A Kid And Guest Friendly Nautical Themed Bathroom

A Kid And Guest Friendly Nautical Themed Bathroom | thisgratefulmama.com

The hall bathroom is mainly used by our 5-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter. But often, it is used by guests. Almost 3 years after moving in, the bathroom was still builder-white.

With two little people using the bathroom, the walls were starting to look dingy from wet hands and water splatter on flat white paint.

The bathroom needed a satin-finish paint job to protect the walls and clean it up.

Plus, with a colicky baby keeping us home more than usual, I needed a project.


With a start and finish.

And I roped my husband into it when a simple paint job became a slightly larger project. We picked out navy paint for the space, but navy was just too dark for the window-less bathroom.

To keep the space bright, and protect walls from the wear and tear that is inflicted by small children, we decided to add white bead board.

Home Depot carries this two-foot width bead board product with pre-cut grooves to fit seams together. We needed just 5 two-foot boards for our small bathroom. We spent $35 on bead board and under $10 on chair rail and caulking.

The spendy part of this project was the paint. Sherwin Williams matched the white paint to our existing trim. One gallon of satin Super Paint along with velour rollers for an ultra-smooth finish was $50, even with a $10 off coupon!


But now we have enough high quality white paint to use for our future mud room lockers and bead board border.

A Kid And Guest Friendly Nautical Themed Bathroom | thisgratefulmama.com

We taped and painted the navy color during nap time one day.  My husband spent half a day working on the bead board. And I spent one more nap time applying two coats of white paint to the bead board.





Paint completed, we just needed a few finishing touches.

A Kid And Guest Friendly Nautical Themed Bathroom | thisgratefulmama.com

We found the wooden ‘Splash’ sign for $15 at Home Goods. You can find something similar from this Etsy shop.




A Kid And Guest Friendly Nautical Themed Bathroom | thisgratefulmama.com

The wooden Whale was found on clearance for $7 at Hobby Lobby.




A Kid And Guest Friendly Nautical Themed Bathroom | thisgratefulmama.com

Hand towels are hung using $9 wooden fish hangers from Marshalls.







A Kid And Guest Friendly Nautical Themed Bathroom | thisgratefulmama.com

The space was completed with the Wave Blue shower curtain from Target. Usually $17, we paid $14 using a 20% off Cartwheel deal.







It’s amazing how just one little project can make you feel energized…and ready for the next one.


Master Bedroom Update: A Promised Picture

A friend reminded me that I still owe a photo of our newly painted bedroom.

And she’s right.

The Great Paint and Curtain {In}Decision came with a promise for a photo the following week.

Here we are over a week later. Still, no photo.

My bad.

It is time to make good on that promise. However, it makes sense to me that you should first see a ‘before’ photo. Our old bedroom was best described by my husband when we were preparing to paint – “Now we finally won’t look like renters”.

Bedroom BEFORE

White, bare walls, worn out 7-year-old bedding and mismatched furniture DID make us look like renters.

But renters we are not. God willing, we plan to live here for a very long time.

Fresh paint, new curtains and a Groupon-bought comforter – now our bedroom finally feels like it’s ‘ours’. And it’s always great when it doesn’t break the bank.

As promised, here’s a photo of the painted room and an up-close photo of the curtains we kept after all that indecision (thank you, Target).Bedroom Update


Yes, our new blue walls are still mostly bare, and we still have mismatched furniture. I’m OK with it for now.

Like our Dining Room update last year, we do our decorating with budget-in-mind. We have a low-cost plan to finish this bedroom that includes a DIY headboard, possibly a DIY overhead light, painting our dresser, and creating or using artwork we already have.

I’m looking forward to completing and sharing these projects sometime later on this summer.

Happy Decorating!


Master Bedroom Update: The Great Paint and Curtain {In}Decision

A few weeks ago I casually mentioned to my husband that I was thinking about painting one of our bedroom walls dark blue.

Surprisingly, he liked the idea. In fact, he liked it so much, he was ready to go pick out paint (in the store without bringing any swatches home) and paint our bedroom and bathroom – immediately.

His response was so overwhelmingly supportive, it left me reeling. So there I stood, glad he was on board, but feeling rushed. Flustered, I managed to stammer…wait…but…we…need…SAMPLES!

Let’s just say he and I do things a little differently. Knowing me well, he graciously agreed to slow down and let me take a little time to be as certain as he was.

I’m all about taking action – but I do need to perseverate on things like paint colors for a while.

