Operation Year of Organization: Guest Bath Reveal

guest bath before and after

It’s that time again! REVEAL day is fast becoming my favorite time of the month. This go round, it’s our guest bathroom, and I’ve got to say, as much as I loved our living room organization overhaul, I’m even more in love with the guest bath! Some people thought I was absolutely crazy to go beyond organization and give this room a face lift – especially since we just finished our whole house remodel 2 1/2 years ago – but I was ready for a change, and that beadboard had spent enough time in the yellow painted spotlight. Not only did I create a fully organized space for our kids (who use this bathroom) as well as our guests, but I also tore down the beadboard paneling and put a fresh coat of paint on the walls. Come see how it all turned out!

If you haven’t seen the before photos that show areas that needed improving in the organization department, I recommend heading over here first. All caught up on the country bumpkin bathroom? Now it’s time to step into the new spa!

operation year of organization guest bathroom

When you first walked into the guest bath, you were greeted by the toilet paper shelf:

Operation Year of Organization Guest Bath

Oh how I loathed that thing. I always felt it was too large, too bulky, and just very unattractive. While I liked the ease of guests knowing right where to find the extra toilet paper, I didn’t necessarily enjoy it being completely on display. I was determined that the shelf was getting kicked to the curb. Then, I pulled it out of the room and remembered exactly why it was there in the first place.

guest bath exposed pipes

Enter: vent pipes. Long story short, the structural framing that was done when we added the basement during our remodel required that a load-baring wall be placed directly under this wall in the bathroom. There is a bathroom directly under this bathroom, and when the vent pipes were run from the basement to the main floor, there was no choice but to go around the structural beams. Hence, ugly exposed vent pipes.

Brandon kindly reminded me that the shelf was built to size specifically to get rid of the eye sore, and that it would be just fine to put it right back where it came from. He thought “where it came from” meant the spot I pulled it from in the bathroom. I consider “where it came from” to more align with the store, or the trash, or somewhere in between. Basically, anywhere that doesn’t involve this bathroom. Ha!

I was on a mission, and I knew that nothing was going to get in my way of getting something better put in its place. I didn’t really want to buy a cabinet. I’d thought of building a cabinet to hide the trash can in and placing it here, but it just seemed like too much “big” on one wall. Trash can cabinet next to the vanity next to the other vanity next to…see where I’m going? Too much.

That’s when I decided to get creative. Whatever was going to go in this space didn’t have to be functional. So, I decided to make it pretty instead!

guest bath planter

A couple of sheets of metal, some door stoppers, and a package of rope caulk later, I had my piece. It ended up being the perfect size to hide those pesky vent pipes while still not being overbearing in the room. I especially love the bright pop of color it brings into the space! Plus, it’s fake grass, so I can’t kill it – which is always a bonus!

Remember how I told you about the magazine collection going on in the vanity drawers in this bathroom? Well, I decided if everybody and their dog thought they needed to read while doing their business, they might as well do it in style. When I think of finding trendy items at an (almost always) affordable price, I think of Target. Their products are always so on-trend, and did you know they have that kill-your-wallet section at the front of the store?! Dollar section? Bargain section? Whatever it’s called, it’s got some crazy good finds!

I’d never actually perused the items in this section before. I know. That’s crazy talk. But seriously. Never. You see, I know what little bargains do to your brain. They make you think your getting a super deal, so you just keep putting more in the cart because obviously you’ll never get a deal that good anywhere else or anytime else again so you must get it now or miss out forever and regret it horribly and never forgive yourself. Am I right? Before you know it, your cart of two $3 items just rang up at the register for $53.76. Because you bought the whole shebang. Yeah, I avoid those sections in stores like the plague.

But, being on a strict budget and still wanting to find something super cute, I decided to give that suck-your-wallet-dry section a peek. And you know what? I’m SO GLAD I did! I scored these babies for $3 each! They were actually grey when I bought them, but whatever. I already had a can of gold spray paint at home so it was no big deal.

guest bath magazine racks

The wall next to the toilet always seemed so plain. Now, there’s a “his”, “hers” and “kids” rack filling the space perfectly. It adds a nice touch of color – in gold, of course, since it seems to be my color crush of the moment – and has great functionality. Not only does it make the magazines easy access for Brandon and the ids, but it gives multiple options for the guests without them having to search them out. Because what guest do you know that will ask you for a magazine before they head to your bathroom?

