Bathroom

Camouflaging a dated bathroom light fixture

When I was working on giving a friend’s small bathroom a facelift, I needed a quick inexpensive way to update a very dated lighting fixture that also happened to be off-center over the vanity. Since replacing it wasn’t in the budget, I opted for camouflaging the fixture with a DIY light cover that cost less than $15 to make, all without using any power tools! 

Lighting fixture after

Here’s what the fixture looked like before – very dated, to say the least, and off-center over the vanity.

Old off-centered lighting fixture_edited-2

You can watch this video of how to make it or follow the steps below:

Step 1: Make the structure for the new cover. Here’s what I used to make the structure:

1/4″ x 6″ poplar boards

3/4″ thick square wood dowels

I cut the boards into 3 sections (2 x 4.5″ and 1 x18″) and cut the dowels into 4 pieces (4 x 5.5″) using a hand saw. I used wood glue to attach the square dowels to join the front to the sides (Painter’s tape helps to hold the pieces together while the glue dries).

Connecting the side to the front wood boards_edited-1

Then I glued the other 2 dowel pieces to the back of the sides.

Gluing back dowel pieces_edited-1

Step 2: Paint or stain the wood

Here’s what I used as a finish for the wood:

Chalk paint (sheepskin)

Wood tint

White wax

Plaid products for finishing wood_edited-1

I painted the wood with 2 coats of the paint, then brushed on a coat of the stain and then protected the surface with a coat of the white wax.

Finish for wood - waxing_edited-1

Step 3: Make the light diffuser: Here’s what I used to make it:

Thin linen like fabric

Plexiglass (Acrylic) sheet for diffuser (11”x14” ⅛” thick)

Mod Podge

Double-sided tape

I placed the fabric on top of the non-glare side of the acrylic panel and soaked it with MOD PODGE making sure the fabric is soaked through.  

Gluing fabric to acrylic panel with mod podge_edited-2

I let it dry and trimmed off the excess along the edges with a utility knife. 

Trimming off fabric from acrylic panel

Then I glued it to the structure using double sided tape.

Acrylic panel installed to the back of the lighting fixture cover_edited-1

Step 5: Installing the new cover.

I removed the old cover and placed 3M command strips on either side of it to hang the new cover so that it would be centered over the vanity. The new cover is very light so the strips are fine to hold it and this avoids having to make holes in the wall (but you could also use brackets to attach it to the wall). I didn’t have a level handy so I ended up using an app on my smart phone to make sure the fixture was level!

3m command strips to hang the new cover_edited-1Using phone level to install light

Bottom view of new centered lighting fixture_edited-1 The new cover completely hides the existing fixture and it’s now perfectly centered! So much better than what was there before! 
After-Right-side-vertical-watermarked-high-res
You can watch the entire bathroom makeover in this video here, enjoy!
 
 

 

When I was working on giving a friend’s small bathroom a facelift, I needed a quick inexpensive way to update a very dated lighting fixture that also happened to be off-center over the vanity. Since replacing it wasn’t in the budget, I opted for camouflaging the fixture with a DIY light cover that cost less than $15 to make, all without using any power tools! 

Lighting fixture after

Here’s what the fixture looked like before – very dated, to say the least, and off-center over the vanity.

Old off-centered lighting fixture_edited-2

You can watch this video of how to make it or follow the steps below:

Step 1: Make the structure for the new cover. Here’s what I used to make the structure:

1/4″ x 6″ poplar boards

3/4″ thick square wood dowels

I cut the boards into 3 sections (2 x 4.5″ and 1 x18″) and cut the dowels into 4 pieces (4 x 5.5″) using a hand saw. I used wood glue to attach the square dowels to join the front to the sides (Painter’s tape helps to hold the pieces together while the glue dries).

Connecting the side to the front wood boards_edited-1

Then I glued the other 2 dowel pieces to the back of the sides.

Gluing back dowel pieces_edited-1

Step 2: Paint or stain the wood

Here’s what I used as a finish for the wood:

Chalk paint (sheepskin)

Wood tint

White wax

Plaid products for finishing wood_edited-1

I painted the wood with 2 coats of the paint, then brushed on a coat of the stain and then protected the surface with a coat of the white wax.

Finish for wood - waxing_edited-1

Step 3: Make the light diffuser: Here’s what I used to make it:

Thin linen like fabric

Plexiglass (Acrylic) sheet for diffuser (11”x14” ⅛” thick)

Mod Podge

Double-sided tape

I placed the fabric on top of the non-glare side of the acrylic panel and soaked it with MOD PODGE making sure the fabric is soaked through.  

