful. That tile pattern is absolutely stunning. And the mirror is gorgeous!

  10. Kathy says:

    Gwen, this turned out amazing!! I love the classic tiles and your styling with the antique cabinet and modern touches is just perfect. Beautiful job! I know whoever is using it will be enjoying it immensely.

  11. So so pretty! Love the floor

  12. Wow wow wow…amazing transformation, Gwen!!! The room is perfection!