December 14, 2018  

Bathroom Progress: Painted, Organized Vanity And A Mirror

I’m giving our half bath a much-needed makeover on a small budget in 5 short weeks during this fall’s edition of the One Room Challenge. Today I’m sharing the new light and mirror for our bathroom, the pretty window trim and board and batten progress!


Oh, friends, I’m a little embarrassed because I just checked and my last bathroom update was 5 weeks ago. Oops! I’ve been slowly working on our bathroom over the past month and have some exciting updates to share today including our updated vanity and painted countertop!

Just to recap, I originally began this room makeover as part of the One Room Challenge this fall. However, it was quickly apparent that I didn’t have enough time to devote to the project and after getting halfway through the challenge, I waved my white flag and admitted that there was no way I was going to get anywhere close to finished in time.

I am an overachiever that hates letting anyone down, including myself, so admitting my overwhelm and putting the brakes on this makeover was definitely not easy for me. Failing to meet this goal of finishing our room makeover by the deadline stressed me out, but I’ve had to remind myself that it was an arbitrary deadline and adjust my expectations.

So of course once I admitted my defeat, I basically ignored the room for weeks before finally feeling re-energized to focus on it again these past couple weekends. Which leads us to today’s progress update because I actually have some exciting progress to show you!

If you want to catch up from the beginning, here are the past updates:

As a reminder, here’s a before photo of the bathroom. It’s your standard half bath just off of our kitchen. It’s functional but leaves a lot to be desired in the design department.


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Painted Countertop

Last time you tuned in, you saw how the bathroom looked with the walls painted and the board and batten wall treatment installed. I’m still swooning over that wall color (Rainforest by Behr)!

I installed the board and batten following the same process I did in our entryway. You can see the full DIY board and batten tutorial here.

The below photo is from my last blog post update where you’ll notice the vanity is still the original honey oak. I’m proud to say it looks quite a bit different now!


So here’s a look at our “new” painted bathroom vanity!


Side Note: It’s super hard to photograph this tiny little room! Also, I didn’t clean the floor for you so don’t mind the mess ;).

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably caught some of my ongoing debate about the color for the vanity. I originally planned to paint the wood white and leave the countertop alone, but after a couple of coats of bright white paint, I absolutely hated it.

The beige countertop looked even worse against the bright white cabinet, which sent me back to the drawing board trying to come up with a different paint color for the vanity. But guess what? Choosing a paint color to complement the bold green walls isn’t the easiest task.

I debated a lot of greige, mushroom type of colors that are all the rage right now, but I ultimately wasn’t convinced any of them would end up looking great against the beige countertop.

So I eventually gave in to the wild idea of painting the countertops a bright white which is what I wanted to do in the first place but talked myself out of because it would add more cost and time to the room makeover. But I ordered a Rustoleum Tub and Tile Refinishing Kit online and Home Depot had it waiting for me to pick up at the front of the store by the time I drove across town.


I’ve already gotten a lot of questions about painting my counters and I’ll just say I have mixed feelings. I’m not the most patient person or a very neat painter, and this requires you to paint slow, thin coats to get a smooth finish. I ended up applying more coats than I needed because I would rush and end up having to sand off little drips later, resulting in even more painting.

I think this project would be better done with a paint sprayer than trying to paint evenly with a brush (I used a small roller brush, but had to use a bristle brush for so many edges and down inside the sink basin). This product is an epoxy that will stink up your whole house for days but I did love that it levels itself as it dries and the dried finish is very smooth as long as you were careful not to leave any uneven brush marks.

On the plus side, the epoxy does seem very durable and I’ve read tons of reviews that say it’s held up to water well. Overall, I’m really happy with my “new” white countertops even if there are a few imperfections in the paint!

I don’t plan to blog about painting the countertop, but if you’re interested in trying it in your home I highly suggest reading how Bless’er House painted her bathroom counters and bathtub. She also shared a painted counter update 8 months later.



Painted Vanity

After the counter was a bright white, I decided the wood vanity needed a subtle color so I ended up adding a few drops of this gray paint to the container of glossy white paint I originally planned to use. The result is a beautiful light gray that complements the white counter and is a nice contrast to the dark green walls.

