Painted Bathroom Tile: A One Year Update

Last November I straight up painted my bathroom tile. I wasn’t sure how well it would work, but my bathroom couldn’t get much worse so it was worth a try.

You can find the tutorial on how to paint tile here.

painted bathroom tile one year later review

A few things to note:

  • My tile does not extend into the tub, so it doesn’t get wet.
  • The tile in my bathroom was very poorly installed, with maybe a 1/8 grout line in some spots but in others no grout line at all so lots of tiles were cracked and split.
  • Some of my tiles were tiled over with new tiles… you follow that chaos? We had 3 layers of tile in some spots. Each layer in a different color.

It’s been a little over a year now and guess what….. 

I still freaking love it! It has held up so well and I would 100% do it again!

painted white bathroom tile one year later

Here’s the full status report:

  • It is so, so important to let your paint harden. It’ll dry to the touch in just a few hours, but harden (ie, cure) over a much longer period of time. The hotter and more damp your area is, the longer it’ll take to cure. Because a bathroom is a naturally damp area, we showered with the door open (and actually still do, we just got used to it) to let the steam out faster. Give your tile time to cure! This is essential.
  • I didn’t scrub the tile clean for several months, I just spot cleaned/wiped it as needed. Maybe this sounds gross? I don’t know, it didn’t really get dirty- it’s not like we are rolling around on it. 🙂 However, to put it to the test this weekend I got out a heavy duty scrubbing brush and some chemical cleaners and went to town– and it didn’t budge. Still looks great and is super white with no discoloration!
  • I never ended up sealing it with polycrylic, it just didn’t need it. So it’s just 2 coats of primer and 2 coats of paint.

white painted bathroom tile review

Any questions? Leave them in the comments!

Don’t forget to check out the full tutorial HERE. (And if your’e interested in the geometric wall & grout paint how to, that’s right HERE)


Bathroom Vanity Organization

I posted about our bathroom upgrade already (how I painted the tile and made a geometric wall pattern), but I thought I’d do a quick post about the vanity organization today.

My vanity has always been a place where old, saved makeup goes to die. When we upgraded to one with more storage I didn’t want to just fill it up with more stuff so I spent about $20 on organizers– everything from dollar store desk supplies to kitchen containers, to I don’t even know what it was but it was $5 at the Habitat Restore. Let’s get into it.

bathroom organization

For the top draw I decided that any makeup I hadn’t worn in a week could either be thrown out or live in the towel closet (“special occasion” make up, you know- like waterproof mascara and colored eye color since I usually stick to beige). I spent a whopping $3 on this drawer: the circle containers came bundled and the rectangle ones were sold separately (all at a dollar store):

vanity organizer, bathroom organized


The bottom draw of our vanity actually has a trick toe kick that pulls out as part of the draw so it’s really deep and offered a lot of space for all my hair stuff, of which I have far more then makeup because New England weather requires different supplies with each season:

unlabeled- bottom draw.jpg.jpg


The wooden divider ($5!) holds travel sized toiletries: hand cream, conditioner, soap, body wash. You can see it also holds nail polish and my makeup cleaner. What, you don’t take all the toiletries from your hotel rooms and save them just in case?….

In front is my Juice Plus (you can learn about it here), blow dryer, hair sprays (one for each straight hair days, wavy hair days, up in a ponytail hair days).

Then to the right I have 3 containers from the kitchen section at Marshalls (about $12 total). One is for straighteners and curlers, one for brushes, and one for miscellaneous sprays/gels/etc.)

So the moral of the story– look at things not for what their labeled use is, but for how it can help you overall. Those tin desk organizers are AWESOME at all sorts of things, and the long skinny kitchen containers are the perfect size for all things hair.

How to do you keep your beauty supplies organized?

Geometric Walls and Grout Paint

When we first moved into the house, the bathroom looked like this:

dark brown bathroom before

Don’t let the picture fool you- the walls were FAR too dark for the space, the tile was cracked, the floor grout was permanently stained, and there was a curtain where the vanity door should be.

Recently, we replaced the vanity and I painted the tile:

before and after budget bathroom update

But I’ve yet to talk to you about the walls and the floor!

Painting geometric walls was crazy easy.

geometric wall how toThe color there is “Fountain” by Sherwin Williams, which is as close to the “Aqua” Rustoleum spray paint as I could get. I bet lightened 25% it would have been spot on.

Because it’s a bathroom, I used mold and mildew resistant primer on both the walls and the ceiling. Then I rolled on 1 coat of Fountain, paced anxiously as it dried, then randomly Frog Tape-d the walls to look like my inspiration picture. Once done I rolled on two coats of City Nights by Clark + Kensington (Ace Hardware brand paint) and carefully peeled off all the tape.

I freaking love these walls. They are so modern and funky, and because it’s only 1/4 of the wall space it’s not overwhelming.