Gluing fabric to acrylic panel with mod podge_edited-2

I let it dry and trimmed off the excess along the edges with a utility knife. 

Trimming off fabric from acrylic panel

Then I glued it to the structure using double sided tape.

Acrylic panel installed to the back of the lighting fixture cover_edited-1

Step 5: Installing the new cover.

I removed the old cover and placed 3M command strips on either side of it to hang the new cover so that it would be centered over the vanity. The new cover is very light so the strips are fine to hold it and this avoids having to make holes in the wall (but you could also use brackets to attach it to the wall). I didn’t have a level handy so I ended up using an app on my smart phone to make sure the fixture was level!

3m command strips to hang the new cover_edited-1Using phone level to install light

Bottom view of new centered lighting fixture_edited-1 The new cover completely hides the existing fixture and it’s now perfectly centered! So much better than what was there before! 
After-Right-side-vertical-watermarked-high-res
You can watch the entire bathroom makeover in this video here, enjoy!
 
 

 

Small Bathroom Remodel: Easy DIY Tile Backsplash

As I mentioned in my previous post reviewing Smart Tiles, my friend Tom asked for my help to makeover his small half-bath in his condo. He had a tiny budget of $200 to makeover his equally tiny 20 ft2 bathroom. Luckily he was happy with the neutral color palette so no painting necessary, but he did want to update the look by adding a touch of warmth and elegance, and he also wanted to have more storage. Here’s the plan I came up with for the makeover:

  1. Add a contemporary tile backsplash above the sink area and a mirror
  2. Upgrade the lighting fixture
  3. Add a storage cabinet above the toilet

The first thing I tackled was adding the backsplash above the sink area:

Smart-Tile-Finished-backsplash

This is what the area above the sink looked like before – a blank slate!

Tom's-bathroom-sink-before

I was really excited to try Smart Tiles for the first time for this project. I don’t have much experience tiling so the fact that these tiles have a peel and stick backing was a welcome simplification – there’s no grout or specialized tools needed so the installation is quick and mess free. I chose the Capri Taupe Smart Tiles from the Mosaik collection because of their beautiful stone and glossy dual finish

Smart-Tile-other-Mosaik-Capri-tiles

I needed 4 tiles to cover the length of the vanity – they are easy to cut using a ruler and utility knife. I cut all the tiles to be 7 inches high and and for the first tile, I also cut off the ends to have a clean edge.

Smart-Tiles-cutting-the-tile

I cleaned the wall with TSP to remove all the dust and grease, marked the height of the tile on the wall and then used a level to trace out the line. I removed some of the existing caulking where the tile meets the vanity to ensure that the tiles sits flush at the bottom. To install the tile, I first peeled back a couple of inches of the backing, used the line as a guide to make sure the tile is straight and then removed the rest of the backing and pressed the tile on wall.

Smart-Tile-Peeling-off-the-backing

Smart-Tile-Installing-first-tile

For the last tile at the edge of the wall, the remaining space was a bit awkward to measure so I used a sheet of paper as a template and used that to cut the tile.

Smart-Tile-corner-tile-template

For a more finished look around the tiles, I used a Smart Edge Brillo (silver) and for a nice clean corner, I cut the ends at a 45 degree angle.

Smart-Tiles-coner-edge-installation

A quick trick to make sure you get a perfect 45 degree cut every time is to first draw a straight line on your scrap piece of wood with a speed square and then use the 45 degree side of the speed square to cut the Smart Edge.

Smart-Tiles-corner-edge-cutting

And there you have it, for about $40 and in less than an hour, the backsplash was done and it looks absolutely beautiful!

Smart-Tiles-bathroom-backsplash-by-Engineer-Your-Space-cropped

It completely transformed the bathroom as you can see in this before and after picture:

Before-and-after-right-side-watermarked

You can see how I did the entire bathroom makeover, including the backsplash and how I tackled the very dated and uncentered lighting fixture above the vanity, in this video:

** This post was sponsored by Smart Tiles – all thoughts and opinions are my own **

As I mentioned in my previous post reviewing Smart Tiles, my friend Tom asked for my help to makeover his small half-bath in his condo. He had a tiny budget of $200 to makeover his equally tiny 20 ft2 bathroom. Luckily he was happy with the neutral color palette so no painting necessary, but he did want to update the look by adding a touch of warmth and elegance, and he also wanted to have more storage. Here’s the plan I came up with for the makeover:

  1. Add a contemporary tile backsplash above the sink area and a mirror
  2. Upgrade the lighting fixture
  3. Add a storage cabinet above the toilet

The first thing I tackled was adding the backsplash above the sink area:

Smart-Tile-Finished-backsplash

This is what the area above the sink looked like before – a blank slate!

