Polished Powder Room

By Kate Riley January 17, 2012

Hey everyone, I managed to snap a few shots yesterday of the upgrades to the downstairs powder room!  Freshening this space was one of my Home Goals of 2012 and I’m loving the new look.  This downstairs bathroom is just 3’ x 8’ but a few changes added some real drama to this space.  Here’s how it looked two weeks ago:

powder room before


Here’s how it looks today!

kates powder bathroom

I added beadboard wallpaper last week, then painted the upper portion of the walls a deep mushroom gray.  I also replaced the light fixture, the window shade, and the mirror with the one I mentioned with the winter mantel.  This small powder room now feels much more sophisticated, dramatic, and modern!

I have no problem mixing metallic sheens, in fact I think it makes a space more layered and interesting.  Although the glass shelf supports and the faucet are chrome, the mirror’s frame is an antique gold and I really love the medley!

painted walls bellesol mirror

powder room mirror cg


Here’s an image of the other side before the changes.  I reused the same Eiffel Tower and Montmartre prints I bought at a street faire in Paris in 1999, I still love them so much I just repainted the frames white to contrast with the new richer paint color.  The golden tones in the woven shade also complement the natural wood floor.

half bathroom before

rear of powder room cg

So pretty right?  And how about that crazy cool light fixture!  I was looking for something unexpected and this modern petal orb fixture seemed just right (also much better than the icky florescent bug collector thing that was there before).

Here’s the source list:

Mirror: 31” Bellesol from Ballard Designs, on sale last year at $120

Glass Shelf: found at Pottery Barn ten years ago, similar versions here

Candle on shelf: Whole Foods (clearance)

Window shade:Levolor (cut to fit at Lowes) $42

Light fixture: Possini Ceiling Mount White Orb Flower $90, but you can find a similar pendant like this one at IKEA for less

Paint: ‘Seine’ by Valspar

Striped hand towels: Kohl’s (clearance)

Beadboard wallpaper: available here and here


* * * * *


I hope you love the changes as much as I do!




  1. OMG I love this!! That paint color is perfect….I’ve been trying to find a darker color for our guest bathroom and this may be it! Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. I love this bathroom…especially the light fixture. I am noticing the curtains as well, did you make these??

  3. This looks so classy! I am so into gray these days, and am slowly weeding out the browns. I only wish I liked to paint because I would hire it out if it didn’t cost so darn much. I would much rather paper, which is something most people find harder to do.

  4. I love that paint color, everything was put together so well. Thanks for sharing with us.

  5. It looks beautiful! I love the paint color and the mirror, and the beadboard makes such a huge impact! This looks great!

  6. That looks really good. I was wondering if you would ever consider selling your old mirror. That would really match the style of my powder room. If not I would love to know where you had gotten it. Thanks.


  7. It looks fabulous! Subtle, stylish changes. I especially love the mirror and beadboard! Where did you get the towel holder from? I love that it swivels and holds two towels.

  8. The mirror looks great in there! I love mixed metallics. I want to use that wallpaper in my powder bath too, but first I need to remove the paper the previous owners put up in there!

  9. Kate absolutely GORGEOUS!!! Love all the changes! I’m really lovin’ that mushroom gray. You have inspired me to look at some mushroom gray’s for our Great Room now. I’ve been looking for a gray I love. This might just work….but it has to be something lighter, but since I love Valspar’s colors, I’m going to check some of them out. Thanks for the inspiration. Enjoy your newest project!!! :)

  10. Wow, Kate!!

    Great makeover- you are so talented! I absolutely love the mirror! What a spectacular focal point to the bathroom!!

    I have been lusting after the mirrors at Ballards and Z gallerie for a while now….Maybe my hubby will get me one for Valentine’s Day??? A girl can hope!!!

    I love the colour ‘Seine’ that you chose. Ironically it seems to closely match a colour I am blogging about in my 2012 Paint Colour Trend Series this week, ‘Compass’, in the Safari Escape pallette by Behr, which I am posting tomorrow.