For me, selecting paint calls for a period of indecision. It doesn’t help that the last time we bought paint at the store without bringing samples home, our bathroom paid the price and was painted a dreadful sea-foam green that made YOU look sea-foam green when you looked in the mirror. Not flattering, and not our best choice – the 70s decor was not quite what we were going for.

One week and three trips worth of paint swatches later, we finally agreed upon and purchased paint.


See that pile of paint swatches? That is the evidence of one very indecisive wife. Nothing like a pile of 100 or more choices to promote a quick decision, right? Home Depot may prefer I choose my paint elsewhere – I’m fairly certain those paint swatches don’t grow on trees…

Two late nights of painting after the kids went to bed, and we finished our bedroom and bathroom.


We love it.

What a relief.

Then, our attention (or rather, my attention) turned to curtains. We went to one store, found curtains we both liked and brought them home.

Easy -peasy.

They hung for one day before I decided I hated them and could not live with them.

Now, I claim to like curtains. Or rather, I think I like curtains – until I go to the store and look at actual curtains.

I realize people have widely different tastes and that my taste may be strange. BUT, has anyone noticed just how many UGLY curtains are for sale? And when I say ugly, I mean hideous. Have some of these curtains been in the store since 1980?


Can someone tell me WHO pays actual money to hang these curtains in their house?

Defeated after scouring the web, I decided I needed to see them in person. To touch them.

So, being the certifiably crazy person that I am,  I dragged our 2 and 4-year-old children to a curtain hunting, snack-eating-for-entertainment marathon – Kohls, Home Depot, JC Penny, Lowes, Gordmans, Marshalls, Home Goods, Target, Walmart, Macys…and a few more.

As it turns out – despite saying I like curtains…I don’t really like curtains, in-the-fleshfabric.

Picky, picky.

The marathon produced 8 options. Being the indecisive girl that I am…I bought one of each. Thankfully, 4 choices were eliminated easily. Cute in the store – but not here.

The Great Curtain InDecision

That left 4 curtains to hang up and stare at. For days. And days.

Finally, we agreed. And, when my parents came over, they picked the same one without any coaching.



Now I need to return them all before I have second thoughts.

Maybe I’ll show the room next week 🙂

Update Furniture You Already Own: DIY Spray Painted Bar Stools

Our kitchen is full of neutrals and needed a pop of color to coordinate with our dining room.

As I’ve mentioned before, our budget is limited so wherever possible, we use what we already have, updating where necessary. We already own four wood bar stools at the perfect height for our kitchen island. However, they too were neutral in color and don’t go well with the decor of this house. Updating with paint is an inexpensive way to make them look new.

After an adventure stripping the finish from the bar stools (read here), they were ready to paint.

While I love the flat finish of chalk paint, especially when distressed, I didn’t feel like investing the time to clear coat or wax and buff these.

Four Reasons to Choose Spray Paint for Bar Stools:

  • its great for an inexpensive, factory-like, smooth finish, with very little effort
  • the gloss finish can be cleaned with a damp rag and doesn’t necessarily require a clear coat
  • without a clear coat, the stools can be easily painted to change the color down the road
  • if the paint begins to wear, it is easy to touch them up with leftover paint

We chose RustOleum Painter’s Touch 2x Ultra Cover Spray Paint, in Gloss Seaside. Who can argue with the ease of paint and primer in one can? The coverage was fantastic (in fact, WAY better than the Satin Granite (gray) paint used on our console table this summer. What they say is true; different colors can cover VERY differently).

Each bar stool required 2-3 coats, using a total of 4 cans of spray paint. There was quite a bit left in the fourth can to use for touch ups.

Used this paint

Used this paint

I won’t rehash the steps on how to spray paint furniture, but you can read this post if you’d like more detail. Here are the specifics that apply to painting these wood bar stools:

I spray paint in my garage with two large tarps to protect the floor and bottom edges of the walls. I open the garage door and always use a mask.

As with the console table, it was easiest to spray paint the legs first, with the stool upside down on the tarp.

Even though the stools will have felt pads on the bottom, I chose to cover the feet of the stools with painters tape. That way I could spray anywhere and not get paint on the feet that could someday scratch off on my wood floor.

All areas that were easy to spray at a downward angle were painted. While it was tempting to spray UPWARD to paint all the way around the spindles, I didn’t want to risk a dusting of spray paint on the garage ceilings and walls. Trust me, it travels further than you think! Plus, the un-coated areas of the stool are easily accessible from a downward angle when the stool is turned upright to paint the seat.

I allowed the paint to dry overnight before turning upright to prevent fingerprints in tacky paint. The seat was cleaned after turning upright, just in case.

