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MOTO REVEAL: Julie’s Anything But Beige, Amazing DIY Bathroom Refresh

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Hey all, Julie here and I’m back already! We told ya, it wouldn’t be too long till you heard from me again. 🙂 I am so ready to share with you my “teeny tiny rental bathroom refresh” reveal. It’s been almost 3 months to the day since four of us on the EHD team – Jess, Ryann, Caitlin & myself – shared our rental bathroom woes with you and the design dreams we had for them. I technically completed the 2-month challenge that Jess set out for us since Sara shot my bathroom at the end of August and am so excited to share it today. I love (read: need) a deadline to get those items that are lower on my priority life list done. Was it necessary to take my rental bathroom from all beige to bold? Probably not. Does it make me smile every morning when I finally drag myself out of bed 20 minutes later after my alarm goes off? Totally!

Before we get into it, I wanted to tell you all how helpful your feedback was in my Ask The Audience post. I took so many of your suggestions and kind of ended up blending the two mood boards which when looking back on it made the most sense all along. So here’s a big THANK YOU to all of you!

I hope you’ve had your cup of coffee (or tea) cause be prepared. I took some rental-friendly risks which are definitely bold and full of color.

Told ya. This was a no holds barred kind of design approach. I mainly tested out a few tricks to steer your eye away from all of the beige square tiles.

Trick #1: The painted “stripe wallpaper” – that’s right I decided to spend hours upon hours during the LA heatwave last month painting all those stripes instead of using temporary wallpaper. 

The main reason was that I wanted the trim and wallpaper to match so I used Carmine by Portola Paints & Glazes on both. It’s the perfect shade of purple with a touch of lavender/pink without going too dark into the royal purple territory. There were a few failed attempts to get the lines super crisp until I came upon the paint mural queen, Racheal Jackson’s (aka @banyanbridges on Instagram), story highlight that literally says, “clean lines”. All you have to do is once your painters tape is up on the wall, take some of the background paint color. For me this was white, and paint a layer where the edge of the tape meets the wall. Then wait for it to completely dry and paint on your stripe color. I typically like to peel off the tape as soon as I’ve completed the second coat of my stripe color in a section. This is because in the past I’ve had it where the older layered on paint will peel off with it if I wait til it’s fully dry… rentals am I right? It’s the best “work smarter, not harder” trick out there and if you ever need some painting inspiration you should definitely give Racheal a follow.

Trick #2: Swap out your seat! Let’s just say it, my toilet seat was gross. It had started to yellow and every time you sat down it shifted just a little until one day it actually broke on one side. It was time for a replacement and despite some of the comments, I went ahead and got this wood one from Build, it’s by Signature Hardware and that sucker is sealed so no gross stuff will ever get in the wood grain. And I had NO CLUE how easy it was to install, you literally just screw it on. Still learning new design things every day. Hire me? haha. But really… hire me (+ Velinda and Grace) shameless plug here. 😉

I wanted to add in a few vintage pieces but since I started the design back in late March going to the flea markets wasn’t an option. So all of the items were sourced from Etsy and paid in full by yours truly. It was also great knowing that I was supporting small businesses all over the world in a time of uncertainty. I was certain however on making that wood cigar mold into a tank tray, it was large enough for all the important necessities (*sarcasm*) like a tiny bicycle from my grandmother, Mimi, that was part of a dollhouse she made. She is very talented and I believe I get most of my dry humor and creative side from her. Love you, Mimi.

It also holds that anatomical heart drawing which came from Ryann’s link up recommendation a while back, the shop is full of amazing vintage-inspired prints. I was tempted to buy more than two but restrained myself at least for now. I am actually reading that book which is kind of a bit “too on the nose” for what’s happening in the world today but the colors also looks too good with that oil diffuser.

