Painting a Tiny Bathroom

The wildfires are at it again.

Smoke, haze, ash, and triple-digit weather in Sacramento was enough to drive two former childhood asthmatics inside.  Other than a few trips to the Home Depot for advice and supplies, we decided to stay out of the unhealthy air and work on our home.  

Our focus was painting the only bathroom in our 70s house.  Mister Jack ripped out the dollar store tile and the vanity.  We would deal with the toilet and the tub later. 



Getting the inspiration to paint was easy.  I happen to like painting walls and ceilings, but here’s what gave us the extra motivation to make some changes:

  • a last-minute refinance
  • the existing shower curtain (shades of blue)
  • our drives along the California and Oregon coastlines
  • memories, photographs and souvenirs from Hawaii
  • I opened a board on my Pinterest account and pinned it with ideas for a bathroom with a beach theme.  This saved me from running to the store and buying magazines.


Choosing the Paint

We thought we knew what we wanted when we took a paper swatch of a paint sample and taped it to the bathroom wall.  Later, we bought a sample can of the paint for less than three dollars.  I painted the color on different walls so that we could get an idea of how it would look at all hours.


We left the paint on the walls overnight, and found out the next morning how much we hated it.  I thought the beige looked like “a dirty Barbie doll.”  The color reminded Mister Jack of “skin-toned Clearasil” from his teens. 

We returned to the store for a shade of sky blue to cover the existing white paint.  I let my husband choose the paint, and we took another can of sample paint home.




As long as I like the color, I don’t mind painting walls and ceilings.  After patching any holes in the walls, I cleaned the walls before painting.  Since the floors were stripped down to the cement floor, there was no need to protect them from paint spatter.

Equipment and Supplies

For such a small space (approximately 10’x5′, plus an area for a closet), I didn’t need a lot of equipment and supplies to complete the project: 

  • ladder
  • 1 gallon paint (semi-gloss, with built-in primer)
  • 2 paint brushes
  • can opener
  • container for paint (like a coffee can)
  • rags, paper towels and wipes
  • plastic wrap and plastic bags (if you need to take a break, plastic wrap for the can of paint makes it easier to open.  Plastic bags mean you don’t have to keep washing the brushes and waiting for them to dry).


We love the new shade of blue, so we are motivated to finish the bathroom.  The floor is nearly finished.  The vanity and the toilet will be installed this weekend.  Since we don’t feel comfortable about replacing the fiberglass tub/shower unit, we will leave it to a contractor. 






  1. marlenebertrand · August 22, 2013

    That’s a gorgeous color of blue. As you were explaining, I wasn’t sure about the ceiling being painted the same color, but to tell you the truth, now that I see it I actually like it a lot.

    • Arlene Poma · August 22, 2013

      Thanks, Marlene! I bought the house in 2002. Shortly after that, I went on a painting spree and painted every room in the house. Both of us liked the blue because it’s very soothing. Also, it’s a constant reminder for us to plan our trips to the ocean.

  2. The Belmont Rooster · August 22, 2013

    GREAT JOB! It looks so…!

    • Arlene Poma · August 22, 2013

      Thank you! It’s a great change from those shiny white walls. Amazing what a little paint can do.

  3. ChgoJohn · August 22, 2013

    Amazing what a little bit of paint can do for a room. Nicely done!

    • Arlene Poma · August 22, 2013

      Thank you! We are looking forward to attending the local home shows next month. Hopefully, we can find a tub and a contractor who will do the job!

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