We’ve all heard that first impressions can sometimes be lasting impressions. Whether interviewing for a job or going out on a first date, we are all influenced by either positive impressions or damaging ones. And the same is also true for many homes. I think for a lot of people whenever they enter a new house for the first time — whether it be family or friends — the look definitely plays a part in the “wow factor.” For some, it’s the entryway that decides it, while others find it in the living room or kitchen. But for me, it’s hands down the guest bathroom. You may of just had to take a double read on that, but let me explain. When it comes to bathrooms, I’m kind of a neat freak. I can’t stand smelly toilets, hair on the floor or gunky bath tubs — and I think a lot of people feel the same way. So when I see a guest bathroom that’s both clean and has an appealing design, I feel pretty ecstatic about my first impression. And that’s the idea I had in mind when I decided to do a complete renovation of our own guest bathroom.
Like with our kitchen makeover — Every Kitchen Should Be Green — every wall in the house was painted a generic construction color but still quite pretty light beige. However, some difference is a must in order to distinguish each room from each other. So, as much as I believe kitchens need to be green, I think at least one bathroom (preferably the guest or second) should be blue. For our guest bathroom, it made sense to take a small, dark room and brighten it up with some pretty blue paint. But, while it was fairly easy to choose the sage green in my kitchen, choosing the right bathroom blue was a feat in of in itself. As you can see in the above photos, I think I ended up going through about four different shades — from turquoise Sea Kiss to sky blue Adrift — before finally landing on baby blue River Mist (pictured on the bottom photo as the bottom-most paint streak). In between this decision though, I spent weeks in agony wondering what color to go with and constantly pestering Jacob to pick a color sample on the wall or choose one for himself. I’m pretty sure I have about 50 blues tucked away in a Ziploc bag that I double and triple went through before making up my mind. Although the right color was definitely a challenge, everything else décor wise was beyond a doubt all downhill from there.
WHAT TO KNOW WHEN PAINTING BATHROOMS
While I feel like I’m becoming a natural when it comes to painting walls, working on a bathroom was definitely a whole new experience for me. Not only is it a smaller room, but it’s filled with many more obstacles than the kitchen makeover was: toilet, tub, mirror. So here’s my takeaway when painting rooms with tons of permanent fixtures and angles galore.
1. Painting around a toilet takes patience and sweet time. I knew when I first started this DIY project, getting the paint around the back of the toilet would be a challenge. While I could paint right up to the edges, I wasn’t quite sure how to get behind the back of it. Lucky enough, I have small, lengthy hands so maneuvering back there wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. The trick is to hold the brush at the very end of the handle and shimmy it between the toilet and wall, being extra careful not to touch the toilet in the process. Do your best to brush some paint strokes on the wall, covering as much of it as possible. The nice thing is even if you miss a few spots, nobody is going to look behind the toilet, at least not normally. As long as you can muster the courage of getting up close and personal with your toilet, you should be good to go.
2. Trim, trim and more trim. When it comes to painting a room with small walls and tons of edges, it’s important to take the time to properly paint your trim before getting a roller in there. Not only do you have to work around the toilet, but in most bathrooms you have a vanity, mirror, lights, towel rack, etc. So it will help you out in the long run to paint out your trim enough for you to do the rest with a roller. Honestly, I think I ended up doing one wall with a roller and the rest I painted with a hand brush. It’s more time consuming, but it’s a lot easier than trying to maneuver a roller in awkward corners and all over the place.
3. I can’t emphasize enough how much Blue Painter’s Tape is your friend. Before you even start painting, you should run a roll of tape along your baseboards and pretty much anything else you want to avoid getting painted by mistake. It’s just one of those prep steps you need to take to give yourself a nice, final product. Make sure though that when you place the tape, you don’t “halfsies” it. I definitely had a few spots I ended up painting over just because I didn’t correctly place my tape. In these instances, it’s good to have a paint scrapper on hand just to take off any little accidents.
4. Finishing is definitely the best feeling of accomplishment. After two days and multiple layers of paint, my guest bathroom is complete and gorgeous looking. If you look back at the beginning of this post and what the original bathroom looked like, the lighter blue definitely brightens up this small space. Whereas before it looked plain and uninviting, now we have a place our guests can feel comfortable. But the design doesn’t just end there — now we have to fill it with charming accents.
While choosing the perfect blue seemed to take me forever to make a final decision, working on adding the design accents in this room came fairly easy. I knew I wanted to decorate with grey in order to subtlety tone down the bright blue of the walls. It definitely took a lot of research and online shopping before I found the main centerpieces of this room and added some modern design touches to finish it off.
The Wow Factors. One of the first things guests will notice when walking into our guest bathroom is this beautiful shower curtain I found through Kohl’s. In my travels through Pinterest and décor websites, I’ve found the geometric patterns really attract me the most. So the diamond-shaped curtain creates a very visually appealing look in both its design and color choice with the blue walls. The other part that creates a wow factor in this bathroom comes from our floating shelves above the toilet, from Bath and Body Works. Despite the frustration of placing these on a wall with no studs and making them look even, I think they came out perfectly (and it’ll probably be the last time we ever install floating shelves). The distressed grey look also plays on the grey accent theme I’m going with and makes it look a little more chic in my opinion. Finally — something to play off our geometric shower curtain — I purchased another slightly different but similar geometric pattern in our towel décor, also from Kohl’s. In order for it to not look too jarring next to the curtain, I also bought a simple white washcloth to lay over the towel and help break up the similar textures, while still maintaining our overall design aesthetic.
The Accents. This summer, Jacob and I took a vacation with my parents to a wonderful resort called Hilton Head Sea Pines in South Carolina. I knew I wanted to get an ocean sunrise and sunset photo in order to add those iconic images to create an elegant ocean-themed accent. Since I took so many, it was hard to make a final decision, so I ended up with two dominate photos, along with four smaller sunrise/set photos (see a gallery of my sunrise photos here). All it took was some beautiful frames I found at Gordmans and some adhesive fasteners to pull it all together. Another thing I was really excited about decorating was, of course, my floating shelves. By adding some cute pieces, such as a hydrangea in an owl vase (above) or a striking seashell, along with something more practical — cotton balls, Q-tips, a candle — mixes two categories that are essential to any design. Plus a photo of Jacob and I on the beach just adds another personal touch. Some other finishing pieces that combine practicality with appealing design includes our Vanilla soap and lotion dispensers (Target/Bath and Body Works), two grey/white stripped bath mats (HomeGoods), and finally another washcloth (Kohl’s) next to the sink that is similar to our centerpiece towel and useful for drying hands, of course.
And there you have it. One of the first rooms in my house to include a total redesign, from the true blue paint choice to trendy design finishes. Not only does everything tie well together, but I think my guests will feel not only comfortable but extremely welcome in this warm and inviting guest bathroom.