There were some hilarious and accurate comments regarding the original shower curtain I had planned for the space. I was so sold on it that I actually had it in my possession when the ask the audience post went live. Then I started painting the stripes and it was just too much of the same scale pattern. Like most of you, I too was in love with the other bold flower print shower curtain. It ties in all the colors of the space making it feel cohesive and more thought out rather than a bunch of random colored objects, I meant to do that.

When designing a space you not only should balance out said colors and materials throughout the room but also consider your shapes. To help counteract all the linear lines of the literal lines, I added some curves in the mirror, light fixture and the detail on the hanging planter. It makes the space feel a bit softer and adding a dedicated spot for a plant always livens up a room.

That marigold light fixture from Schoolhouse is so fun and a classic shape from the 1950’s era so it already has a vintage flair. Since both the fixture & stripes draw your eye up towards the ceiling I wanted there to be a “moment”. Rather than just having the stripes end at the ceiling I decided to go for a faux crown moulding. I did have some grandiose idea of this cool painted check ceiling treatment which I actually did and then when I started adding in all the rest it was a little too much in an already jam-packed life room. I woke up early the day of the shoot and decided to fill it in to be solid, ain’t nothing like a little last-minute painting.

That vintage mirror was the piece that started it all. I debated for a while if I should even invest any money into my bathroom since I don’t know how long I’ll be living here, was it really worth it? Then that all changed when I came across this beauty on Etsy and it was a snowball effect after that. It’s the perfect size and was actually a great price too. I had been searching for a vintage mirror for over a year and they are not cheap so once I saw it, I bought it right away. I love the beveled edge and wood detail on the bottom without it being too ornate. She’s a rarity and something that I will keep for years to come.

Hanging it was less of a love story and more of, The Comedy of Errors. I drilled 2 holes above where it hangs now, thankfully I had lots of spackle on hand. Turns out I didn’t need to use the anchor I thought I did and just screwed the heavy-duty hook straight into the wall. That explains why I wrapped the chain around the hook to get it back to the right height. At the moment it wasn’t so funny but a good reminder that there’s always a solution to be found.

Since I didn’t swap out anything on the vanity, not even the hardware because I couldn’t access the screws (there’s a wood piece over them on the inside). I intentionally kept the styling to a minimum which redirects your eye elsewhere, at least I hope it did before I called attention to it.

There are so many rental bathrooms that come equipped with the standard metal-framed medicine cabinet and mine was no exception. To remedy this builder grade situation, I bought some cheap hobby board from the hardware store and promptly took it to my mom’s boyfriend who owns all the power tools. A few 45-degree cuts, some staples, and a bit of stain later and I had a frame to fit over the metal. I did adhere it to the mirror using mounting tape which is so strong and rental friendly but up close you can see the backside of the frame, including the stickers we didn’t take off. Whoops. It doesn’t really bother me but if you are to try it yourself then I’d recommend removing them and staining the backside as well.

Added in some tiered window treatments using a tension curtain rod, another renter-friendly item. They not only hide the dirty louvered glass but it also creates diffused natural light which is great for applying makeup in the mirror on the aforementioned medicine cabinet. I know that some of you warned me that the purple hue of the paint on the window trim might make my skin tone look a bit off but luckily I haven’t noticed a difference.

I picked up another great life hack from, Emily Bowser, who really should just be my life coach. Have a stack of washcloths handy for washing your face at night and then use it to wipe down your countertop after for a double clean. The woven basket next to the cart is because I am honestly too lazy sometimes to walk the extra 5 steps to my laundry basket so I toss them in here instead.

That is the other piece of art from the recommended Etsy shop by our Ryann. If you don’t already know it’s the Plague Doctor which is a bit morbid but also very topical. I tend to gravitate towards out of the norm art which isn’t always for everyone but that’s what personal style is all about, what you like, remember that. I bought the vintage wood frame off of, that’s right, Etsy. It actually didn’t have a back or glass so I cut out a piece of foam core that I had leftover from another project for the back and bought a cheap frame from IKEA and used the plexiglass which fit perfectly.

