Before and After: One Weekend, One Tiny Powder Room, TONS More Charm

published Jan 7, 2020
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Small spaces are tricky to decorate—how do you infuse personality when you have barely any wall or floor space? Powder rooms can pose a particular challenge, especially the ones—like Kathryn Flynn’s—that are so tiny they’re almost closet-like. Kathryn called hers “the smallest powder room in the world,” noting that the whole thing was basically only the width of its pedestal sink. Plus, she says, it had “builder cream walls and zero personality.”

But even though the room was tiny and dark, it was the bathroom guests used most often at the Flynn house, so Kathryn wanted to make it feel more welcoming. “I felt like it was saying to them, we don’t care,” Kathryn says. “I wanted it to be interesting and bold.” So over just one weekend, Kathryn and her husband gave the space a completely new look.

First, they removed the existing baseboards. They installed a 1×3 baseboard and top rail, with thinner MDF stiles—those vertical pieces—for a classic board-and-batten look. A 1×2 attached above the wainscoting acted as a sweet little ledge around the room.

After that, Kathryn drew up plans for the diagonal trim on the upper half of the wall; her husband cut the MDF to fit and installed it. Once all the MDF and wood pieces were up, they filled the nail holes and caulked the gaps for a seamless look. Then, Kathryn painted the bottom portion of the wall deep teal (Benjamin Moore’s River Blue) and the top bright white (Benjamin Moore’s Silver Satin). For the ledge, Kathryn chose an oak-toned stain (Minwax’s Polyshades Mission Oak) to match her existing mirror, which she’d picked up earlier at Homesense.

“This room turned out even better than I could have imagined,” Kathryn says. With the new architectural details and deep color, it feels like an entirely different space—and all with just a weekend’s worth of work.

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