Quick and Easy Bathroom Update: How to Upcycle a Thrift Store Window Frame

Bathroom window box turned towel rack, with greenery, towels, candles, sign

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When it comes to updates in homes, kitchens and bathrooms seem to top most people’s wish lists.  But as we all know, these are probably the most expensive rooms to update!  So of course, I’m always looking for budget-friendly ideas.  And today, I’ve got a great one to share with you.  Follow along with this quick and easy bathroom update!  Let me show you how I created a simple towel rack and storage cubby from a thrift store find!



Bathroom Storage Needs

How many of you find that bathrooms just don’t quite have the storage or organization most of us are looking for?  We have two bathrooms in our home – the ensuite and the “main” bathroom.  They are nearly identical, builder-grade bathrooms.  Functional but certainly not fun or fresh.

When we first moved in, we painted most of the rooms, but surprisingly, the bathrooms were in really good shape!  We needed to swap out the towel bars, but other than that, not much was needed. 

However, now that we’ve been living in this home for 10 months, I’m seeing what we’re missing.

The towel bar that we installed in the main bathroom is nothing fancy, as you can see here, and it’s time for something a little more fun and a lot more stylish! 


Silver towel rack with white towel on grey wall.
This towel rack was functional, but far from the fun, fresh, farmhouse look I was after!


So I went out to the garage to see what I had on hand that might make for a good transformation project.


What I Used

As I said, I found this window frame/box in my stash of treasures that I’ve acquired over time.  To be honest, I don’t even know how long I’ve been hanging on to it!  It originally had some sort of flower arrangement in the box, but that went buh-bye.  Just not my style.


Silver spray-painted wooden window box
The structure of this window box is exactly my style, but I wasn’t in love with the silver spray-paint finish.


This window box is made from reclaimed wood that has been spray-painted silver.  Overall, it’s in really great shape!  The rustic finish is totally my style, just not the metallic finish.

I wanted a way to hang my hand towels without using the standard towel rack, so I decided to put some small hooks in the bottom of the window box.  I find that hand towels always look crazy messy in a bathroom, so why try to fold them?  

In order to keep the towels on the hooks, I simply sewed a small piece of ribbon on one side, to create a hanger. 


What I Did

I started by trying to sand down the window box to get rid of the silver spray paint.  No go.  Time to move on to Plan B – paint it.  Of course, then I needed to decide – spray paint or paintbrush?  Of course, the quick-finish DIYer in me shouted SPRAY PAINT!  Again – no go.  My white spray chalk paint was really disagreeing with me for some reason, which still isn’t clear to me. 

So I moved on to my new favourite – FolkArt Home Decor Chalk Furniture & Craft Paint.  I love this paint.  It goes on so nice and dries quickly and evenly.  Love it!

Be sure when painting an item like this window box that you are following the manufacturer’s directions.  If it says to let the paint dry for 48 hours, do it.  You don’t want to ruin a new favourite piece because you couldn’t wait!

Here’s an image of how the first coat came out:


White painted wooden window box
I really like the full coverage on the box, but the lighter coverage on the frame!

I was really liking the full coverage on the box, but lighter coverage on the frame section.  With this type of wood, full coverage simply wasn’t going to work for me.  I think having the texture of the wood showing really suits the style of the window box.  Once it was dry, I even went back and lightly sanded a couple of spots along the edges to give it a more worn look.

Next came the hardware.  On the back, there is a small picture-hanger attached to the frame.  Because I don’t plan to use this window box for much more than towels and a small display, I decided it was sturdy enough for my needs.  I did reinforce the hanger with some E6000 Craft Adhesive, just to be sure it would hold.


Silver hardware on wood frame
This hardware is sufficient, but it was a little loose. A few drops of E6000 Craft Adhesive keeps it from going anywhere!


Finally, I attached the towel hooks.  I dug through my tool bench and found some small hooks on screws – perfect for this type of wood. 


Wooden window box with brass hooks for towels
Because the wood is soft and the towels are light, these simple screw-in hooks are perfect!


After deciding between two or three towels, I measured the base of the window box. 

The hooks are at the intersection of one-third of the width of the box and one-half of the width.  So in this case, the base of this box is 21″ x 5″.  I inserted the hooks at 7″ from each edge and 2.5″ on the width.  If you are putting hooks on this type of display, aim to have your hooks at half the depth of the base.  This way, the towels aren’t sticking out from the box, but they are also out far enough to allow them to dry!

Preparing Your Towels

As a side note, I use all white towels throughout our house, similar to these Amazon Basics Cotton Hand Towels.  Pretty sure I found mine in Costco, but you get the idea!  I like the look and they wash up so nicely!  So I pulled four white hand towels out of the linen closet and prepared them for hanging on the hooks.

Using some pretty white crochet ribbon I found at the dollar store, I created hangers for each towel.  You can do this one of two ways:

The Hidden Method:

Cut a small piece of ribbon – 3 inches will be enough.  Turn the very ends of the ribbon under and sew it along the edge of your towel.  You can do this in the middle of the length of the towel, or wherever you like.  Sew just the ends to your towel, as this will create the “hook”.



The Loop Method:

Using a slightly longer piece of ribbon than in the Hidden Method, create a loop by folding it in half and stitching the ends to the towel in a placement that you like.  Again, it can be the middle of the length, the top corner or whatever pleases your eye!

Whichever method you choose to hang your towels, measure your space first!  You don’t want your towels hanging so low they drag on the floor or hit a heater!  Trust me – I speak from experience!

Of course, depending on the space, you might find both styles work well, so why not sew up a pair of each!

The Finishing Touches

Naturally, the fun doesn’t stop when I hang the towels!  Undertaking an easy bathroom update has to include some fun decor!  Having a window box like this one has a lot of decorating possibilities!  I could also choose to use the box for storage.  But being me, I decided to do both.

I made this cute little sign using a dollar store surface and ribbon, craft paint and a fun Chalk Couture transfer.  I think it looks great with this frame! 


Wood sign with black and white plaid ribbon, Hand Towels Free
Adding personal touches using Chalk Couture adds some whimsy to any decor!


Next came some greenery – fake, of course, and a couple of extra hand towels.  A bath bomb, candle and ceramic owl finished up the look!  I could do so much in this space, but for right now, I’m liking the “less is more” vibe!

So as you can see, it is possible to do a quick and easy bathroom update without spending a lot of money!  I was very fortunate to have found this window box somewhere in my journeys but you could easily recreate this look with an old window frame and a dollar store wood box or shelf!  The possibilities are endless.

If you are looking for some smaller storage options, check out this video:



While I originally intended this piece for my kitchen, it would be perfect for any easy bathroom update!


For some of my other favourite thrift store makeovers, check out these posts:

Quick and Easy DIY Reversible Fall Sign

Easy DIY Planters for Houseplants



Want to remember this?  Save this Quick and Easy Bathroom Update: How to Upcycle a Thrift Store Window Frame to your favourite Pinterest boards!



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Hi! I'm Tanya

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