Although I’m not a reader in the bathroom (I have better things to do with my time than waste it in the loo haha) these gorgeous magazine racks might just make me change my tune. If anything, I’ll at least spend some time sitting and staring at the beauty of these inexpensive racks that work splendidly in here.

Speaking of dressing up empty spaces, this large empty space had been rubbing us wrong since we finished the bathroom (the first time). It was 4’x3′ of unused square footage, and while we had a vision for what we wanted to fill it with, we could never seem to find the right piece.

Operation Year of Organization Guest Bath 2

To be honest, I was worried I wouldn’t find the right “something” in time for this reveal. After all, we’d been looking off and on for the past 2 1/2 years. I hit the pavement and headed to a large antique store up the road and found the most gorgeous piece that would fulfill every wish I had for this space. Every wish except it’s price tag. I had set a budget before I ever walked out of the front door, and it was $160 over that budget. But it was soooo perfect!

I’m not going to lie. As great as I usually am about sticking to a strict budget and not thinking twice about it, I thought twice about this. I even thought three times. Then, our tax refund came in, and I thought one more time. And then I told myself to shut up, that I’d set a budget, and by God I was going to stick to it. So I turned to a cheaper alternative: Craigslist. And my budget-loving prayers were answered!

guest bath cabinet before

I came home with this little beauty, and it tucked into that empty block just as I’d hoped. Even better: it was UNDER budget! The only problem was, it would’ve better matched the original decor with it’s pale yellow and blue screaming country bumpkin at the top of its lungs. As much as I would’ve loved not having to do any work to it, I knew it had to be painted to suite the look I was going for. Thankfully, Martha Stewart has a wonderful line of Vintage Decor Paint that made repainting this cabinet a cinch.

guest bath cabinet

Isn’t that so much better?! I think the white gives it such a refreshing and crisp look, and it certainly matches the room a million times better.

I love having this cabinet in here for multiple reasons. It completes the space because there’s not a giant, empty section of the room anymore. It also provides ample storage space for everything you’d need for guests. Because this is also our kids’ bathroom, it’s important to us that they still feel a sense of “their space”. They are still able to claim under their vanities while this cabinet allows guests to a free-for-all within arm’s reach.

I wanted the guest bath to feel almost like a hotel. If you’re over for a visit and you forgot something, no problem. It’s right there ready for you. The drawer in the cabinet provides a great place for extra bars of soap, some band-aids, and extra toothbrushes.

guest bath cabinet drawer

Behind the cabinet doors, you’ll find all the other necessities. From q-tips to tampons to razor blades, I’ve got it covered. There’s plenty of toilet paper to go around, and the extra towels are just waiting to be used.

guest bath cabinet inside

I picked up cute cups from Walmart to store the essentials, and I especially love that they’re plastic since our kids also use this space, and let’s face it, using glass would’ve been asking for it. And that bamboo bowl? That’s a Pampered Chef bowl I pulled out of my kitchen cabinets to use here, and I love how it looks so it’s staying.

Because I got rid of the large trash can we had in here and decided against building a cabinet to hide it, I needed to find another solution. Last week, I took a trip to a little town an hour away to dig through a barn full of goodies. While I was there, I picked up this metal pail, and it ended up working great for a trash can. I love the rustic farmhouse look and the mixture of metals with soft finishes. This pail does the trick to bring some of that rustic feel to the space while still remaining functional.