Tom's-bathroom-sink-before

I was really excited to try Smart Tiles for the first time for this project. I don’t have much experience tiling so the fact that these tiles have a peel and stick backing was a welcome simplification – there’s no grout or specialized tools needed so the installation is quick and mess free. I chose the Capri Taupe Smart Tiles from the Mosaik collection because of their beautiful stone and glossy dual finish

Smart-Tile-other-Mosaik-Capri-tiles

I needed 4 tiles to cover the length of the vanity – they are easy to cut using a ruler and utility knife. I cut all the tiles to be 7 inches high and and for the first tile, I also cut off the ends to have a clean edge.

Smart-Tiles-cutting-the-tile

I cleaned the wall with TSP to remove all the dust and grease, marked the height of the tile on the wall and then used a level to trace out the line. I removed some of the existing caulking where the tile meets the vanity to ensure that the tiles sits flush at the bottom. To install the tile, I first peeled back a couple of inches of the backing, used the line as a guide to make sure the tile is straight and then removed the rest of the backing and pressed the tile on wall.

Smart-Tile-Peeling-off-the-backing

Smart-Tile-Installing-first-tile

For the last tile at the edge of the wall, the remaining space was a bit awkward to measure so I used a sheet of paper as a template and used that to cut the tile.

Smart-Tile-corner-tile-template

For a more finished look around the tiles, I used a Smart Edge Brillo (silver) and for a nice clean corner, I cut the ends at a 45 degree angle.

Smart-Tiles-coner-edge-installation

A quick trick to make sure you get a perfect 45 degree cut every time is to first draw a straight line on your scrap piece of wood with a speed square and then use the 45 degree side of the speed square to cut the Smart Edge.

Smart-Tiles-corner-edge-cutting

And there you have it, for about $40 and in less than an hour, the backsplash was done and it looks absolutely beautiful!

Smart-Tiles-bathroom-backsplash-by-Engineer-Your-Space-cropped

It completely transformed the bathroom as you can see in this before and after picture:

Before-and-after-right-side-watermarked

You can see how I did the entire bathroom makeover, including the backsplash and how I tackled the very dated and uncentered lighting fixture above the vanity, in this video:

** This post was sponsored by Smart Tiles – all thoughts and opinions are my own **

Product Review: Smart Tiles

When I was approached by Smart Tiles to review and try their products, I was very excited because updating kitchens and bathrooms can be quite intimidating. Even the simplest project like adding a tile backsplash can turn into a major undertaking that can be daunting for the novice DIYer.

Smart Tiles are much easier and simpler to install than traditional tiles because they have a peel and stick backing and are very thin (1/16”) and lightweight – no specialized tools are needed and there’s no need to use messy grout. The tiles are cut using a ruler and utility knife, so contouring around electrical outlets or odd shapes is a lot easier to do and the tiles will stick directly to any smooth surface, including existing tiles.

Smart-Tiles-Mosaik-cutting

You can buy Smart Tiles at any Home Depot or directly from the Smart Tiles website and they come in many different types, ranging in cost from $7 to $9 per tile (US). When I got samples of the tiles, the first thing I noticed was the quality of the product and how realistic the tiles looked. The Smart Tiles Mosaiks series incorporates a mixture of finishes from a stone finish to a glossy finish which reflects the light beautifully and the contrast also adds to the overall realistic look.

Capri-taupe-mosails-sample-tiles

There’s also classical mosaic and subway tiles in many colors including a marble finish that is very elegant and would add a touch of style to any kitchen or bathroom.

Carrera-tile-samples-closeup

Another benefit of using Smart Tiles is that they can easily be removed by first using a hair dryer to warm up the adhesive and then simply peeling the tiles off.  This may take off some of the paint but if you decide to change your mind and remodel later, it will definitely be a quicker and less messy process than removing traditional tile.

I was excited to try out these tiles and when my friend Tom said he wanted my help to upgrade a small half-bath in his condo, I knew it was the perfect project for Smart Tiles. I’ll be sharing with you the entire makeover very soon so stay tuned!

Before-left-and-right-side

** This post was sponsored by Smart Tiles – all thoughts and opinions are my own **

 

When I was approached by Smart Tiles to review and try their products, I was very excited because updating kitchens and bathrooms can be quite intimidating. Even the simplest project like adding a tile backsplash can turn into a major undertaking that can be daunting for the novice DIYer.