Ever since Emily B. and I lived in Atlanta for 10 days searching for scores in vintage shops I have wanted a french coat hook. There were TONS of them in the stores and I always regretted not buying one so once I purchased that vintage mirror I knew it was the next item on the list for my bathroom and bought this one 10 minutes later. It’s especially wonderful since my boyfriend is crowned the worst towel hanger-upper when it comes to a towel bar so the hook is our compromise.

Sara got this great paint detail shot, which really shows how varying in size all the stripes are. It ends up adding so much more depth than if they were all exactly the same. I know. Because I did a whole section of the wall like that and the results felt too flat and graphic.

Even with the amount of storage I have in this bathroom somehow I always need more so I picked up this utility cart on one of many IKEA trips last year. There are a few items that I always use daily and having them easily accessible makes getting ready in the morning a bit easier than digging through a drawer full of stuff.

If there was a piece that caught your eye, then check out all of the resources below.

1. Shower Curtain | 2. Carmine Paint from Portola Paints & Glazes | 3. Alabax Large in Marigold from Schoolhouse | 4. Vintage Mirror (similar) | 5. Shower Curtain Rings | 6. Shower Curtain Rod | 7. Hanging Planter | 8. Oil Diffuser | 9. Anatomical Heart Print | 10. Wood Frame | 11. Vintage Cigar Mold (similar) | 12. Bath Rug | 13. Ceramic Vase | 14. Wood Toilet Seat | 15. Tooth Brush | 16. Tooth Brush Holder | 17. Soap Pump | 18. Toilet Brush | 19. Seagrass Tray | 20. Medium Canister | 21. Small Canister | 22. Dry Brush | 23. Bath Salts | 24. Hobby Board | 25. Hand Towel | 26. Washcloth | 27. Wicker Basket | 28. Window Curtains | 29. Moisturizer | 30. Brass Tray | 31. White Utility Cart |32. Plague Doctor Print | 33. Vintage French Hook | 34. Bath Towel | 35. Seagrass Tall Basket | 36. Hair Brush | 37. Beau Fragrance

Before I leave you let’s look at some before and afters!

Thanks for stopping by my vintage-inspired (wife of the old man library bedroom) rental bathroom refresh. I am excited and a bit nervous to hear what you all think about this “I went for it” design in the comments below. See you there! xx

**Design by Julie Rose | Photos by Sara Ligorria-Tramp

Fin Mark

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Diane

Love. Your new bathroom is functional, whimsical, strategically colorful, and delightfully personal, and imho those are the nicest adjectives a room could ever want. Though you had to work around some fairly challenging non-negotiables, the finished look says, “Flaws? What flaws?” Love the mirror-on-mirror strategy and the towel hook compromise is a dream. Even the styled out metal cart gives me heart eyes. Well done, Julie!

Julie

This is one of my favorite posts! As much as I admire and love the content on design blogs like this one, 95% of it purely aspirational. Your rental friendly upgrades are beautiful, practical, and really inspiring. You’ve inspired me to reinvest efforts into making my small rental a little bit nicer. From another Julie, thanks!

Susanna

95% lol. Assumes a pretty homogeneous readership all of the same financial means. I would highly doubt that is true. And almost any design can be replicated for lower costs.

Julie

Perhaps I should have written my comment another way? I was speaking only for myself. For me, most of the content on blogs like this one is aspirational (and that’s okay). I follow along because it’s fun and I admire the skill and creativity put into homes. My intent was simply to share the joy I felt in realizing this was a project I could relate to and it inspired me.

Alice

I understood you Julie, and I agree with you.

Stephanie

I don’t think Susanna knows what aspirational means…

Karen

Another inspiring space. Not every room can get complete gut, even if you own your home, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be chic and functional. Thanks for sharing

Bo

Fresh and fun – not bad for a bathroom.