DecoArt sent me their Satin Enamels paint to use for the vanity and loved it. It lightly sanded and degreased the cabinet first and then rolled on a few coats of the DecoArt paint. This paint hardens when it dries for a durable satin finish and I had a lot of people recommend it to me for cabinets. I really love that it doesn’t need any kind of top coat or sealer.

I added this gorgeous matte black hardware that Liberty Hardware provided for our bathroom project. Aren’t they so pretty? I chose this black pull and this black knob.

Adding nice hardware to a builder grade cabinet is a really easy way to instantly improve it. And the only tool you need is a drill so it’s a great beginner project if you want to dip your toe into home improvement!


Organized Vanity

No room makeover of mine is complete without adding some organization! This cabinet was previously overflowing with random cleaning supplies we’d shoved in there after moving into this house last fall. After focusing on using thing up and condensing half-used bottles into one full one, I was able to purge a ton!

Once everything was out of the cabinet, I added adhesive contact paper (can you believe it’s only $1 for a roll?) to the bottom to give it some protection from spills and grime. Not only is the cabinet a bit more protected, but it also looks way prettier now!


I partnered with iDesign to organize everything using their acrylic bins. Now half of the vanity holds household cleaning supplies and the other half holds extra toilet paper, a box of tissues, and a small trash can (with a dog and a toddler, it’s best to hide the trash!). I’m slowly converting all of our cleaning supplies over to greener alternatives so I hope this cabinet will be even emptier in the future as I used up some of these bottles.

The acrylic bins are clear so you can easily see what’s inside and they stack so you can store even more in your space. I used my new Cricut Maker to make labels out of adhesive vinyl during naptime last Saturday.


We Have Lights and a Mirror!

I’m in love with the antique bronze light fixture Lamps Expo sent us for this room. The colors just go so well with the dark green walls!

The mirror I originally bought for our bathroom ended up being too tall for the space, but I loved it so much I didn’t want to return it! I ended up playing musical mirrors and I stole the round brass mirror from our entry to use in the bathroom and moved my new mirror to the entryway (see how it looks in last week’s entryway tour).



Bathroom Makeover Tasks

And here’s my task list for this project! I’m getting toward the end! I’m almost done with the window and door trim, just a couple boards left to paint and install. Then it’s basically cleaning everything up and adding some simple decor to the walls!

I ultimately want to paint or stain the door and would love to try stenciling the floors, but those projects are easy to do later on so my goal right now is to finish what I’ve started and consider those last two tasks as a possible phase two.

  • Install board and batten treatment
  • Paint walls
  • Add window trim
  • Replace door trim
  • Replace baseboards
  • Paint vanity
  • Paint counter
  • Replace mirror
  • Replace light
  • Organize vanity
  • Add wall decor
  • Paint floors (on hold)
  • Paint/stain door (on hold)

If you want to keep up with behind the scenes, real-time updates, be sure you’re following me on Instagram!

Planning your own room makeover?

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Have a great day!

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About the author

Emily Counts is the founder of Small Stuff Counts, a home and organization blog she created in 2013. Her goal is to help moms make home life easier so they can create beautiful, organized, and thriving homes. She shares life at home as a working mom juggling two young kids, a corporate job, and all that goes into managing a home. The Iowa-based blogger lives in the suburbs of Des Moines, Iowa, with her husband, two children, and rescue dog. Emily has collaborated with brands including The Container Store, Cricut, Command Brand, Bissell, Sam's Club and Rubbermaid.

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  1. Excellent bathroom vanity! While pristine white finish adds subtle elegance, I especially love the subdued contrast between the countertop and cabinet. Plus, great job with the minimalist approach. Looking forward to the next project! Happy Holidays!

    1. Thanks so much, Paul! I’m glad to hear you like the cabinet and countertop colors because they’ve been a major stress to me in this project. Have a wonderful day!

  2. Emily, this turned out spectacular. I love the wall color and your vanity is gorgeous. I would also like to hear about your interest in greener choices.

    1. Thanks so much, Robin! I was nervous about the dark wall but it just feels so right now that it’s done! As far as greener product choices, I’ve been looking to Grove Collaborative for greener alternatives to my usual cleaners as I use them up. I may share more down the road once I have more to say on the subject! Take care, Emily

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