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From Modern Contemporary to Industrial Chic: How I Upgraded My Guest Bathroom On A Budget

It's been 8 months of living in our new home and I was finally able to finish our kids' and guest bathroom with some simple, inexpensive and classic finishes, all for under $500! Below I share my process from start to finish and how you can also make the smallest but most impactful changes that will make it your new favorite room in the house, all on a budget! Who doesn't love a beautiful bathroom? Here's a quick before and after!

Here's what I had to work with...

When we moved into this house last June, I knew this bathroom was going to be primarily for our 3 growing boys and guests, so I wanted to make it as inviting and practical as possible. As there were other parts of the house we wanted to update as well, we decided that we would make the most of what we could, use some of what we already had, and buy minimally on the things we would change. When observing a space, I always look for what do I love, what do I dislike, and what could I work around. The bathroom had some good bones to work with, having white walls, a white shaker vanity with a marble countertop, and a shower that was tiled with a metro subway tile that went all the way to the ceiling. I knew by just looking at it that I wanted to do a fresh coat of white paint that was more of an eggshell rather than high gloss (as it had great ventilation with the nice big window that brought in plenty of natural light). I would love to add wall panelling to add some texture, but for now, the painted walls will do. And rather than the full-length mirror, I would switch it out for a smaller framed mirror along with changing the brushed nickel faucet, and mint glass knobs on the white shaker vanity. I knew that the bathroom had great potential but I wanted to steer the overall contemporary style towards a different direction by adding some warmth and character. The floors are a charcoal wood-looking tile which I decided to keep (although I would love a lighter look), but it went with the black-grouted subway tile in the shower that reminded me of the underground metro in London, a very industrial and classic look that will never go out of style. I wanted this bathroom to feel warm, bright and inviting, so I decided to choose finishes that were classic, modern, and a bit more rustic than I would typically go for. Since I didn't change very much with keeping the vanity, flooring, and shower tile, it was a fun personal challenge to work around and put my own spin on things.

Where I began...

Since I'm always inspired by my travels, I decided to bring a little London into my bathroom by pulling in a brighter vintage and industrial look. To make sure it also goes with the flow of our home, I wanted to also make it feel light, soft, and airy with some natural elements. Pinterest is always my go to when first starting to think about a space, so I threw a board together, and after some refining and narrowing down, I got down to the look and style I wanted and knew I would love year-round (which is key when thinking about upgrading your bathroom). And in the end, I was left with was something that combined all my favorite styles into a light and bright European Industrial chic. Here were a few of my inspiration pictures from Pinterest. Though these photos might be a bit more on the higher end, I don't let my budget tower my inspiration :)

How I picked the overall style...

Ideally, I like to sit on an idea of a style through a couple seasons (if I have a few months) to make sure I would really like something. I must confess, there are some styles I love during different seasons when switching up little decor items, but when it comes to when it comes to designing for the long haul, I've got to look at my history on what I gravitate towards and stay true to those elements and compile them as simply as I can. My style has always had influences of Scandinavian, California Coastal, at times Tropical, with a big emphasis on the clean Mediterranean and rustic European look. This can seem like a lot to cram into one space, but after years of downsizing and playing around with different styles, I am always drawn towards elements in their raw and natural form. This includes natural woods, light and neutral colors, cozy and natural textures, rustic metals and accents, and a mix of some curves along with straight lines, many of what you may see in this bathroom!

How it came together...

