One Room Challenge

Before and After: $1,000 Later, an 18-Square-Foot Bathroom Makes a BIG Style Impact

published Jan 28, 2023
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About this before & after
Home Type
Historic Home
Project Type
Skill Level
Rental Friendly
photo of bathroom before renovation

Tiny powder rooms with big drama are often the best kept secret in homes. As homeowner Brittani Welch says, “powder rooms are often underestimated in design … A powder room is the perfect place to experiment with bold patterns, colors and textures that might be considered too overwhelming” elsewhere.

They’re small but mighty, as proven by these powder rooms with daring designs that set the tone for the rest of the home. Brittani’s (@welchempirediy) 18-square-foot main-level bath is another inspiring powder room to add to the list.

The 1962 bathroom started with “plain bland walls, hideous trim, outdated fixtures, rinky-dink brown-ish flooring, a medicine cabinet … a crumbling vanity sink with raggedy pipes, a large 3-foot by 2-foot mirror that was glued to the wall, hideous floral pattern paneling from the ’60s, not the greatest lighting, and an old toilet that didn’t work,” Brittani says.

But she and her husband, Matt, changed all that during the Fall 2022 One Room Challenge.

Brittani and Matt started by demoing. (Fun fact: during this step, about 1,000 razors came out of the wall. Read more about the history of razor disposals here.) Demo took about two weeks — one of the longest parts was sanding down the walls so they were an even texture — and then they had a blank slate to work with.

Brittani knew from the get-go that she wanted to go dark and dramatic with the walls; she painted them Sherwin-Williams’ Tricorn Black. To balance out the black, she went with white marble tiles (from Amazon) on the floor and white paint (Sherwin-Williams’ Snowbound) on the ceiling.

But most importantly, because the space is tiny but tall, Brittani wanted to draw the eye upward. She did so by way of a large floral decal from Etsy and a faux greenery and DIY trellis combo. “I absolutely love my trellis ceiling,” she says. “It gives the powder room the pizazz that it needs!”

In addition to “giving the illusion of taller ceilings and a bigger space,” with their additions up top, Brittani and Matt installed new fixtures that brought the house into the 21st century: a new toilet, a $180 console sink, a round mirror that takes up more of the wall, and stylish vanity lighting.

Brittani’s best renovation advice? “You first need to create a timeline and set goals to ensure that you stay on track,” she says. “Next, you have to gather all relevant information and materials and began the actual work … We were able to choose high quality materials and fixtures while also finding ways to save on labor costs.” The only work she and Matt hired out in the bathroom was the lighting (as they also added recessed lighting in the space), and their total reno cost was about $1,000.

And Brittani says they still have a few additions to make before the bathroom is officially complete. “I still plan on adding some unique elements to the powder room renovation such as two accent slat walls on each side of the toilet,” she says. “I would also add shelves to the slat walls to create storage solutions and make the room feel more organized and efficient.”

But even sans-slat wall, her bathroom is a much more glam, dramatic, modern, and moody space than it was before. It’s a “modern powder room that we can enjoy for many years to come,” Brittani says.

This project was completed for the Fall 2022 One Room Challenge, in partnership with Apartment Therapy. See even more of the One Room Challenge before and afters here.