Smart Tiles are much easier and simpler to install than traditional tiles because they have a peel and stick backing and are very thin (1/16”) and lightweight – no specialized tools are needed and there’s no need to use messy grout. The tiles are cut using a ruler and utility knife, so contouring around electrical outlets or odd shapes is a lot easier to do and the tiles will stick directly to any smooth surface, including existing tiles.

Smart-Tiles-Mosaik-cutting

You can buy Smart Tiles at any Home Depot or directly from the Smart Tiles website and they come in many different types, ranging in cost from $7 to $9 per tile (US). When I got samples of the tiles, the first thing I noticed was the quality of the product and how realistic the tiles looked. The Smart Tiles Mosaiks series incorporates a mixture of finishes from a stone finish to a glossy finish which reflects the light beautifully and the contrast also adds to the overall realistic look.

Capri-taupe-mosails-sample-tiles

There’s also classical mosaic and subway tiles in many colors including a marble finish that is very elegant and would add a touch of style to any kitchen or bathroom.

Carrera-tile-samples-closeup

Another benefit of using Smart Tiles is that they can easily be removed by first using a hair dryer to warm up the adhesive and then simply peeling the tiles off.  This may take off some of the paint but if you decide to change your mind and remodel later, it will definitely be a quicker and less messy process than removing traditional tile.

I was excited to try out these tiles and when my friend Tom said he wanted my help to upgrade a small half-bath in his condo, I knew it was the perfect project for Smart Tiles. I’ll be sharing with you the entire makeover very soon so stay tuned!

Before-left-and-right-side

** This post was sponsored by Smart Tiles – all thoughts and opinions are my own **

 

DIY Wall Art with Shells – Bathroom Decorating ideas

My bathroom is pretty plain with white tiles and white walls which makes it a nice neutral canvas to work with, except for this “vintage” heater that stands out like a sore thumb. With the beautiful year round weather in LA, I never use it and I wanted to find a quick easy way to hide it. Looking around my apartment for something to use, I came across a scrap piece of 1/4″ plywood from another project and beautiful shells I had from previous crafting project. Putting them together, I had an quick and easy solution to cover up my ugly heater:

Shell-wall-art-before-and-after

Here’s how I did it:

Step 1: I placed my shells on the plywood and marked where my hooks will go to hold up the shells. I drilled holes at the marks using a 1/8″ drill bit.

Shell-wall-art-step-1

Step 2: I cut thin gauge wire in  ~ 2 1/2″ long pieces and bent them to make loops.

Shell-wall-art-step-2

Step 3: I fished the ends of the loop from the back of the plywood through to the front and bent the wires to form hooks and glued the back loops to the plywood to prevent them from moving once the hooks were at the right angle.

Shell-wall-art-step-3

Step 4: I placed the shells into the hooks and adjusted the wires as needed for a secure hold. You could also add some glue along the edge of the shells for extra support. 

Shell-wall-art-step-4And voila, very inexpensive beachy wall art that’s right at home in my bathroom, and more importantly, no one would know there’s an ugly heater behind there!

Shell-wall-art-completed

 

 

My bathroom is pretty plain with white tiles and white walls which makes it a nice neutral canvas to work with, except for this “vintage” heater that stands out like a sore thumb. With the beautiful year round weather in LA, I never use it and I wanted to find a quick easy way to hide it. Looking around my apartment for something to use, I came across a scrap piece of 1/4″ plywood from another project and beautiful shells I had from previous crafting project. Putting them together, I had an quick and easy solution to cover up my ugly heater:

Shell-wall-art-before-and-after

Here’s how I did it:

Step 1: I placed my shells on the plywood and marked where my hooks will go to hold up the shells. I drilled holes at the marks using a 1/8″ drill bit.

Shell-wall-art-step-1

Step 2: I cut thin gauge wire in  ~ 2 1/2″ long pieces and bent them to make loops.

Shell-wall-art-step-2

Step 3: I fished the ends of the loop from the back of the plywood through to the front and bent the wires to form hooks and glued the back loops to the plywood to prevent them from moving once the hooks were at the right angle.

Shell-wall-art-step-3

Step 4: I placed the shells into the hooks and adjusted the wires as needed for a secure hold. You could also add some glue along the edge of the shells for extra support. 

Shell-wall-art-step-4And voila, very inexpensive beachy wall art that’s right at home in my bathroom, and more importantly, no one would know there’s an ugly heater behind there!

Shell-wall-art-completed