An Addition To My 2019 House Goals (My Hallway Bathroom…Again)

Do you have a room or area in your house that you walk into and just think ‘‘ugh…this just isn’t right’? Well, that’s how I feel every time I walk into my hallway bathroom, which is generally a few times a day. And y’all, no finished area in our houses should make us feel that way.

As much as I’ve been trying over the last couple of years to avoid redoing areas that I’ve deemed are finished, I just can’t commit to living with my hallway bathroom looking like it does now for another year.

Now granted, what I have now is way better than what I started out with…

1940s bathroom before remodel - pink and white floor tile, yellow and burgandy wall tile.

In 2015, I remodeled that bathroom, ripping it down to the studs, ceiling joists, and floor joists, and completely rebuilt it. And after that remodel, it looked like this…

Small bathroom remodel with a teal vanity, wood countertop, mosaic tile wall accent, and light green walls.
Small bathroom remodel - linen closet replaced with lower cabinet, wood countertop, and upper open shelves.

You can see more of that hallway bathroom before and after here…

But then at the end of 2017/beginning of 2018, during the hallway remodel, I decided to paint all of the hallway doors teal, which meant that the bathroom vanity color needed to change. And because nothing else I tried seemed to work with the dark countertops, I ended up going with this perfectly neutral (and perfectly drab) shade of gray.

Small hallway bathroom with teal door and gray vanity

And somewhere along the way, the adhesive-back Velcro that I had used to put up the decorative shower curtain panels gave way, and the panels fell down (because I failed to take two extra minutes to staple them in place like I should have done). They held up there for over a year, but the adhesive on those heavy duty Velcro strips just isn’t strong enough to hold curtain panels up year after year after year.

So at this point, literally the only color in my bathroom is the really light green on the walls, and the bits of color in the artwork that I did for the wall. It feels like all of the life has been sucked out of the room, and I just can’t stand the fact that a room that’s supposedly “finished” has such a depressing feel to it. And because I thrive on colorful surroundings, I’ve decided that I won’t make myself live another year with this drab bathroom.

If it were a seldom used guest bedroom that I could just close the door on and forget, that would be one thing. But this is our main bathroom that is used several times a day. It’s one of those rooms that you can see from several vantage points in the house, including from the front door of the house.

So I’ve got plans. Colorful plans. My first plan is to get rid of the super dark color on the countertops. Now that I know about and have experience with wood bleach, I think I can make those countertops much prettier and lighter.** Lightening up the countertops will open up some color options for the vanity. (The super dark wood color really limits color options.) And then I’m going to pull out some fabric that I bought a while back to make a new, very colorful decorative shower curtain.

I’m excited to breathe life into this room again. I spent way too long remodeling that bathroom to feel such a sense of dread when I walk in there. After all of those months of work I put into it, I should absolutely love that bathroom. But I don’t.

So I’m giving myself permission to add those things to my list this year. 🙂 I just don’t think we should force ourselves to live with rooms that make us go “bleh” every time we walk in, even if they’re somewhat new. If we have the time and the budget to make changes, we should! Our homes should make us feel a sense of “aaaahhhhh” when we walk in, not “bleh“. Right? Right. 🙂

**Just to clarify, I’m not wanting a bleached white countertop in the bathroom. 🙂 But my problem from the beginning with that countertop is that I made it out of pine, which had so much natural orange/yellow in it that couldn’t be drowned out with just one coat of regular stain. So I ended up using several coats of non-penetrating stain, and then two or three coats of oil-based poly. The result was a finish so thick and opaque that you can’t really even tell there’s wood under there. And since it comes across as more of a painted finish, rather than a neutral stained wood, it really limits color options for the vanity.

I’d like to strip/sand it off, bleach the wood to get rid of those yellow/orange undertones, and then stain it normally with just one coat of a dark penetrating stain (to match my ceiling) that allows the wood grain to show so it actually looks like a wood countertop. That will help it to read as more of a neutral in the room, and allow more options for the vanity color. But I do plan to keep the dark countertop and the dark ceiling, but hopefully without that heavy, thick, and opaque look that the countertop currently has.


My bathroom makeover is finished! Want to see the entire project from start to finish? You can find every single post about the bathroom makeover right here…

Or you can skip to the end and see how it turned out. Here’s a peek of the finished bathroom…

Colorful small bathroom makeover with coral vanity, wood countertop, floral shower curtain, and white painted mosaic tile accent.

You can see more pictures on the before and after post right here…



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  1. I’m sad to know the dark counters will be going away, they are beautiful. Of course, this is coming from someone who loves her black granite counters. Are you going to be able to use the current counter, just strip and whitewash, or will you need to make a new counter?

  2. Have you considered painting the vanity the same color as the doors? I love the way the dark countertop goes with the beautiful ceiling in your bathroom.

