How to Remodel Your Bathroom

How to Remodel Your Bathroom

 After moving into my house, I decided to get started on renovating.  I quickly decided to refinish my kitchen cabinets and then redo my master bathroom.  All that left was the other upstairs bathroom that needed to be updated.  Both of my bathroom upgrades cost about the same amount.  See the breakdown of the expenses here.

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Of course, I always forget to take the ‘before’ picture so I’ll try to explain how it was.  There was a tall oak cabinet with only one door and a Formica top.  This left me with no counter space or storage space.  The wall was all the tan that is shown on the top of the wall in the picture below.

Step 1: Remove the Existing Vanity – I forgot to take pictures of this step, but I started by unscrewing the counter from the vanity, unscrewing the PVC pipe, and unscrewing the water lines.  Then, I lifted the sink and counter directly off the cabinet together.  After this, I was able to pull the vanity out.

Step 2: Paint the Walls and Trim – I decided to go for a two-toned look so I started by painting the lower half of my wall the the trim both Aspen White.  When painting a light color over a color that’s darker, it’s best to prime the wall before painting.  I skipped this step and ended up having to paint this part of the wall three times.


Step 2: …continued – Next, I used a gray to paint the top half of the walls.  This only took one really heavy coat.

Step 3: Hang the Light Fixture –  Once the wall was dry, I took the opportunity to hang the new light fixture because there wasn’t a vanity in the way.  I started by removing the old fixture and then installed the new light fixture based on the directions the fixture came with.  One problem I ran into was that I needed an electrical box to mount the new fixture on because my old fixture was mounted directly into a stud.


Step 4: Hang the Mirror – I then hung the mirror level with the medicine cabinet.  Hanging the mirror was the same as hanging any heavy picture.

Step 5: Add the Backsplash – This was my favorite part of both bathrooms.  I had my back-splash pre-cut and was able to lay out my pieces in order on the ground and simply add the adhesive to the wall and then press them in firmly.  Once the adhesive dried, I mixed the grout and applied to the tiles.  After the grout dried, I just rinsed the tiles off with a sponge and water and the grout was complete.  After a month, I went back and added sealant to the grout.


Step 7: Adding a Chair Rail – I had painted my chair rail in the garage at the same time that I painted the white portions of the bathroom.  I also decided before painting the walls that the chair rail would be at the same level as the door knob.  I hung the chair rail by nailing it to the wall.

Step 8: Caulking – Once the chair rail was hung, I caulked around the sink at the base of the back-splash, and at the top of the chair rail and back-splash.

Step 9: Flooring – I chose not to do the flooring on my own because of the added expenses of the equipment I would need.  So, once my bathrooms and kitchen were finished, I selected the flooring I wanted and scheduled installers.

Step 10: Decorating – I then chose a theme for the bathroom and decorated away.

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How to Patch 3/8″ Holes

When I moved into my house, I had four shelves awkwardly hung on one of my closet walls. (I have now moved them to my garage) They stuck out farther than the door which made them always be in the way and did not have much storage space.

I quickly decided to take the shelves down and put a shoe rack against the wall instead but taking the shelves down meant having many pretty large holes in the wall.

Lucky for me, I always have Spackle around the house.  Typically, I buy the Spackle that goes on white because I like that it seems to have a more gritty texture.  Although that may be my imagination. But, last time I went to the store, I actually got my Spackle from Walmart and pink is all they had.

Good news though, pink Spackle makes for easy demonstrations.

Step 1: Put a small amount of Spackle on a putty knife or your finger.  I prefer to use my finger for these small jobs and only use a putty knife for large holes.

Step 2: Fill the hole with as much plaster as can fit and smooth as much as possible.  If the hole is large, it will not fill all the way at this step. Just add as much as will fit without making a bump on the wall.

Step 3: Repeat the process for all holes and then let dry.  With this Spackle, I knew it was dry when it turned completely white.  

Step 4: Add a small second coat to completely fill the holes. Notice that I didn’t go out nearly as far because I was applying significantly less Spackle for the second coat. I also used my finger to add a little texture to the patch rather than making it smooth.

Step 5: Repeat step 4 for all holes.

Step 6. Let dry overnight (or at least until dry and hard)

Step 7: Take a piece of high grit sand paper and lightly buff over the tops of all of the patches so the texture will look more uniform.

