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The $200 bathroom makeover


When I accepted the challenge of a $200 bathroom makeover, I knew my executive assistant Julie Lawler’s bathroom was the perfect candidate. I asked her to send me pictures of bathrooms she liked (most came from Pinterest), which I studied — circling things I probably could find or even make myself.

I shopped at many stores, including TJ Maxx, Lowe’s, Dirt Cheap, Hobby Lobby, Burkes, Walmart, World Market and the dollar store. I found myself looking in the discounted areas and racks.

I realized in this venture that I am a good negotiator. For example, at Dirt Cheap, I haggled a $45 mirror down to $25! Although it wasn’t the color I wanted and it had a few dings, I knew I could make it work by spray-painting it black. I found a light fixture for $34 that I planned to paint black as well.

Speaking of paint, an associate at Lowe’s led me to the return and discount paint. I found a gallon of a really cool gray shade, which was the color palette I was looking for, and it was only $9! Jackpot!

I picked up a sample size of ocean gray paint for $3.98, which I used to paint the vanity, and a can of black spray paint for $3.98. I also checked out the plumbing department because I knew we needed a new faucet.

Whenever you’re doing a property makeover, it’s OK to splurge on one or two items. I found a nice faucet that matched my vision perfectly for $49. At other stores, I bought some jars ranging from $1.99 to $3.99 (great for Q-tips, soaps, cotton balls, etc.) and used the black spray paint to make their tops uniform.

At the dollar store, I picked up three black picture frames for $3. I took a picture of a tree with no leaves, (Julie loves these!), divided it in three, printed it out and put it in the frames. I bought a cute and trendy rug for $9, and instead of a regular shower curtain, I went with curtain panels for $16.99 (a pair) that are longer. They hang higher, so it creates a more luxurious look.

You can score good deals online, too. I found this amazing, two-tier wood shelf connected with pipes for $31.99. I could have made it myself, but I knew it was best to purchase given my timeframe. I also ordered black hooks for $2 each from Etsy for the new towel rack.

Despite a tight budget, you still can make over any area by changing up the fixtures. For example, that can of black spray paint provided a new look to the towel holder, toilet paper holder, handles on the vanity and a few other elements already in place (curtain rod and door knobs).

You can use décor from other rooms in the house, too. Another option is to ask on Facebook for items you may need. I asked for weathered fence boards, and a friend provided some for free!

I recruited my dad to help, which made it fun as well, and we completed this project in one weekend.

Here’s how I did it, step by step:

  1. Take before pictures.
  2. Get a plan.
  3. Go shopping — bring all pictures and ideas with you.
  4. Disassemble the bathroom, including removing fixtures. Note: You can donate any fixture you don’t use to Habitat for Humanity ReStore.
  5. Clean – This is very important, as it makes you feel like you have a fresh slate to work with.
  6. Patch any holes and sand where needed, then paint. I chose a lighter color for the walls than what she had, as it makes the room feel larger. I painted the vanity a darker shade for contrast, then spray-painted the items we were reusing. Note: Spray paint outside, placing the items on cardboard or an old sheet.
  7. Install new faucet and light fixture.
  8. Measure areas for placement of the fence boards, cut and install. I used these fence boards on the back wall of the shower to add personality. I used a piece to add the hooks for the towel rack and added a piece as a topping for the half wall. It really tied everything together.
  9. Hang pictures and shelving.
  10. Put all spray-painted fixtures back.
  11. Install shower curtain and accessorize.
  12. Take after pictures.

That’s how it was done for $200 — actually, $198.91. You can do it, too!

Holly Lemoine-Raymond is owner/ broker with HL Raymond Properties and executive producer of Inside Out with HL Raymond Properties (TV series). She can be reached at (228) 466-6643 or