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Weekend projects for bathrooms and toilets

From the Resene decorating blog

Weekend projects can be extremely satisfying. They’re bite-sized projects that, with some planning and forethought, can really impact parts of your home.

They might be the ones that have just been nagging at the back of your mind as maintenance jobs that have to be done, but they can also be opportunities to experiment with fun new ideas, fabulous new colours, and new functional improvements.

Use a bold colour to connect your bedroom and ensuite

Use a bold paint choice, such as Resene Waiouru, to connect your ensuite space to the walls of a larger bedroom.

It’s an effective way to makeover a bathroom space in a short space of time. Upper ensuite wall and floor painted in Resene Black White, shelf and table in Resene Waiouru and door in Resene Nero. Bedlinen from Kinship, sink and tapware from Plumbline. Project by Melle Van Sambeek, image by Bryce Carleton.

A fun bathroom design scheme

Bathrooms can be a fun, safe place to experiment with different colour schemes and themes.

Sea blues dominate in this room with walls painted in Resene Longitude, floor in Resene Midwinter Mist, vanity and splashback in Resene Juniper and monstera hooks and peg stool in Resene Streetwise. Basin and mixer from Plumbline, mirror from Palliser. Project by Melle Van Sambeek, image by Bryce Carleton.

Bathrooms, ensuites and toilets can be good places to focus on if you want a fast project with maximum impact. They’re often smaller spaces, and they can be fun areas to really stretch your design muscles to try new, bold ideas.

A splash of colour

As Resene Colour Consultant Jackie Nicholls says, bathrooms are a great place to start if you want to venture away from the neutral palette that dominates the rest of your house.

“You are not in these rooms all the time so you can be a bit more adventurous,” Jackie says. “A splash of colour can be easily achievable on a weekend and yet it can completely transform the room.”

She suggests adding a rich, complex colour like the interesting deep green of Resene Fast Forward to one or two walls, as a simple way to add style and luxury to a bathroom or toilet.

Other colours that would also work well are the smoky green of Resene Infused or a soft, greyed brown like Resene Kia Kaha, she says.

“Often just painting the small wall with a window in it, in a separate toilet is enough to bring these small spaces to life.

“Once you’ve seen the difference an accent colour can make to a space like your bathroom or toilet, you might have the confidence to transform other areas. It’s also very satisfying to have done it yourself.”

If your toilet is short on natural light, pair your bold colours with a lighter neutral – maybe one that matches the rest of your home interior if you have a mostly neutral colour scheme. This will help bounce light around if the space also needs to be functional as a room for applying make-up or brushing teeth.

Jackie recommends using a good quality paint roller sleeve to get good even coverage without using too much or too little paint. And use low-tack masking tape at the wall corners to get a crisp finish beside the other wall colours.

Top tip:  Jackie recommends giving your new bathroom paintwork at least a couple of days to fully dry before subjecting it to steam, particularly if you’ve used darker colours. For the first two or three weeks make sure the bathroom is well-ventilated when in use, to avoid moisture settling on walls where drip marks may stain. If moisture does settle on the walls, dry gently with a soft cloth as soon as possible.


Experiment by adding colour to your bathroom floor

Experimenting with colour and design on your bathroom floor is a quick way to give your bathroom a new look.

Wall painted in Resene Cut Glass with floorboards in Resene Raven, Resene Half Raven, Resene Gull Grey, Resene Regent Grey and Resene Kensington Grey, vanity in Resene Bermuda Grey, slatted shower screen and duck mat in Resene Black White, ladder in Resene Silver Chalice and two tables in Resene Avalanche. Sink and mixer from Plumbing World. Project by Megan Harrison-Turner, image by Bryce Carleton.

Stencilled tiles can add visual interest to a bathroom

Stencilled tiles are a cost-effective and quick way to add visual interest to your bathroom.

Wall painted in Resene Cashmere with floor in Resene Lynchpin, tiles stencilled in Resene Solitaire, Resene Half Solitaire, Resene Gull Grey, Resene Double Stack, Resene Sour Dough and Resene Longitude, woven basket in Resene Bone, rattan lampshade half-painted in Resene Bone, table in Resene Avalanche and shelving unit in Resene Eighth Black White with shelves in Resene Half Gull Grey. Shelf vases in, from top to bottom, Resene Tangaroa, Resene Half Black White and Resene Explorer. Plant pot in Resene Silver Chalice. Project by Megan Harrison-Turner, image by Bryce Carleton.

Impress with wallpaper

Resene wallpaper is another fast way to make over any room. While you might not think damp environments such as bathrooms are suited to wallpapers, it’s simply a matter of choosing the right paper and taking care with your preparation.

Choosing a strong vinyl wallpaper means it will stand up to regular wipe downs to remove soap, shampoo or excessive moisture. Check your Resene wallpaper package for a wave symbol which tells you its washability rating. Depending on what material the paper is made from it may be spongeable, washable, extra-washable or scrubbable.

Extra-washable and scrubbable are your best options for bathrooms and they will work best in well-ventilated spaces.