Heather

You did indeed go for it. Bravo! I wasn’t very into it when you shared your ideas with us, but wow, what an improvement. Definitely a happy bathroom now. Well done.

Love how you painted “the molding”. Makes a huge difference!

Karen T.

And that’s why you’re a professional…I wouldn’t have thought to put any of those pieces/elements together but I’m blown away by the end result. Great job–so many thoughtful “moments”.

Sarah

Gorgeous! Love everything here. Maybe you could wrap the vanity hardware in twine or something?

Wow. This turned out SO much better than I thought it would from the mood boards. I seriously love this. The mirror-on-mirror idea is GENIUS. I’m stealing this for my next bathroom in my next house. The painted stripes and faux molding are so good! Better than wall paper IMO. The varied stripe sizes makes it so much more interesting. Wood toilet seat. I didn’t think I would like it, but I really really do. It turned out great! Oh, and the light fixture! Eek!

Alice

I like how the wood tones work with the colors.

Susanna

the placement of that toilet paper holder will haunt me for days
love everything else

Kelly

Ha! Me too. I just envision the toilet paper always getting wet. : )

Alice

I agree, but it doesn’t look like there’s anywhere else to put it.

Molly

What fun! Looks fantastic, great job Julie!

Jessa

Omg I LOVE THIS. One of my fave reveals ever. It’s so so so gorgeous! If i lived in the US I would buy that shower curtain immediately (and then smash my glass shower screens to hang it I guess! Or maybe make a cushion cover!)

Molly

Just hang a curtain in front of the glass if you prefer that look. My mother did that in an old dated bath and it improved it tremendously.

Jessa

Great idea, never even thought of that! Thanks!

Daria

We have pretty gross shower doors in my rental bathroom and we hung up a rod and curtain anyway and it REALLY helped!

Jessa

Clever! Thanks!

Beth

This is awesome! Love seeing projects that have to work around challenges and still come out so cool!

Lane

Really pretty. Love the color choices, stripes, mirror, Actually I like everything you have done

A

I love it! The paint is so pretty. This is the kind of content I love – taking something kind of bland and making it wonderful, the way Apartment Therapy used to be. I kind of wonder if you’re short though — I feel like I wouldn’t be able to see my head in that beautiful mirror!

Mary

just dropping in to say that layering the mirrors is awesome and unexpected and graphic and fun – I never would have thought to do that. Bravo!

R Remington

Love it! What kind of plant is hanging in the planter?

Wendy Stewart

Looks like a Staghorn Fern!

R Remington

Thank you!

Kelly

What an amazing transformation! I do like a rental friendly and therefor budget friendly makeover! The toilet paper holder though……?

Rusty

So good! You’ve inspired me to fiiiiiiiinally get a tray for my bathroom. I’m torn between wood or copper and your cigar thingo is making me think wood!

I really like that your striped aren’t unuform. It is easier on the eye and somehow organic, except stripes aren’t organic!?! Ha!

Love the shower curtain! I have a bold shower curtain hoarded gor when my current one gets beyond it and yours makes me wanna break it out. But. I. Will. Wait.

The room gas do many different elements, some boho, some eccentric grannie, some quite austere ifthey were on their own. The textural elements are what brings it all together for me.

I’ve been hanging out yo see these bathrooms… and what a way to start!
Thanks Julie! 😍

(Now we just need to see the others aaaaand hear what’s happening with Caitlin’s house on the hill/or not?)

Jessvii

This is my kind of post to a T! I dig the final result, and that it didn’t cost a ton of money or take a bazillion hours (except for the stripe-painting, which looks amazing!). Love this so much, Julie!!

Stephanie

Sooo cute and inspirational. Way to make it sing, Julie.

Jenms

This is so great – and looks so doable! So many “quick rental refreshes” online are NOT easily achievable by the average, stressed-out person with zero free time, but yours is one that I can actually visualize all the steps involved! Thank you – and glad you’re back so quickly 🙂

Jenms

One thought – that gorgeous purple “faux crown molding” look is amazing, and it was a little jarring to see it stop at the tub. Can part of that line extend along the ceiling above your bathtub to make a complete circuit of the room?

