A few months ago, I purchased some peel-and-stick wallpaper, frames, and hand towels for our tiny downstairs hall bath. But between homeschooling and entertaining kids all day, every day, I just couldn’t find the few hours I needed to pull it all together. So when Greg asked me what I wanted for Mother’s Day last month, my answer was “Nothing but a few hours to finally give the downstairs bathroom a little love,” and that’s what I got! This little powder room refresh was made possible by combining some great sale purchases with a few finds from around the house. The whole project came together in just a few hours and resulted in one of my quickest, easiest and most gratifying rental updates ever! Let me show you!
Truth be told, the powder room on our main floor is not one of my favorite parts of this house. The vanity and mirror are not at all my style, and both are a bit too large and overpowering for the teeny tiny space. Updating the vanity wasn’t really an option (#renters), but I knew I could still add a little style via my tried-and-true combo of wallpaper + art + accessories. Not only have I had success with this combo in bathrooms before, but it also makes for a really quick and affordable refresh project!
Usually, when I set out to make over a space, I come up with a plan before I start to buy and execute. This time though, I came across some fantastically simple wallpaper at an amazing price (it was $18/roll at the time I bought it), and it instantly became the jumping off point for this little project. I had a hunch it would work perfectly with the existing wall color and felt the large-scale trellis pattern wouldn’t be too overwhelming in the small bathroom. Although I ordered the wallpaper somewhat on a whim (because I always jump for cheap wallpaper when I see it!), I knew I had other things around the house that could help pull it all together!
NOTE: I have to first preface the rest of this bathroom tour with an apology. This bathroom is tiny. And no matter where I stood, what camera lenses I tried, and what kind of light I had, getting good pictures was practically impossible. I almost didn’t share this space at all because I’m not sure you can truly get a sense for how charming it came out. However, I still wanted to share my methodology here so you feel empowered and inspired to take on a similar project in your own home!
I started the refresh by wallpapering the one long wall. Although this blue paper still ranks as the easiest wallpaper to install ever…the tan trellis paper I used here is a close second. I’ve installed peel-and-stick wallpaper in no less than 12 spaces at this point, and this one went up really easily and instantly transformed the entire bathroom.
The next project was to hang some art above the toilet. I’ve used brass/gold accents throughout the rest of the downstairs, so it only made sense to use two more of my favorite gold frames to fill up the vertical space behind the toilet.
I originally had plans for very different art in here. But when my first few DIY ideas didn’t work out quite as I hoped, I went hunting through the basement to see what else I could find. I came across this Watercolor Bubbles print I bought ages ago; and since it coordinated so well with the curtains in the nearby dining room, I decided to use it to dictate the rest of the bathroom’s color scheme. Admittedly, I’ve tried to remove turquoise from most of our house, but I sure do love how it works with the neutral/beige color in here!
As I mentioned in this post, I had been wanting to use the World of Hearts Cricut design on something since it so vividly represented the current crises the world is enduring. Additionally, the world image played so nicely with both the dotted trellis wallpaper and the Watercolor Bubbles print that it became the obvious way to fill up the second frame. By choosing cardstock that coordinated with the Bubbles print, I was able to quickly pull together matching art using only things I had on hand!
There is no counter space in this bath for any large accessories. Still, I wanted to place some useful items in here…so the back of the toilet was the only option.
Tissues and lotion are not only appropriate and helpful to have in a bathroom, but when corralled on a gorgeous brass tray, they help the bathroom feel a little more complete, intentional, and polished. These accessories were also dug out of the basement…sometimes it pays to hoard items move after move after move!
While rummaging through the basement, I found the other piece of art I originally hung with the Bubbles art (way back in our North Carolina home). Not only did this help carry the color scheme to the front half of the bathroom, but it also filled the obvious void above the towel rack.
For whatever reason, I have the hardest time picking out towels for any space, but particularly bathrooms. Too often they feel too patterned, too themed, or too colorful, and I can’t make them work from one house to the next. When I came across these white on white dot towels, I knew they were the perfect complement to the other circular elements in this room (wallpaper, etc). They are playful while still being really neutral and classic, and I kind of wish I had bought them for all our bathrooms.
I really wish I was able to fully capture this space for you guys in order to see it better. For some reason, the neutral walls combined with the subtle wallpaper, the darker vanity and mirror, metallic elements, and bright artwork just came together in such a simple yet sophisticated way that really breathed fresh life into this stuffy bathroom. It doesn’t feel overdone, in your face, or complicated…but welcoming and thoughtful…and the perfect complement to the rest of our downstairs.
Every time I walk in, I get all the heart eyes for this little powder room. And what I love even more than how it looks is that it serves as a reminder that just an afternoon’s worth of work can really do wonders for helping you love your home more. Nothing here was hard or expensive. Nothing is permanent, and nothing required demolition. Sure…I really don’t like this bathroom’s size, flooring, vanity or mirror. But by adding just a few thoughtful and budget-friendly updates, I was able to create a whole space I genuinely, truly love!