‘Orange’ You Glad…?


October 4, 2012 by Decorum DIYer

By now, it should be no secret to you that my husband and I are trying to spruce up and modernize our 1960’s brick rancher one room at a time with nothing more than a gallon of paint, some resourcefulness, and an extremely tiny budget.  Case in point, our master bathroom.  Now, our master bathroom is rarely mentioned because Chris and I don’t really use it.  Well, we use it, but mainly for storage.

The pile of stuff that usually resides in our Master Bathroom’s shower. And yes, I have no shame.

You see, although the bathroom is conveniently located off of our master bedroom (duh, that would be the definition of a master bathroom), it is the size of a postage stamp.  One can fit inside and turn around in place to reach all amenities.  It is a 3/4 bath, which is a bathroom with a toilet, a sink, and a shower – no bathtub.  I don’t mind that, for now, but the shower has been broken since before we moved in.  Except for storage, we do use it as a last resort, if our main bath (and only other bathroom in the house I might add) is being used.  Besides being tiny, the master bathroom is unappealing.  It is not a space that says, “Welcome, please drop your drawers and do your business”.  I realize that isn’t the most eloquent quote I could have come up with, but let’s be honest, isn’t that what you really want your bathroom to say when you need to ‘go’?

When we first purchased the house, the master bathroom was the same, poor-coverage, ‘primer’ white as the rest of the house.  I don’t know if someone actually painted the walls with primer or used poor quality paint, but it had a flat finish to it and always seemed to look dirty.  The first month we moved in, I decided to spend an afternoon painting the bathroom, just to make it ‘ours’ and to get rid of the ‘primer’ white. Theoretically, I could have painted the master bathroom any color I wanted, as the room was only viewable from my master bedroom.  So, any color that jived with Valspar’s ‘Woodlawn Lewis Gold’ would work.  However, I also needed to work with the tiles in the bathroom in varying shades of brown, tan, and cream that were everywhere!

Valspar’s ‘Woodlawn Lewis Gold’

The master bathroom floor and wall tile. Although they are ‘earth-toned’, the brown and tan tiles have a bit of a peachy or rosy undertone. The wall tile a bit of a yellow-y quality. 

Whatever I chose, it had to work with the tiles as they were.  Sure, I could have painted all of the tiles.  I could have even covered all of the tiles with bead board, or even board and batten, but all of those processes would have taken time and finances that I didn’t have.  Afterall, this was supposed to be a quick little project with a gallon of paint just to make things not so dreary.  Besides, I sort of have a soft spot in my heart for the original tile.  I really thought working with the original, ‘neutral’ tile would make my job easy.  I mean, at least I wasn’t dealing with baby pink or turquoise blue tiles, right?  On second thought, those colors would have been way more fun.  Anyway I skipped off to Lowe’s (the closest big box home improvement store) with no worries.  I debated for about two seconds in the paint aisle at Lowe’s.  I was between an earthy, clay color and a lighter shade on the same color card that was more of a dark sand.  In the end, I decided to paint the walls in this color by Earth Elements, a line via Lowe’s, as it most closely matched at least one of the many tile colors.

‘Sahara Sands’ by Earth Elements via American Traditions (now Valspar)

The color I didn’t choose: ‘Canyon Earth’ by Earth Elements via American Traditions (now Valspar)

I would not have chosen either of these colors on their own, but decided it was best to stick with the color scheme that was established by the tile in the tiny bathroom.  After about a year (come on, you know the drill, I don’t have any photos of the before with the ‘Sahara Sand’ paint, nor the ‘before, before’ of the ‘primer’ white), I decided I didn’t like the ‘Sahara Sand’ color, as it was a creepy flesh tone.  My walls actually looked like human skin!  I had some ‘Pepper Spice’ paint left from my son’s room and decided to stripe the walls for a tone on tone effect.  Maybe that would help?  I really liked the tone on tone striped paint scheme in my office, so why not?

Behr’s ‘Pepper Spice’

Behr’s ‘Pepper Spice’ striped over the ‘Sahara Sand’.

Another view of the stripes around the room. Ignore the shower curtain, I was just using what I had.

View into the shower. (Yes, it was cleared out!)

A closer view of the stripes and a better idea of just how tiny this space is.

