Earlier this summer I did a “phase 1” makeover to our bathroom. While we still need to replace the tile and vanity, we took the opportunity to make some very doable updates to improve the look and feel of the bathroom. And I’m so glad we did! Removing the dated wallpaper and adding new paint and accessories instantly modernized and freshened the entire space. I’m so excited to share some of the process with you today!
Our house has one full bath and one-half bath. The full bath is shared by all the bedrooms and is teeny tiny. Even though we have updated nearly every surface in our house over the last 10 years, we hadn’t touched the bathroom. The sand-colored floor tile, bathtub, and green and cream garden wallpaper all looked the same as the day we moved in.
While the bathroom was fine in a functional sense, it wasn’t my taste. I had always wanted to remove the wallpaper, but had left it alone all these years because both my husband and son were very attached to it. I had to agree that it was really interesting to look at. It had this very detailed farm pattern, almost like a hidden picture. You could look at it for a long time trying to figure out what exactly you were looking at. Was that a lemon? And a peach? All on the same tree? Why yes, yes it was.
However, years of exposure to moisture had caused it to discolor and peel in places. We even saw a few mold spots start to show over the shower. That was a dealbreaker in my book.
Thanks to COVID and a four day weekend over the 4th of July, I was able to convince my family to take on a house project and remove the wallpaper!
I was itching to get right to it. I started prepping the walls by removing all hardware and light switches. I then filled a spray bottle with warm water and began saturating a panel to see what would happen. After a few minutes, it looked like it was starting to separate from the wall. I peeled up a corner and started pulling.
It came off in small chunks.
I was beginning to get nervous that this may not be as easy as I first thought. After a few minutes, I got an old gift card to use as a scraper, which helped a lot. Eventually, I dug up a plastic putty knife which worked much better. But it was still slow going.
I got the kids involved by giving them the sprayer and encouraging them to spray the walls and not – ahem – each other. My 6-year-old was able to do some scraping which helped keep him busy.
I wish I could remember the exact amount of hours I spent removing the wallpaper, but I’ve mentally blocked it out…haha. I’d say it took around 6 hours total, split over 2 days.
Taking off the wallpaper felt like I was researching the history of the house. I found previously filled holes from old towel bars, patched areas from lights and electrical junction boxes, and bits of lavender (!) paint peeking through the light gray-green walls.
Once it was all off, I used a wet rag to wash the remaining glue off the walls. Then I caulked the cracks, corners, and around the baseboard. This alone made a huge impact on the seamlessness of the walls.
I did a quick coat on the baseboard using Benjamin Moore trim paint in White Dove. I gave it 24 hours to dry before I taped for paint. I normally use green FrogTape for painting, but yellow Delicate Surface tape was substituted in my grocery order when green was out of stock. It was actually perfect for taping the freshly painted baseboard and made crisp clean lines.
Benjamin Moore Aura Bath and Spa Paint
I’m a huge fan of Benjamin Moore paint for inside the house, both for quality and choice of colors. However, I had a hard time deciding between their two paint options:
- Kitchen and Bath paint in a satin finish.
- Aura Bath and Spa in a matte finish.
Both are mildew resistant and appropriate for use in bathrooms, but the Aura Bath and Spa is a premium paint and thus more expensive. I also was skeptical about the matte finish. Would it really withstand the moisture in our small steamy bathroom? Could I still wipe the toothpaste off the walls?
I decided to splurge on the Aura Bath and Spa. Since the walls weren’t in the best shape, I figured the matte finish would hide the imperfections rather than highlight them. It took two coats to cover the walls and ceiling completely. I’m not the fastest painter, so it took me about 2 hours to do each coat with 3-4 hours of drying time in between.
However, the end result was fantastic. The paint dried to a smooth matte finish that disguised nearly all the imperfections on the walls. The White Dove color instantly brightened and freshened up the space without making it feel cold. It felt like a completely new room!
Now, it’s been nearly two months since I painted and I can confidently tell you that I’m sold on this paint. The finish has proven to be both beautiful and durable for our heavily used bathroom. Steamy showers, major bath splash incidents, and handprints haven’t left a trace on the walls.
The only con is really the price. At $80 per gallon, it’s a bit hard to swallow and definitely more expensive than the normal Kitchen and Bath Paint. While this may be out of the budget for future projects, I’m glad I decided to splurge on paint for this project.
All in all, I’m thrilled with how the bathroom turned out. The new paint has given the room a completely new, fresh look. The room looks bigger, cleaner and more modern with just the addition of new paint. It even seems to downplay the dated vanity and boring beige tile, which is great, since I’ll need to wait a bit before updating both in phase 2. Until then, I’ll just soak up the newness of the paint and accessories.
Paint: Benjamin Moore White Dove
Rug: Etsy (search for “vintage turkish kilim”)
Soap/Shampoo Bottles: Amazon
Canister: Cost Plus World Market
Shower Curtain: Restoration Hardware
Shower Curtain Rod: Amazon
Shower Curtain Rings: Amazon
Towel Hooks: Amazon
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