Fix It

How to Makeover All the Bathrooms in Your Home for Around $150

We bought our first home in Arizona right as we were finishing college and were so excited. This was before I even knew what DIY was, so builder grade was how it stayed for almost the entire time that we lived there. The only change I made was painting the walls. This was back in the day when brown and red were the thing, so we had this dark brown family room with red accents. After a few years of that we made the switch to a nice, light neutral greige.

About 7 years later we had 4 kids and were ready to buy a home with more space. Our realtor let us know that we’d need to switch our counters to granite and have the entire home painted, including all of the cupboards if we wanted to sell for top dollar. I’d seen all those HGTV shows and knew he was right. Putting money into a home to sell it pays off, as long as you’re putting money in the right places.

We did end up shelling out the money for granite (which almost killed me) and I decided that I could paint all the kitchen and bathroom cabinets myself. I really wanted to paint them white, but contractors and other people kept telling me the grain would show through and it wouldn’t look good if I did it myself and that I should hire it out if I wanted white. Because of all this advice, I ended up going with General Finishes Java Gel Stain, which is amazing.

About a year later in our new home I decided to not listen to what everyone else was saying and go for the white, and I was SOOOO happy with it. I still did the island in the Java and really liked how it turned out.  Just so you know…you do NOT have to hire someone to paint your cabinets if you go with white, you just need the right paint and technique, which is all described in the pictures and tutorial here.

Our first home had 3 bathrooms, and the only reason we have pictures of them is because my husband went and took pictures of the entire house before we moved into it. They’re pretty much the bathrooms that come in almost every standard home.

Adding paint to the walls, stain/paint to the cabinets and a frame to the mirror does wonders in completely transforming your bathrooms. If you have a little extra in the budget, you can go after the lighting, counters, knobs and pulls or floors, but doing those 3 things total about $150. Here’s the breakdown:

Gel Stain – $34

Top Coat – $33

Foam Brushes – $5-6 for 20

Wood for frame – $40

Paint for Walls – $30

I already had the top coat from my kitchen, so that wasn’t included in my bathroom budget. General Finishes is an expensive top coat, but it really stretches and can cover tons of cupboards. If you are painting and find paint in the discount section at Lowe’s or Home Depot or wood from Craigslist you can significantly bring down the cost as well.



Upstairs Bath Before

how to frame a bathroom mirror with millwork squares General finishes java gel stain on bathroom cabinets

Upstairs Bath After

Isn’t it amazing how much some stain or paint and a frame can make?

For this mirror I got 4 wood millwork squares (in the lumber section) for the corners, then measured and cut the moulding in between to fit. I think it was chair railing? To long ago to remember.

Ekena Millwork Traditional Bullseye 5.75-in x 5.75-in Polyurethane Plinth

If you have mirror clips like the picture below, you’ll need to remove those to fit a frame over your mirror.

How to replace mirror clips

Switch them out for really thin ones.

To frame the mirror out, measure your mirror and cut your moulding to size. Sand, stain, then topcoat. Use liquid nails to attach to the mirror, then use painters tape to keep everything in place for at least a day until glue completely dries. Use caulking in the crevices, then stain over that when it dries.

NOTE: You have to stain the back of everything or it will show in the mirror.

My sister actually took pictures of her mirror framing process, so I’ll do a more in-depth tutorial (eventually).



Downstairs Bath Before

Aw, back in the day when we still dressed like kids. Backwards hat and baggy shorts…gotta love it:) Sorry for the super grainy pictures. They are so bad. This was a long time ago, way before Pinterest even existed and when we had an old school camera.

The granite guy had extra material after doing our kitchen, so he threw in this bathroom counter for free. Did you know they can do that? When you purchase a 1/2 or whole slab of granite they sometimes have extra, so ask them if they’ll throw in a bathroom for cheap or free if you use their company. Doesn’t hurt to ask.

