Hideous textured 1970s tile- what to do

livesinnewjerseyApril 29, 2013

Hello! We are readying our home to place it on the market. What should we do with this guest bathroom and all this tile without spending a lot?

Too bad they didn't use just plain white tiles and too bad they tiled so much!

Is painting the tiles an option (they go all they way into the shower.
Do you think I should paint the cabinets white, change the hardware and the walls a different color. Does the green wall bring attention to the 1970s? What color?

We have renovated the kitchen so this is really out of sync with rest of the house. Thanks!

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I don't know, it actually looks quite clean and cohesive with the floor and cabs. I'd leave it and the cabs alone. I think both would look worse painted. Doubt it will make or break your sale. If it's not completely updated, I think most would rather update it to their own taste.
Are the towel bars ceramic and grouted in or can they be changed?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 10:33PM
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On the positive side, it looks like your cabinetry is in good shape and is a nice rich stain. I think I'd change the hardware but would not paint them unless they are in much worse condition than they look in the picture.

Your counter looks nice and neutral and the floor looks like it's a pretty classic pattern so no changes needed there.

That wall tile.... yeah, that's not great. I don't know if it can be successfully painted (without looking obvious anyway) so I'd probably just try to minimize it by painting the walls as close to the same color as possible. I don't think there is anything wrong with the green in there now but the contrast with the tile draws more attention to the tile than I'd want.

The towel bars are dating your bathroom, I think. Is it possible to remove them and replace them with something that would match your new cabinet hardware? (Possibly not if the tile is installed around them or if removing them would cause damage to the tiles.)

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 10:39PM
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I agree with everything the others said! I think I would paint the walls a gray/taupe, like ABALONE (Benjamin Moore) - it has a reddish undertone that will work well with those cabinets. Take down the window treatments and update the artwork with something more neutral and modern and not personal. Modern hardware and towel racks too. Good luck with the sale!

This post was edited by ChristaM on Tue, Apr 30, 13 at 0:08

    Bookmark   April 29, 2013 at 11:16PM
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I wouldn't do a thing. It looks nice and clean.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 1:21AM
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I think that if you use a reddish undertone paint it will pop out that tile texture/color even more. It looks like it has green tones and the contrast with red will ring loud I believe. Maybe you can get new staging stuff on the walls, a softer green paint, and towels. Then see what you think.

Putting new sink and faucet fixtures might help if they are needed. It will read clean. Getting the pulls and knobs in a good color and style to pull everything together would be helpful too. It looks like they are brass and the faucets are chrome.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 7:54AM
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Thanks for your kind words and suggestions.
Funny I never noticed the towel bars :). They are cemented onto the tiles. Anyone have experience with removing that or am I endanger of cracking tiles. Maybe just those mounts could be painted white so they blend?

what should the window treatment be? Are valances officially out? If not maybe a woven textured more swag like?

My kids and their 30 min long showers ruined the faux wood cabinets with peeling (we finally installed a vent). So they are not looking so great--what is the remedy besides changing the hardware? Many thanks!!!

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 10:29AM
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Don't touch the towel bars because they are grouted in and there is no tile behind the brackets.

I would maybe paint the cabinetry because of the damaged finish and call it done.

I think a bath like this people are either going to leave the tile as is like you did, or do a gut renovation and remove it, so I wouldn't overthink it. Look at the comps and talk to your realtor.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 10:41AM
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This may be more than you want to undertake, but if it were me I would take down the wall tile and drywall the lower half. I'd cover the floor so it isn't damaged and leave it. Looking at your first picture I was thinking I liked the cabinets and would leave them as is. But, seeing the damage in your second picture I probably would paint them black. Just my .02.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 11:12AM
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My .02 is:

Lose the valance and put in a bamboo roman shade w/privacy liner. They even have those cut-to-measure at Lowe's these days for about $35.

Old English on the damaged parts of cabinetry.

Take down the wrinkly old picture and put up something fresh, along with some fresh and fluffy white towels.

That's it!

I was expecting so much worse from your thread title--it isn't honestly too bad. Clean and spacious. Painted cabinets look terrible unless you do it RIGHT, which is a miserably painstaking job to undertake just to sell it. (And buyers will probably redo, anyway.)

