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DIY Chippy Painted Bathroom Vanity

If you are like us, there are times when you remodel a room early on in home ownership, you make hasty decisions that you later regret… for us, it was the extra bathroom downstairs that is most frequently used by our guests.

Let me start with a little history. This is a very, very tiny bathroom. An add-on by previous owners to the back porch of our 100 year-old home. A few years ago my husband crafted some board and batten to cover the uneven plaster walls and also used some beadboard paneling and crown molding to cover the ceiling. We painted the wood and trim a crisp white and the walls a dark blue – for a beachy cottage look.

The blue wall isn’t very pretty in this pic
and my photo skills have improved 🙂
A quick shot of the ceiling! Wish I had a Before photo…
At the time we didn’t have a lot of extra money to spend on the remodel so we purchased an inexpensive sink/vanity combination at a big box discount store – you know, the kind made of pressed wood with the sink already attached [sigh]. I was never really happy with the outcome… and, of course, it is our most-used bathroom!
So, fast forward a few years. Kids are older. We are smarter. We are craftier. Our vision is clearer. And, I had an idea! We recently painted our upstairs hallway a nice warm gray color and had nearly a gallon leftover from the project. Perfect color to compliment to the blue/white color combo already in the bathroom.
The process:
I absolutely love the look of chippy painted furniture and the vanity was showing some wear already… so after I painted the entire vanity and medicine cabinet gray, I roughly sanded the edges to allow the white pressed wood to poke through. Like my other projects I finished with light and dark waxes (my new favorite aging technique).

I found some leftover chippy painted knobs from another antique we had reclaimed and added a drawer pull to the top panel. And for my favorite part… we sliced a round wood deck finial in half (found for a few bucks at our local hardware store) and added it to the base for that extra furniture-like detail.

I love, love, love this easy transformation! We made a mistake by purchasing a boring cabinet – but perhaps you moved into a home with a stock bathroom vanity. This is a GREAT way to turn it into a piece of furniture you can be proud of [or less embarrassed by]! Don’t be discouraged… paint and a little hardware can transform all that is boring!

Want to see how we changed our wall sconce lights by using a Ball jar instead? Click here.

Little details matter too… a close up of two old corbels we added under
the medicine cabinet to help complete the rustic cottage look.

  Working With What You Have link up at emilyaclark.com
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Reader Interactions


  1. 1

    This turned out wonderful! Visiting from Miss Mustard Seed’s party. I have been wanting to paint my bathroom cabinets gray, but I have to choose a wall color first. Thanks for the push!

  2. 2

    I too want to paint my bathroom vanity to look more aged to complement the recent addition of a claw foot tub. Your’s looks great, thanks for the inspiration!

  3. 11

    Just got back from the Hob Nob Market in Danville. Your booth was awesome! Regret not purchasing a couple items (retractable step stool w/yard stick top and one of your tin ceiling tiles). Will these items or any others be posted on your etsy store?

    Also wondering about your chippy paint vanity…what grit sandpaper did you use for that technique? Was the gray paint matte, eggshell or glossy? Thanks so much!

    • 12

      Hi there… Are you local (nearby Fowler, Indiana)? We still have those items you mentioned. I am taking them up to a store in Fowler for sale or I can hold them for you at my house to pick up… let me know how interested you are. 🙂

      I sanded this vanity by hand with a med grit sandpaper. I don’t know the number, but because this was pressed wood, the paint peeled rather easily so I didn’t want to chip it too much. The gray paint is a homemade chalk paint.

  4. 13

    Hi Kristy, I live in Indy but am from Roselawn/Demotte so travel past your exit to visit family. I actually work with someone who went to high school with you…Kate. She’s who told me about the Hob Nob Market. Definitely still interested in the step stool. Would you please hold it for me? Might be heading up that way this weekend.

    • 14

      Oh, yes, Kate is a dear old friend!! I would be happy to hold it for you. My house is easy to find in Fowler and if we happen to be out, I can leave it on my front porch for you. Just let me know… my email address is kcrobb1021@gmail dot com if you want to connect that way. 🙂

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