Friday, April 19, 2013

How to update a 70's Bathroom

twineinteriors, 70's bath, remodel, design

Are you tormented by dated wallpaper, fake wood paneling, chained lights, glitter popcorn ceilings and brass?  You must be stuck in the 70's!  You need a quick and easy update to make your bath bearable to walk into without thinking you are in an episode of Three's Company? (I know, I just dated myself)  Here's some ways to update that will be easy on the budget...

Typical Examples of the 70's Bathrooms

wood paneling how to
Typical 70's wood paneling and wallpaper

wallpaper, how to
Crazy Wallpaper

twine interiors
This bathroom is fairly calm but the hanging
lights give it's age away

This is what your bathroom could look like!

twineinteriors, elegant remodel, bath
Elegant and Classy!
Here's some great ways to update:

1 - Remove or cover that ugly fake wood paneling!!  It is the worst invention ever.  There are several DIY sites that say to fill in the cracks with drywall mud and paint it but I am a firm believer that this doesn't work.  It takes a lot of effort to do this process and eventually the mud will crack and fall out.  It's better to cover it or remove it.

Twine interiors
DON'T DO IT! (Example of filling the cracks in wood paneling)
A - Wood Paneling is a great option if you just want to cover it.   

tradtional bath design, green walls
Beaded Board Wainscot (Love the green walls!)
Beadboard comes in sheets so you can nail and glue it right over.  Add base and chair rail trim.  An 8'ft long section is $50.

Example of Board & Batten type paneling
 Just attached a 4'x8'x1/4" sheet of plywood and attached 1x2 or 1x4s any spacing you want just make sure to cover the seams.  A paint grade plywood sheet is $13.

classic design
Benjamin Moore, Modern, Classic design
Paneling doesn't have to be white

Modern wainscot
Paneling doesn't have to be traditional

Remove the fake wood paneling and add sheetrock.  Finish and paint or wallpaper.
Elegant bath
Use a chair rail to cover any wall depth differences
Or put green board (backer board for tile) up and tile!
classic bath design
Love a subway tile wainscot!

2 & B -  Usually the 70's floor were sheet vinyl.  Remove it or if it is stuck pretty good and not peeling up then put down self stick floor tiles over it.  They are fast and easy to install and only $1 a square foot.  Obviously a better option is to have new tile floors installed, so if you can afford it ...go for it!

3 & E -  70's cabinets...Oh boy, where do I start.  They cheaped out.  Most likely if you have 70's cabinets they are veneer or plastic over particle wood.  Paint them or replace the doors with new ones!
Think color, not just white!  
metallic cabinets, modern design
Still keep that 70's glam with a modern take on cabinets.  
4 & D -  Replace those plastic laminate countertops with stone, or if you want to splurge buy a vanity sink unit.  I love a Carrara marble (shown in picture above) but you can get any stone.  Look for remnants if you have a small vanity.

Here's some vanities you can replace that old cabinet with....

Modern and traditional bath design
Stone & Chrome Sink Vanity
Chrome, marble, bath, vanity
Restoration Hardware Gramercy $2,195
Bath, powder, design
Modern Vanity & Eclectic Mix
5 & G - Dress up those walls!  Remove the wild and most likely flocked or metallic 70's paper and either paint or put up some new wallpaper.

Warm, design, interiors
Great example of a simple & traditional bathroom (minus the fern)
There are so many fun wallpapers!  Paint a stencil or use removable wallpaper.  

Sexy Hexy by Chasing Paper
6, C & F - Update with new hardware.  This is the easiest update. Currently, gold is all the rage in finishes but if you aren't that trendy or it doesn't fit your style, stick with nickel, brass, stainless, or oil rubbed bronze. A satin finish is best because polished shows everything and scratches more easily.  The least expense is chrome (which is a classic look)!

Kohler Vibrant Modern Brushed Gold... Ohhh...Ahhh...Looove!
7 - Replace that chained pendant that hangs from a ceiling hook with a wall sconce.  

modern light, chrome
Horchow Edison-Type Wall Sconce $195

George Kovaks Rectangular Bronze Wall Sconce (comes in chrome and brass too!) $117

8 - A new mirror.  This is the most important change because it is what you see the most, besides yourself of course!  There are so many mirror fun mirrors, don't be afraid to try something new.  You can even spray paint the one you have to breathe new life into it.  Try layering mirrors especially if you have a plain plate mirror now.  Hang another mirror in front of it using fishing line from the ceiling.
elegant bathroom design
The decorative mirror dresses up this plain plate mirror
Layer two framed mirrors
H - Add some life to those counters with new accessories.  Your toothbrush will thank you!
Horchow Waylande Gregory Porcelain and Gold (sorry these are expensive but I couldn't help myself)
9 - Under no circumstances should you have a toilet lid cover nor a rug that wraps around the toilet; it's just unsanitary.

Do you have any additional ideas? email me your 70's updated bathroom pictures ~


  1. Can you tell me what paint/wallpaper you used on the 'classic' bathroom?

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  6. What about 70s bathroom with tile half-way up the wall....AND tiled bathroom countertops in peach/brown? Any ideas on how/what to replace it with in a DIY option without a major remodel?

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  9. Hey Girls,

    I really like the Stone & Chrome Sink Vanity, I will add this in my new bathroom with the help of bathroom remodeling contractor. Hope this add new shine in my RESTROOM :)

    Thank you so much for sharing!!

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