Monday, July 5, 2010

I am working with a client to spruce up their lifeless powder room.   It is a typical 3’ x 6’  nondescript room with standard issue toilet, sink, faucet and lighting.  Powder rooms are for guests, so why not make them pretty?

Nine times out of ten, I recommend wallpaper in a powder room as it brings instant style for minimal investment, as we are  talking about a relatively small space.  No surprise, considering my frequent posts on the subject.

Rather than wallpapering the entire wall, floor to ceiling, I usually recommend applying wainscoting/panel moulding to the bottom and only wallpapering the top.  This way, the wallpaper doesn’t get damaged by water splashes.  Or worse yet, receive a shower when your naughty adventurous children take to filling balloons with water in your powder room.  If this isn’t a concern, then apply wallpaper to the entire room for maximum impact.


This is one of my favourite powder rooms (Coastal Living) wallpapered from head to toe.


This is my powder room.  I left the standard issue builder pedestal sink as it is not that unsightly (although this camera angle makes it look that way.)   Eventually, as the budget allows, I will replace it with something like this.  I did replace the faucet, towel rod, mirror and lighting.  I fell in love with the mirror, bought on sale at Pier One, and then decided to go with a bronze finish for the faucet, etc.   I love how the motif in the mirror echoes the stylized flowers in the Crown wallpaper.

The “wainscoting” is simple  2” x 3/4” trim with a small cap piece on top.   The vertical pieces of trim divide the wall into equal sections and are nailed to the wall.  The top of the cap is at 45” which is an appropriate height considering the 9’ ceiling.  I wanted it high enough to provide a “backsplash” and it doesn’t interfere with the electrical plug.

The trim and wall are painted Benjamin Moore Cloud White (semi gloss) to match the baseboards and crown moulding.  This is the simplest way to apply moulding to a room, other than a chair rail as in the Sarah Richardson designed powder room below.  This can still look fabulous especially when the lower half is painted in a darker shade than the wallpaper.



In this powder room from Sarah’s House, she used beadboard and a gorgeous Cole and Son wallpaper.  Unlike trim that is applied to the drywall and painted out, beadboard comes in sheets that you cut to size and affix to the wall.

You can get the look of beadboard using paintable wallpaper from companies like Graham and Brown.  This product comes highly recommended by bloggers who have used it everywhere including on kitchen and bathroom cabinets and ceilings.  (Just google beadboard wallpaper to see it’s versatility and ease of use.)


I have posted this image from Thibaut before which is a stunning example of the impact of wallpaper paired with beautiful moulding – the styling doesn’t hurt either.  If your powder room is small, you will only need two rolls so splurging on something like this wouldn’t be cost-prohibitive.

This panel moulding can be done in the same way I described above but with more decorative trim pieces and an extra trim piece within the recessed panel.  There are endless possibilities when designing the look of the panels.


This is Ally’s powder room (From the Right Bank).  She chose an inexpensive wallpaper (less than $16/roll) for her first try at wallpapering.  I think it looks fabulous.


Phoebe Howard

You can also choose to tile the bottom section but this is more labour intensive than applying moulding.  Love this leggy vanity.


Elizabeth Dinkel

I’m sharing this post at Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch.


If you need help decorating your powder room or any other room in your home, please contact me at


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