Powder room redo, from dark to light

May 08, 2014

It’s time to go back in time again and check out the progress of the smallest room in our house over the years. First of all – I think the amount of time and effort I’ve put into this bathroom is odd because I haven’t done much at all in bathrooms that would bring more value – like the master bath. But, we use the powder room ALL the time. And guests see it. So in the end, I guess it’s worth making it a priority.

And secondly, I’ve painted this small room more times than I’ve painted most of the rooms in our house all together. I was talking with a friend a few months ago and she mentioned how much I paint in our house – I told her she’d be surprised that most of the rooms in our home have only been painted once. They’ve stayed that way for a long time too. The kitchen, family room, master bath, guest bath and master have been painted once in ten years. And the living room, staircase, loft and upstairs hall as well.

BUT…when I paint one tiny room like 56 times, yeah, I could see how it seems like I’m always painting walls. ;)

This was a room I was never quite happy with, until last year when I finally finished it up. I lived with each look for a couple years, but it never felt quite right. Shortly after we moved in I tried my hand at molding – and I used Liquid Nails to apply the molding. You know, just in case I NEVER EVER WANTED TO TAKE THEM OFF:

Here’s the proof that we all start somewhere. I was using an electric handheld saw to cut that wood and didn’t begin to know how to cut at an angle – so I used some trim pieces in the corners. I think they’re supposed to be installed with baseboards.

The quality was…interesting. :) So years later I made over the room again. This time with mitered corners (yeah!) and lots of brown (noooo):

dark brown bathroom

I actually quite like this for a while. But after a while the chocolate brown got depressing and dark and…brown.

I went all the way too:

dark brown ceilings

But pretty soon I was craving a lighter look. I painted over the stencils, took the molding down, then started painting over the brown in a hurry before a party. It was months later before I finally finished it up: 


At this point we’re a good two years into the redo here. I’ve mentioned a few times that when I stall on things it’s either because they’re incredibly hard or because I’m still not convinced on my direction. This one was the latter. :)

But the plan finally came together in my head and I forged on! I started installing the wood planks:

And pooped out again. I knew it would look good eventually – I was just tired of the space and needed to focus elsewhere. A few months went by and I was ready again. (Told you – longest makeover EVER.)

When I was ready again I spent a few days straight working like a beast. The planked walls came together: 

how to install planked wallsYou can see how I installed those here. The process is really easy, it just takes some time. And painting them in a pain in the butt, for real. 

And then I tried my original plan on the walls – painting them red:

DIY craftsman trim

If I was more of a red girl I would have gone for it – but I’m not. I loved the red against the white for sure, it just wasn’t the look I was going for.

After two more attempts on the color I finally got it right. Accessible beige by Sherwin Williams:

white planked walls

Let’s count the number of times I’ve painted this room now, shall we? I think I’m at seven. :) Seventh time is a charm I guess.

The whole room was designed around my son’s artwork – it was when I saw it that I knew exactly what I wanted to do in the room:

planked walls in bathroom

We obviously changed more than just the walls – the hardwoods are so lovely and the IKEA vanity offers a ton more storage. I truly, truly love this space now. It’s bright and happy and fun – and it reminds me of my boy. :)

You can see the full reveal of the room here and all the details of the space are here. Even though it’s the smallest room in our house I think it’s one of the biggest transformations I’ve ever done. Maybe I need to take five years to redo all my spaces! Oh that’s right. I do.

Thanks for looking back with me again! Before and afters are my favorite! :)

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  1. Hard to believe it's the same bathroom. Such a dramatic difference. I love the colors you choose for the room. You make potty breaks more fun!!

  2. Out of all the colors I really like the last one the best. Looks so pretty....great job.

  3. Love it! Is the powder room accessible grey or agreeable grey?

    1. Sorry, acessible beige or agreeable grey?

  4. UH! Hello! I really love that bathroom :) I feel like the trim would challenge me but I might be able to handle the rest..call in the recruits for the rest of it I suppose! Great work on that, it looks awesome!

  5. I remember when you posted about the brown bathroom, Sarah! Golly, time flies, doesn't it? I love the way you show how your style has evolved over the years. It's fun being on the journey together, isn't it?

  6. I love this version, it is the best. I do that sometimes too, I just keep on until I finally think I have it right.

  7. Wow! I do this too, but usually just with rearranging furniture. I love the final look. So clean and simple, but cheery and bright.

  8. That bathroom is beautiful! You have amazing talent.

  9. I'm working on our master bathroom right now and it's draggggging like a mofo. I want my end result to be as beautiful as yours, so I'm not gonna give myself a hard time anymore. Beauty takes time, right? We built the room from scratch seven years ago. Still haven't tiled the shower. Yes, we rock.

  10. All I want to say is, "wow! Your post came through! After weeks of not receiving posts from you or any other blog I subscribe to, this is the first one to come back. Many other bloggers have been addressing the issue. I wonder if you have noticed less readers opening your posts? I'm sure that would impact you financially too. I've been googling your blog to be able to read your posts. In any case.... Welcome back!

    I remember when you did the powder room in brown; I've been following you for years!

  11. I love the wall planks-- I'm sure you've already talked about how you adhered (or nailed?) them to the wall-- do you have any specifics on that (or can you link me back to where you did talk about that)? It looks awesome.

  12. It looks beautiful! I love the wall planks. I would love to do that in our next home. :)

    <3 Ash

  13. You mean I'm not the only one who paints a room over and over again! I hear ya about the brown...I'm in the process of lightening up this house too because I've had enough of the dark brown. Love the white planks with the lighter walls - such a pretty makeover. Thanks for sharing your makeover journey with us!
    Marie @ The Interior Frugalista

  14. I swear we are identical twins separated at birth! And we share a brain. This is, without a doubt, my most favorite bathroom ever!!! And I will be copying you again when I get the funds and time :) Thanks for sharing it again.

  15. AHHH it looks amazing!!! Really, I'm in love with the new bathroom. The planked walls are gorgeous. All of your hard work paid off. You have serious skills!

  16. I love that you designed the room around Bub's art...we do that here too, and he's 18 now. I also love my first floor powder room, althoujgh we had builders do it. I had them tile the porcelain up the wall, and add a 1 inch shaker trim piece to match the rest of our house. They thought I was nuts but it is truly one of my fav. rooms in our redone house! Great colors on this latest redo.

  17. It is beautiful!! And adding that beige to the list of colors to try out!!


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THANKS so much for reading!