How to frame a bathroom mirror with 45-degree angles
You can kind-of see the feet I added to the base of the cabinet on either side. You can find these in the lumber section and paint or stain to match the cabinets.

They look like this:

Product Image 1

General finishes java gel stain on bathroom cabinets

Turquoise Ceramic and Metal Knobs, Set of 2
Knobs I added to the 2 top faux drawers

It looks almost the same as the Java Gel Stain, but these cabinets were the first I did and they’re actually just black paint. Back then I had no clue and bought an entire gallon for this. You won’t need more than a pint. A couple sample sizes would probably do the trick. The knobs were from Cost Plus World Market. They have tons of unique and eclectic knobs there. I love that store.

This was the mirror that I tried the 45-degree angle cuts on. I built the frame first, then attempted to put it on the mirror with Liquid Nails. It wouldn’t lay flat and at least one corner kept popping up whenever I’d try to push another one down. Eventually I decided to use painter’s tape all over the place to hold it down and prayed it would work. It actually did, but I didn’t do it this way again.

I also built the floating shelves, which I was VERY proud of back then:) A lot of jerry rigging went on to make them work, since I just tried to figure out the process as I went instead of reading and learning how to do it first, haha. If a future owner wants to try to get those off the wall…good luck.



Master Bath Before


How to frame a mirror in a master bathroom
Master Bath After
General finishes java gel stain on bathroom cabinets
Ugh, these pictures are just so horrible…sorry again.

Since this frame was so huge I wanted to frame it the easiest way I could think of, and it did turn out being the easiest of the 3. After staining, I glued and taped the bottom piece first, then the sides and let that dry  for a day or so. I kept the tape on just in case and added the top piece, then put a little piece of molding on top of that. If I ever frame bathroom mirrors again, this will be the method I use.

To see the process of how to stain the cabinets, the tutorial is here. If you’re wanting to paint your cabinets (in any color), check out the tutorial here.


Save this idea for later!

Have you framed out a bathroom mirror? Share pictures and tips that you learned in the comments below!


  1. Wow, the master bath looks completely different in the after photos! I had no idea how just a few simple changes can make such a big difference. #HomeMattersParty

  2. How great! I have 2 bathrooms that need to be gutted, but since I’d rather have a new kitchen first, part of me is considering doing some things like this until I can get to those full makeovers. #HomeMattersParty

  3. It is so amazing how a little paint and a few details totally transform a room! Your bathrooms look amazing and for so little expense! Thanks for showing us what we can do!

  4. Thanks for sharing this. I have a bathroom mirror that I’d like to frame out, but it always seems to go to the end of the long list. Your bathrooms look great! Thanks so much for sharing at Brag About It this week. Pinned.

  5. Amazing job! I need to gut and remodel 2 bathrooms and the kitchen. Trying to work up the nerve, but it’s posts like yours that make me believe I can actually do it! #Reviews, Chews, & How-Tos

    1. Thanks Trudy! You really can do it. When I did these bathroom and the kitchen in this house all I’d ever tried at this point was painting my kids’ bunk beds. I just did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and followed their advice and it turned out! As long as you do it right and don’t cut corners, it’s completely a do-able project! I’d love to see pictures when you finish up your bathrooms and kitchen! And if you have any questions come up during the process, send me an email:)

    1. Thanks Jodie! I would totally come help, but I’m thinking that Alaska is at least a few weeks drive from wherever you live, haha. It’s a totally do-able project. This was one of my very first DIYs before I even really knew what I was doing and I pulled it off, so I know anyone can do it!

  6. Thanks so much for posting to the #fandayfriday link party! Hope you got some great traffic from the party this week hope to see you again next week!

  7. We just completed a bathroom makeover. Our old vanity was similar to yours only it was so old the drawers were hard to pull out and there was just no redeeming value. So we purchased a new vanity that I really like. It’s white beadboard so in a few years when it starts to look a little beat up, I’ll be able to paint it. Thanks for sharing your DIYs with us at Creatively Crafty #ccbg 🙂

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