    Would love anyone to come by my blog to say hi!!!

    Heather at settingforfour.blogspot.com

  11. I love the new look of your Powder Room. I recently purchased some bead board wallpaper at Lowe’s. After you put up yours did you paint it or leave it alone? Mine says its paintable … just not sure if it will look ok if it’s not painted? Thanks, Susie

  12. Triple Wow – and I liked it before, too! That wallpaper is on my list now, and so much of the new is gorgeous – great job (as usual)!!!!!

  13. LOVE! It looks absolutely amazing! I especially love all of the variety in colors and finishes in there. Gives such interest in a small space! We are building our powder room in our house and I have to finalize my vision. Sadly, we have no windows in there to bring in light! Thanks for the inspiration!

  14. It looks amazing! Love the warmth the antique gold mirror and bamboo roman shade brought to your powder room. Sometimes small touches could transform a room like what you did. Great job!

  15. Wow! You weren’t kidding about that resolution list- way to tackle it head on! I love the beadboard wallpaper- it gives the space so much substance. I think the mirror and new paint add a lot of beautiful drama and sophistication too. Great job, I love it!

  16. Great stuff! I wasn’t sure about the window shade at first, but when you explained how it goes with the floor, I went, “Ohhhhh”. The floor doesn’t show too much in your photos, which is why I was so confused at first! But I get it now. Nice job, nice job.

  17. Love the transformation. I was wondering how you go the bead board wall paper on behind the sink. Did you cut around the sink or did you remove the sink, and put the wallpaper up behind the sink? I was thinking about doing some kind of board and batten or picture molding in our bathroom, but since there are so many obstacles to work around, I’m a bit hesitant.

  18. Oooooh. SO posh, Kate! The paint color you used is just perfection to make all of the white accents really pop! And that light fixture? Um, yes, please!

    I have to admit that the only thing that didn’t sell me was the striped towels, which seemed a tad “kitchen-ish” for such a sophisticate space.

    Maybe I’m just not getting their full effect.

    But the overall feel is absolutely gorgeous!

    Hope your Tuesday is fabulous!

  19. i love love love the way the pictures look now with sprayed frames. I wasnt loving the original. now they are way more interesting looking. but i have to say I dont love the light fixture. probably because its too ikea looking to me.


  20. Looks wonderful, but I have a question for you if you have a sec… I have been looking to spruce up my sewing room and I’ve been tackling it little by little, but I’m still in search of the perfect light fixture and I LOVE the one you found, but will it give off enough light for a 10x12ish room? I need style and function. Thanks for the pictures, the room looks great! Wouldn’t change a thing!

    • Hi Rebecca, it’s single bulb fixture and moderately bright … note you can only use a 40 watt bulb. I’m not sure if it would sufficiently light a 10 x 12 room to your satisfaction, but you can always add a lamp or two for more!

  21. Oh it is lovely!! It is warm and sophisticated! You did a great job and it makes me want the contractor to come right now!! Thanks for all the info!

  22. How beautifully appropriate that the paint colour you chose is called ‘Seine’?! Love this whole transformation – sooo gorgeous!

  23. Girl, you don’t waste any time on your goals! This is fabulous…love the texture with the shade, and the new wall color looks great. The light fixture is so cool. I’ve seen the IKEA one and wondered how it would look in a “real” space–it looks amazing! Adds lots of interest.

  24. The bathroom looks great! I’m also thinking about a new look for a small bathroom I have. How light and airy!


  25. Turned out great! I just sent a bunch of those towels to college with my kid!!! I love the beadboard wallpaper. I used “knockdown” paintable wallpaper here in the Chicago area almost fifteen years ago when it first came out. Painters here would scratch their heads when I said that I wanted knockdown (orange peel) on my walls. I would say everywhere in the US has it except us! And others would ask why on earth would you paint wallpaper! I might have to have a go at this new version. Beautiful.

  26. Kate – the powder room looks so pretty with the contrasting colors and the different textures! Did you paint the room by hand or did you utilize your sprayer? I have a Wagner paint sprayer but I have been too scared to use it on the walls/ceiling inside my home. I look forward to your review of your paint sprayer.

  27. Gorgeous makeover! I love the richer color, and the beadboard wallpaper sets it off beautifully! Love the new mirror, too! Thanks for sharing.

  28. Wow, you have some talent girl. Love your stuff…. I’ve been following you on facebook and pinterest for some time and just adore your work 100%.

  29. what a lovely powder room!! I love the beadboard wallpaper. I have it in my guest bath as well.I love all the details.


  30. I love it…especially the color, it makes the white pop! I also bought the Eiffel Tower print on a street in Paris in 1999:) funny. Quick question, I have textured walls so do you think the beadboard wallpaper would work on that?

    • Hi Kristen, if you have lightly textured walls like me, you can get away with it. Someone suggested in an earlier comment a liner for textured walls, or you can retexture the surface yourself. Heavily textured walls like knockdown will likely show through the wallpaper.

  31. It is beautiful! Quick question, what was the original color (the blue/grey) of the bathroom before? I love it, and want to paint our bathroom something similar.

  32. It’s beautiful, Kate! I think the beadboard looks wonderful–classic yet fresh. And I loved the color of your walls before, but the new grey color is so sophisticated! My favorite thing, though? The mirror! Gorgeous!

  33. I used the beadboard wallpaper from Lowes and was VERY disappointed. It shows every little nick. (Even your fingernail!!!) The area around the towel bar and the toilet paper holder is all hacked up. VERY disappointing. I ordered a sample from Graham Brown after I had completed my mini-makeover…and I tested it…by dropping a soup can on it…it “bounced” right back into shape.

    What brand did you use? Curious on your thoughts!

    • Hi Rita, I did use the Lowe’s brand (Allen + Roth I think) but I’ve read good things about the Graham & Brown version… thanks for letting us all know!

  34. It is absolutely beautiful! I love it! I’ve had my eye on that Ballard mirror, too!!

  35. Kate, love the new color but actually the old color would look great for my project! Do you know the name by chance? Thanks!!!!

    • Hey Becky, the old color was ‘Silver Sage’ by Restoration Hardware… it’s beautiful!

  36. Well, of course, we do! It’s gorgeous. Has me even more excited about painting Ava’s room charcoal. Perfection. Great job, friend!

  37. LOVE it – so much so that I just ordered the mirror from Ballard designs. My powder room is about 3.5 x 8 as well.
    Thanks Kate! Your taste is fantastic

  38. LOVE IT- so fresh and such a huge improvement- and I lOVE the little glass shelf- i totally will be using that idea in my upcoming tiny powder room redo!!

  39. I redid my master bathroom and toilet with beadboard wallpaper back in November…..I feel so ‘with it’ now that you are doing it too!!!! I love the look, and figure the wallpaper can be freshened up in the future with a coat of white paint. Your powder room is lovely, once again you have pulled off a fabulous re-do, thanks for sharing!

  40. It’s beautiful! The new paint color really changed the overall tone of the room and it looks great with the bright white beadboard wallpaper!

  41. Awesome as ever! Great job Kate! I’m lookin’ forward to fixing up our powder room too this coming Spring! I love the wall color you used! But I think I’ll be doing my first stenciling project on this one! Thanks for sharing!!!!!!

  42. My word! That is stunning! I was wondering how you were going to make it better than it was, now I know. Gorgeous!

  43. Trying to decide what is my favorite thing in your transformed powder room is; however, I love it all. It is evident that you thought through every detail and it all came together so graciously. So very idyllic again!!..your “idyllic expressions” shine through over and over again.

  44. I loved your before and hated the thought of change, but you are right again- it looks so good! I’m glad you mentioned mixed metallics- my bathroom has a mix and I was wondering if that was a big no-no. The gold on your mirror picks up the gold in the shade and it all works together so well!

  45. Hi Kate,

    Love the new bathroom. It’s beautiful. Which size of the Ballard mirror is that you used?

  46. I love the change! I just painted our bathroom a similar color, Granite by Benjamin Moore and going with turquoise shower curtain from Kohls and black and white photos of our kids, our cupboards are black. I have the same window treatment with a black curtain around it. I can’t believe the difference painting your frames! Love the light fixture!

  47. Yes the room looks great, but what I wonder about is how do you find the time to do it? I mean, you are just a human, right? And you just finished the holidays like most of the rest of us. And you have kids. Are they all in school? Is that when you get all this work done? I mean it would have taken us two months to do that bathroom. It makes me know I’m not doing something right. I do have two kids homeschooling this year and two in school but it doesn’t feel like a good enough excuse comparing all you do. Do you hang out with your husband in the evenings? Or is that painting time for you? Sigh. I want to get more done… Do I have to drink coffee? :)

    • Hi Shannon, please don’t feel bad! We’re all different in the way we use our time, I guess I’m a big multitasker! I painted the bathroom while watching the football game in the background with my hub, we make it a priority to spend time together in the evening, and I’m always present for my kids between 3 and 6 from the time they get home from school till dinner time. And yes, coffee helps!

  48. It looks stunning! Guess what! My bathroom is gray, my mirror looks exactly like your old one and we have the exact same towels hanging in our gray bathroom. Great minds think alike! :)

  49. That is such a great look for such a tiny room..The ceiling light is awesome..love it Kate!

  50. So glad you shared this great bath…I have one just like it except that it is under the stairs, so no window…Still trying to figure out what I am going to do with it (as soon as I get there that is). Love your blog, Lori

  51. Wow, seriously such a dramatic before and after with such simple upgrades. Divine as always. Love the wall color, mirror and pendant. Bringing in the white frames and wallpaper wainscoting really brightens it and adds fantastic drama.

    Now I want to add “update bathroom” to our 2012 project list, lol!


  52. Ok….I have been wanting to install the beadboard wallpaper in our guest bath…but…I hesitate…because I don’t know what to do with the pedestal sink? Did you remove the sink to install the paper? Or did you install the paper and caulk around the sink? Please oh please…give us detailed instructions on how to re-create this wonderful look. :)

    Thanks, Tina
    tinab158 at hotmail dot com

  53. I’m with Tina B. Can you give us some hints on how to work around the pedestal sink?

    • Hi Tina and Andrea, it was trickier, I had to go really slow to work around the pedestal and the plumbing, I just used my finger to “carve” the edge into the paper as I worked my way around it, then carefully and slowly cut it with the scissors. Hope this helps!

  54. Thanks for mixing those finishes up. I’ve had the opportunity to decorate my own living room for the first time ever and have had a lot of fun mixing golds, tarnished silver and pewter. I was sort of self-concious about it but I’m glad this look gets your thumbs up. :)

  55. Wow! I loooove it!!! But I’m loving the before mirror, where is it from or would you be willing to sell it?!? what a wonderful makeover makes me want to go to the bathroom lol

  56. Wow this bathroom is stunning! I was looking at that Bellesol mirror at Ballard and now after seeing this post I am getting it!!! So fab! You did such a wonderful job!

    @ The Gotta Have It Girl

  57. This looks so great! I would like to do the same thing in my powder room but I have rounded corners. Do you think it would still work?

  58. Hi Kate! Help!
    Looking for some guidance. I have the same color paint on my dining room walls and a similar color floor as the one in your bathroom. I plan on getting the slip coverered chairs you have in your dining room in off white. Can you tell im a fan?! Im wondering what kind of area rug you would choose? I like the newer designs like they have on dash and albert but cant seem to figure out what would look best. Any suggestions?
    Thanks in advance!

  59. I’m completely in love with this look! Never in a million years would I think that wainscoting could be done with wallpaper. It looks so clean and polished. I have a guest bathroom that I’m going to try this with. Unfortunately, I don’t have access to a miter saw to do the chair rail. What to do, what to do? :)

    The paint color looks awesome too! Great job!

    • Hi Cadie, see if your local home improvement store will make the cuts for you!

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