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Quarantine life includes a lot of house work for us. We've been fixing and repairing things for weeks. We even finished some mini renovation projects here and there.

Our house is a traditional cookie cutter track house with builder grade level features. Fake flooring, flat paint and oak cabinetry. Sigh. Our goal is to freshen up some of the dated features.

If you're in need of cheap, budget conscious reno ideas, this little series is for you.

This is what we did with the downstairs bathroom.


Pretty basic bathroom. The biggest dislike was the flooring. It was ugly cheap linoleum. The edges were lifting and stained. If you look closely, you can see the stains and lifting under the cabinets. We hated it.


Small Budget Tips:

Flooring -

As mentioned above, our biggest concern was the old linoleum flooring. We found this neutral tile floor at Floor & Decor for relatively cheap. We bought enough for all 3 bathrooms and the kitchen for $900-ish. We stored the tile in the garage until we were ready to do the work ourselves. It took about 3 days to finish this floor. One full day to remove the linoleum and glue, one day to install and one day to dry. We're not handy people. This is the first flooring project Hubs ever did. It's doable with Youtube's help. Give yourself enough time to complete the project and do it before changing anything else.

Tip: Look for bulk or contractor pricing. It helps save some cash when you're going to replace multiple floors.

If you're replacing flooring, I encourage you to replace the baseboards too, especially if you have short baseboards with rounded wall edges. We got rid of the rounded edge look by purchasing taller baseboards and cutting angular cuts that intersect in a point. This was my Dad's idea and I'm so so happy with how it turned out. It's a lot more noticeable in person but I swear it modernized the entire look!

Tip: If you're going to paint walls, I recommend doing the baseboards after the walls have been painted and dried. It helped me make less mistakes with my subpar painting skills.

Paint -

A quick way to freshen up any room is paint. We opted for something neutral and washable. We have 4 kids! We need washable walls around here and went with a satin finish.

(Wall Paint - Behr in Rustic Taupe )

Cabinets -

Speaking of paint, painting cabinets is an inexpensive way to update builder grade oak cabinets. A good cleaning and light sanding before priming is super important. It will make the job so much easier. A durable paint is equally important. I learned this the hard way and had to repaint these cabinets twice. I also have a kitchen waiting to be redone. I highly recommend Benjamin Moore Advance Interior Paint for cabinetry jobs. It cost a little more ($35 per gallon) but a gallon can get you 2-3 bathrooms done.


Clean cabinets and make sure they're dust & gunk free.

Lightly sand with 150-200 grit sandpaper to help paint stick better.

Remove doors & hinges.

Label doors and hinges for correct install.

Prop up the cabinets to paint. It helps with the edges.

Paint the backside first (you don't want any smudges).

Use a decent angled paint brush for inner corners and borders.

Allow at least 24 hours dry time after priming (I did one thin coat).

Allow at least 24 hours dry time after each coat of paint (each side).

Dry time is important! These little babies took an entire 7 days to complete. Be patient!

Another trick for cabinets is adding hardware. We picked up a couple of inexpensive nickel square knobs at Target and spray painted them bronze to match the door knob. They're holding up just fine. No chipping and no indication that they've been spray painted.

(Cabinet Paint - BMA in Pewter)

Fixtures -

Most of our budget was allocated to flooring and a new toilet. We opted to keep the same vanity/sink and update the light and sink fixture instead. The original light was on of those old bulb bars. It had to go. We spent under $100 on a new faucet fixture and a new vanity light. These picks were a matter of affordability. I'm happy with the overall look. My two cents, don't be afraid to mix fixture colors if you can only replace one or two fixtures. Remember the spray paint trick on the cabinet knobs.

Mirrors -

I have a love/hate relationship with builder grade mirrors. They don't bother me but they're not exactly trendy or stylish either. I'm a country girl. I live for rustic and farmhouse decor. I have a lot mid century vibes going on in my house though. I wasn't sure on this little touch of farmhouse in the bathroom. Let me just say...I love it! It was super easy and cheap to do, under $25!

(Stain - Miniwax in Dark walnut)

1. Measure your own mirror; top, bottom and sides. Side pieces will be placed between top and bottom boards. Measure accordingly. Take note that these pieces are not angled. I didn't want to complicate the situation for myself. Also, add 1/2 inch length wise (top & bottom), if you want the outside edge to extend slightly past the mirror. I didn't do this in this bathroom because I didn't think of it until I was done.

2. Grab any 1"x 4" pine boards to your liking. If you don't have access to a saw, Home Depot and Lowes can do the cuts for you.

3. Stain wood. I used a foam brush to stain these pieces. Let dry at least 24 hours. We stained ours dark walnut to match the flooring in the living room. I didn't add any poly coating to mine but it is recommended. Add additional 24 hour dry time if you do this step.

4. Replace existing plastic mirror clips with small washers. Replace one at a time to be safe. This allows the wood to lay flat on the mirror.

5. Adhere wood pieces with glue or 3m strips. I used 3m strips because I didn't want to commit to glue and hate the frame. I used 4 - large 3m strips on the long boards and 3 on the short boards. A year and half later, they're holding up just fine. They're secure and even.

As much as I love a good renovation show, I know small reno budgets exists far more than the ones we see on television. I hope this helps. Good luck and let me know what you're working on.

Xx Dee


Bath Mat - @Target

Shower Curtain - @Target

Vanity Light & Faucet - @Lowes

Then Sings My Soul - @Ross


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