Bathroom DIY


As I mention previously, I have been renovating my bathroom. I haven’t blogged about it yet because I didn’t know which approach I wanted to take to talk about it. This is part a DIY instructional part my adventure in updating my life. It’s mostly my adventure.

My family moved into our home in 2000. I was 12 at the time and I was not only getting my own room, I was getting an entire side of the house to myself. I have an en suite bathroom, a massive closet (I can fit a twin sized bed in there and still have room), and a small storage room with a troll door. At 12, this was monumental and my parents allow me to pick the wallpaper that was to go in my bathroom. My parents would have picked something sensible that would be extremely generic and last the test of time. I picked smiling bugs in bright colors. It was great when I was 12 and it stayed great until I went to high school. A whole whopping two years. *Sidenote: My bathroom doesn’t vent well. A hot bath or shower make that room feel like a sauna for hours. Just keep this in mind for later.*

I guess in high school I zoned the childishness of it all out. The bathroom was not a retreat then. It was where I took a shower at some ungodly hour of the night only to get up a few hours later and go to school. Through my college years and my first job in South Carolina, it didn’t bother me because I was never home long enough to care. That job was miserable and I moved back home 2 weeks after my contract ended. This was the moment I started living at home. Still that wallpaper did not bother.

One year later I started getting a little crazy about the bathroom. It had turned into a retreat as a bathroom should be and the happy little bugs were starting to make me mad. When I had a bad day their silly little faces would remind me how much more fun being a kid was and frankly they were not calming at all. They riled me up when I wanted to unwind.

To give them some credit, on sunny mornings they were so wonderful. Just so happy bathing in the sun through the window. Silly bugs. That’s all they were good for.

Back to them making my head spin. As more time passed I started making changes to my bedroom. The bedroom was youthful as well and had to be changed. I had to ignore the bugs for the time being. I painted my bedroom over the summer and I was hooked on the idea that things had to change and I that was going to do it myself. Only question now was when? There should have been a lot of other questions like how, what I was actually going to do, who was going to help me, but that’s not how I roll.

First problem to arise was that I started working my new “job” (I’m a ballerina, work doesn’t actually ever feel like work) right as I was finishing the painting in my room. I was dancing in four programs with Carolina Ballet and that didn’t leave time to do anything. I managed to clean my room in time for Nutcracker. On my layoff in January I thought about the bathroom some but I didn’t do anything. I would imagine what I wanted to do. I would look at the seams of the wallpaper as they were curling and already coming off the walls (remember that sidenote about the sauna…this is why the wallpaper was already coming off.) I had even tried to paint over the wallpaper which did not work.

This is what I wanted to do. First of the wallpaper had to go, then I was going to just add beadboard underneath the chair rail molding and paint above the molding. That was going to be all. Ideally I would have also changed the tiles in the shower to subway tiles and rip up the floor and go with radiant heat over pebble floors, but nice tile is not cheap, nor is renting a tile saw or installing tile with zero experience. I nixed that idea. The pebbles would also look a little strange with the beadboard (cottage meets spa…eww.) So I was going to keep it simple. (Honest moment, when is any DIY project kept simple? They grow like weeds.)

Now for the funny part. Well I think it’s funny. February rolled around and my days at work were fairly light. I learned a new ballet and then rehearsals were no more than an hour long after the learning process. I was home early, but I was also having a hard time dealing with so little to do. (This is a problem I have. I need to do things and I like to be engaged. I think it will ultimately lead me to Grad school in the next few years.) One Friday I went to pick my little sister up from school in Greensboro and she was upset. She was cut from a sorority who asked her to come back to their house after they botched their rush the first time. She cried, I cried and at that moment I said, ya know what, were pulling down the wallpaper.

Rant: My sister is an amazing young woman with a miraculous life and for some reason some women don’t know how to see that. UNC-G your Greek Life needs some order. Who has a formal rush, cuts girls and then asks them back for informal rush to cut them again? That’s rude. If you cut her the first time, don’t ask her to come back, lead her on, and then cut her a second time. Seriously. Your Greek Life seems to be extremely unorganized. Get it together. End rant.

So Saturday we went in the bathroom and just started ripping down wallpaper. Talk about liberating. I didn’t even save a little bit for memories sake. I save everything.

Here is a DIY part of this.

Wallpaper removal: I believe this is suppose to be a fairly difficult process. My experience with it has been absurdly easy. My wallpaper is a little over 11 years old and the moisture from my showers and baths had started to so something to the wallpaper and the seams were already starting to peel back. Below is what I used and how I removed the paper. If you are lucky it may work for you too.


