My Hall Bathroom & A Lesson In Contentment

When we first moved into this home, 12 years ago, the first room I tackled was the kitchen and the second was the hall bathroom. Both were just cosmetic makeovers. In the bathroom that meant wallpaper ( the walls were in horrible shape  and couldn’t  just be painted) and we put in a new light fixture.

yellow shower curtain

It’s a room that, for many reasons, I’ve always felt should just be gutted. Maybe you have a room like that? That’s what I’ve always planned. Every year for the past 6 years or so I’ve planned to gut that bathroom. Remove the blue tiles, replace the almost falling down cabinet, install a new countertop and sink etc.

Every year something comes up and I can’t do it. You know how that goes, right?

bathroom sink

Again, this year I had planned to at least put in a new sink cabinet, countertop, sink, & faucet. I had even called a reasonably priced handyman that I know to come out and take a look, give me an estimate, we talked about dates.

But in looking over the budget recently we realized:

1) we really need to buy another car. Really! We’ve been a 1 car family for over two years in a suburb of Atlanta where there is no mass transit and it’s just not working for us.

2) We have to do something about our driveway – it’s falling to pieces (literally). More like chunks are breaking off! It’s becoming a hazard.

Threshold wall decor

Those things are more important than the bathroom.  Can’t do it all! So you know what, I’m just going to make the best of it. That room is never going to get gutted (unless we win the lottery or HGTV’d) and I’m OK with that. I’ve never believed that you needed boat loads of money to make a home pretty so I don’t know why I was so fixated on gutting that bathroom and starting from scratch?  I made our little master bath the cutest little bathroom I could and I did the same with my daughter’s bathroom downstairs which you can see here. So why I didn’t have the same attitude about this room is beyond me!

Threshold shower curtain

It just so happened that I had to return a few Christmas presents at Target this week, so of course I  had a look in their bath section.   I loved this yellow ombre shower curtain. I brought it home and it looks great  with the brown wallpaper.  They really had so many pretty shower curtains to chose from it was hard to make a decision! Did you know that Threshold is  a new Target home brand? 

shower curtain and art by Threshold

I also got some cheery fresh art work. It’s a  start! Sometimes the hardest part is finding inspiration!

At some point this year I’m going to take down the brown wallpaper and do something a little more bright and light. There’s a lot of re-caulking that needs to be done in there and I need to paint the sink cabinet.

All very doable and inexpensive things. All very achievable on a budget.

I already feel so much better about that room!

So my point is, instead of longing for what you don’t have, make the best of what you do have and appreciate it!

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  1. says

    There ya go! At our last house I always said I was going to gut the boys’ bathroom. In the end, we painted, cleaned top to bottom, replaced the grout, and the light fixture. It looked new!

  2. says

    We live in a one bathroom home so it gets a lot of hard use. We HAVE to gut the bathroom and we started out looking at all new cabinets. Yikes, for what you pay you get cheap trash. I started looking for an old buffet on Craigslist and we snagged a good solid one for $75. It’s in the garage for the winter, but in the spring we will repaint it, put an ikea wood counter top on it, drop a sink in and have a really cute cabinet for about $150. The tile on the floor is popping, so we will scrape them up and get the Allure vinyl tiles from home depot. I’ve heard a lot of good things about them on other blogs and they are very inexpensive and supposedly wear like iron. Some beadboard 2/3 of the way up the walls and fresh paint, and we will be done. Everything else can stay as is. I can’t wait for warm weather to get started. You have always managed to make a gorgeous house on a dime, I know that whatever you do it will look great!

    • Manuela says

      I love the look of repurposed cabinets/buffets as sink bases!

      I did look for one for ours but our plumbing underneath is so odd (it runs from the center of the sink all the way to the right wall ). I could never find one that would accommodate the plumbing. Plus there’s a heating vent that vents out the front. My options were to have a custom cabinet made on site or to order a custom cabinet. Not even the off the shelf ones would work for us without some changes. It’s a strange bathroom. We had to replace the toilet and there was only one model in all of Home Depot and Lowes that would work in there because of where the supply line is.Those are the two main reasons I’ve always wanted to gut it!