Half way through the first coat. Great coverage with the paint.

Half way through the first coat. Great coverage with the paint.

Turned the stool upright and cleaned the top surface before painting

Turned the stool upright and cleaned the seat before painting










Again, surfaces were coated spraying at a downward angle, which effectively covered all areas missed before.

On the seat, two coats were sprayed and allowed to dry overnight. Then the seat was sanded with FINE sandpaper to remove any imperfections and ensure a smooth top. The final coat was sprayed and allowed to dry overnight.

Before using the stools, I checked that the paint no longer felt sticky or tacky. The paint should feel smooth and dry; if it doesn’t, wait longer or risk having impressions of someone’s rear-end on your seat that you’ll have to sand off and repaint.

Finished stool

Finished stool

When all four stools were finished, we put felt pads on each of the feet and moved them to our kitchen. We love the color they add to an otherwise neutral room and after 2 months of use, they’re holding up nicely.

Finished Stools add a pop of color to our kitchen

Finished Stools add a pop of color to our kitchen

Spending under $15 to update what we already have sure beats paying for new stools.

What do you already own that needs an inexpensive update?

DIY Decor: How to Update a Framed Mirror with Chalk Paint

How to Update a Framed Mirror with Chalk Paint

Chalk paint.

It’s all the rage on Pinterest. Several friends of mine have used it and love it (and what they painted looks fantastic!).

I’ve been dying to try it out but have been too afraid to jump in and use it on a large piece of furniture. Up until now, I’ve been chemically stripping or sanding my wood pieces to prep for spray paint.

With all the work that has been done to prep my other projects so far, the idea of no-prep before painting is rather alluring. I also love the flat finish of wax over chalk paint, especially when mildly distressed.

It. Was. Time.

Since we moved in December, we haven’t hung much on our walls. We have been slowly painting and decorating one room at a time. Currently, we are putting up a kitchen backsplash and painting the walls in our kitchen and main living area. I’ve also been refinishing some bar stools for our kitchen island (stripping them and spray painting them).

The rest of the space is coming together, but I have not selected anything to hang on the walls. With a tight budget, I’m hoping to use things we already have.

We have a framed mirror, in great condition from our old house. In the dimly lit basement, I thought it might look nice upstairs. However, after bringing it up, I didn’t like the color of the wood stain with the color of our floors and carpet.

Older mirror in good condition but the color doesn't go well with our new house

Older mirror in good condition but the color doesn’t go well with our new house

I still wanted to use the mirror but was afraid to chemically strip it, and sanding really isn’t that fun. Plus, if I keep sanding projects every night I’m going to have one skinny arm and one with Popeye muscles since I do most of the sanding with my right hand. There IS some sanding on the back-end if distressing the project, but MUCH less than removing the original finish.

So…finally, an experiment with chalk paint seemed like a great idea.

Unsure of how this would go and on such a small project, I didn’t want to splurge and buy Annie Sloan chalk paint. I looked online and checked out the colors at Home Depot and JoAnn Fabrics. I ended up buying Folk Art Chalk paint at JoAnn Fabrics for $7.99 (and actually paid about $4 with a 40% off coupon). I went back to buy the Folk Art clear wax to seal it the following week with a different coupon, and paid the same as the paint. For a little over $8, the refinishing is certainly worth it and much less expensive than buying a new mirror.

As you may have seen in a few other DIY posts and the post about our dining room, we’re using aqua, yellow, white and silver in our dining room. The dining room connects to our kitchen and main living area. We are using grey paint in those rooms and will use similar accent colors. I want something with a pop of color for the walls, so am using yellow on the mirror frame.

How to Update a Framed Mirror with Chalk Paint


  • Chalk Paint (I used Folk Art Home Decor Chalk Paint in Yellow Crochet)
  • Wax (I used Folk Art Home Decor Clear Wax)
  • Paint brushes (foam brush for paint and old beat up bristle brush for wax)
  • 100 grit sand paper
  • FINE sand paper block


1. Prepare to Paint

Use painters tape to protect surfaces that will not be painted

Use painters tape to protect surfaces that will not be painted

Clean the surface to be painted: Remove dust or debris, and then wipe with rubbing alcohol

Allow the surface to dry

Apply painters tape to any surface that will not be painted


2. Apply Chalk Paint in Thin Layers

Chalk Paint

Chalk Paint

Shake the paint well before use to ensure even coats

This paint has hardly any scent, so can be used indoors. As with most paint, it is a good idea for the object being painted and paint to be the same temperature when you start and to paint when it isn’t really hot or really cold

