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Painted Tile & A Washroom Makeover for $170!



It’s done!  It’s done!  It’s done!!!  The scary bathroom is no longer so.

Remember the original post about this dark corner of the basement?  Let me refresh your memory by showing you the inspiration for this little makeover and you can be the judge of how well I did.

OB-basement washroomThe reason for some of the changes in what I actually got varies… my IKEA didn’t have the floor decking I had planned on using as a shower mat, which turned out to be a great thing because the door would not have closed if I put it there!  The hooks and toilet roll holder I was also unable to find, which was too bad because they were WAY cheaper than the one I got!  I don’t really know why I didn’t get at least one of the plants… probably because I felt like I could recreate something just as cute with Dollar Store stuff.  I am the definition of cheap…  Oh and that mirror?  It’s actually totally awesome in real life, but SO not meant to live in a washroom where one actually wants to be able to see clearly!  It’s smoky throughout.  I do want to find a place for it though…  Now let’s get on with this show!


WAIT! Can you believe this is happening?  I know.  Me either.  Ok, for realies… here we go!

Basement washroom beforeHere is the sad/scary bathroom before.  It actually makes me happy to look at these pictures now because it no longer looks like this!  Steps taken during this stage: removal of all hardware (towel rods, shelving and lighting), sweeping up of dead bugs/spider webs on the walls and ceiling.  Hey, don’t judge me.  This bathroom has been virtually unused since we moved in OVER A YEAR AGO!

Here is what happened next:

IMG_7557A whole lot of priming!!!  I went over the flowered tile with this water-based, sticks-to-everything primer twice just to make sure it was covered well.  It did an ok job, and dried super fast!  Steps taken during this stage: priming using a 2″ brush and roller, two coats of kitchen/bath paint on tiles, door and baseboards.


Basement washroom duringSo as you can see the toilet is gone… it turns out when you want to change flooring, you should remove the toilet? We originally wanted to leave the old vinyl in place and just slap on more flooring on top of it.  Didn’t work.  My mom and dad were working on this as I painted the kitchen hutch on the deck, so I didn’t actually have much anything to do with the vinyl tile removal part.  They are awesomely handy, though, and total champs for all that they did.  Thanks mom and dad!!!  Oh and although the original scary bathroom pictures may deceive you (I doubt it, but just in case), the original floors were a lovely shiny, thin, not-really-that-sticky vinyl, which was peeling up in several spots. Steps taken during this stage: removal of old vinyl flooring, removal of old toilet, new laminate flooring installed, and light fixture change (which you can see above only has 1 light bulb).

Basement washroom makeover for under $200 - The Learner ObserverAnd this is what we ended up with!!  The lighting down there is weird, and the angles of the photos are awkward.  I’m sorry.  Let’s be clear though – this little bathroom looks way better in person.  I promise.  Steps taken during this stage: new toilet installed (again, thanks mom and dad), putting up shelving, mirror, decorative items and new shower curtain (which, by the way, dawned on me much too late that it is is an actual SHOWER curtain… there’s a shower on it! I’m a little slow…)

Sounds super easy, right?  Well… I wouldn’t go that far, but this was certainly much easier (both physically and financially) than gutting the whole thing and starting over.  The entire project was completed over about two and a half days.  Not too shabby!  Ready for the next part?

Cost breakdown:

Paint & primer: $35 (they were also used for the hutch makeover, so I split the cost in half.  Each can was about $35 though)

New flooring: $1.39/sq. ft.  –  total: $47

New toilet: $30 (because I know a good deal when I see one! Holla!)

Mirror: $17

Shower Curtain: $10

Miscellaneous decor items: $30

Shelf and light fixture: FREE!  (thanks mom!)


$200 Basement washroom makeover details - The Learner ObserverThese are some of my favourite parts.  Of course the fact that the dingy, weird, 80’s tile is gone and now covered up has to be like THE BEST PART EVER, but these are the little things that make me smile when I walk past this room now.  The blue bowl with stones and branches in the back are from IKEA and that is actually some wonderfully soapy-smelling potpourri.  NEVER in my life did I think I would have potpourri in my house.  NEVER.  And here we are… The candle was an Anthro splurge and the coral was on clearance at Target.  See the little while bowl?  That was my sad, sad attempt at making something sort of like the beautiful white vase beside it.  I hated it at first, but now?  It can stay… it’s kind of sweet in its weird and imperfect own little way. And lastly, a closer glimpse of the B-E-A-UTIFUL new floors and the fun shower curtain.

And that’s that… The scary basement washroom transformed for under $200! Sometimes I still can’t believe I painted tile!

Basement washroom makeover for under $200 - The Learner Observer

Now do tell me – have you ever done anything as crazy as painting an entirely tiled room?  Or am I the only one?

I link up here and at My Re-Purposed Life!

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  • Reply Alisha

    T!!!!!!!! This is the most BEAUTIFUL bathroom Reno I have ever seen!!!!! Scary and sad no longer! I can’t wait to get you up here again for some amazing design ideas!!!!! You and your parents are just amazing! Xo

    August 5, 2013 at 8:56 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Oh thank you!!!! We still need to have a skype house-tour!!! That way I can go up there prepared with tools! haha!!