    1. I did consider it briefly, but another thing I want to try this year is adding more warm colors to my house. I always gravitate towards teal and green, but if that’s all I use throughout my house, it can start to look stale.

  3. Absolutely, you should love the rooms you have worked so hard on. For me, the concern is using that “bleh” to avoid the bigger projects, that I always seem to find ways to put off. I think you have a much stronger work ethic than me, though! 🙂

  4. YES! I am so happy you are repainting the vanity and lightening the countertop. I was soooo sad to see the teal changed. Can’t wait to see the finished room

  5. Do what makes you happy! It’s your house! 🙂

    I’m just going to throw out super light pink as suggestion for the wall color one more time! 🙂 It is so, so flattering on the skin when you’re in front of a mirror washing your face, brushing teeth, applying make up, etc.

    I, too, love the super dark counter. Personally, I would pair that super dark wood with a white vanity, but that’s just me.

    Good luck!

    1. I would do a white vanity too…don’t you have white cabinets across the room? That looks classic…brighten it up with your new shower curtain idea. That being said, you have such vision and it always comes together…I love your work! 😽👌🏻

      1. Another vote for the white and then saturate with some fuschia on wall hangings or curtain. So pretty and non competitive.

  6. Did you ever try the purple that is on your buffet on the vanity? I also keep thinking it is less about the dark counter top and more about the green walls. It feels like your green kitchen. Nice, but not quite you.

    1. I have to agree. The green is a lovely color but it just doesn’t scream Kristi to me and to be honest I was never a fan of that green. I feel like you need a green with a little more blue in it to work well. It is your house though so if you love the green then stick with it.

  7. I never noticed the ceiling before and wow, that ceiling is a home run.

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done a room and count the days before I can change one or two things that are bothering me! Like right now the tile in my shower base is bugging me. 🙂

  8. Kristy, I think it’s the wall color. It goes real muddy in photos and it may be bouncing around the wrong color of light and making everything look drab. I think you explored a solar tube for this room and decided against it. or couldn’t make it work. That’s one thing to consider. BUT, with regards to the vanity, I agree with some of the other writers. Love the dark top, but need white or lighter cabinet. Or if you go with light top, may need to change cabinet color to darker. Regardless, in my opinion, which you did not ask for, the wall color is going to drab out that room no matter what. I know this is heresy, but if you went with a white on the walls, it would brighten everything up, especially with you plans for a bold shower curtain.

    1. I’m actually considering white for the walls. I just love how the white walls in my pantry allow the teal cabinets and colorful tiles to sing. Any other color on those pantry walls would have been distracting. I think the same might be true in this bathroom.

      1. YES! Exactly. That room is full of color and the white wall aren’t even obvious, but provide a lot of “bright.” I had to think when you said that and then realized, yeah they are white! White has it’s place I guess. Even for us color junkies.

      2. I think that might be a good place to start! There are so many wonderful whites and your Behr selection is lovely.

      3. I love this idea for brightening up the room and also letting you play with more colors and vibrancy in the fabrics and accessories! Bathrooms should feel clean, crisp, and relaxing and I think a warm white would be a lovely canvas.

  9. I could see a really pretty coral working for the walls that would look good with the dark countertops and the gray cabinets. It would be an easy and changeable way to bring more color into the space. You could also bring more color and pattern in with a shower curtain.
    (Maybe something like this??)

      1. Those are very pretty. I’ve never heard of weaveup. I look forward to seeing the fabric that Kristi said she bought a while back and will use to make their new shower curtain.

  10. So, I have ALL the heart eye emojis for this bathroom. I can only imagine that love will continue no matter what you choose to do. Your designs are my fave!!

  11. I had a solar tube installed and removed the VERY SAME DAY. Paid to put it in, paid to take it out. First of all the light it cast was depressing, not sunlight like from a skylight. And even worse, I believe the extreme glare from the light reflective tube is literally dangerous to your eyesight. I would not keep it in my house. For anyone considering this, go see one in person. Online research was misleading.

  12. I’m glad you are adding that bathroom to your list. That gray just doesn’t go with the rest of the house! Coral or purple or both!!!! Especially if you lighten up the counter top! The most important part is to make you and Matt happy!

  13. I love the pantry and I love this bathroom but you should do what makes you feel good.
    You would not believe how many people I have shown your website to for encouragement.
    You are the master of renovation! My only question is where do you get your energy??

  14. I wasn’t going to comment because I didn’t have any suggestions, but suddenly the front door color jumped into my mind – perhaps a lighter shade of it? Don’t know if it’s for the vanity or wall, but I kind of agree about the wall color. I like the color but it may not work in this room. I kind of like the way the ceiling and the dark countertop work together, especially if some of the other elements get changed. Anyway, whatever you do will be good.

