Our Powder Room Makeover

As I’ve detailed here, we’ve been sprucing up our house since we moved in July 1. The best part, I think, is our new kitchen — which will be ready for prime time once our counter stools arrive. So more on that soon!

In the meantime, we’ve been working on a smaller and quicker project—the dreary powder room just inside the front door:


What you can’t see very well is the rectangular sconce in the doorway. That’s the one new thing we have so far, from West Elm, which replaced an old, gross vent fan in the wall. Who needs a vent fan in a powder room?



The door opens into the small, narrow space, so when you step in, you have to maneuver a bit just to get the door closed. We plan to change the hinges so the door opens out.


Once you’re fully in, though, there’s not much to see (although the reflection of the beam and ceiling in this mirror is nice).


The 1990-vintage overhead light with bell-shaped glass shades is too fussy. And yippee, it matches the polished brass on the faucet and towel bar. The vanity, furthermore, leaves the ugly plumbing fixtures exposed, and the sink’s scalloped edge is NOT playing nicely with the midcentury vibe of this house.

The one cool thing is that the paneled ceilings of the rest of the house flow into this room, as does one of the beams. I also like the white mirror. So we plan keep the mirror and play up the wood elements and get rid of everything else—especially the prison-like gray paint.

I originally was focused on the classic “Woods” wallpaper by Cole & Son… but after all the other improvements we’ve made around the house, our budget didn’t allow for it. Next best thing: This Birch Tree pattern from… (wait for it) … Home Depot!


We then found this cool vanity from Overstock, which we hope will act like an extension of the wallpaper:


Now, we’re searching for a faucet. We can’t decide between this faucet from Overstock:



Or this one from Wayfair:



Any thoughts on the faucet choice would be greatly appreciated!

Next, we chose this toilet paper holder from AllModern:


I like it because it will blend with the black in the wallpaper, and because we have both brushed chrome and brushed brass in there, I didn’t want to add another metal. Yes, this is metal, but because it’s matte, it doesn’t read as such.

Going back to the vanity area, the mirror is pretty wide, so I had to be careful about what kind of sconces to choose to go on either side. I knew I wanted sconces instead of an overhead bar light, which is there now, because it casts shadows downward. I was trying to put on lipstick the other day in that mirror, and my upper lip was in complete shadow. It also makes you look like you have dark eyes—and not in a good way. Sconces shine light straight out—no shadows—what a concept!

But they can get really expensive—and this little room is our budget redo—so I was thrilled to see these U2 lights from Schoolhouse Electric for $59 each!



I love that it combines the white of the vanity, the chrome of the faucet, and the brass of our other sconce. The circles also counteract the rectangularity of this space. The back plate, furthermore, is only 4 inches wide, so it will fit comfortably between the mirror and the wall. I could also choose long, linear bulbs in case the regular round ones don’t look right:


Last but not least, the brass towel bar is going. I’ve always been annoyed with towel bars in a powder room, because you have to fold them back up nicely once you’re finished using them. And if you’re a dinner guest or host (or a kid, more importantly), you want to quickly get done and get out, right? Hooks are definitely the way to go—just toss the towel back on there and be on your way.

Earlier this year, I ordered some great hooks from the SL Woodworks shop on Etsy for our master bathroom. It’s one of the things I really missed leaving behind. The shop owner, Stephen, can customize the hooks for you, so now, I’m ordering three of these white-washed hooks with a dark gray stripe around the top, which I think will look great on the wallpaper:


I don’t think I’ve ever decorated a room purely from the Internet, but we were in a hurry and we were on a budget, so I’m praying that all of these things will come together. I think they will! I’ll be back with photos once everything is in. I can’t wait to get of that little prison.


  1. Jennifer Sergent says:

    I’m gonna call you, sweetheart!

  2. Michael DiGuiseppe says:

    I want to do the wallpaper!

  3. I just read your latest blog post. I love the light fixture. Before settling on either faucet, look into Signaturehardware.com. It was a big help to us when we did our master bathroom in 2014. We got the free-standing tub, faucets and Toto toilet from them at great prices. Good luck.