guest bath cabinet lower shelf

When it comes to organizing the kids’ items under their vanity sinks, easiest is always best. We’re still working with single digit ages in our house, so the stock pile of goodies under the sink hasn’t hit an outrageous amount yet. That being said, when I opened up the doors under this particular vanity, it was a disaster, to say the least. Things were scattered haphazardly covering the entire area. At some point in time, face paint ended up under the sink and somehow made its way to the actual surface – leaving those awesome marks in various hues that wouldn’t come off no matter what I tried. Don’t worry. There’s not some weird mark on your screen. Those are pink streaks on the surface of this vanity cabinet. It was obvious the organization train hadn’t arrived at this stop. In fact, it hadn’t even left the station.

guest bath under sink

Using inexpensive baskets (under $2 each) I found at Walmart, I was able to organize the items (and toss that face paint into the trash). I also instituted a Pampered Chef dish as a holder for hair ties, clips, and the like. By breaking everything up into smaller portions with easier access, it helps ensure things will stay organized. If it has to go in a basket, that means it doesn’t go on the surface.

guest bath under sink contents

It’s nothing fancy and nothing over-the-top, but it doesn’t have to be, to be organized. Sometimes the simplest solutions are the ones that work the best.

The other sink looks a bit bare, but with two boys (ages 5 and 2), there’s not much needed here. I used one basket I picked up a while back from Dollar Tree to get the job done. If you’re looking for a great way to get a ton of baskets for organizing for cheap, it’s a great place to look!

guest bath under sink 2

Before I started the guest bath organization, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do about our laundry hamper space. After all, with three kids, it fills up quite fast and ends up being an eye sore before the week’s over. Originally, I’d thought I would get rid of it all together and put hampers in each of the kids’ rooms. At the end of the day, I really didn’t feel that leaving this area empty was the right decision, and I certainly had no use for a cabinet here. I ended up going 50/50. I moved the hamper that was in the bathroom to the boys’ room and put this hamper in its place.

guest bath laundry hamper

I love the industrial feel of the hamper, and while I wanted to create my own to be able to use all the available space, it would’ve ended up costing more money and more time. So for now, this will stay. I found this at Walmart as well. It’s part of the Better Homes and Gardens line, and at $16.77, it’s a really great price for this look!

I have long been a fan of the mason jars on the walls for organization and storage. I’d pinned multiple looks when we started our remodel back in 2011, and by the time the guest bathroom was ready for its finishing touches, I had my heart set on mason jars for holding toothbrushes and toothpaste. I’d come to Brandon with the project, and his technical mind was about to explode when I showed him the simple install of a mason jar onto a block of wood with mere hose clamps. I loved the look. He hated it.

Seeing how bull-headed I was about my mason jar dream of two years coming true, he set out to make it possible – all while giving it a look he could actually tolerate. We ended up going to a bicycle shop and picking up metal bottle holders. Brandon came home, worked some magic on them to make them perfectly rounded to mold to the jars, and mounted them straight to the wall.

guest bath mason jar

I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out – and that was 2 1/2 years ago! I knew as many changes as were taking place in this room, the mason jars were here to stay. And even though Brandon bent the metal to form to the jar, they still come out easy peasy for washing but stay super secure when on the wall. There are four jars in total – one for each of the kids and an extra for any guests.

But enough talking. Let’s see the rest of the space!

guest bath cabinet top

guest bath cabinet towels

guest bath magazine racks filled

guest bath cabinet top bottles

guest bath cabinet top plate

guest bath planter 2

guest bath soap dish rad

guest bath mason jars

guest bath soap dish heart

guest bath canvas quote 2

What did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts on how it all turned out! And don’t forget: starting Monday, you’ll have a chance to WIN a Home Depot gift card just by showing me a photo of organization in your bathroom!


  1. Katie | 19th Feb 16

    Okay. The bicycle water bottle holder conversion for the mason jars is positively BRILLIANT!

    • expressionsbyred | 19th Feb 16

      I agree! That credit fully goes to my husband! He did a fantastic job coming up with a great alternative!

  2. Julie | 19th Feb 16

    This turned out beautifully! I LOVE the green pop of the plant and glass bottles. And the mason jars in bicycle water bottle holders? What a fantastic idea! Gray is one of my favorite colors – so calm and peaceful and like the fog that I love so much. I think I would live in your bathroom. 🙂

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