It’s Done! Our $170 Bathroom Makeover For Granny

As we mentioned in Monday’s post, there are almost always three main steps to room makeovers (some of which take forever and a day, and some that are done fast and furiously, like this bathroom blitz):

  1. prep/planning (brainstorming, picking a color palette, going shopping, priming, sanding, spackling)
  2. bigger upgrades (painting walls, refinishing or painting cabinets, laying new flooring, etc)
  3. finishing touches (curtains, new hardware, art, accessories – all the things that add “you” to the space)

So Day Three (see Day One and Day two here and here) was all about those finishing touches. Here’s how it all went down (and yes, I was writing on the back of a paper plate with a calligraphy marker – gotta use whatcha got, haha).

Ta-daaa! It took about an hour to make some custom curtains for Granny’s window thanks to some designer fabric (made by Braemore, if that helps) that we scored at a deep discount (at U-Fab in Richmond on our way out of town) and some no-sew hem tape.

I just measured the window to see how long I wanted them (a few inches below the bottom of the window trim felt best) so I cut two rectangles of fabric that were 29″ long (the length that I just measured plus two inches to allow for hemming) and 31″ wide (to give them enough fabric to feel drapey and full when they were hanging up there). Here’s a better shot of the fabric to jog your memory (it’s hard to photograph it in front of the window).

Once they were hemmed on all sides (using this method), they were 27″ x 29″ (my target size after accounting for those extra 2″ in each direction that would be used by the hem). Then it was as simple as hanging a curtain rod from Target and using some ring-clips (also from Target) to hold up my little fabric rectangles.

Here’s a close up of the pretty fabric. Something about it just screamed “Granny” to us. It’s so happy and sweet.

Oh and just when we thought we were done with the caulk on Day 1, we decided that one seam (where the front of the vent met the new flooring) could look a lot more polished with a smidge of caulk) so I made a video for you guys that might help you get a nice clean caulk line:

Then came the fun part: accessorizing tiiiime, baby. In came a lot of items that Granny already had (in colors that we pulled from the curtains like emerald, navy, and violet).

We even grabbed some fresh flowers from the nearby grocery store and plopped them into a vase that Granny already had. And see that wooden tulip on the toilet? Papa actually made that for Granny years ago, so we loved working it into our little room reveal. It’s the simple things, right? Speaking of those, how is it that a once-white-now-navy toilet paper holder can be so cute? It’s just one of those little upgrades that makes something feel a lot more fun than just going with a basic store-bought version. Note: For some reason the floor looks Snooki-tan orange in some of these shots, so the one below is the most accurate.

Here’s a straight shot of the cabinets with their navy hardware on them (we wish we had enough time to make a false-drawer on the top right – maybe next time we’re in town…).

We mentioned that we wanted to bring in some meaningful art, so this is actually a picture of Granny and Papa when they were younger that we shared back in this post. We loved it so much that we got it printed as a 5 x 7 for our new purple frame from HomeGoods. Next to it, I also framed a scrap of extra fabric. Printed or patterned fabric behind glass = free art (and Granny can always switch it out for a picture if the mood strikes).

This pretty silver tray was already Granny’s, just like the sweet green vase. She has so many awesome things around the house that it was fun getting to showcase some of them in the room reveal – especially since she really seemed to love seeing them in there among some new things like a basket of extra hand towels, the flowers, and the frames.

In such a tiny room, we really wanted it to feel cheerful, so while some folks might think it’s crazy to stack bold green and blue hardcover books on the back of the toilet, we really wanted to add color and use things Granny already had around.

The funny thing is that the colorful books were probably her favorite part along with that meaningful little wooden flower that was made for her by her husband so many years ago. Aww.

She even noticed the little things, like the small blue knob that we added to her medicine cabinet.

And we can’t forget how rough things were looking when we arrived, so here’s a flash back to the sink area before I cut out that caulk, re-caulked, and painted as compared to how that same seam looked when we left. Is caulk not the MVP of DIY, or what?

And here’s that shot of a few of the other more challenging issues in the room next to a final shot of the space. It’s amazing what a few days of work can do, huh?

It was pretty darn satisfying to see our to-do list all crossed off:

  • Brainstorm colors & go shopping for accessories (Day 1)
  • Spackle/sand/caulk everything to prep the room for paint (Day 1)
  • Rebuild the cabinets a bit so they look more balanced (Day 1)
  • Prime and paint the cabinets for a more updated and open look (Day 1 & 2)
  • Paint the entire room, including the ceiling (Day 2)
  • Fix a few issues, like a rusted duct and an old dingy corner below the sink (Day 2)
  • Redo the floors, which were that old sheet laminate stuff (Day 2)
  • Revive some hardware/accessories with a fresh finish (Day 2)
  • Make & hang curtains to add some charm (Day 3)
  • Bring in some meaningful art (Day 3)
  • Add some functional/meaningful accessories to finish things off (Day 3)
  • Reveal the whole shebang for Granny (Day 3)

So that’s the story of jumping at the chance to redo Granny’s bathroom in three days and on a nice modest budget. Is it weird that we’re in love with this tiny room now? As in, we joked about bringing an air mattress in the next time we came to visit and sleeping in there. Yup, weird.

