Bathroom Update: Maximum Impact on a Minimal ($71) Budget

By Charlene Storozuk

Let me start out by telling you that our home was the recipient of this quick and easy facelift.  My husband and I bought our home as a fixer-upper. It’s taking longer than expected to finish because little things such as life, time, and money seem to get in the way. When it came time to update the bathroom, we had a decision to make. Do we totally renovate it, or spend the money on a new patio instead?

Bathroom Cupboards - BeforeSince both of us love the outdoors, the patio won out. Here’s what I’ve done with the bathroom temporarily and something you can pass along as an inexpensive fix for those selling their homes.

You’ll see that the cupboards looked tired and were starting to peel. The previous home owner painted them before listing, but he either didn’t clean them thoroughly, or he used the wrong paint.

Bathroom Cupboard HingesIn the second photo, you’ll notice that the hinges were painted over also. Word of advice, don’t do that as a quick fix when selling your property.  Prospective buyers will be put off by the amount of work involved to remove the hinges.  Believe me: I know this first hand since I had to chisel each one out. It took hours!

Before painting, make sure the cupboards are thoroughly cleaned with TSP to remove any dirt or grime. In the past, I’ve used melamine paint for cupboards, but it wasn’t available in chocolate brown. Instead, I went with Benjamin Moore’s Aura paint line and it hasn’t disappointed so far. The cupboards still look as good as the day they were painted.

Once you are finished, you may want to replace the knobs if the current ones are worn or outdated.


Bathroom Cupboards - AfterTotal cost of this project: Paint: $35 + Hinges: $36 for a grand total of $71.

It just shows what a difference you can make without breaking the bank. Of course, a little staging with accessories also kicked up the transformation a notch.

I’ve passed this idea along to some of my clients; you may want to do the same.


Charlene Storozuk

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Charlene Storozuk is the owner of Dezigner Digz, a professional home staging and interior decorating company based in Burlington, Ontario.  Her work is featured in the book FabJob Guide To Become A Home Stager, 2009 edition. She serves as regional vice-president, Canada for the Real Estate Staging Association and is a past recipient of the North American Leadership Award for her work as founder and president of the Halton & Hamilton-Wentworth RESA Chapter.

Melissa Tracey

Melissa Dittmann Tracey is a contributing editor for REALTOR® Magazine, writing about home & design trends, technology, and sales and marketing. She manages the magazine's award-winning Styled, Staged & Sold blog.

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  1. Great use of your $$$’s. The other inexpensive trick I’ve seen homeowners use is to frame an aging bathroom mirror with a wood frame to hide the edges of the mirror that are unattractive. The frame can be painted or stained to match the cabinet re-do. It gives the bathroom a custom look for a small price.

  2. Barbara – you’re right about framing the existing mirror. That’s an excellent tip. Thank you for sharing it with everyone reading!

  3. LINDA Rigdon

    i redid my bathroom by taking down large mirrows and putting uo two mirrows over the sinks. painted the cabinets and it is a show place. it is unreal what can be done.

  4. Tiffany

    That’s amazing! I have questions about the paint:
    Finish? Gloss, semi, satin?
    What color is that?
    Did you spray it or roll it or use a brush?

    Any color suggestions for painting bathroom cabinets that have a dark green granite counters and sand colored tile floor?

  5. MKT

    Would you tell me what color paint was used on your cabinets.. I have a light color counter top and and was thinking of painting the cabinets same color as yours