From Blah to Wah-lah: Update a Builder Grade Vanity

Updating Builder Grade Cabinets to look Custom with Moulding and Paint

Before:  with new baseboard moulding and trim 
moulding added to one door.
Of course every bathroom in our house is equipped with these builder grade cabinets... not to mention they're over 20 years old so the wood looks very worn and, well, gross.  However, for anyone who has ever looked to update their bathroom vanity can tell you that the cost of buying a new one (especially one that looks nice) can easily be upwards of $500.  Seriously - for a bathroom vanity!

So, last weekend my project and goal was to update this bathroom vanity for about $30-$50.  You can do the same!  All you need is some small pieces of trim (found at any large hardware store), baseboard trim, some heavy duty construction adhesive and paint.

Above, you can see where I've added some baseboard moulding to the bottom and some small trim moulding to the inside of the door.  Those small trim pieces are VERY easy to cut, so I just used my mitre box saw to cut them at a 45 degree angle, then simply glued them to the door.  

Don't worry I know it looks crazy now, but when you add a coat of paint over everything, it'll look great!

Here's an after shot with both doors painted.  See how the paint covers everything seamlessly.  I recommend removing the doors to paint the base (it keeps the hinges cleaner).

AFTER - I still need to figure out what kind of  
hardware I want to use for handles... 
I'm thinking maybe glass knobs.

Here's a shot of the side before everything was added.  Here I added another piece of large trim.  But, since the front protrudes out a little bit from the side, the baseboard trim can't sit flush.  So I just cut another small piece of trim and added it above the baseboard trim (see below).

Here you can see how I had to use a small piece of trim to fill in the little
gap between the baseboard and the side of the vanity.

AFTER - Here is a view of the vanity when you first walk in.
(NOTE the thicker baseboards too).

This shows how paint can really bring everything together
and make the new pieces blend seamlessly.

I hope this can inspire and show you that you can upgrade your house on the dime and create a whole new effect with just a little with a little elbow grease.  This project only took a couple of hours to do, but the change is certainly dramatic.


  1. You’re certainly a great writer.Your post provided me with many helpful pieces of information. Thanks for it..

  2. Beautiful... how many coats of paint And did you have to sand it before painting it?

    1. Thanks for visiting! I want to say it was two-three coats and I just did a very quick sand with a sanding block to rough up the surface (not a sand down to bare wood).

  3. Wow! I just found your blog while looking for kitchens stained using the Carrington stain and have been looking at all the other neat things you've done. Amazing! How well is everything holding up? Your painted countertops, for example. You are so talented. Thanks for sharing all this. :-)

    1. Thank you (and thanks for stopping by)! I've actually tried two techniques for painting our countertops. One involved craft paint and a polyacrylic top coat in our townhouse. It held up pretty well for a painted countertop. The only issue with the polyacrylic was that it discolored when wet. In our current house, we painted the countertops with chalkboard paint and used a wax paste to seal it. I actually prefer this method because it doesn't discolor when wet and it has a more matte look to it. If you're looking to do something similar, test the finish on a spare piece of plywood. Just remember that it can't be expected to hold up as well as real stone. Personally I am very happy with the results and how they've held up (enough to do it a second time).


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