      August 6, 2013 at 9:50 am
  • Reply Steph

    It looks great!! I didn’t know you could paint tile with regular bathroom paint, but that’s good to keep in mind! Definitely cheaper than replacing it all. Love your accessories too :)

    August 5, 2013 at 11:25 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Thanks Steph!! The key here was the primer – it stuck on really well! And if this was a washroom we used daily (and if the shower was actually ebing used down there), I would have put on a sealer too, just in case! Since this is basically a guest washroom, it’s ok with just the paint, I think. So far it’s holding up great!

      August 6, 2013 at 9:52 am
  • Reply committedgifts

    This looks incredible! I lovingly call our basement “The Murder Den” since it has the creepiest fixtures, lighting, and layout. Did I mention guests are coming in 4 weeks? Thanks for the inspiration–there is hope!

    August 6, 2013 at 12:35 am
    • Reply Thalita

      That name made me laugh out loud!!! That is too funny! Our basement is on its way to no longer looking like a good Dexter crime scene. Spiders seem to make webs within minutes of me cleaning them up down there – I don’t know how they do it!!!!
      Well this makeover was done over a weekend, and I just KNOW you could make this happen in your scary basement, too! Honestly, if there is a Habitat Restore in your area, it can really be a wonderful place to get started on those small changes for very little cash! Best of luck, and keep us posted on your blog on any progress!!!

      August 6, 2013 at 9:55 am
  • Reply Deli

    It looks amazing with your final touches.

    August 6, 2013 at 9:34 am
  • Reply Nancy W

    Looks great! I love looking at before and after pictures! What a differance.

    August 6, 2013 at 10:47 am
    • Reply Thalita

      Thanks Nancy!!! I, too, love a before and after. It’s so cool to see what people create! Lovely of you to stop by and leave a comment!!!

      August 6, 2013 at 10:53 am
  • Reply Gillian

    Check you out! This looks incredible, Thalita! I love the hanging hutch thing over the toilet and the white tiles look great. Also, I’m totally jealous that your makeover took less than a year and a half. Congrats!!!

    August 6, 2013 at 2:35 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Thanks, Gillian!! I think it took me a little less time because I didn’t need a space suit and mask to complete any projects in here (sound familiar?), oh and I could fit like four of my bathrooms inside of yours, so there’s that too!!!

      August 7, 2013 at 10:18 am
  • Reply twopurplecouches

    Great job!!! It looks so much brighter in the photos; I’m sure it’s an incredible difference in person!

    August 6, 2013 at 8:16 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Thanks, Emily!! It’s literally like day and night in there, but such awkward angles and weird lighting do me no favours!!!

      August 6, 2013 at 10:36 pm
  • Reply Kristin Szabo

    Thalita, it’s super cute! I feel like you’d love the store I work at. Holla at me on FB if you want!

    August 7, 2013 at 1:28 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Now I’m intrigued!! Tell me more…

      August 8, 2013 at 9:36 am
  • Reply Natasha

    Looks great Thalita! I didn’t know you had a blog. Can’t wait to look around!

    August 8, 2013 at 7:33 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Hey!! Thanks Natasha!

      August 9, 2013 at 11:26 am
  • Reply Lauren @ The Thinking Closet

    Oh. my. word. WHAT A TRANSFORMATION! (Yes, all caps were necessary there.) I can hardly believe all that you tackled and for $169 (plus a whole lotta elbow grease). The white painted tile was a smart move. It’s so bright and cheerful now. Anything but scary. In fact, I kinda wanna hang out in there. Those miscellaneous decor items are calling my name….

    August 9, 2013 at 1:48 am
    • Reply Thalita

      You know, originally I thought I was having a moment of temporary insanity for painting tiles, but it actually worked!!! I totally find myself just going in there, looking around, then leaving with a smile. So weird… but I love the white and the IKEA potpourri smells sooooo good!!!! I want to paint everything white now! Again, my poor husband has to put up with this…
      Oh and miscellaneous decor items are always calling to me… It’s a problem! haha

      August 9, 2013 at 11:54 am
  • Reply Beth @ Incomplete Guide to Living

    Super Cute! I love the quirky decorative items you used on the shelves! :)

    August 9, 2013 at 3:08 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Thanks so much Beth! I just went to check out your blog – cuteness overload!!! And you have some awesome ideas!

      August 10, 2013 at 11:21 am
  • Reply becauseiliketodecorate

    Fab job! I looks great! :)

    August 10, 2013 at 7:54 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Thanks so much Mary! Can I just say, I am LOVING your blog right now?!?! Oh my gosh. I want to read everything!!!!

      August 11, 2013 at 9:42 am
  • Reply Rosemary

    Well, it’s not scary anymore. Fabulous job!

    August 11, 2013 at 10:39 am
    • Reply Thalita

      Thank you Rosemary!! Amazing what paint can do! :)

      August 13, 2013 at 9:45 am
  • Reply Carrie This Home

    Wow–what a difference! I’m impressed you did this for only $170! It’s so much brighter (and less scary!)
    Would you mind to link this up to my blog hop? Our readers love to see frugal DIY projects like this! Just click on the “Carrie This Home” next to my picture and it will take you right to the hop. Thanks so much!!!