Sarah T

LOVE it! Seeing how you’ve designed your own rooms is so inspiring. Thinking how to take that quirky diy vintage inspiration and infuse it into my own rental. Hoping to still see more of your wonderful style and design on the blog!

Sincerely love it, every little bit!

SO GOOD AND SPECIAL JULIE!!!!

Suzanne

I love it, Julie! I was inspired by the plans in the spring, and recently did a low budget upgrade on our beach condo. While I’m the owner and can do more permanent changes, we plan to do something bigger down the road, and I couldn’t justify the expense. So I tried removable wallpaper for the first time. What a difference it makes with the ugly, builder grade beige tiles I have. I love that you decided to paint stripes rather than wallpaper. What a time commitment, but a truly amazing result. And I love the painted trim. I’m now obsessed with vintage mirrors, too. I can’t believe that gorgeous mirror made such a long journey unscathed. You’re making me believe I should take the risk and order one. Oh, how I miss flea markets. Thank you for another inspiring and attainable design!

Annie

Honestly, I am not sure I like the design per se…but at the same time, I LOVE it. It is just so thoughtful and personal and detailed–like it is design just for you and not “for the masses.” And that is what makes it perfect. So much of design content is cookie cutter and/or so expensive that no one can afford it. But what makes this great is that all it requires is some etsy hunting skills and the courage to just go for what you like and what looks good to you. I really like that this bathroom doesn’t look like anything else out there and it makes me excited to see what your design career will look like as you strike out on your own.

Molly

I totally agree! Not something I thought I would like at all or that I would choose for myself, but I too LOVE it! It is cheerful and happy and unique and just awesome. Love that it’s the farthest thing from cookie cutter that I could imagine. Thanks for sharing it with us. So cool to see how you can make some rooms so calm and soothing (Suzanne’s) and also pull off a design that is so opposite and execute them both so expertly. You are a huge talent!

Julie! You know I was skeptical about the purple, but I’M A BELIEVER. I said then and I believe it now: if anyone could make purple work in a bathroom, it’s you. This is so warm and welcoming. I bet everytime you walk by your bathroom door, you pop your head in, marvel at your work, and smile…I would. You’re such a talent. 🙂 <3

Rusty

Arlyn….what’s happening with you blog?????
I’m missing it already. 🙄

Talia

Love this. Did you keep the old mirror, light fixture, toilet seat cover etc for when you move out? Or do you plan on leaving these things for the next tenant?

Michelle

COLOR!!!! Man, I loved this combo of rich jewel tones, clean lines, and quirky accessories. Love it. Thanks for sharing, Julie!

Daria

Ah, this is so so cool and inspiring! I love it so much!

Veronica

Julie it looks amazing! The vertical lines balance the horizontal mirror perfectly. The minimal styling on the vanity is brilliant. All I see are all the gorgeous, personal vignettes.
I am actually fine with the TP holder – it blends in enough to be inoffensive and when you notice it, it’s quirky! 🙂
Even though I don’t personally like the shower curtain, I love that it brings all the colours together. That with the wood and plants is what makes the space for me!
Thank you Julie for brightening my afternoon and making me excited to refresh my bathroom!

Janell

Julie, I love it. I love what you do with paint! The uneven stripes, the painted trim and the faux crown moulding (my favorite) is unexpected and wonderful. I loved the perfect black stripe and painted trim in your bedroom, but this is so so good. And layering mirrors… I did not understand, but seeing is believing. Bravo. Gahh! What a happy space. <3

Kara

Wow. This is proof of why I admire creative people so much! None of this would ever pop into my mind to do. So many of the comments already say how I feel, but I’ll add to say I love a room where everywhere I look there’s something interesting to find and stare at.

