In my previous post (Easy DIY Builder Grade Bathroom Update Part I), I talked about my design inspiration for this (and most) projects I do in my home. Not to be confused with how I get design inspiration for clients. ;) Check out that post for before photos of this bathroom as well!
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.
The first thing I do is…
CHOOSE A COLOR SCHEME
I knew I wanted something light and bright to make the space feel more open. I love the classic contrast of black and white paired with brushed gold accents so that’s where I started.
Since the bathroom has low ceilings, no windows and we’re not tearing out the Saltillo yet, I chose to go with white on the walls and vanity - Behr Paint Polar Behr 75 was used on both. It ended up being the perfect warm, bright white for this project.
I used Behr Marquee on the walls in Eggshell Enamel finish and Behr Alkyd Satin Enamel for the cabinets. Since my cabinets are oak rather than a laminate, I’ve never sanded before painting any of them. I scuff them up with a scotch brite pad and liquid deglosser, which cleans and preps them for paint. Then you can finish them off with a water based polyurethane (Varathane is my favorite).
TIP: There are a gazillion white paint options out there and it can be hard to nail one down because they pull different undertones depending on the lighting in your house. I recommend starting with several swatches and then narrowing those down to two or three colors when you see them in the lighting in your space.
Once you have it narrowed down, go get paint samples of each color and paint a square (min. 12”x12”) on the wall next to baseboards, cabinetry, etc. in the lightest part of the room and in the darkest part of a room. Allow it to dry and add a second coat if needed so you can see the true color. Look at the colors during the day and at night before making a decision.
Since I was going with white on the walls and vanity, I wanted to add some dramatic contrast via the countertop.
How’s matte black concrete for dramatic??
I did custom concrete countertops in my last two builder grade bathroom updates, which is a durable and more budget friendly option than stone, so I got a hold of Compound Concrete again to see if they could do matte black and they were 1000% on board. Yee haw!
My only stipulation with matte black ANYTHING on the vanity in here was that we had to get a water softener. I don’t know how the water is where you live, but it’s so hard here in Arizona and full of calcium and lots of other un-fun things that corrode the faucets and surfaces terribly.
Also, my 18 year old son uses this bathroom and it looks like he takes a bath in the sink every time he washes his hands, so the thought of that hard water sitting on black made me cringe.
Daniel at Compound Concrete already had a template for a sloped sink with a slot drain so I went with that to take the worry out of water sitting on anything. Between that and the soft water, I don’t stress about the sink so much now!
Once I have the color scheme nailed down, the best part happens (IMO)…
FIXTURES + SELECTIONS
Picking hardware, lighting, plumbing, mirrors, etc. is always my favorite part!
I almost went with the same matte black faucet I used in this other modern bathroom update, but ultimately I decided to break up the black from the mirror and countertop and tie in the Malcolm Aged Brass Sconces from Hudson Valley Lighting with this brushed brass faucet from Lowe’s.
Normally, I love to mix metals but that didn’t work out for me this time. I usually choose cabinet hardware last because it’s that finishing touch that either makes you go “oh, yesss!”, or “oh, nooo”.
My plan was to go with matte black hardware on the cabinets, and I always test one cabinet first before installing all of the hardware. The matte black was a definite “oh nooo” moment (probably because of the floors), so I went with my trusty old faithful from Target and got my “oh, yesss!” factor.
Once I have fixtures selected I like to put them together in a mood board before I purchase anything.
Doing this has saved me the headache of returns and uncertainty on many occasions.
When I approve of the mood board, I start purchasing and the fun begins!
This is actually my least favorite part. LOL! I know that sounds weird coming from someone who does this for a living, but we all have our favorite part of our job, right? Mine happens to be selecting finishes (i.e. paint, cabinets, countertops, lighting, hardware, plumbing, etc).
Decorating is fun in the sense that it’s the cherry on top, but I fuss with it too much and this part is where I do a lot of purchasing and returning on my own projects. As weird as it sounds, I have no problem selecting things for clients but when it comes to my own projects, I struggle making decisions!
I tried to incorporate the décor I had in the bathroom previously and it worked but I didn’t love it. Luckily, World Market pulled through and I was able to get all of the accessories from there. :)
Hopefully you found some tidbits of information about planning the design process that will help you in your next home project! I’d love to know your favorite part of a project in the comments below.
I was working on this builder grade bathroom update simultaneously with my office makeover which I’ll be sharing soon, so don’t forget to subscribe to my blog if you want don’t want to miss those updates!