Finding inspiration!

Previously, I posted pictures of my master bathroom makeover...but it was a looong process to get from here....

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to here....

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The hardest part was coming up with a design I would love. I seriously struggled for several years on what to do with what I had.  I knew I couldn't afford an entire "gut job" but I had to do something.  I just did. not. like. my. bathroom.

As I have said before, I believe my house should be my haven...and you should surround yourself with elements you love....but I just didn't know what to do or where to start! 

So I did what I often do when I am "stuck" and don't know what to do.  I GOOGLE!  That's right...I Googled "modern bathrooms," then clicked on images and started saving pictures of bathrooms that struck my fancy...and this is what I came up with!  My inspiration rooms....

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Two things to note...one, my bathroom is not a big, sprawling space with unlimited potential...second, neither is my wallet.

But these "inspiration" rooms all had elements I really LOVE.  And that is the key.  Finding inspiration in what others have done...and you immediately "love"...even if you can't duplicate it exactly!

All three inspirations had colors I was really drawn to.  The neutral, natural colors.  As I said before, I was REALLY lucky to have tile in both the shower and on the floor that I still love (I bought and installed tile I REALLY loved 13 years ago...never regretted it.)  That is not always the case, and while it is a tad expensive to change out tile, it is a doable DIY project!  (If there is a demand, I will post a tutorial...or there are already great tutorials online) 

The cabinets in the first picture were a MUST!  But seriously, who can afford custom cabinets.  So I  created a vanity layout similar to the one in the first inspiration picture using prefabricated cabinets.  I sold my other cabinets on Craigslist and that helped offset some of the costs.

Even if you can't afford all new cabinets there is a great tutorial here that gives you step by step instructions on staining your existing cabinets...it's a GREAT fix (and super easy) for any bathroom needing a facelift!  And if you don't really like the "java-modern" look there are awesome tutorials online that will tell you how to paint your cabinets!  DO WHAT YOU WILL LOVE ON THE BUDGET YOU CAN AFFORD!

Cabinet handles....around $28 each at a local decor shop.  I ordered mine from myknob.com for around $7 each!  Same quality at a fraction of the cost!  This website has knobs, lighting, accessories...a lot of what you need for home decor and DIY projects.  Always shop on line when looking for something specific!  You would be surprised at what you can find!

The sink and faucet...major score on Overstock.com.  You should always check them and Amazon for bathroom fixtures and lighting.  Usually you can get what you want for a very reasonable price!  And the mirror...Hobby Lobby...seriously!

The granite.  Okay...here is my story about my bathroom and kitchen granite.  My dear friend Sherry called me on my birthday 2 years ago...she was going to a foreclosure auction at a granite supplier.  I had NO intention of buying anything.  But before it was over I had bought enough granite for my kitchen and all three bathrooms for around $500.  And the place was crawling with granite installers who were begging for business.  The cost to cut and install the granite ended up being about 60% of what the labor would have cost me otherwise.  AND the guy hauled my slabs of granite for me to his shop...granite is VERY heavy and fragile...not a job for an amateur!  I was told my the kitchen granite alone would have wholesaled for around $2500. That is more than I paid for the granite and labor for 3 bathrooms and the kitchen.  Major score!!!

As I noted earlier my son-in-law Joel was kind enough to help me with my pendant lights and my can lights.  And there is one thing I noticed in ALL the inspiration pictures....lighting is very important! 

My whole point...when you KNOW something isn't what you want...change it.  And if know something isn't what you want, but you don't know what you want, start Googling and looking at magazines for ideas.  Even if you can only change one little element at a time (like removing your nasty shower doors and hanging a pretty curtain!)...YOU CAN DO IT!

It probably took me 2-3 years to come up with a plan and then another few months to get it done.

And here are some hard, fast rules for any design changes...whether it is paint, furniture or knick-knacks! 

First, only buy what you LOVE.  If you have to "mull it over" or you just aren't SURE, don't buy it!  If you don't love it when you first lay eyes on it, you want love it when you take it home.

Start with paint.  Just a fresh coat of paint can make a world of difference and motivate you! Go to Lowes or your favorite paint store and pick up LOTS of chips of colors you love...then take them home and look at them in your lighting!  Picking out paint in a store is a HUGE mistake because it won't look the same with your lighting.  So take LOTS of samples.  Then, if you still have 2-3 you just aren't sure about, buy the little "sample" containers.  They are usually around $3 and it is well worth the money to buy 2-3, paint HUGE splotches on the wall and look at them over a few days.  I was down to two paint colors for my fireplace wall in my bedroom...I was certain I liked one better than the other, but I painted 1/2 my wall with one color, and 1/2 with the other.  After looking at it for a day I ended up liking my second choice MUCH better.

If you see design elements online or in magazines you love, shop around!  Shop online...visit thrift stores and flea markets....take your time.   I use to be the worlds worst at wanting it ALL done NOW!  But a good design or decor is something that takes time and patience!!!  It is a process. Remember, only bring into your home WHAT YOU REALLY LOVE!!!

Shop your house...and your mom's house...and your friend's houses...shop sales and retail outlets! 

Take a look at my "Things I Love"...you might be surprised at what you have hidden away that would make wonderful design elements in your own home...decorate with the things you love and the things that make you feel good...you will never regret it!