Oh and we did happen to capture the big reveal on tape, but before we get to that, here’s a little budget breakdown for ya:

  • 2 quarts of paint, “Hint of Violet” in Benjmain Moore’s Aura in Satin (a gallon would have been too much/pricier, so we went for two quarts): $40
  • Zinsser’s Smart Prime & Benjamin Moore’s Advance Paint in Decorators White for the cabinet: $0 (already owned from this project)
  • 30 vinyl stick tiles from Home Depot: $30
  • 1 yard of fabric for curtains from U-fab: $15
  • Curtain rod and ring hooks from Target: $18
  • Wood for cabinet, new outlets, and outlet covers from Home Depot: $10
  • Valspar Indigo Stream spray paint from Lowe’s: $4
  • Trash can, towel bar, soap pump, frames, basket, and hand towels from HomeGoods: $45
  • Blue knob for medicine cabinet: $1.50
  • Flowers from Kroger: $6
  • Books, wood flower, green vase, toilet paper holder, tray, glass jar for cotton swabs: $0 (these were already Granny’s)
  • Spackle, caulk, paint supplies, hem tape: $0 (already owned, and carted with us so we had them on hand)
  • TOTAL: $169.50

Not bad for a new floor, upgraded cabinets, freshly painted walls, new curtains, fresh-looking hardware, and getting to say good riddance to rust and peeling caulk, right? But enough money chit-chat, let’s move on to something priceless. Here’s Granny’s awesome reaction:

The funniest part is that we didn’t coerce her to wear that sweater to match the room, she just happened to have it on! We loved that. And we loved that she loved the room even more.

We were so happy to get to do something so fun for one of the sweetest women on the planet.

Then we hopped back in the car, and drove home with smiles on our faces.

What about you guys? Have you ever gotten an opportunity to help someone else with their space? Did they promise not to peek or were they in on the action with you? We actually loved that Granny gave us free reign and avoided that hallway so she wouldn’t see what was going on. And we’re so glad that she liked the result.


  1. Jenna says

    This is lovely! I would *so* love to see more projects like this (though I realize you guys don’t have time to makeover all your families’ houses). But these ‘giving to others’ posts are just so lovely and so heartwarming to read about! And they’re so personal!

    But things like this post, and Centsational Girl’s Alma project – they really make me feel good about reading these blogs. I appreciate that you could be spending all your time feathering your own nests, but you choose to also give back to the community around you, and that’s really beautiful to read about (esp because shelter blogs can feel like a rather solipsistic endeavor sometimes!) :)

  2. Kim says

    I was trying to put my finger on what I loved so much about this series and I think I figured it out – in the past when y’all have done a quick upgrade for someone else it has usually been in newer homes (John’s sister’s room, John’s niece’s room, etc) but this is the only one I can think of in an older home where you have issues like old wallpaper and burned out outlets. I think I just loved seeing a decades-old space redone with y’alls touch in just a few days with such simple upgrades.

  3. says

    Sorry, Katie Bower .. But, I think Granny has taken the #1 video guest appearance on YHL.

    I love it and I can’t wait to see more stuff like this.

    Good for you guys!

  4. Jen says

    I absolutely love this. Looks quick and dare I say easy? Maybe I really can try my hand at my granny’s bathroom(Not to diminish your HARD HARD work but you guys make it look so easy). The hard part will be convincing her to change anything!!

  5. Brooke Reasoner says

    Absolutely in love with this cheery little powder room re-do… kudos! A couple questions for you as this has inspired me to get to work on our upstairs guest bath. I believe you said in an earlier post that you painted the ceiling. Is that correct, and if so, was it the same color/type of paint as the walls? Also, did you do/use anything special to spruce up the sink faucet or was it just good ‘ole fashioned elbow grease? Lastly, my bath is a full bath with shower/tub combo. It has a window very similar to the one in Granny’s. I love the curtains you made (maybe my favorite part of the re-do) so if I were to use a print similar to what you did, what would you then recommend for a shower curtain? Should I keep it simple, like white, but maybe with some texture, i.e. waffle weave? Or maybe a solid accent color from the pallette of the print I use on the window? Or what about some type of coordinating design, i.e. a stripe or geometric print? Just curious what your initial thoughts would be on that. Thanks again, YHL, for another awesome inspiration post, this was one of my favorites! -B

    • says

      Oh yeah a white waffle weave shower curtain would be so cute with those curtains with more print on the windows. You could also do a soft purple or white with navy trim curtain or something to tie into the fabric. As for the faucet, that was just a nice scrub to shine it up, and the ceiling was the same color/type of paint, we just rolled it up onto the ceiling. Hope it helps!


  6. Dianne says

    OMG, hands down the BEST EVER project you have ever done!!!!!!!! I got a tear in my eye seeing your Granny’s reaction to the room. Priceless!


  7. Alison says

    Wow, what a difference. Great job! You two are like energizer bunnys, always on the go. Matter of a fact you make this old lady tired. haha

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