Next up- grout paint! This is simple- you get Polyrenew grout paint for like $12 dollars and an old toothbrush and just paint it right on:

grout paint before and afterWipe up the excess as you go with a damp rag, then let it dry for 72 hours. And BAM! New grout color! You can see a much more detailed how to over on Domestic Imperfection’s blog .

So finally, here’s where the bathroom is today:

aqua and navy geometric wall pattern with frog tape

A million times lighter and brighter, and lots of personality!!

Still a bit left to do, like fill the space where the vanity ends and the wall begins, and maybe add a glass shelf above the toilet? I’m not sure about that yet though.

Half Bath Progress

When I last talked about the half bath, it was in rough shape, because the pipe snapped off when we were removing the old vanity. Well, after lots of you tube videos and cuss words, Matt was able to rebuild the pipes (all by himself!):

Matt built all the pipes, I cut the hole out of the side of the vanity

Matt built all the pipes, I cut the hole out of the side of the vanity (because- power tools! woo hoo!)

Installing this vanity was pretty straightforward because we wanted it as flush to the lefthand wall as possible (that’s where the pipe comes out from). We leveled it with wood shims, then drilled it into studs on the back wall. The sink is cemented on with caulk.  The towel is there because we’re just deathly afraid the pipes will drip- but so far so good.

Once this was done, I commenced operation wainscoting. Matt and one of his friends had put up half of it already, last Februarywe work at record speed over here people.

In addition to the wainscoting kit linked in above, I also used the following:


The bottom moulding went up with long nails, the wainscoting tucked into a ridge in the moulding and went up with liquid nails and regular nails, and the trim went up with regular nails. The punchers were used to bury the nails, then I spackled and sanded over each one (wood filler would have worked as well, but I had spackle already). The miter block cut my corner angles right, and the jigsaw helped trim down the wainscoting (particular on the back where the heater is and on the side where the built in shelves are). This is actually surprisingly easy– I put it off for a year because I was afraid of it, but honestly finishing off the room took just a weekend morning and I should have done it a long time ago.

Even though the kit came pre-primed, it got pretty banged up so I gave it one coat of primer and two coats of paint and here’s where we’re at today:

So fresh, so bright!

So fresh, so bright!

I'm not going to paint the frame or the door because it matches what's going on in the attached room, and it's in really good shape.

I’m not going to paint the frame or the door because it matches what’s going on in the attached room, and it’s in really good shape.

Now that the vanity is in, the mirror and lights are off center (and oh so dated), so they'll be the next thing to go.

Now that the vanity is in, the mirror and lights are off center (and oh so dated), so they’ll be the next thing to go.

I still need to caulk a few seems, replace the mirror and lights, touch up the walls, and then decorate. But it’s definitely coming along!

Questions on anything in this post? Leave it in the comments!


Stay in touch in between posts:


Painting Tile!

Today’s bathroom post is all about my absolute favorite part of the upgrade:

paint tile, how to paint tile

I have hated our bathroom tile for 2 years. It was a fiery hate. But I was so, so scared to paint it because I didn’t want to make things worse. The biggest factor in my decision to finally take the plunge: the shower is not tiled, only the walls outside of it. So none of the painted tile will ever get wet.

There are about a million tutorials to painting tile, but here’s what I did:

  • Spackled all the areas where the grout and/or tile was cracked (our grout was only about 1/8 inch thick, had it been thicker I probably would have opted to touch up with actual grout instead of spackle)
  • Sand the spackle and paint drips, no need to sand all the tile
  • Scrub clean with CLR, wipe with damp towel, dry with a dry tile
  • Use a small foam roller to roll on 2 coats of Zinsser Bullseye 1-2-3 primer (it notes on the container that it’s good for slick surfaces). Let each coat dry thoroughly before applying the next.

Tip: On the first coat, I cut in with a brush and then just rolled on the paint, like you would in any other room. For the second coat I loaded up my brush with paint and literally shoved the paint into the grout, then rolled it smooth. Work in small sections and take your time.

  • Use a small foam roller to roll on 2 coats of Sherwin Williams Super Paint + Primer. Follow the same process as above: let dry completely between coats, focus on shoving paint into the grout
I am not affiliated with any of these products, I just used them and they were awesome.

I am not affiliated with any of these products, I just used them and they were awesome.

The paint will all dry to the touch within an hour or two of being done, but you should really be very careful and go easy on it for about a week so it has time to fully harden.

The absolute most difficult part was getting coverage on the grout, I destroyed my brush doing this so don’t use a brush you ever want to use again.

I am debating whether to go over it with a coat of poly, because I’m so so nervous that it’ll chip. So far my verdict is to at least poly the toilet paper roller because it gets touched a lot, but to leave the rest of the wall unless it looks like it really needs it. What do you think?

painted tile

I’m also debating whether or not to paint that wood trim white. The first level of our house has all white trim and the second level has all wood toned, so it could go either way.