In any bathroom, the hardware and fixtures are the stars of the show and can really determine the style of a bathroom. I started with the fixtures because I knew that I would use them as a darker accent to compliment the darker floors and black-grouted subway tile in the shower. The darker shades help ground any space, making it feel mature and since I couldn't get away from the black, I decided to go with a darker antique brass to keep the depth while also adding some warmth. The faucet, knobs & pulls, and the vanity light are all in the rustic antique brass to give it that industrial look while also having a bit of softness to it with it's detail and curves. Once I was set on those 3 key things, I could tackle the mirror that would tie it all together. I could have left the wall-sized mirror that was originally there, but to me, it didn't frame anything and left the bathroom feeling sterile and commercial rather than homey. Having a framed mirror is the easiest way to add character and style to a bathroom, and (in my opinion) can make or break the look. If a mirror is too bold, it will be a distraction; if it is too sterile, it can feel cold and uninviting. I found this mirror on Amazon that was originally gold, but I loved the curved edges to add that softness I was looking for, (and I also used it for our master bathroom too!). I decided to spray paint the mirror Heirloom White and it brought such a beautiful balance that didn't feel stark, but added the perfect amount of warmth in a sea of white walls.

Where I like to shop...

I typically have a few places I like to shop around, but occasionally if I'm looking for something specific, I will either search for it on Google or Pinterest and that will lead me to what I'm looking for. Many times I will check H&M and Zara simply because I love that simple and European look, but oftentimes when I'm shopping at Target, I will keep an eye out for little things as well as they are constantly bringing out new decor items with their Studio Mcgee and Hearth & Hand Collections. For this bathroom, majority of my larger finds were from Amazon, like the vanity light, mirror, knobs, handles, towel rack, and a couple accessories. I'm a bargain shopper, so if I see a good price, especially on Amazon, I will check to make sure it's returnable so that I can try it out in my space and return it if needed. If you're on a budget looking for good deals, I have some ideas saved on my Amazon Storefront if you need help finding something! What I love about Amazon is not only does it have generally quick shipping (especially with Prime) but that it mainly gives smaller companies and business owners the opportunity to put their products on the market, helping small business grow.

How I decorated...

For the accessories, I chose minimal and natural accents to add a softness while also complimenting the bolder accents in the hardware, fixtures and tile. Some of the main bathroom counter elements include some hand soap, maybe a candle and a towel, so I started there and then began to fill in the spaces by adding a small flower vase, a basket for the towel (since there was no room for a mounted towel bar) and a tray for the soap and candle. Our hand soap is from Costco of all places, and next to it is a candle from Target, all resting on this crackle tray also from Target. On the other side of the sink I have the Casaluna white waffle hand towel resting in this adorable black metal basket that compliments the shower subway tile, and a pitcher from H&M that I love using as a vase with some florals I bought from Trader Joes and dried. Next to the focal point of the mirror and fixtures, I brought in a very dainty and subtle wall hanging I found a couple years ago on Etsy. I was going to stack two framed art pieces above the toilet, but with the boldness of the antique brass and black accents, I felt something softer was needed to also compliment the cream mirror. For the towel rack, rather than using a metal towel bar, I went with a long peg rack to bring in some natural wood and break up all the metal that typically goes in a bathroom. I love racks for the purpose of bringing form and function, and this one definitely brings both with its versatility of hanging towels while also having room for some decor! Since this is also my kids' bathroom, a little step stool was a must, so I brought from our hold home this natural wood stool that I found at Zara Home. The dark floors needed some love too, so I went with this simple and low-maintenance jute rug from West Elm that would bring in some texture for coziness. For the shower, I brought our old shower curtain from our old house that I found at World Market years ago, and I still happen to love it! One day I might switch out the shower curtain rod and hooks to an antique brass but I also don't mind the brushed nickel for now, as mixing metals can bring about balance in any space.

Whether you are looking to upgrade your bathroom down the road or are already in the process, I hope this was able to spark some ideas and inspiration for you! Tackling any space in your home can definitely be fun and also daunting at times, but with a little bit of vision, creative juices, and determination, you too can have a dream space of your own. I hope you enjoyed this blog as I would love to hear any comments or questions you have about upgrading your bathroom! It's so much fun to put ones own touch on a home, and even more fun when you get to share it with others, bringing them into your story and space. If you found this blog inspiring or helpful in any way, I would be honored if you would like, comment or share this, as you spreading the word is a way where my small business can grow and thrive! I appreciate you taking the time to read this! Til next time!!

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