Spackle spatula thing

Spray bottle filled with water

Crafting knife (the little blade you can use to cut paper)

A ladder

A steamer (for a little bit)


What I did:

I picked a seam in the wallpaper and I just started pulling the paper off. The top layer of the wallpaper came off. Just like that. I managed to pull the top layers of wallpaper off in whole sheets. This is the only pulling off picture because I was so floored by how easy it was. I was left with that yellowish paper underneath.

After I pulled all the top layer of paper off, I got the steamer out now and started to steam the paper that was left on and wall and scrape it off with the spatula. After half a panel (because the steamer wouldn’t reach) I thought what if I just wet the paper. So I took the spray bottle and sprayed water on the paper. It came right off. I started each sheet with the spatula and like the top layer pulled the bottom layer off in sheets with my hands. Basically, my wallpaper came off with water. I used the craft knife to cut around the outlets, light fixture (I couldn’t figure out how to get it off the wall) and the shower curtain and threw all the wallpaper away in the trashbag. Oh yea, the ladder was used to reach places up high. I didn’t need to tell you that information. Now the top half of my walls were free of wallpaper and I thought I was almost in the clear. I was wrong. My creativity bones started tingling. This was going to get big…

Now what? Choose a paint color

Now I had to get some paint samples. I thought I would go with a light color to keep from overpowering my room. I picked these and put them all on the walls. I didn’t love any of them. Actually they just don’t look good. The gray looked dirty, the pink looked white, and the beige was the same color as the unpainted rooms in the house. I’ve been to Home Depot, Lowes, and Sherwin Williams to find the perfect color. I am still working on that, but I have some solid contenders now.

I’m a scatterbrain. If you have read this far/this much/ this blog you already know that. Thank you for putting up with my train of thought.

Because I could not/ have not picked a paint color I decided to skip the painting and do a different part of the bathroom. I determined how much beadboard I was going to need and dictated the height I wanted it to go to. My chair rail was placed at 2.5 feet. Looking at it without the wallpaper it looked terrible. It was so low and it pulled the whole room down in a bad way. Time to remover the chair rail.

Chair rail removal:


crafting knife or razor blade

hammer or something with which you can pry the molding off

Use the craft knife to cut the caulking away from the wall. Look under the chair rail to make sure you it is not caulked underneath as well. Mine was not.

Find the nails in the rail. You will want to know where to apply leverage. I could kind of see where they were in mine.

Take your hammer and wedge the back of it under the chair rail where the nails are. Try to get the hammer under the rail. It will help in not chipping the wood.

Pry the rail off. Move the hammer around the whole piece from underneath. Once I got the areas closest to the nail to come off the wall a little I moved the hammer to the ends of the piece. You will have to keep moving the hammer to various spots to get the whole piece of molding off. Mine came off without a hitch. Just keep prying at that molding!

Again, my bathroom project has been much easier than I ever thought it would be. I was honestly afraid the molding was adhered to the walls and I would rip giant holes in the drywall. I hope yours is as kind and giving as mine has been.

This is the place in which I have not made anymore progress, but I have conjured up more ideas. I don’t know if that’s really forward or backwards. My bedroom is uncomfortably cluttered with the contents of my bathroom. My bathroom is in disarray. It looks like a construction site. Between the paint samples, the primed walls, and that heinous light fixture making everything even duller I need to finish this project! Standstill: Did you know you have to let beadboard sit for 48 hours before installing it? Now you know. It’s been sitting in my living room since Monday. My beadboard is “cured” now. I hope it can be cut and installed this coming Monday. I should go ahead and start measuring it now and measuring the walls again to make for an easy “cut and paste”. Progresion of Ideas: 1. You see that door? Its a regular door. I want to make is a double door. How do I do that? I’ll have to buy a bi-fold door and convert it. Reasoning behind the changing of the door is this, I believe having double doors that open into the room the bathroom will feel a little bit bigger. 2. I want to change the knobs on the vanity doors and also paint the vanity to match the beadboard. 3. I want to install a new light fixture. 4. I want to try my hand at plumbing…not. I’ll ask my dad to put in a new faucet in the sink and the shower.

As things have come down I see more “problems”. I was only going to remove the wallpaper and add beadboard. I ended up giving myself a blank slate and a head full of ideas for improvement. I’m making a board on Pinterest to keep track of potential, vanities, fixtures and faucets. Thanks for reading!

Oh! Here is a list of my current spending for this project. I want to see for myself how much it really takes to makeover my bathroom. I also want to show that making changes in a room doesn’t have to be expensive.

So far I have spent:

Wallpaper removal: $0

Paint Samples: $10.00

Beadboard: $20.00

Adhesive: $4.00

A whopping $34.00. How ’bout that for a renovation!


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