Sorry that the photos are so blurry but I had two things working against me.  Firstly, I am inept with a camera.  I wish I knew how to take a decent picture.  Secondly, I am only a few inches away from the walls, so focusing the image was difficult.  Even standing on the toilet (yes, I am short) didn’t help me get a better perspective.  The stripes worked for a while and we even started to use the master bathroom more.  Before the stripes, I actually marched myself out of bed and down the hall in the middle of night to go, even at the height of pregnancy.

Needless to say, I still wanted to change the bathroom with one more try.  Maybe I just needed one strong color?  I did have this toilet brush holder in the bathroom and always liked the mosaic tile pattern and the colors (I know…, CLASSY!), so I took some inspiration from it:

Pretty, eh? I don’t usually have this sitting on top of my toilet tank, but I wanted to show you how well the colors played together.

Since my bedroom is a golden hue, I thought why not try orange?  After all, autumn is my favorite time of year and I really miss the orange wall that I had in my previous basement.  So, the endless parade of paint chips began.  I usually just go to the store, pick a color using my gut (well, not actually with my gut), and buy the gallon of paint right then and there.  But this color had to be perfect.  It had to help the tile look more fashionable and coordinate with the master bedroom.  This was a first for me, but I taped up quite a few paint chips searching for the perfect orange-ish color.

I’m not even joking.  I agonized for weeks trying to figure out the perfect shade.  Finally, I decided upon Valspar’s ‘La Fonda Copper’.  (And yes, it makes me think of LaFawnda from “Napoleon Dynamite”.)  I painted the walls and the ceiling in the copper color and even used the ‘kitchen and bath’ sheen, as recommended by the paint counter clerk.  I should have stuck with my method and used a satin sheen.  I do like the orange much better, but think that the ‘kitchen and bath’ sheen may be too shiny and distorts the true color of the paint I chose.  I don’t hate it enough to repaint the bathroom just yet, but it does pain me a bit.  Either way, the bathroom is orange and it will stay this shade of orange for a little while longer.  We do use this bathroom much more, especially since we are a family of five with a potty-training two-year old.  Also, having three kids means that we constantly have guests and host our children’s birthday parties, so a second loo is a must!  Without further ‘a-loo’ here it is, our orange master bathroom:

Master bathroom painted in Valspar’s ‘La Fonda Copper’ and with a new shower curtain! We also hung the zebra print higher and switched out the single bulb light fixture for something a bit brighter (three bulbs) and in an oil rubbed bronze finish. We actually purchased it in 2007, but didn’t install it until 2011. The only downside is that the previous light fixture housed the only outlet in the bathroom. Odd, I know.

Another view of the master bath. I also painted the window trim in a cream-colored paint, Valspar’s ‘La Fonda Ecru’.

Doesn’t it look so much better in orange and with a new shower curtain? And to think this little inspiration piece was under my backside, uh, nose, the whole time…. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist. I really am a 6 year-old boy at heart.)


  • one gallon American Traditions’ paint:  $30 from Lowe’s
  • paint for the darker stripe: (free – already had it for another room’s project)
  • one gallon of Valspar paint: $35 from Lowe’s
  • trim paint for window (free – already owned, as it is the ceiling color of our current master bedroom)
  • new shower curtain: $8 from Big Lots
  • new light fixture: $20 on clearance from Home Depot

TOTAL BUDGET:  $93 (not bad, considering I repainted a few times)



And now I leave you with a little joke that my children have been telling and which served as the inspiration for this post’s title:

Knock. knock…

Who’s there?


Banana who?

Knock, knock…

Who’s there?


Banana who?

Knock, knock…



(sigh) Orange who?

Orange ya glad I didn’t say banana?

And on that note, ‘orange’ you glad this isn’t your bathroom and you didn’t paint it three times in four years?  Until next time, happy painting, and painting, and painting, and painting…!


3 thoughts on “‘Orange’ You Glad…?

  1. Suzz says:

    Excellent post – I love seeing/reading the “evolution” of your Master Bathroom, Christine.

    I am encouraged to know that we are not the only ones to have moved into a house with “…poor-coverage, ‘primer’ white …primer or used poor quality paint!” Oy.

  2. […] and putting off since the day we moved into this house.  In a previous post I told you about my ever-so-tiny master bathroom.  Another reason that my husband and I have disliked using our master bathroom is because it […]

  3. […] my husband is in love with our current wall color and I think the master bathroom will stay orange (even if it changes to a slightly different shade – Behr’s […]

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