With paint, primer, sand paper, a few common hand tools and time you can give that old bathroom a new ‘fresh’ look.
First, remove curtains, items on top of the vanity, shower curtains and rod, and any other loose items as well as any outlet or switch plates, and soap or tooth brush holders attached on the walls. Use painter tape to tape over any outlets and switches to keep them clean and paint free.
If the old vanity, window molding, baseboard or crown molding have been stained and/or polyurethane you must first sand then to remove the sheen to them for the primer to adhere properly. Take your time sanding and take care in sanding any molding that is shaped as to not sand down out any of the details. Also, remove any hardware from the vanity or closet, if there is one in the bathroom.
If you plan on changing the hardware, it would be best to use wood putty to fill in the old holes now in case the hardware does not line up. This would also be a good time to fill in any nail holes left from years of changing curtain rods. With the sheen removed from all surfaces needed and cleaned well to make sure the surface is dust free, time to prime the vanity and trim. If you are changing the wall color to a lighter color, you should prime the walls as well.
Where possible, remove any drawers, vanity cabinet doors or other doors to be painted laying horizontally for a better finished look. For the adventurous do-it-yourself homeowner, removing the window and door trim, baseboard, and crown molding to either paint or even replace is always an option. When painting the walls, it is best to use a brush to cut-in at the ceiling, the inside corners and around the windows and doors first, then you can use a roller to finish the walls. Two coats of paint maybe required to cover the old paint.
Now, on to painting that old vanity with a good semi-gloss paint. Remember a bright color for the vanity and trim/molding will brighten up what is typically a dull room. Here is where time and patients will prevail to get a professional finished. Using a good paint brush, paint in long continuous stroke, all in the same direction. For any panel doors on the vanity, follow the wood grain on the vertical and horizontal stiles and rails. Using the same technique, paint the window and door molding with nice long even strokes.
After all the painting is complete, time to finish this new fresh look bathroom. Replacing the vanity hardware with new updated handles and hinges will change the appearance of the old drawer and doors. Now, brighten up the windows by using blinds for privacy and light curtains for that ‘open’ feel. The same thought process can be done for the tub, a new plastic curtain to hang inside the tub and a light fabric outer curtain to hang outside the tub can help change the appearance of a gloomy tub.
The overall look should be geared to a light airy bright feel.