Use a paint brush to apply paint to the surface

Use care not to apply excess paint in the crevices to make it easier to sand later

A foam paint brush worked very well but bristle brush would also work 

Use care not to apply excess paint in the crevices

Use care not to apply excess paint in the crevices

This paint required 2 hours between coats

3 coats of paint were applied until desired coverage was achieved

First coat of chalk paint

First coat of chalk paint



Second Coat

Second Coat








Third and Final Coat

Third and Final Coat

3. Allow to Fully Dry

The paint needs to dry fully before any sanding can be done

The three coats were applied 2 hours apart, and allowed to dry overnight

4. Sand to Smooth and/or Distress

Fine sanding block and 100 grit sand paper

Fine sanding block and 100 grit sand paper

To Smooth:

If you don’t want visible brush strokes sand the entire surface with a fine sanding block or sand paper

The fine grit will leave a silky smooth finish and help you get a feel for how much pressure to apply before the original surface shows through.

Use sand paper or sanding block to remove paint in some areas

Use sand paper or sanding block in the direction of the wood grain to remove paint in some areas

If you remove too much paint and didn’t want a distressed look, you can always, stop and reapply paint. Dry fully before sanding again.

To Distress:

Distress various areas using sand paper or a sanding block, focusing on areas that would naturally undergo ‘wear and tear’ (edges, corners, ridges)

As a general rule, higher grit will remove more paint with less pressure and effort, 

Use sand paper to remove paint in areas that would undergo wear and tear

Use sand paper to remove paint in areas that would undergo wear and tear

but will also remove the original surface if you aren’t careful.

If you want to see LAYERS (of different colored paint or paint and original finish), it may be worth using more effort with a FINE sand paper instead

Always sand and in the direction of the wood grain to avoid damaging the piece, and to avoid leaving visible scratches on the painted surface

Sand to distress the paint

Sand to distress the paint

It is important to randomize the areas to distress so it looks natural, not planned at the end.

Vary size of distressed area, location, and try to stagger around each edge.

I randomly turned the mirror around and picked different sections to distress on each edge. I tried to vary the length and width of each section

5. Seal with Wax

Clear wax

Clear wax

Wipe down the entire surface to wax with a dry rag and remove as much chalk dust as possible so loose paint doesn’t clump when wax is applied

The wax did have an odor so may be best applied outside or in a well-ventilated area

Use an old, clean paint brush to apply wax in a THIN coat and remove excess with a soft, clean rag

As with painting, use care not to apply excess wax in crevices

Once the wax has dried for an hour, buff the wax with a clear rag to create a little shine (otherwise leave for a matte finish)

Apply wax thinly and then wipe off excess with paper towel or cloth rag

Apply wax in a thin layer and wipe off excess with paper towel or a soft cloth rag

As wax is applied, the colors are deepened, and the contrast between the two colors became stronger

Wax did dry quickly but be sure it is fully dry before handling to avoid finger print impressions




Work in small sections since you can visually tell where wax has been applied

Work in small sections since you can visually tell where wax has been applied






The wax deepens the contrast between the colors

The wax deepens the contrast between the colors





Be sure to wax the outside edges. Might as well pick a beautiful day!

Be sure to wax the outside edges











6. Enjoy the Finished Product

Chalk Painted Mirror

Chalk Painted Mirror

Chalk Painted Mirror Before and After

Chalk Painted Mirror, Before and After images

DIY Spray Painted Console Table: How to Update Furniture with Spray Paint

DIY Spray Painted Console TableA little paint and elbow grease is an inexpensive way to change something that doesn’t fit with the decor of your home and seems dated into something that looks like it was MADE for your house.

Last week I posted on how to strip polyurethane coating off of a console table. The poly coat was THICK, but came off fairly easily, and the table was stripped, sanded, cleaned and was ready for paint.

Since I made an effort to strip this table and make it smooth for paint, I chose to use spray paint, so it will have a smooth, look. free of brush strokes. This post describes the steps taken to paint the console table.

The spray paint was $3.50 per can, and I used 3. New hardware was $10 for the three drawers.

