before & after: two colorful salvage-style bathrooms

I really love that industrial and salvaged objects are so prevalent in interior design right now, but I’ll be honest — I’m getting a little tired of all the dark, monochromatic neutrals that come with them. I think these two bathroom makeovers, from Kella MacPhee and Kate King, respectively, represent a new take on industrial, rustic, salvage chic — one that lightens and brightens the roughness with bold, brilliant colors and bright textiles.

This first bathroom from Kella is a great example of this; it’s modern with a laid back, tropical island vibe. The punchy colors and patterns are grounded with dark wood touches, industrial metal lamps and plumber’s pipe fixtures. It’s such a fun take on the salvage look, and it really transforms this tiny bathroom into its own little world. And I just have to add: the vintage signs are amazing. I hope to see more of this trend in the coming year. Great job, Kella! — Kate

Have a Before & After you’d like to share? Shoot me an email with your images right here! (Low res, under 500k per image, please.)

Read the full post after the jump!

Time: 13 days

Cost: $3500 in labor costs and approximately $3500 in materials

Basics Steps: The first steps were scouring the Internet and magazines for inspiration. I had lots of luck on Pinterest (one of my favorite sites) and got a basic plan for the colors — turquoise, white and chartreuse. Our house is a 1930s cottage a couple miles from the beach, so I knew I wanted it to feel beachy and fresh but in a flea market meets industrial kinda way! We also wanted to repurpose as many items as we could; we did so with pipe to create a toilet paper holder. A large wire basket was hung on the wall and filled with toilet paper, and a Brimfield flea market find — a wooden shower and locker sign — turned into a towel rack by adding marine cleats! The lights were also made from salvaged materials and purchased at the flea market. Artwork became 1960s paint-by-numbers.

A big goal for the reno was to achieve more space and get a bigger bathtub (our old one was only 48 inches!). We moved the tub under the window and rearranged the sink and toilet. We also opted for a pedestal sink for a more open look. A big space saver and also our new favorite feature is the pocket door. We had to build a false wall, which was a bit of work, but so worth it! A happy surprise was when we took down the ceiling and found the beams; we originally thought we would have to cover it up with sheetrock, but decided to bead board between the beams and paint everything white (5 coats — yikes!). It really opened up the space and gave it a cottage feel. White subway tile with gray grout and turquoise accent tile went all the way up to the ceiling, adding the illusion of space, and we chose a classic black and white tile for the floor.
Some advice and things I learned would be: get some inspiration; put all your ideas together in an inspiration board; buy only things that you love (but keep in mind durability, too); set a budget and stick with it; allow enough time for the project (it will take longer than you think); hire professionals for the things you can’t do, and do the things you can to save money (like painting); and most importantly, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. You don’t need to put your toothbrushes in a holder made for this (we use a vintage enamel camp mug). Get creative! — Kella


Our second colorful, salvage-inspired bathroom from Kate King is another example of mixing some worn, antique elements with bright hues. I love that Kate has decided to keep it simple by brightening up the white and wood with just a pair of colors: a beautiful cherry red and the oceany turquoise color of old glass mason jars. It’s made a huge difference in this small room, and the result is a fresh, modern and welcoming space for very little cost. Great job, Kate!

Time: one weekend

Cost: $250 for all paint, primer, light fixture/lighting kit, new sink faucet, and spackle

Basic Steps: Since we bought a 1910 American Foursquare fixer uppper, most of the walls in our house were in desperate need of repair, and this was no exception for our bathroom. The walls were incredibly uneven and filled with holes, so a good spackling and sanding was the first task we tackled. I then primed the walls and ceiling very thoroughly, making sure to cover the horrible yellow tint the room had before.

I wanted the room to appear super clean and crisp, so white paint was then applied to the walls and ceiling. Painting the door a rich red that matched my light fixture was the added “pop” to the room. After replacing the sink fixture, all that was left to do was add my repurposed light fixture that I had hand-crafted and decorate! Using the blue mason jars that were left over from our wedding added another dimension to the color scheme and a personal touch. Old rustic metal baskets gave the bathroom an amazing contrast to the “clean” feel and are great for storage.

Don’t be afraid to use colors that you tend to shy away from. I never wanted to have red in my home, always fearing it would be too loud of a color and hard to style with, but now I can’t get enough of it! — Kate


So inspiring for those of us who have small restrooms :) I LOVE THIS SITE!!! I’m so addicted :) You guys are the coolest! Thank you!

Bonnie McCarthy

I think the use of color is one of the most remarkable things about both transformations. I love the bright red pendant light against the teal blue glass bottles. The sky blue and chartreuse is also unexpected and totally cool! Love! I am completely envious in regard to the vintage signs, however! I have been looking for one for my own bathroom and can’t seem one I like. The hunt continues!! Thanks for sharing

San Antonio Siding

I love the contrasting colors! Not a combo I would’ve personally picked out but I think it looks so great I might actually consider it. Well done!


Where did those adorable navy canvas bins with the whales on them come from??

Sarah J

Awesome both! Inquiring minds need to know – where did Kella get that stacked industrial basket unit for storage? I love all the way down to it’s cute metal wire feet!

kella macphee

hey guys.. so glad you like the bathroom! the whale tote bins are from home goods and the chicken coop tower is from cb2! -kella : )


I absolutely love that leaf shower curtain in the first one — where did it come from??


Where is that tall metal shelf from?? Did it come with those cute blue containers?? I want it in my life.


Where is that tall metal shelf from? Living in a tiny space right now and always looking for extra storage. Great makeovers.

lydia hamre

Where did you get that wire like shelving unit in the bathroom?

Shannon G.

It’s amazing how the right color can make things pop! I feel like the bathroom can be the most neglected room in the house, it’s wonderful that they paid so much attention to the details- it’s worth it! Great job, wish I could see the rest of their homes!

Kevin @Diy Dork

Oh yeah! Lovin’ the color combos. That green,blue, dark red combo is singin’ to me! The one thing I miss seeing go away from the before pic is the direct command to “WIPE” painted right above the toilet paper roll holder. haha :)

kay w.

we’ve been looking for a storage solution and those wire cubbies from the first before/after is exactly what we need! does anyone know where to get these? thanks!


Kella, in the “Before” pic, you’ve got those man/woman bathroom figures up on the door… Where did you get those??? I saw them once before on Etsy I think, and somehow can’t find the bookmark for them! :(

I love your “After,” though! :)


I am curious about the outside door opening into the restroom… I hope they put a curtain on it! ha


Heather – we did! it had a blind on it before and hadn’t had time to put up the new one before I snapped this shot. :) it’s so awkward…we think that it was an entry way before and the previous owners must have decided to put a bathroom in here. hah


cute ideas. I like that little white trash can with the red lid. Where did that come from?


great ideas! What is the color of the walls on the turquoise bathroom? thanks!


Yes! Please what is the name & make of the turquoise paint color? I LOVE i!