Most buyers will poke their head into the bathroom, take note that it needs updating, but figure it will will be fine to live with for a while.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 4:16PM
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I agree with Shanghaimom. Benjamin Moore has a product, don't know what it is called, but it's like a super thick stain that you could apply to those cabinets, perhaps go a little darker/more current colour. Lose the valance for sure. I wouldn't bother changing the handles, cuz then you'd have to change out the hinges or paint them (I have painted hinges with Sophisticated Finishes metallic paint- but it's a lot of work, and not necessary unless you happen to have a lot of extra time on your hands). Hinges on old cabinets can be amazingly hard to find replacements for... You actually could paint both the handles and the hinges with the SF paint, now that I think about it... but I would start with fixing the finish on the cabinets and put my time and energy there.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 4:06PM
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I love the green walls and I actually like the tile. It doesn't look terribly dated - just different than the so commonly used subway we see in every bathroom.

If the damage to the vanity is just what you are showing, you could probably sand that part and touch up with a matching stain and a satin poly (if you can match the stain and poly to the other cabinet). I had a tired looking oak double vanity where the finish was wearing thin and it just looked worn, but it was in great condition otherwise. I lightly sanded it and gave it a fresh coat of semi-gloss poly and it looked 100% better. Sometimes the factory finish is just not tough enough to stand up the wear and tear of a family and toiletry products (hairspray is the worst). In fact the finish I applied is still going strong and so easily cleaned.

If you can't repair the finish, they would look really nice painted a creamy white (think vanilla ice cream) to give you a slightly spa look. Don't use a stark white - but something that blends with the wall tile. Crystal knobs would be pretty if you paint to kindgive you a slightly vintage vibe to go along with the 70's embedded tile bars.
What kind of condition is the flooring in? Is it sheet vinyl or tile? Hard to tell in the picture. If you paint the cabinets, you might consider changing the flooring

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 7:06PM
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I think the best thing is to ask your realtor . When we were trying to sell our first house 12 years ago , our realtor told us to change the pinkish color that we had in the foyer , living room , dining room and hall ways, because it was turning people off the minute they walked into the house . We did change into a neutral color , and the house sold shortly after that . I think it really depends on the real estate market where you live . If there is a shortage , then people would buy it any way and fix it later . If there is a lot of inventory in your price range then I agree with raehelen about fixing the cabinets , and maybe the paint color . Choose a good realtor and he or she will tell you what you need to do . Good luck .

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 7:17PM
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its clean, I would not address it.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 7:51PM
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I think lillo's advice is good. Your agent is probably your best resource to give you advice about your market. I don't know where you live or your price point, but where I live it is still very much a buyer's market. My sister has had her house on the market for almost 5 months and just got her first offer. The buyer came in with a low offer even though they had just reduced the price because he felt that the house needed some updates. It was built in the late 80s and is very clean. They had already updated the flooring with new tile and carpet. What I'm hearing over and over here is that buyers expect either a near perfect move-in ready house or a dirt cheap deal. Your agent can tell you whether it is worth putting any money into upgrades.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2013 at 8:40PM
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I would paint BM glazed green or dune grass or something that is a lighter shade of the green in the tile, gel stain the vanity in java and add a matchstick valance. A grouping of large botanical prints (eBay has some great ferns for cheap) framed in espresso frames to match the vanity will add some pop. New chrome hardware and faucet.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 11:16PM
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Totally agree with gmp3:
bamboo woven shade
lighter green wall paint
new chrome hardware
and, my favorite, General Finishes gel stain in Java
nice towels and nice soap
and remove that dried flower wreath

What does the light fixture look like?

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 3:43PM
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Late to the party but here's my 2 cents. Little sanding, little staining can bring those cabinets up to speed. I HATE the towel bars (and I'm into retro:). First, check under the vanity to see if there is a tiled wall. Start with the cut tiles around the plumbing and see if you can break out some good tile. Now that you have the extra matching tile, break out the tile bars and replace with the matching tile. Find something close and cheap and replace the tiles you stole from under the vanity. Just did this in my bath and I love it now.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 9:57PM
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If you haven't tackled the vanity yet, before trying gel stain, I'd try Howard's Restore A Finish. It has a little bit of stain, a little oil and a little solvent to color the unfinshed wood, enrich the wood and even out the finish Wipe it on, wipe off the excess. If the surface is pretty rough, you might want to use 0000 steel wool instead of a soft cloth. Their website has a video that shows how it works. I used it on an old radio cabinet that had been in a garage for many years, splattered with paint and all. Maybe $10 and a few minutes, so worth a try on any of your cabinets.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 4:49PM
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Good advice with Howard's Restore-a-Finish. Just did that on an old table, and it worked great. The steal-a-tile approach sounds great if you can pull it off.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 6:58PM
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