Kids’ Bathroom Update

kid bathroom update

I’ll start this house-y post the same way I’ve started all the others:

My house is fairly newish.  It was built in 2006, so it’s in good shape and nothing really NEEDS replaced.  But, everything is standard tract home, builder quality.  Nothing horrific, but also not very “us”.

So through the years, I’ve painted just about every surface in this house, and with a minuscule budget, been able to update rooms to better reflect our family personality.

A few years ago, I painted over the orangey/honey blonde oak cabinets in our kitchen, and haven’t ever regretted it.  I still love it….and have been itching to continue slowly ridding our home of the cabinet color.

Next on my project list was the kids’ bathroom.  Now, let me clarify: when I say kids’ bathroom, I really mean the-upstairs-bathroom-that-the-kids-mostly-use.  (When I posted something forever ago about the kids’ bathroom, someone commented that my house must be so huge for them to have their very own.  My house isn’t tiny, but we don’t have wings either.)

I wanted to keep the room fun and “kiddish” without resorting to rubber ducky shower curtains and matching toothbrush holders.  It was a fun challenge to make it a happy room and not like it belongs in a preschool.

Let’s begin with some before photos, shall we?

Oh wait.

Except that I did, in fact, take before photos…but I cannot FOR THE LIFE OF ME find them on any media card in my house.  Luckily, I snapped a couple with my phone (that I just found this morning…surprise!), so they’ll have to do:

photo 3 (5)

Now, I realize I’ll never win any awards for photography, but keep in mind that this room is SO HARD to photograph.  It’s long and narrow (which means it’s almost impossible to not catch your own reflection in the giant mirror), and there is not a single window and therefore, no natural light.  It would be nice to install a solar tube, but Money.

Either way, you can see the cabinets.  Simple, clean lines, great shape…but yucky 1990’s stain that darkened the already dark room even more.

photo 4 (11)

Keeping it real, you can see a bunch of bath toys dumped out on the floor.

Professional bloggers would have cleaned that up and even fixed the toilet paper roll.  Maybe even folded the end into a neat little triangle or a pelican or something.

The room was pretty boring and lifeless.  

photo (2)

Here you can see a random towel bar on the far wall and more of that orange oak.  I absolutely despised my white tile/white grout counters in the kitchen, but they don’t bother me here.

Food prep made the grout in the kitchen a huge pain, but in the bathroom, it doesn’t pose much of a problem.  Plus, the bright counter top helps brighten the room.  Not to mention that I wasn’t signing up to spend hundreds of dollars on this project of mine.  I had to work with the bones of what I already had.

A note on those Ikea stools: I have a love/hate relationship with them.  On the one hand, they are great and super sturdy.  They don’t wobble at ALL, which means Jill can use them and I think the colors I spray painted them are really fun.  BUT, they are really way too big for this narrow room and people are forever tripping over them.  But things always look so much smaller in those big warehouse-y stores and with the nearest Ikea hundreds of miles away, I wasn’t about to return them.


And after.

I painted the cabinets in a semi-gloss cool grey.  (That means it has blue undertones instead of brown ones.)  I’d dig around in the garage for the paint color, but honestly, you have to really try out greys in the actual room you want to paint in.  Light can completely change the color and this windowless room is no exception.  I had paint swatches up in this room for a few weeks before I finally committed on a color.  (Which is totally unlike me.  I usually just eyeball for a color at the store and hope it works.)


Andy spent a weekend putting up some wainscoting (no tutorial…we scoured Pinterest for bloggers who created posts outlining the process).  Simple hooks hold the kids’ color coded towels and basic address numbers from the hardware store designate birth order.  And yes, the towels must be in the correct order.  And yes, I will go rearrange them if they aren’t hung correctly.  And yes, I realize this is CRAZY NEUROTIC of me.  Then again, this is the girl who also has a love affair with hooks.  By now, I’d hope your expectations of me are pretty low.

I had to be super careful about color choices since even a hue or two too dark and the whole room would darken significantly.  So I looked for a super pale and bright robin’s egg blue.  It’s a really perfect compliment to the cool grey and still keeps the space light and bright.  Then I created a gallery wall of super colorful and meaningful artwork.  I’ll do a separate post tomorrow of the prints.  (This post is getting long enough already!)

A plain white terry cloth shower curtain helps keep the space bright.  (I used to have a chocolate brown curtain hanging and it was pretty but with the reflection from the mirror, it made the room SO DARK).


Baseboards cut to fit created a frame around the giant sheet of mirror to give it a little more character.

One of my favorite (and simplest!) transformations was the light fixture.

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These are actually the ones hanging in my other bathroom (since I can’t find the danged before pictures I took).  Looking past the thick layer of dust, you’ll see that the hardware is a brownish pink and the shades a milky swirled something or another.


Dark brown spray paint and new glass shades from Home Depot ($6 each) completely changed the fixture and made it look SO much better.


Rather than spend a bunch of money on random bathroom specific stuff, I shopped my house for containers that would work. 


In this case, a tiny mason jar holds q-tips and a cranberry jelly mold I found at a yard sale a few years ago fit the bill.


This vintage Care Bear cup was actually mine when I was a kid and was recently discovered in a giant box from grandma’s attic.


And this perfectly aqua soap dispenser was only $1 at Goodwill.  It’s not Fiestaware, but it’s a fun knock off.