    August 12, 2013 at 8:24 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Thank you so much, Carrie!! White always wins – especially in scary basement washrooms!!

      I just linked up!! So excited to be joining your blog hop!

      August 13, 2013 at 10:08 am
  • Reply Katie

    WOW! This bathroom doesn’t even look the same. You did an amazing job! And for little money. Thanks for sharing at the Frugal Crafty Home Blog Hop!

    Katie @ The Casual Craftlete

    August 13, 2013 at 11:55 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Thank you for hosting, Katie!! Glad you liked it! My favourite projects are those that I know cost less than I had anticipated, and this was definitely one of those!

      August 14, 2013 at 11:51 am
  • Reply Diana Rambles

    It looks wonderful. Great job!

    August 14, 2013 at 7:34 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Thanks so much, Diana!!! That’s a great compliment coming from someone who does and makes so much like you do!!

      August 15, 2013 at 9:20 am
  • Reply Jennifer @Blissfully Ever After

    The bathroom turned out great! Where did you find that flooring? It looks like real wood! Great find :D Thanks for linking up to our “Inspire Me Please” blog party….I’m featuring you this week! Cheers, Jennifer @Blissfully Ever After

    August 15, 2013 at 7:48 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Hi Jennifer! Thank you SO much! The flooring was actually purchased at Home Depot, if you can believe that! It was super easy to install, too. I’m so excited that you’re featuring this project!!! Thanks for the support and for letting me know!! :)

      August 15, 2013 at 8:57 pm
  • Reply "Inspire Me Please" Blog Party {No. 24} - Blissfully Ever After

    […] Basement Washroom Makeover from The Learner Observer […]

    August 15, 2013 at 10:01 pm
  • Reply

    I’d love to have you share this or any of your amazing posts at our weekly Super Saturday Link Party. It starts Friday’s at 6pm, hope we see you there!


    August 16, 2013 at 4:18 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Hi Tracy,

      I would love to share, but the link didn’t work :( If you try again I will definitely add your link party to my list and share weekly!

      August 17, 2013 at 12:28 pm
  • Reply


    I just checked our link party and it seems to be working. Try again and it should work this time. Sorry for the inconvenience!

    August 17, 2013 at 2:34 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Got it!!! Thank you! :)

      August 18, 2013 at 9:36 pm
  • Reply Frugal Crafty Home Blog Hop

    […] loved this Scary Basement Washroom Makeover link up from the Learner Observer.  Talk about a great transformation for under […]

    August 18, 2013 at 9:02 pm
  • Reply Carrie This Home

    Congratulations! This post was featured at this week’s Frugal Crafty Home Blog Hop! Thanks for linking up!

    August 20, 2013 at 8:42 am
    • Reply Thalita

      Woo hoo!!! That is super exciting news! Thanks so much Carrie!!

      August 21, 2013 at 9:35 am
  • Reply Wall Unit to Kitchen Hutch Makeover — the thinking closet

    […] used the same primer here as I did on the tiled walls of the scary basement washroom, and I have no complaints! The paint was actually also the same. Don’t you love double-duty […]

    August 23, 2013 at 8:02 am
  • Reply From Wall Unit to Kitchen Hutch

    […] used the same primer here as I did on the tiled walls of the scary basement washroom and I have no complaints!  The paint was actually also the same.  Don’t you love double […]

    September 3, 2013 at 8:01 am
  • Reply Jocelyn at Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows

    Wow, that looks amazing! I can’t believe you made it look so much better for so cheap. Awesome job!

    September 7, 2013 at 6:37 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Thank you Jocelyn! Amazing what a little paint can do! :)

      September 9, 2013 at 8:39 am
  • Reply Annet M

    Wow, the tile painting looks awesome – what a big difference. A friend has some pretty crazy bathroom tiles – I’m going to send her to this page!

    September 13, 2013 at 9:40 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Honestly, I never knew I could love painted tile so much!! Did you see how ugly they were before? YUCK!

      The only additional thing I’d recommend if painting in a bathroom that you actually use for bathing/showering in often (not the case for us in this one) is to use a protective coat over the paint – the paint will last MUCH longer that way and it’s way easier for cleaning too! Just a clear coat of poly would do the trick!

      September 16, 2013 at 9:32 am
  • Reply graify7Jen

    Can you give us more details about the floorings? It all looks great!

    January 18, 2014 at 5:37 pm
    • Reply Thalita

      Hi! Of course I can! The tile we used was this one, which we purchased from The Home Depot, but have also seen available at Lowe’s. It’s a self-adhesive tile, but it’s really thick, unlike typical vinyl flooring. It can be installed either on its own (like I did) or with grout to make it look even more like a traditional tile and which also helps to make sure the tile stays down. With that being said, we installed ours overtop of uneven concrete and we’ve had no issues with it coming up at all! It’s been really great. I hope this helps, but if you have any other questions please feel free to comment or email me! :)

      January 20, 2014 at 12:08 pm

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