Easy DIY Builder Grade Bathroom Update | Part I: Design Inspiration

You know that saying “The third time is a charm”? I’m a believer!

After updating our builder grade master bathroom and guest bathroom for the Spring One Room Challenge last year, I was glad I saved this one for last. There were some things I learned along the way, like moving light fixtures and wiring, that I was glad to have in my arsenal for this one.

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you and I’ve partnered with Hudson Valley Lighting,
but all statements and opinions are 100% my own. I will not recommend products to my
readers that I haven’t used, tested and/or stand behind myself.

Our home is a tri-level and this particular floor that sits below ground level (but not basement level) has really low ceilings.

That, along with no windows in this bathroom, can make it feel really closed in if you’re not careful with the design.

Easy DIY Builder Grade Bathroom Update, BEFORE

When we first moved in, this bathroom was slathered in Smurf blue paint. We immediately painted over that with a neutral color to tide us over until this room came up on the mile long project list.

Easy DIY Builder Grade Bathroom Update, PROGRESS, DEMO

Four years and 4,239 DIYs later, it was time! I’m thrilled to finally share the finished space with you, but I’ll be breaking it up into Part I and Part II so it’s easier to follow.

PART I: Design Inspiration

It’s safe to say that the majority of my design projects are brought together around one single “must-have” piece. Call me crazy, but it works for me! That’s not necessarily how I pull client designs together, though. With my clients, I’m learning about them and their style to pull a cohesive space together so we usually start with Pinterest boards, a list of their favorite stores, etc. I know me and I know my style, so it’s a different approach with my own designs vs. client designs.   

Easy DIY Builder Grade Bathroom Update, Hudson Valley Malcolm Sconce

For this project, that must-have piece ended up being the 30” Malcolm Sconces in Aged Brass from Hudson Valley Lighting. I’m a budget friendly DIY kind of gal but if there is one item I will splurge on, it’s lighting because it can absolutely make or break your design!

Hudson Valley Lighting has several brands under their umbrella with some of the most interesting statement lighting you’ll come across, and the quality is top notch. This is the first time I’ve gotten my hands on their fixtures and the weight of these sconces took me by surprise (in a good way!). They are heavy and come with heavy duty mounting plates and hardware.

This particular sconce also comes in a smaller size for smaller spaces, and can be hung horizontally as well.

Easy DIY Builder Grade Bathroom Update, Progress

My  6’3” son uses this bathroom and the poor guy has always had to squat to see himself in the mirror because of the low ceilings, so the one thing I was absolutely sure of going into this bathroom update was that I wanted to move the vanity light placement from above the mirror to flank the sides.

This allowed me to install a taller mirror that is not only more functional for my son, but taking the mirror and lighting from horizontal to vertical helps create the illusion of a taller ceiling too.


In Part II of this DIY Builder Grade Bathroom Update, I will share the full reveal and how I go about the design process from planning to selections to final decision making with you guys - so make sure you’re subscribed to my blog if you don’t want to miss it!

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