When a bathroom needs updating you don’t have to spend thousands replacing all the fittings. A coat of paint and one or two well-chosen pieces can breathe new life into old cabinets.
Former Handyman managing editor Lee Dashiell’s bathroom had 1980s timber cabinetry that was still sound, but over the years had become scratched and the surface looked patchy.
"To change the look, plus modernise and brighten the room, we decided to paint the cabinets," says Lee.
"We also wanted to add some personality so we tiled over the benchtop with Mexican tiles and installed hand-painted sinks."
To install a sink, place it upside down on the benchtop and mark its outline on the timber with a pencil.
Make 10mm marks inside the outline every 50mm, then connect the marks to form the cut line.
"I used a drill with a 10mm bit to make a starter hole inside the cut line, then made the cut with a jigsaw while supporting the cutout," says Lee.
"I smoothed the edges with a sanding block and sealed them with finishing oil to stop moisture damage."
Preparation is key to a good finish, so the doors were scrubbed with sugar soap and undercoated with a primer and sealer.
Priming timber before painting is essential and Lee used a product with a stain block to stop any colours leaching out of the timber and showing through the paint.
"I was surprised how well the primer-sealer adhered to and coated the glossy doors. I didn’t have to sand them down to prepare them, which was a great time saver," says Lee.
The cabinets were given two coats of primer and two coats of paint, then finished off with new handles.