Transform your bathroom into an exotic jungle with Resene Wallpaper Collection 220124 or add a little whimsy with the charming bathing beauties of Resene Wallpaper Collection ONB102696234.

Surface treatment

There are surfaces in your bathroom you might not realise you can paint – ceramic tiles and even toilets, for example.

Simply prepare the surface with a coat of Resene Waterborne Sureseal then topcoat with Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen Kitchen & Bathroom, or for a higher sheen, Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss waterborne enamel. This same technique will also allow you to paint over glass.

This opens up the possibility of reviving bathroom splashbacks with a fresh colour, or even tiled walls. You can also paint over floor tiles, but keep in mind these are high traffic areas subject to much more wear and tear, so the finish may not last as long. Avoid painting inside the shower area itself – paint isn’t designed for these areas.

Sanding back and refinishing a tired wooden floor is another way to add some flair back to a bathroom or toilet. Go for a bold colour or even use a stencil to map out a faux-tile finish. Paint your whole floor in a lighter background colour, then, when dry, stencil your pattern in a darker shade over the top. Try a mix of bold blues like Resene Madison and Resene Skylight, or go for layered neutrals with Resene Triple Akaroa and Resene Half Akaroa.

A classic black and white check floor pattern in Resene White and Resene Black is another simple-to-execute look. Paint your whole floor in your chosen white then pencil out your black squares before painting in. Use low-tack masking tape for crisp lines and remove it just before the paint is fully dry.

Cleaning down and painting any bathroom cabinetry, will freshen up your space really quickly – even if you have melamine-coated cabinets.

Apply a thin coat of Resene Waterborne Smooth Surface Sealer to your surfaces and allow it to cure without any water contact for at least 48 hours. The sealer isn’t designed to be applied as a thick wet film so the thinner the coat the better.

Using a Resene #4 microfibre roller sleeve, topcoat in Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen Kitchen & Bathroom, or for a higher sheen, Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss waterborne enamel, as they’re hardwearing and easy to clean, once fully cured. The Resene Kitchen & Bathroom range is made with anti-bacterial silver and added MoulDefender for extra protection.

The new paint system will take five days to develop good initial adhesion and will continue to develop for another three weeks until a full cure occurs. In the early stages, the painted surface won’t be very resistant to cleaners or abrasion but that resistance will develop as the finished surface completely cures.

Top tip:  In wet areas it is particularly important to prepare your walls with Resene Mould & Moss Killer to completely remove any mould spores from the damp environment. Allow 48 hours after application for the product to take full effect.


Choose a theme

Small or less used spaces like stand-alone toilets and powder rooms can be really fun rooms to push your design boundaries, and experiment. If you want to try something a bit more out-there, it’ll be seen by fewer people which means you can test ideas before taking them to other rooms. These rooms also tend to be smaller spaces which can be more easily made over again if you don’t like the end result.

One way to experiment with new ideas is to choose a theme for your bathroom or toilet. Go nautical with an under-the-sea theme with deep blues and teals like Resene Ocean Waves or Resene Epic, paired with Resene Sea Fog. Try a fish scale stencilled tile effect as a feature in Resene Double Duck Egg Blue, giving areas a topcoat of Resene Pearl Shimmer for a sun-kissed iridescent effect.

A maximalist wallpaper can create both surprise and drama in a small guest toilet. Try the lush jungle theme of Resene Wallpaper Collection 38724-1 paired with metallic finishes in Resene Gold Dust on light fittings and your mirror frame and match with golden tapware. Go for bright white trim in Resene Black White, and take that into a checkerboard painted tile on the floor, alternating with Resene Black. Topcoat your floor with Resene Uracryl 402 Clear for a hardwearing, easy clean finish.

If a jungle theme isn’t to your taste, how about a grey-hued but bold three-dimensional geometric pattern in Resene Wallpaper Collection 38721-2 on at least one wall, as a backdrop to your toilet, paired with deep Resene Ironsand and primordial green Resene Grass Hopper?

You could also take your bathroom or toilet back in time, with a regency-era look using lots of Resene Colorwood Mahogany wood stain, rich floral colours like Resene Soiree or Resene Savour and a drop of Resene Wallpaper Collection 38821-1. Go for a sumptuous spin on art deco with metallics, glass accents and punchy colours like Resene Light Fantastic or Resene Pohutukawa, or try the sleek sophistication of mid-century modern, with pared-back wooden cabinetry, notes of brass and gunmetal, and simple geometric patterns in sophisticated yet muted tones like Resene Mocha and Resene Bush.

Be brave and try out some new ideas – they might just be the inspiration you need to get started on the rest of your home.

Resene Double Duck Egg Blue

Resene Infused

Resene Kia Kaha

Resene Fast Forward

Resene Ocean Waves

Resene Skylight

Resene Epic

Resene Soiree

Resene Savour

Resene Light Fantastic

April 23, 2023

For help choosing products and colours to suit your projects, visit your local Resene ColorShop, ask a Resene Paint Expert online, a Resene Colour Expert online, or book a Resene Colour Consultation.

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