I know, I know… I’ve heard it many times… “Your house is brand new. Why are you redoing the bathroom?”
Although I agree that our downstairs guest bathroom is in great condition, I also feel that it is builder-grade and has no character. I decided to do a budget-friendly makeover to give it some life without getting rid of the new materials that were used to build it.
I chose to paint a sponge wall because I’ve never used wallpaper before and 1. I’m a little bit nervous about the application and amount of precision required, 2. I’ve heard that wallpaper doesn’t last long in humid or high-moisture areas like bathrooms, and 3. Wallpaper can get pricey. The benefit of painting a sponge wall is that it’s budget-friendly and can easily be painted over if I end up disliking the look.
I started off by removing the builder-grade mirror. I unscrewed the hooks on top, carefully removed the mirror, and used a pry bar and mallet to remove the track. Unfortunately, some of the drywall was damaged during this process due to the strength of the industrial glue used to attach the track.
Disclaimer: I knew for sure that my mirror was not glued to the wall so I wasn’t worried about it shattering. If your mirror is, it won’t be as easy to remove and will require some prying. I recommend doing some research on the best ways to remove bathroom mirrors to avoid injuries. I’ve read that taping over your mirror with packaging tape or duct tape will minimize shatter.
Before starting my sponge wall, I had to patch up the damaged drywall and add texture so that it matches the rest of the wall. To do so, I applied joint compound and attempted to use a wall texture spray that I purchased several years ago. It was a disaster!!! It came out terribly… It was watery, slimy, chunky all at the time time in all the wrong ways. I think it’s safe to say that it had gone bad just sitting in the garage for years.
I ended up using what I had on hand. I added more joint compound and rolled a high-nap paint roller over it (high nap rollers are known to create a more textured look). I smoothed out the bumpy texture a little bit with my taping knife. Once that was dry, I painted over it with my existing wall color, Sherwin Williams Snowbound.
While the paint was drying, I created sponge stamps by cutting out my desired shapes, gluing them together with hot glue, and adding some support (chopsticks broken in half, in my case) to be able to hold onto the stamp more easily. Unfortunately, the chopsticks fell off after just a few stamps… so don’t bother with this step.
For the stamped pattern color, I chose Behr Millennium Silver, a medium grey with a blue tint. Retrospectively, I should have chosen a lighter color for such a busy wall so it’s not too overwhelming… but I really do like this color and may use it again for another project.
I started stamping from the corner and went along each edge of the countertop and the wall so that I could create a guide for my next rows.
I stamped, stamped, and stamped some more. I slept, went to work, came back, and continued stamping. Once I was done with the majority of the wall, I cut the sponge into smaller pieces (not pictured) to stamp the remaining areas of the wall that didn’t quite fit a full sponge pattern.
I highly recommend completing all of your sponge painting at one time. Once the paint dries on the sponge, even if you wash and rinse it, the shape of the sponge changes. If you plan to complete the wall in multiple stages, make sure you have enough sponges to make several stamps of the same pattern, as the sponges are not really reusable once they dry.
Here are some tips for stamping…
- Use a level or pencil mark to make sure that the pattern is straight and aligned. Instead of putting in all that effort (mainly because I’m lazy), I started sponging along the counter (which I know is straight) and the side wall (which I know is straight). I used these first two rows of stamps as my guide.
- Only dip the sponge back into your paint tray after every 2-4 stamps for more variation in your pattern.
- Wipe off excess paint from the sponge each time you dip by scraping the sponge up against the edge of your paint tray. Too much paint will end up looking too blotchy and may drip.
- Use light pressure when stamping on your wall. If you use too much pressure, paint will seep out of the sponge and will likely drip down your wall. More pressure will also create a more solid, less porous look.
- Have Q-tips ready to wipe off any excess paint that drips down. Wiping the paint drips will most likely create some smudges, but don’t worry! Just paint over those areas as needed with your original wall color once your stamped paint is dry. I went back with my white Snowbound paint to cover up all the remnants from the drips and to fix areas I wasn’t happy with.
Next, I used my masking tape hack to install the mirror to the wall. I placed masking tape on the back of the mirror and cut the tape to the width of the space between the mirror hooks. I placed the tape up on the wall where I wanted my mirror, made sure it was level, drilled holes on each end of the tape, put in anchors and screws, and hung the mirror.
This hack allows me to move the tape around to find the ideal location for the mirror without having to measure or mark the wall each time and without having to drill a bunch of holes in the wall.
I did the same with the floating shelves that I planned to install above the toilet.
Next, I applied Rub n Buff to the towel bar. This was my second time using Rub n Buff (the first was my Kitchen Pendant Light Hack)… and I don’t love it.
First of all, I have three different shades of gold (Antique Gold, European Gold, Gold Leaf), and none of them looked as nice as I had hoped.
Second, I find it challenging to apply Rub n Buff to bigger surfaces like the base of this towel bar. I was able to apply it easily to the middle rod; however, the base ended up looking blotchy and uneven. Whenever I’d try to rub some more product onto the bigger sections, the first layer would just come off. This made it hard to cover up the entire base evenly without rubbing some of the product off.
I encountered this problem with my Kitchen Pendant Light Hack also so if you have any good tips, please let me know!
After trying different techniques, I found that the best way to apply Rub n Buff to larger surfaces is to gently brush the product on with a light, fluffy paint brush. Even then, I’m not sure that I like the look. For future projects, I may just use gold spray paint.
I added some brass hardware to the cabinets.
and completed the space with some decor, most of which were from Target.
lt was really challenging to get decent photos of this space because of the lack of natural light, but here are a few! I wasn’t able to edit the photos well enough for them to accurately reflect how the color looks in real life… This is the closest I could get.
To be completely honest, I like how it turned out but don’t LOVE it.
The guest bathroom definitely has more character now than it did when we first moved in, but I’m not sure that it’s really my style. The pattern is a little too bold and too busy for me, and the sponge wall didn’t end up looking as sophisticated as I hoped it would. I’ll keep the bathroom like this for the time being but will eventually change it up again for a look that’s more “me.”
Maybe I’ll redo this pattern with a lighter color and only partially up to the ceiling. Maybe I’ll paint this wall a solid color using Millennium Silver. Maybe I’ll use this gorgeous wallpaper that designingvibes used. The opportunities are endless! For now, I’ll enjoy a little bit of boldness in my home!
Until next time,