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5 Upgrades for a Builder Grade Bathroom

Updated: Apr 22

Our primary bathroom was very builder grade! It had a lot of whites and grays and was just very boring. When we first moved in we added black handles for functionality, and then about a year later we added horizontal shiplap to the wall behind the bathtub. Although it never felt "done", we left it like that for about a year.

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of the bathroom when we first moved in, but here's what it looked like after our "mini upgrades" about a year ago:

"Before" Pictures:

See....the "mini upgrades" definitely added more pizzaz than what we started with, but it was still very bland. Also, I never loved the horizontal shiplap and felt like it made the vanity beside it feel even more unfinished.

So, a few weeks ago, we decided to put a little more love into it and give it more of a custom feel without having to do any demo. And while it's not quite ready for a full reveal, here are 5 upgrades that we've done to breathe even more life into it.

1. Vertical Shiplap

I know what you're thinking. "You already had shiplap." As previously mentioned, we added horizontal shiplap and only to the wall behind the bathtub. I never loved the horizontal shiplap. but my husband fought hard for it so I gave in. This time around (after a failed faux stone wall), we did vertical shiplap and took it all the way to my husband's vanity (since they share a wall) and added it to the wall behind my vanity. And we LOVE it! Also worth noting... my husband has since admitted that this would've been the way to go from day one haha

2. New Faucets

We sill had our very basic, builder-grade faucets installed, and while they worked perfectly fine, we knew we had to swap them out in order to take this refresh to the next level. We went with the Vigo Sterling Two Handle Widespread Bathroom Faucet in Brushed Nickel. We have swapped out other faucets in our home with Vigo faucets including our kitchen sink and guest bathroom, and absolutely love the quality and durability, so using them in our bathroom refresh was a no brainer.

I love that these are widespread handles, making it so much easier to clean!

3. Bye-Bye Builder-Grade Mirrors

By extending the shiplap behind our vanities, that meant we could finally rip down the builder grade mirrors. I loved the size of them and was scared to sacrifice that, but when I found these mirrors at Sam's Club on clearance, I knew they were the perfect ones for this space. They are now out of stock at Sam's, but I found them here as well!

4. Faux Wood Vanities

Now this upgrade was probably the icing on the cake. Our cabinets were white and I've dreamt of light oak cabinets for as long as I can remember. When I found this product online, I went for it. It's paint that gives you the look of wood, feels like wood, and can even be sealed.

It was definitely a longer process because it needed several coats with 2-3 hours of dry -time in between (and trust me, the dry-time is crucial). Then, once the "wood" part is done, I went in with a stain on top to give it more depth and a "grain" look and then sealed everything. The process took about a week with all of our extra-curricular activities, but it was SO worth it and I regret NOTHING.

5. DIY Window Grid

The last big update that we did in here was DIY a window grid. We had this huge window behind our tub and I knew that a grid was a must to add some character and visual interest. We looked into New Panes which are super affordable but the shipping cost was more than what the actual material would cost us. So we did what we do best, and diy-ed it. And it turned out beautifully. I added some cafe curtains and about character. How stinking' cute?!

Aside from decor, we have one more trick up our sleeve for this space before it's ready for the full reveal and I can't wait. Stay tuned!!

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Jilian Sullivan
Jilian Sullivan

Paint, mirror swap and new faucet will go so far to change a builder basic to freshen up and personalize a space!! Love the vertical shiplap ideas too!

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