Step 8: I will eventually get to this step…  But, the wall now needs to be painted.  If you have touch up paint, great!  That makes this really easy.  For me, the house was all painted in flat paint when I moved in and I’ve since changed to semi-gloss but have yet to paint the closet.  I guess this will be a winter project.  But what color?  Anyways…to paint the wall, I’d suggest putting a quick coat over the patches first since they will soak up a lot of paint.  After they dry, paint the entire wall including the patches.

Did you notice the jewelry hanging?  Here’s how I’ve got it laid out.  They are hanging with clear push pins. 🙂


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How to Refinish Kitchen Cabinets on a Budget

Refinish Cabinets

Thinking about changing your cabinets?  I was.  I’d researched quite a few ways to refinish the cabinets and decided that refinishing was the way to go.  Refacing would give a whole new look but would cost thousands of dollars.  I also knew that I didn’t want to replace my cabinets because they offered a lot of storage for how small my kitchen is.

So, I took to the internet to see how to refinish the cabinets on my own. I found a lot of options, but here’s what I did.

1 package of 150 grit sandpaper
1 package of 80 grit sandpaper
1 roll of blue painter’s tape
2 drop cloths
2-4 paint brushes
1 gallon of oil based primer
1 gallon of semi-gloss interior paint
Safety goggles
Face mask
Cabinet an drawer hardware

Step 1: Empty everything out of the drawers then remove the drawers.  There is no need to take the drawer face off of the drawer.

Step 2: Remove the cabinet doors and label the back with a piece of tape so you know where each door came from.

Step 3: Remove the hardware from the cabinets.  I used a labeling system with sandwich bags so I would be able to put the hardware back on the spot it came from.  Ex: 1t, 1m, 1b, 2t, 2m, 2b, etc, where t- top, m- middle, b- bottom since each cabinet had three hinges.  Put the hardware aside for safe keeping.  Clean in vinegar if desired.

Step 4: There’s many options from here forward, but since I decided to paint rather than stain the cabinets, here’s what I did.  I sanded the fronts of all of the cabinet doors and drawer fronts with course grit sandpaper (80).  You don’t need to remove all of the varnish, just make sure that the varnish is pretty roughed up so the paint will stick.  Be sure to wear your protective gear to avoid getting the sanded varnish in your eyes or mouth.

Step 5: Sand the whole surface with a fine grit sand paper (150) to smooth the surface.

Step 6: Repeat until all cabinets and drawers are complete.

Step 7: Sweep all of the sanding dust away then wipe all drawers and cabinets done with a wet rag.  Set aside to try.

Step 8: Remove all items from inside your cabinets.  You may want to remove all items from the area surrounding the cabinets as well since sanding dust will fly around the whole level of the house.

Step 9: Sand down all exterior parts of the cabinets using the same method as before then wipe with a wet cloth.  Clean all of the dust from the area before moving to the next inside step.

Step 10: Cover the ground with a drop cloth and lay out your cabinet doors and drawers so they are off of the ground.  I used paint cans to hold up the cabinet doors and painted all of my level then all of my top after I was finished with the bottoms since there wasn’t enough room to do them all at once.

Step 11: Use an oil based primer since there may be some varnish left on the surface.  Use a paint brush to cover the exposed area with the primer and let dry.  Note that the oil based primer is very hard to remove from any surface so be very careful.

Step 12: Leave to dry (approximately 5 hours).  I also left my garage door closed with a slight opening to allow the fumes to vent out but so the dirt and dust from outside wouldn’t blow in.

Step 13: Turn cabinets over and prime the back side.  At this point, you’ll have to move your labels so you don’t paint over them.  I put the labels on the drop cloth by the cabinet so I didn’t lose their placement.

Step 14: Head back inside and tape around all edges of the cabinets that touch the ceiling, walls, or floor.

Step 15: Prime the exterior parts of the cabinets then leave to dry.

Step 16: Choose one side of the cabinet doors to start with.  Paint 3 coats of semi-gloss interior paint making sure to wait about 5 hours or until dry before applying the next coat.   (I used America’s Finest Aspen White to match my trim and doors)

Step 17: Repeat the process for the cabinets, drawers, and back sides of the cabinet doors.

Step 18: Attach hardware if desired then re-attach the cabinet doors.

And there it is!  My kitchen looks so much more clean and even looks bigger and all for under $200! The biggest expense was the hardware.  Without the hardware this project would have been complete under $100.  Although, make sure you have a lot of time on your hands.  This project also took me 50 hours to do by myself.  That 5 hours between each coat is killer but so worth it!

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