  3. Jen Y says

    I love to see this attitude! It is a hard one to have sometimes but life is so much better when we do. We’ve been in our house since 1989 & have done very little to it – I even have rooms that haven’t been painted again since we moved in! The main reason for us is we decided to spend our money on becoming debt free & our son. We did so many things with him as he grew up & made some of the best memories. He graduated in 2011 & THEN we were going to do some fun things with our house. We’d picked out new flooring (our carpet is close to 40 yrs old & I have holes in my kitchen floor to the subfloor), chose paint colors, decided on extra trims & mouldings….had it all planned down to the contractor & even set the dates. Then I had to have surgery, then I hurt my back so bad that I was in the hospital.

    So some of these things really need to be done – the flooring especially. But even if it’s never done I’ve decided I will not let it rob me of the joy I have in living here with the best people in the universe. The verse in Proverbs 21:9 really is true. ‘It’s better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home.’ Once we learn contentment we make the best of what we have & have a much happier home for it.

    • Manuela says

      YOU have a great attitude!

      One of my favorite sayings is “Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, but the realization of how much you already have”. I have that printed out and on my bulletin board and look at it every day as a gentle reminder to myself. I also started keeping a gratitude journal this year to be more mindful of all the little things that are good in my life.

  4. says

    Well said and well done! You know what they say — don’t let the “best” be the enemy of the “good”. I constantly have to remind myself that fixating on the “best” way to do something or have something often keeps me from the “good” — that is, doing SOMETHING about whatever issue I’m dealing with.

    I’m feeling some yearning for some new artwork in our family room. Saw some really nice art at Pier One when I was just looking around today — reasonably priced, but I really shouldn’t spend the money. On the other hand, it’s a room I am in every single day and spiffing it up would go a long ways towards alleviating the January blues and blahs. However, when and if I go back there’s a decent chance that either what I liked will be gone, no longer on sale, or I won’t like it anymore, so perhaps it will all take care of itself one way or another.

  5. says

    It already looks wonderful, love that shower curtain!

    We almost always have to do things in stages and sometimes the purchase comes “out of season”. My husband earned the money for a gallon of paint for the bathroom when he worked at the bookstore in December.

    He can’t really paint until it warms up enough to keep the window open so it will probably be April unless we have an early spring. But we have the paint and it is YELLOW.

    I didn’t mind the brownish taupe color of the bathroom when we moved in but everyone else hated it. He always remembered the yellow color we painted our bathroom when we lived in Iowa (long ago) so I let him pick out the color.

    Our next painting project after that is to color the LEMON YELLOW walls in our bedroom. It was a little girl’s bedroom before. This time I get to choose the color and I’m opting for a gray-green. It will hopefully get painted this spring, too.

    Problem is… everything had been freshly painted about a year before we moved in and it all looked nice so I didn’t want to make immediate changes. Except that was seven years ago!

    You always inspire me. :)

    • Manuela says

      LOL! Sounds like yellow might not have been your choice. Which is so funny because I’m thinking of painting this bathroom a light yellow!! Actually I can’t paint it. The walls in all the bathrooms are really bad and so far I’ve had to Venetian plaster the two bathrooms I’ve done. So it’ll have to be yellow venetian plaster or more wallpaper.

      I understand about doing things in stages. I often have to do things per paycheck which is why it always takes me so long to do anything major around here.

      YOU inspire me.


  6. Viola Symonds says

    Hi Manuela,
    I for sure know about budgeting…accounting for everything that’s for sure.
    I love what you did in your daughter’s bathroom the brown, blue combo is terrific.
    Can’t wait to see what else you find for your micro mini makeover in the other bathroom.

    Have a terrific weekend.


  7. says

    We have two small bathrooms and they were both in horrible shape, too. Everything in them was the original of the house – about 24 years old. Finally, just a month ago, we were able to hire a handyman to install new toilet, sinks, vanities, lighting fixtures, and porcelain floor tiles. We couldn’t afford to replace the bathtub (main bath) and shower (master bath), but that’s OK. Little bits at a time, right? Our bedroom and our son’s bedroom still have the original carpeting in them, too!

