...because home doesn't happen overnight.

This is the boring builder vanity in the kid/guest bathroom that came with our house.

I’d always wanted to change the look and function of it.  (See how the doors open?  One opens into the bathroom doorway while the other opens into the toilet area.) 

95% of the time, the bathroom is for our 2 little boys but it serves guests too.  It needs to be practical for day-to-day kid living but not so childish that my kids can’t grow with it, or worse yet, our guests feel like they’re in a kiddie bathroom.  The following images inspired me to freshen up our vanity.

This master bathroom comes from HGTV’s Dream Home 2010 (which I briefly toured here).  I like the vanity’s color and modern hardware.

This sweet DIY vanity makeover hails from none other than Desire to Inspire‘s Kim.  I like the way she removed the old vanity doors and added a fabric curtain.  Cute and simple.

I devised a plan to remove the vanity doors then paint and add hardware along with a fun curtain in place of the cumbersome doors.

After finding scrap (i.e. FREE) fabric in my finally organized craft closet, I decided on Behr’s Promenade (mixed in Lowe’s Olympic no-VOC semigloss) for the paint color.  Next, I emptied the vanity and removed the doors and false drawers.

Then I wooed Handy Hubby into helping me cut out the small board that previously stopped the vanity doors from swinging in.  (I wasn’t having much luck with my hammer and crowbar.)  Not sure that a circular saw was the most appropriate tool for the job but it worked!

I used some wood putty to fill in the screw holes where the doors had been attached and also to touch up some scuffs left by the circular saw.

Then it was Prime Time.  I taped off the vanity to keep the walls and floor relatively safe from my paint job.  We still had plenty of oil-based primer left over from painting our kitchen cabinets.  I just brought it up from the basement and rolled on 1 coat.

After 2 coats of paint and the addition of 2 5″ IKEA VINNA handles,  the vanity was really shaping up.  I made a simple fabric curtain and hung it from a tension rod.  (Here’s how I made a similar curtain for my laundry room.) 

And just to prove that I do work with my boys around, here’s a pic Layne took of me re-attaching the toilet paper holder to the side of the vanity. 

But now for some prettier pictures.  This is the builder vanity’s after shot…

Even though the drawers don’t open (yeah, they’re those fake ones that you pull, pull, PULL on but never get open), the sleek metal handles were necessary in giving the vanity a more polished look.  Emptying out the vanity for its makeover was an excuse to organize it too.  I was able to make room for the trash can and toddler toilet seat under the sink.  The toilet seat hangs from a 3M hook on the inside of the vanity.  (Previously, it hung on the outside of the vanity next to the toilet.)

Fortunately, our boys aren’t long soakers.  They’re usually all business in the bathroom.  That means we don’t have a slew of bath toys.  Other than lotion, toothbrushes, toothpaste and a few other toiletries, the bathroom vanity is pretty sparse.  Which I like.  I did add a wooden step stool to aid our newly pottying 2-year-old in washing his hands.  I can easily relocate it to the tub at bathtime to save my back.

And for the sake of a good ol’ before-and-after…


This tweak was so inexpensive.  All I had to buy was a quart of no-VOC paint ($10) and 2 drawer handles ($8).  That set me back less than $20!!!  Not bad.  Not bad at all.



Love the fabric door idea. I kinda wish our vanity had storage. Ours is a pedestal sink which looks great in our small bathroom, but ahh, the lost storage!


Awesome before and after! It looks great and so fresh!


Bekah – Our downstairs powder room has a pedestal sink too. I know what you mean about lost storage. For that bathroom, I have a boxy step stool for the kids that is open underneath so we hide extra toilet paper rolls there. I also hung some open shelving on one wall where I have a basket devoted to toothbrushes, toothpaste, sunscreen and other toiletries. If it weren’t for those shelves, we wouldn’t have any storage!

I love the paint color and the fabric. Gorgeous. You made it look so easy!


Great ideas put to use there in the bathroom. My husband and I will be updating our second bathroom here shortly and I could point a few of these ideas to our contractor from eContractorBids.com. I’m sure he’ll be able to incorporate them in nicely. The “open” cabinet is a great touch…great post!


good for you, that looks soooo much better. I hate those builder-grade orange-y cabinets, there’s been one in almost every house I’ve lived in, and I’ve always painted them sooner rather than later.

You have great taste in fabric, btw, I love all of the fabric projects you do!


This looks amazing! I can’t believe how little it cost. Those are my favorite kinds of projects!!


Carole – The fabric is one of Amy Butler’s designs. I love her stuff…you can never go wrong with it!


I just found your blog and love love your style. It’s great the vision you have to turn blah to tadah. I’m wondering when we’ll get to see a house tour-


Rachel – I am sloooowly working on a house tour…that’s been a popular request lately! I promise, promise, PROMISE to have one on site soon!


Beautiful, I love the handles. I’ve been thinking how to upgrade our builder grade bathroom as well, I never thought about adding a curtain, interesting idea.


LOVE IT & Stealing the idea. I’ll post pics and update you when I do. I had already planned on painting the builder grade hideous-ness of our cabinet, but the fabric is really a pretty touch!

Ingenious idea for the potty seat hook. Ours is just on the side of the regular toilet (Lightening McQueen and Zebra towels don’t really mix!).

OK you’ve officially inspired me. I’m gonna paint my bathroom cabinet too.
Thanks for your comment. I love what you did!


Me and my husband just bought a single house and our guest bathroom vanity looks exactly like the old one. I was thinking of buying a new vanity but after seeing this I’ll do exactly what you did to it. It looks so pretty. Could you let me know how you found that mirror too? I think the combination of mirror and vanity cabinet looks awesome! I am so inspired!!


Christina – The bathroom originally had a builder, frameless mirror above the vanity. I removed it and replaced it with a framed one from IKEA.


Love it! Where did you get the great wall shelf over the toilet? I love it too. The whole bathroom looks really put together! Great job.


Jennifer – The wall shelf was actually purchased when we owned our very first home and I used it in Layne’s nursery. I think it was from Target…but that’s been nearly 7 years ago. I found teeny glasses at IKEA to store q-tips, cotton balls, and fingernail clippers. One glass is for that last drink of the night that every kid asks for. The shelf is very functional!


hi there,

i’m considering using your curtain idea for my upstairs bathroom. oh.my.god. my bathroom project failed SO badly, which is why i’m considering stealing yours, lol. i painted my cabinets chantilly lace white from ben moore. i used a product that they sell called cabinet coat. and i used primer underneath. well, the damn cabinet coat chipped SO badly that we were forced to just take the doors off and live with it this way. so, curtain it is. i can’t sew to save my life, so i’m considering a no sew iron on tape. lesson learned!