Also, people always comment on my faucets…and yes, they are pretty and I like the oil-rubbed bronze, but we have hard water so no matter how often I use CLR, the white build up just comes right back and stands out like a sore thumb against the dark brown.  I don’t think I’d ever purposely choose dark hardware like this on my own.

A tin bucket from the dollar bins at Target hold assorted bows, an oatmeal container wrapped in scrapbook paper holds headbands, and a simple glass bowl holds hair ties.

I keep wanting to add pretty pulls to the cabinets, but I’m afraid that they’ll just get ruined by the stools knocking against them.  Also, Money.  (But THESE in mint.  I die.)

Overall, I think this entire project cost me about $200.  A couple quarts of paint, four address numbers, and new glass shades for the fixture made up about $60 of it.  I could have/should have stopped there.  

The rest was the wood for the wainscotting which I could have skipped and just painted the whole wall blue, but I really like how it looks.  Plus, I didn’t realize the wood would cost so danged much.  Had I known, I would have likely shined it.  I was completely shocked when Andy came home and I saw the receipt.  Oh well.  I kinda love it.

So there you have it.  Another home project under our belt.  I really hate painting.


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I'm a mom to four. A wife to one. I believe in story. I love telling you about mine and would love to hear yours. There's really no sense in wasting our suffering and not sharing in each other's joy. We're all in this together...even if it doesn't always feel like it.

Latest posts by jeannett (see all)


  1. 1

    love love love it!!! its like a whole new room!!! i have a question for you– how did you hang your frame around the mirror? we’re having issues with how we hung ours, so we’re looking for alternate solutions.
    Karri´s last blog post ..Its lonely over here

    • 2

      honestly, it’s not really done well either. it SEEMED like such a simple project. Andy basically used mirror glue, but the corners look like hell. there’s a reason there are decorative items in the corners on the counter. ;)
      jeannett´s last blog post ..Kids’ Bathroom Update

  2. 3

    Definitely worth it to add the wainscoting! (I can say that easily since it was your But I really think it adds so much to the space and does a ton to brighten the room, which is so hard without natural light. LOVE the whole transformation and $200 is still pretty cheap!
    Liz´s last blog post ..Ellery Update: 18 Months

  3. 5

    It looks awesome! Such a fun bathroom for the kiddos. :)
    Rachel´s last blog post ..Geometric Cork Coasters

  4. 6
    Joanie Fugitt says:


  5. 7

    I’m laughing so hard right now at your vintage Care Bear cup. As I was reading this, my son is watching my vintage Care Bear episodes on the Apple TV.

  6. 8

    I agree with Karri – I think we need a mirror frame tutorial – would love to try it in our bathroom, looks great!

  7. 9

    It looks great! LOVE the cool gray cabinets! And the color coded towels. :)

  8. 10

    This update is awesome, as is your kitchen makeover! I am really impressed.

  9. 11

    we’re buying a house that has a cute bathroom, updated even! but the wood cabinetry just doesn’t go with our taste. I want to paint it white to brighten the room up! but I want to do it well. how do you paint wood like that and have it look nice! I think your bathroom is perfect! fun but not child like. that’s what I’m going for with our bathroom… especially since it’s the only bathroom in the house. :)
    shelia´s last blog post ..47 Cents & a New Beginning

    • 12

      I use liquid sandpaper (yes there is such a thing) on the cabinets first. Two coats of primer and then three coats of paint. I use a foam roller and brush the corners/ridges. SUPER time consuming, but it always seems to be worth the work…after it’s done. ;)
      jeannett´s last blog post ..Kids’ Bathroom Update

  10. 13

    Looks fantastic! And you’re giving me ideas about my mirrors….!

  11. 14

    what a great bathroom! we’re stuck in 1970s-style military housing with teeny, sad bathrooms for now. can’t wait for our “real house” days! we have that “love is spoken here” print up in our dining room. :)
    b @ then there was we´s last blog post ..writer’s block

  12. 16

    Great job~ I love it all, the color, the art work, the wainscoting and the mirror frame are great. I have a bathroom mirror that needs to be framed.

    SUGGESTION! If you want glass pulls, Target sells them. Okay, they’re not Anthropologie, but reasonably priced! I also found lots of choices on Amazon, just type in “glass drawer pulls”. I think they would add a lot to the cabinets, & looking at your photos the ones on the doors could be placed between the seat & crossbar of the stools without being a problem.

    And the number hooks for hanging the kids’ towels are just adorable~ Love that idea!

    • 17

      I had no idea that you could buy drawer pulls on amazon. although i shouldn’t be surprised. you can buy everything there.

      i saw the address number idea on pinterest somewhere and remembered it! what a concept!
      jeannett´s last blog post ..Kids’ Bathroom Update

      • 18

        Seriously, no matter what you want, check Amazon! I buy everything from make up to vitamins & supplements, shoes, clothes, bags, household goods, decorative items, toys, gifts, jewelry, cat food, and printer ink! Okay, so I’m a bit obsessed with Amazon. I’m making good use of my Prime membership! Free delivery right to my door in 2 days and free returns.

        With 4 kids to cart along on errands, I think Amazon Prime was made for you!

  13. 19

    when did you change your header?
    lindsey – the pleated poppy´s last blog post ..the final push

  14. 21

    I love it! The colors are rad, grey is such a calm color; and minty blue is so fun! They’re lucky ducks those kids. Uncle Justin and his girlfriend need to come and hangout ;) (and we will sooner than later!)