1. Preparation

Furniture Stripping and Preparation to Paint

Table, stripped, ready for paint

Strip the table and prepare to paint. For tips, refer to DIY Painted Console Table: How to Strip Furniture and Prep for Paint

Ensure the table is clean and free of any dust, or loose particles

Locate a well-ventilated space, free of wind (so your spray paint isn’t carried away by the wind instead of falling on your furniture)

Always use a mask when working with spray paint

2. Real the Paint Label

2x Coverage Spray Paint in Satin Granite

2x Coverage Spray Paint in Satin Granite

I know this seems like a silly step, but reading the label is a MUST

All spray paints are NOT created equal. Even if you’ve done this before, you need to know the specifics of the paint you will use

For example, my paint should be applied when temperatures are below 90F and humidity is below 65%.

Additional coats should be applied within 1 hour, or after 48 hours.

Paint is dry to touch after 1 hour.

3. Test the Paint

Test the Spray Paint

Test the Spray Paint

Shake the can. Not just a little. A LOT. The can says to shake for one minute. That is a MINIMUM.

Noisy? Yes. But ensures the paint will work at its best

Test your spray paint to make sure the sprayer works as expected, and that the color is right

I used Rust-Oleum Ultra Cover 2x Satin Spray paint, in Satin Granite. It contains both paint and primer. I chose a satin finish because I didn’t want it to be too shiny, but want to be able to wipe it off if needed (small children).

I did my test spray on the bottom of one of the drawers. Once satisfied it sprayed well and I liked the color, I was ready to paint!

4. Apply Paint to Legs, Drawers and Smaller Surfaces

Apply the first coat with even strokes

Table after the first coat

Second Coat

Second Coat

Touch up any areas that aren't coated once turning upright

Touch up any areas that aren’t coated once turning upright

Turn the table upside down on a tarp or other protective surface (You may want to use a towel or something to pad and keep it from scratching)

If time has passed from the test spray, shake the can again, for at least one MINUTE

To spray paint:

  • Hold the can upright 10-16 inches from the surface, and spray using horizontal strokes
  • Start spraying before the furniture
  • Continue spraying and pass at a steady speed over the furniture
  • Continue spraying until just past the furniture and release
  • Shake the can, and repeat, slightly overlapping the previous pass of paint, until the surface is coated

After two coats, allow to dry before turning the furniture upright

Once upright, touch-up any areas that are not painted due to the angle of spray

If you don’t go PAST the surface, pools of paint will form. I learned this the hard way, with pools where I changed directions OVER the table (see photo of 1st coat). I had to do 2 more coats after 48 hours to even things out. Doing it the right way up front will likely reduce the number of coats required.

My table has curved legs and feet, which made it easier to apply paint with the table upside down. You could do it upright if desired. Turning it upside down also protected the top while I painted the rest.  After the legs had dried (1 hour after last coat), the table was turned over and wiped down before continuing.

5. Apply Paint to Top

On a large, smooth surface, the importance of spraying before and past your surface is magnified. Follow the steps in the image below:

How to apply spray paint

How to apply spray paint

Table top after 1 coat of paint

Table top after first coat of paint

Remember to shake the paint can for a minute before beginning and often between sprays

RESIST the urge to do one thick coat. If you spray it too thick, the paint will bubble and you’ll have to sand it down and begin again

If applying more than 2 coats, wait at least 48 hours (Or if you make an error and need to add two more layers like I did)

Fully painted, 4 coat os paint, before hardware

Fully painted, 4 coats of paint, before hardware

Repeat steps to reapply paint as needed

You can see in this First Coat image how I ended up with pools of paint because I tried to paint half of the top of the table at a time. Don’t do that! Lesson learned. I ended up letting the table dry for 48 hours before painting as described above. Address the whole surface at once (if possible).

I used 4 coats of paint on the legs and table top by the time I was satisfied with the paint on my table.

6. Fully Dry and Reassemble

Finished Table with Hardware

Finished Table with Hardware

Verify that paint is no longer tacky before reassembling

Reassemble the furniture

Use a screw driver to affix drawer pulls or hardware

Due to humidity, the paint was tacky 48 hours after the final coat.  I waited 72 hours before re-assembling.

I ordered black drawer pulls that fit the holes that were already drilled (2.5 inch spread).

7. Determine if Ready to Clear Coat

I am still considering distressing the table, so will not apply clear coat quite yet

Once I decide, I’ll either post an update about the clear coat, or the distressing process

Overall, we like the color we chose and find the satin finish to have just a little shine, but not too much. After 4 coats of paint, the color is even, solid and the table looks clean and updated. It goes well with our house and looks nice in our entry way.

Since I’ve learned a few lessons, I am now ready to tackle the bar stools in my kitchen, hopefully with fewer coats of paint.

Before and After

DIY Painted Console Table: How to Update Furniture with Spray Paint

Happy Painting!

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