  15. Kristi, if you give a mouse a cookie . . .
    I absolutely agree with the prevailing sentiment – It’s your home and every room should give you the same feeling you get when your walk into your beautiful new pantry. And . . . I really do think a bleached vanity top will look fab. But, I’m wondering if, when you step back & see the vanity top and the ceiling, you’ll be thinking you need to re-visit your ceiling. Just wondering.

  16. I do like the current iteration because it seems calming and serene to me, but I can’t wait until it gets Kristi-colorized!! Then it will be awesome!

  17. I loved your bathroom, but it’s a different direction than you’re taking with the rest of your house. It’s muted and traditional while the rest of your house is cheery and…….cheery. Haha, I can’t think of another word right now!

    Is the bleaching technique out of the question for the ceiling? I love that ceiling feature but I feel like it might be too daunting if you lose the darker countertops that currently balance it.

  18. Love your dark countertop and it goes nicely with your vanity! I like the idea of lighter, brighter wall color with some of the colors in the Dahlia Floral Shower Curtain.

  19. I’m of the camp that suggests leaving the beautiful dark wood vanity counter, and first experimenting with new wall and vanity colors. I think that the reiteration of the gorgeous dark ceiling wood on the counter top unifies the bathroom and is very rich. From what I see, the light green walls and the noncommittal gray vanity are the colors that are no longer harmonious with the rest of that terrific bathroom. Please don’t strip the counter top until you try changing the easy stuff, the paint colors.

    1. I second this! Do the easy and see if it will work. I think your counter top and ceiling are way to nice and balanced to undo, till you try the new colors in there. JMHO!
      It will be fab no matter which way you go, we all know! Save the white washed wood for your little bath and your office counters. We know you’ll love it there!

  20. I love all you are doing but I want to chime in on these colors too!

    In my very humble opinion…I think you should get rid of the grey color on the vanity. You used words like “blah,” “bleh,” “drab.” Grey is all those words, and many more.

    The second largest feature in the room you wish to be colorful – is not a color at all.

    You want color? Yeah! I crave color, too. “Grey,” (again, in my colorized world) is not a color; it is a sad emotion.

    Try a color; any color! Can you Photoshop the room? Try various Corals, Oranges, Yellows – try them all.

    I know you will make that room 🎶 sing!

  21. How about the coral color that you used on your front door? That’s a beautiful and happy color and may give your room the “pop” you are looking for. 🙂 No matter what you choose, I know we will all love the outcome, as always!

  22. I thought the bathroom looked beautiful especially since you painted the cabinet the lighter color, is it gray or tan? Love to wood ceiling and the wood countertop.

  23. Love the idea of white walls, and a bright(someone said coral) vanity! It would pop like crazy!!!!
    Then, of course, leave the countertop because it works stunningly with the ceiling😍.

    P.S. Now I forgot if you asked for our opinion and I am alittle nervous. If I am overstepping again, thankyou for your grace.

  24. I was thinking of the coral on the vanity, leave the dark countertops, and make/purchase a shower curtain with all those beautiful colors in it.

  25. I like the current countertop but understand is you want it light enough for the grain to show through. As for a different color for the vanity, go for it. The grey is nice and neutral but it would be a bit more cheerful and fun if you chose one of the colors in your fabric for your shower curtain, don’t you think?

  26. What does the fabric look like that you mentioned as a possibility for a shower curtain?
    If it is a go and if it has a pattern, wouldn’t it be the guideline for other color changes?

  27. Can’t wait to see what you do with it! I love your use of color, you’re an inspiration to me in this all-white Pinterest world!!

  28. I hear ya’ on not living with something you don’t love. I’m doing some living room redecorating this month and then I’ll be watching Marie Kondo’s new show on Netflix and spending a chunk of 2019 getting rid of stuff that doesn’t “spark joy.”

  29. I love the purple in the kicthen and also the yellow in the curtains for the bathroom vanity coloors. Go for it! I Love color!

  30. There are several companies that print your own artwork onto all sorts of items, including shower curtains. Maybe the one that did your Petrie dish prints? Then you could start with your own art, in just the colours you want and decorate around it.

  31. As much as I hate to see you add another thing to your long list for the year, I am REALLY excited to see you redo that countertop! Can’t wait to see how it turns out.

  32. Kristi! Just when I’m thinking of making my bath look like yours , you decide to change it. Oh well, if I love this bath, I’ll surely love the new version. Personally, I’d prefer seeing and learning about projects in new spaces. I love your blog and as a color lover enjoy your color sense. Thanks!

  33. Hi Kristi,

    I think if would be nice if you got your workshop completed first. Then you could work on all of your projects in there and not mess up your beautiful house.

    I’m afraid you’re going to get everything done before the workshop and then you won’t even need it. lol