Monday, May 14, 2012

Design Challenge: Chrissy's Pink & Blue Tile Bathroom Dilemma

I had a fun little design challenge presented to me the other day from a reader named Chrissy.  She and her hubby just settled into a cute ranch style home in central Illinois with some fixer-upper potential.  One of the rooms they plan to renovate is their blue AND pink tile bathroom...
BUT- they aren't looking to do a full on gut job just yet.  They plan on waiting until later next year to tackle this big project- which is where my little design challenge came into play.

 Chrissy asked if I had any low cost DIY/ decorating ideas to freshen up their bathroom as it is today.  The big challenge is that the bathroom flows from pink tile into blue tile, which makes the decorating part pretty tricky!  However I accepted Chrissy's challenge and pulled together some ideas. So Chrissy, I hope you are happy with what I brought together (I'm nervous!), but here we go! 

Now since I can't change the tile, the best easy/ low cost change would be to...

Aside from those DIY type updates, the bathroom totally needs some decorative textiles to help blend the blue and pink spaces together.  Right now those spaces feel totally disconnected and some carefully coordinated textiles will help the bathroom feel like one cohesive space.  Here's what I'm thinking it needs....

 I started with that Multi-Colored shower curtain because it felt like it could blend in their space, the pink or the blue.  I also loved that the design had some darker rosey pink and darker teal blues in it, which are both a shade or two darker than the tile shades.  So, I picked some rosey pink/white patterned towels that coordinated into both spaces. Then I added a white/aqua stripe rug and aqua blue storage jars to blend some of the blue tones into the pink space.  I might sound a bit crazy, but once I pulled that visual together I was seeing that fresher look!

Now for the cabinets & lighting, I thought this visual from Pottery Barn's "Design Your Own Bathroom" page might help.  Sanding and painting the cabinets white and adding new hardware is a pretty simple and low cost update that can be done over a weekend.

I thought the existing mirror in front of the sink could remain since it is in good shape & fills the space nicely.  Then, just remove current light fixtures and add in two scones on either side.  I also liked the idea of using wall hooks instead of a towel bar/ ring, just a little more decorative but still purposeful (hooks & light sconces shown in previous photo)!

In a nutshell that is how I would update the bathroom as it sits today and the total cost would be under $150.00... and you would have some nice new plush bath towels!  Love that part :)

So, I hope some of my ideas or finds help you out a little bit Chrissy! Thank you so much for the opportunity to 'play' decorate your bathroom! And as promised, here are some dreamy ideas for the future once you are ready for that BIG redo :)


What other advice or ideas do you have for Chrissy's bathroom?
I'm sure she would love any extra feedback, comment away!


  1. You can buy a special paint for the ceramic tiles on the walls. My daugter used it for a kitchen back splash & tile counter in a house they were renting. I think you do the special base coat first then the colour next. It held up pretty good. Maybe they could paint the walls a fresh white & put some plush white bath matts on the floors.

    1. I thought about tile paint, but I wasn't able to research a good clear answer for weather or not it works long term or in a place that might be humid (from the shower). I figure it is best to wait on tile paint if they are going to redo it next year? But you totally thought along the same lines as me :)

    2. Hope this helps for future resources....

      The post on that link inspired me to paint both our master and guest bathrooms last year at this time. In fact it's the last blog entry of mine. Our tile was almost identical to the ones posted in your photos. You can see ours at This project is not the reason I haven't blogged...just sayin'.

      Wear and tear was fine. We followed her instructions completely. The basics I remember were clean the tile, use bonding primer, then floor and porch paint, and end with several coats of polyurethane. We LOVED our results and it felt like a brand new bathroom. Easy, simple project. It does require a lot of time, but it's easy.

      We also had matching sinks and toilets to work with. Love the 60s...not really.

  2. Hi Carla and Chrissie! Wow, what fun this could be! One thing that popped out at me are the outdated cabinets; if Chrissie wants to save major money she could just prime and paint them a high gloss white. They have great lines and could even pass for modern hollywood regency glam with the gloss white. The wall tile there could be replaced with a very inexpensive glossy white subway tile from home depot (about 10-20cents a piece), the outdated wall mirror has to go; and in its place, to complete the hollywood regency glam look she could put up the Ikea "Ung Drill" mirror, or 2, (39.00 a piece on in either the color it comes in, gloss black, or any other fun color! (with a can of spray paint) for a good flow, she could replace all the tile with the white subway, as well. The oak molding around window could be either primed and painted a bright gloss white, or replaced, with some wider more dramatic molding (also gloss white),...I have many other ideas!
    Hope this helps, stop by my blog anytime,
    Jenah xo

    1. Wow Jenah! Thanks for sharing your ideas! Totally agree with painting the cabinets, tried to sort of show what that would look like with the PB illustration but it might have been confusing :( I also love the white subway tile, or any kind of white bathroom or black & white bathroom, they always look so classic! I want to redo my bathroom now too.. booo! More projects, ha!

  3. I had a very very similar problem in my old bathroom (flesh colored tile with FLOWERS on them!) GAG! Anyhow, I paid to have them reglazed. SERIOUSLY! For $500 they will do the ENTIRE ROOM! It is the same stuff that they use to reglaze bathtubs. It is intended for high moisture, even standing water, areas.

    I couldn't be happier with how it came out. It saved me from a total gut of my bathroom. Yes, it isn't a $100 fix, but it is cheaper than all other options. I considered covering the tile with beadboard, ripping it out and re-plastering, etc. Save your pennies! It will be worth it!

    Here are my before and afters:

  4. Ooh, that's pretty ugly... oh, I mean dated ;0) I would also replace the sink faucet. Easy to do, inexpensive and goes a long way! Bonnie

  5. Wow what a design challenge this bathroom is! I definitely think you're on the right track with repainting the cabinet, removing the mirrors, and replacing the light. My only dilemma is the shower curtain; albeit it depends on the couples style I think that shower curtain with the old styled pink and blue tile could still be looking a bit retro/vintage. Something with a more modern print might work a touch better!

  6. one thing she could do to the mirror is frame it out,,here are a few links I have saved for future reference

    I hope to do this to my bathroom mirror one day. I love the way it looks.

  7. I love the shower curtain because my style is vintage!! I'm excited about all of these ideas and can't wait to get started!!! Chrissy

  8. janelle hendricksonMay 15, 2012 at 11:03 PM

    This is the resource we used to paint our tile in our 2 bathrooms. Love the results. Hope that helps.


I love to hear from you! What's on your mind?