  8. says

    I sooo understand about having to live with things that really need to be replaced. We were here 15 years before we finally got to do the kitchen. We were going to do it when we first moved in, and I ripped the paper off the walls, which also took off big strips of paper from the sheetrock. Then we had one urgent repair after another until the money was gone. I did faux type paint job and stenciling over the ragged sheetrock to get by temporarily, and here it is almost 16 years later and that paint is still there. But not for long now.

  9. says

    You are right! I am trying really hard to do that, too. I really wanted some work done on our one and only bathroom, but it’s not in the budget, so I painted it with a paint that I already had and it will do. And I’m content. I will post about it next week, hopefully.
    Hugs, Cindy

  10. says

    I think about those things too, how much importance OTHER things have and then I wonder why my normally creative mind isn’t working to fix it on a dime! I know you will come up with something wonderful like the rest of your beautiful house! And LOVE the new shower curtain! :)

  11. says

    I’d love to gut our one and only bathroom as well. We, too, have blue tiles but unfortunately the floor is green linoleum! I hate the sink and the toilet has stains that I can’t get rid of. But like you, we can’t afford a new bathroom because we need to replace a car in the next couple of months.

    I’ve been thinking about what I could do and using an old dresser as a cabinet and putting a counter-top and sink is one option I’m considering. And replacing floor and the toilet has to happen at some point. As for the blue tiles on the wall, they are the height of wainscotting and I’m thinking about gluing bead board panelling over the tiles and adding a chair rail. I haven’t priced things out yet and I haven’t mentioned anything to hubby yet so it’s not something that will happen for a while yet.

  12. says

    I like that shower curtain!

    I really like having to go bit by bit…even if it’s just paint. I like that any makeovers are done for our enjoyment.

    You are great at this kind of thing! Enjoy the project and take lots of photos to show us!

  13. Vee says

    Oh I really like that brown wallpaper with the buttery shower curtain. I almost bought a new shower curtain at HomeGoods yesterday and have been kicking myself that I didn’t. I understand the driveway issue. We have it here, too. In fact, we have so many issues that I’m just ready to let someone else deal with them and move to yet another even smaller (but finished) place.

  14. says

    Love it!!! You are right on girl. Love the new look to. Hmmm..I’ll have to keep my eye open for that name from Target’s offerings. I agree. And the baths here are working fine. We are just doing little things to them. I really do plan on keeping the pink one as it is. The master blue one…it will be done when it’s time comes…whenever THAT is…We had to get a new car, and OUR DRIVEWAY is also going to pot….All the snow and ice and settling on a 1960’s house in Iowa…obviously. argh…I am content to do {small} pretty fixes right now too. ((HUGS )) to you Manuela, and it looks GREAT!!!! :-)

  15. says

    I so hear you on this one! We need to gut our bathroom too – we only have one! But it’s not going to be a priority this year, again. Isn’t it great though that sometimes doing one little thing, like buying a new shower curtain, can make it all seem new again :) Sometimes I really just need to uncomplicate my life, and be happy that I have what I do!

  16. says

    lol! Don’t we all go through this? I think it looks very nice with the little changes you already made and I’m sure it will look great when you are done!

  17. says

    Perspective. It’s not always easy to keep focused on what’s important when we just want our homes to look pretty, is it? It helps to know that I’m not in the “boat” alone & by the number of comments I’ve read, we’d need a pretty big boat to fit all of us in it! 😉 Thanks for sharing this Manuela … words of wisdom my friend. BTW, I love the shower curtain!

  18. says

    Pretty new shower curtain, it freshens up the bathroom! It looks by the comments that most of us know how to “do the best you can with what you have “, an old motto from Depression days I think, that still works today! Your home is lovely and I think you are very creative and your home shows love lives there!

  19. Debbie says

    Believe it or not, I have that exact same wallpaper in our powder room off the kitchen. I put it up because the wall under it was shot from the previous own having wallpapered over drywall. UGH.

    Anyway, the way yours looks with yellow is wonderful. You have given me a whole new color option in there.

    And I couldn’t agree more about the contentment. I have had to come to the same mindset.

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