Rachel

honestly I tend towards the beige beige beige neutral layers thing but you might be pushing me in another direction. This is gorgeous, so well done. And as a fellow rented with the terrible medicine cabinet mirror thing…very inspired. Thanks!!!

Elaine

Aaaaaaaaaaall of it, I love all of it! You did such a good job Julie 😀

Martha

Why don’t we see layered mirrors more often? I love them! Nobody ever comes to my house who doesn’t think they are beautiful and clever. When plate mirror went out and framed mirrors came in, I couldn’t afford to repair the mess removing the plate mirror would make. Bought a $20 frame on craigslist, gave it a little touch of gold (just rubbed it on, so easy!) and hung it up. Years later I still love it!

Hilary

Need like 10,000 more of these reveals!! I LOVE how you’ve managed to take a rental bathroom and make it completely awesome without doing any major work. So inspiring to those of us stuck with things we can’t afford to renovate. Yay Julie and EHD!

tricia

I really love the direction you took this rental bathroom, Julie! The color is punchy and refreshing – wonderful design : ).

Heidi

What a quirky, bold, unapologetically fun bathroom!! The idea to layer that vintage mirror is GENIUS, and you found the perfect piece (swoon)! Love that you went with the same shade of purple everywhere, and the “crown molding” look is really great. Plus your little yellow light fixture just makes my heart smile. 🙂 Great job pulling this all together!

StephanieZ

I feel like one of State the Label’s new stripes clothing would be amazing to wear in here. Their stripes would go so well with these.

Karyn

WOW, what a truly amazing transformation from a drab rental to a colorful, surprising wondrous bathroom!!! I absolutely love the colors (and I wasn’t sure with ur mood boards) so once I saw them in real life, they look amazing!! You should be really proud of yourself for this design and being able to put your incredible stamp on something that’s a rental!!! Well done Julie!!!

Kim V

You would never guess it was a rental bathroom. So much personality!

Love! Big fan of the rental friendly posts – a reminder that just because you don’t own, you can still make it your own!

Emily

Love this! Typically I am not team purple unless it’s a super deep tone but somehow, this is all totally working for me. The quirky retro touches make this so special and totally fit my decorating vibe.

As a fellow renter, I appreciate this so much and it inspires me to put a little more love into some of the spaces I’ve given up on making cute. My issue, which I’ve had in a few previous rentals, is the bathroom is a sad interior room with zero windows. I’d love a future post on how to tackle this problem.

Great job Julie!

Love that purple! Reminds me of that arch digest link up you did a bit back with the beautiful purple beams on the ceiling. I’ve been WAITING for purple to come back and to get better ideas on how to incorporate it and this is just the ticket!

Great job on the update!

Darcy

This is a stepping off point for a career in
helping rental bathrooms reflect the style of the owner without a huge monetary commitment.
Purple is my second favorite color.
I was a little wary of the shower curtain….
but girl you knew what you were doing!!!
I LOVE the quirky art!
Is there an easy way to paint stripes or is one stuck using a level and laser for hours:)
This is one of my most favorite bathroom makeovers ever. There is so much talent behind the Etsy door and I have found some
great things there myself.
That mirror was the crowning jewel.
Julie Rose…..you are going to be making dreams come true for people who don’t even know what their dreams are yet.
WELL DONE.

YOUR TALENT KNOWS NO BOUNDS!!!!!!!!!! Also HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY LOVE!!!!!!!!

MJ

I love this and I typically don’t like purple, in either fashion or interiors! But I think you nailed it and made it so fun without being insane. Really nice for my eyeballs to see something other than beige and white. Woohoo!

KT

It looks so so so so good! I actually debated getting a new toilet seat this weekend when I was at Home Depot, didn’t, but now I’m ready for a trip back! So beautiful and inspiring for everyone whether renting or owning!

One thing, not a huge deal but just for your awareness, it should be IKEA, not Ikea. IKEA is an acronym 🙂

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