I’m extremely glad I decided to go for it and paint. The flaws in the tile are gone, the weird places where they tiled brown tiles on top of  beige tiles (??!!) blend a bit more now that it’s all one color, and it is endlessly brighter in there.

painted bathroom tile how to



Bathroom Vanity

You guys. My bathroom is like 80% done and it looks FREAKING AMAZING. I am so pumped about it I can’t even wait until it’s completely finished to show it to you.

geometric walls, white and navy bathroom

There’s still a lot of final touches to take care of, but MAN, it is excellent in here.

BOOM! WHITE TILE! GEOMETRIC WALLS! AHHHH! I still need to get new bath rugs, vanity accessories, and recolor the floor grout but it is going to be fabulous in there.

But here’s the down side, I have no idea how to install a vanity because here’s how it went for us, and if you’re following along on Instagram then you go to see this as a play by play:

  • Get super excited that dad is over for the weekend to install TWO new vanities
  • Unhook sink pipes…. but uh, wait, they aren’t supposed to crumble like putty in your hands, right?
  • Go to the hardware store (TWICE) to buy all new pipes because your old ones are corroded and attempt to assemble them for hours
  • Finally get pipes assembled and move in vanity but WAIT the walls are uneven and off level and not at 90 degree angles. Use shims to slightly suspend vanity from floor so it’s level and screw it into the wall. Pretend you don’t care that the previous owners didn’t tile the floor all the way to the wall and now you can see plywood sub-floor under the vanity
  • Place sink on top and discover you bought the wrong damn size sink. Go to the hardware store A THIRD TIME to exchange sinks
  • Break for lunch because it’s been like 6 damn hours and you are going to kill everyone
  • Finish installing sink and vanity through blind luck and prayer only to have it leak slowly for 5 days while you try various methods of getting it to stop
  • After approximately one week the leaks have stopped and the vanity is attached and all is good with the world again.


Also, I must give credit where credit is due. I quickly saw how downhill this project was going and stepped right back to let my dad handle it. The same thing with the pipes– the leaks were making Matt twitch and he really mentally needed to be the one who defeated them.

And now here’s where I need your help- I’ve got 2 problem areas where the previous owners took shortcuts (per usual):

a 4-inch space to the left of the vanity and an untiled underneath the vanity area

a 4-inch space to the left of the vanity and an untiled underneath the vanity area

The left side of the vanity stops about 4 inches before the wall, so it’s too small and narrow to put in any kind of shelving. My first thought was to just roll up a bunch of towels and stack them in there, but maybe that will look insane? My second thought is to install a board, paint it white, and call it a day.

Problem area numero dos is under the vanity, but I think that’ll be solved by getting a large bath rug and just scooting in partially under there. Unless you’ve got some other thoughts?

But let’s not leave it on a negative note- here’s a before and after to show how far this room has come:

PicMonkey Collage

Make no mistake, that brown tile looked nowhere near as good in person as it does in that picture. It was cracked, the grout was perma-dingy, and it made the room extremely dark.

Stay tuned for  with how-tos on things that did not go terribly at all: painting the walls and tile! And one final wrap up post with glamour shots for the room too. 😉



Bathroom Prep Work

About a zillion years ago I mentioned we were going to be redoing both our bathrooms, and we’ve finally got going on it. Upstairs, after much to-do, and my handy dad, our new vanity is installed. Unfortunately downstairs is looking a hot mess:

How's THAT for a pinnable image!

How’s THAT for a pinnable image!

So before I rehash the disaster that was installing vanities, I just want to bullet off some bathroom redo prep work steps first:

  • A while ago Matt thought he took care of the mold on the bathroom ceiling. Unfortunately it came back with a vengeance, we think because we just used regular ceiling paint and also because we kept the door closed 95% of the time (trapping moisture in). This time around I bleached and scraped, then painted it with mold & mildew resistant paint. And, because we’ve got a new vanity that has actual doors on it, we can keep the bathroom door open.
  • Next up, I removed the handle bar next to the toilet (maybe there was an elderly person living her at one point), and spackled the 6 screw holes it left in the tile. I also spackled and sanded a bunch of other spots in the tile, instead of re-grouting them, because I’m going to paint the tile anyway. The grout is like 1/8 an inch thick, which obviously is not very thick at all, so I think it just really wore away over time.
  • Our bathroom tub was nasty, partly because it was that way when we moved in and partly because I may or may not wash paintbrushes in it. So I got some rubbing alcohol at the dollar store, soaked some cotton balls in it, and let it chill out on some of the paint stains. That REALLY did the trick to get rid of most of it, and I wish I had known that before I spent hours of my life scrubbing it with at least a dozen other things.

I feel like prep work is initially the least rewarding, but in the long run really makes the final touch of the room.

I’ll share more on the vanities and updates next week, but if you’re following along on Instagram you’ve already gotten a bunch of sneak peaks: