Packing a big punch in a small space with wallpaper
Updated: Apr 13
Powder rooms are the ideal spaces to play around with wallpaper. I know some people absolutely hate wallpaper (I'm betting if you do, you had to remove it at some point in your life) and then there are people like me, who wish I could wallpaper every room. Don't worry; I have enough sensibility not to push it too far!
Nevertheless, let me show you how I took a tiny powder room from zero to hero with wallpaper, a little wainscotting and an inexpensive vanity. Below you can see how it looked before.
Time to shop!
First of all, I started looking for a vanity that would fit my budget as well as the limited space available. The old pedestal sink needed to be replaced. For me, even if it's just a little bit, storage in a powder room is a must. Spare your guests from needing to ask for a replacement roll of toilet paper. I found the perfect vanity at The Home Depot.
Once I had the vanity, I could start planning the wainscoting.
I must disclaim that I'm using the term wainscoting, but it's not that in the true sense. It is not even real panelling. There is no panel underneath the pieces of trim I carefully measured out and nailed directly on to the drywall. After it was all painted white, nobody knew the difference. I'm delighted with the result. Firstly because I've always wanted wainscoting somewhere in my house and secondly, I saved a ton of money not having to wallpaper top to bottom.
Next up was choosing wallpaper. As much as I always try and find the cheapest but prettiest option, nothing in the big box stores impressed or wowed me. Hours and hours of online searches led me to the right place: Finest Wallpaper.
I was torn between a bold and bright design with antique roses, and the black and white chevron that I ended up picking. In retrospect, it was the right choice, especially in light of my latest black and white obsession and toning down on all the bright colours.
The fourth thing I had to search for was a new lighting fixture. I decided on a retro look in an antique pewter finish bought from Lowe's, as shown in the photo below. The round mirror is one I've had for many years. I love repurposing old things in new spaces.
The trickiest part of the project was probably the plumbing that had to be adjusted a little, but I've done plumbing projects before, and it's not rocket science. Not a small change like this anyway. I would not recommend doing this if you're not 100% sure of what you are doing. Correctly installed plumbing is very important! The baseboard shown below had to be taken out to make cut-outs for the vanity's back legs. This way the vanity could be flush with the wall.
I would lie if I were to say installing the wallpaper didn't make me sweat a little too. It was only my second time ever doing it, and both times, I used the "paste the wall" type. I don't have the guts to try "paste the paper" and walk around with long sheets of gluey paper that can bend and fold due to the weight of the glue.
"Peel and stick" is also something I have not attempted to put on walls before. They usually look more like vinyl and not like paper. That kind of misses the point of wallpaper, right? But that's just my opinion. If you have had great results with peel and stick, please share it with me. I'm always happy to see and explore new ideas.
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