Somehow the downstairs toilet is often the room in the home which gets overlooked; enthusiasm for redecorating is focussed on the flashier rooms, the bigger rooms, which make the most impact. But what I love most about the smaller unassuming rooms like this is that you can really afford to make a big impression without feeling overwhelmed. And so, two and a half years after moving into our new home, the downstairs toilet has had a major upgrade – so much so that it will be known from here on out as ‘The Powder Room’ because that seems far more fitting for this tiny, but now rather lovely, space.
The original toilet, sink and flooring were in great condition and also simple so we were saved any major expense by working with what we had and our best hope to go for a big upgrade on a budget was with the walls. I wanted something to fit with the period character of the house and had my heart set on panelling. To complicate matters I could not shake the notion to paper within that panelling…. George’s dream project obviously (George is my super handy father-in-law by the way).
CREATING A TEMPLATE
A trip to the hardware store for a wooden dado rail and metres of inch thick wooden moulding was the first step. What I would say is pay attention to the price of that moulding because what initially appears purse friendly soon adds up when you calculate the meterage – I think we were around sixteen metres for our four panels. Next we marked out the walls in pencil with the dado rail creating a midway point and the moulding creating the panelling frames – I settled on a four inch ‘gap’ to be painted above, below and between each panel. With the sink resting so close to the corner and for the mirror I had chosen (this one* which I LOVE and is currently on sale by the way) to be central we eventually made the decision to carry that one panel around the corner, not ideal I agree, but things would have just started to look very messy otherwise. The next challenge was the alcove above the toilet for which George suggested creating a faux panel – papering and framing a slice of hardwood which hangs in front – it worked a treat.
PAINTING & PAPERING
Next the paint went on. Originally this project was created as a styling piece for the Laura Ashley site so many of the pieces I worked with were gifted as part of that work (just an FYI). I opted for the darkest green, Fern, and matched it with the base colour within the paper I had chosen, Cotton White, and to stop things becoming busy (well, ok, busier than a tiny loo with wallpaper panelling, ha) I carried the deeper colour through all the woodwork, including the door and skirtings.
Each panel was papered within the guidelines marked out on the walls using Laura Ashley’s Florintine design which, although a slight departure from my usual style, still features my favourite colour palette with warm ochres, browns and deep greens and ties in well with the rest of the house as well as the design fitting in perfectly with the period of the house. I have to be honest, I love it way more than I thought I would.
ADDING THE MOULDINGS
George cut and painted all the mouldings prior to hanging them which, I am told, made life a lot easier (I wouldn’t honestly know as he soldiered through the entire project whilst we were on holiday, what a guy). They were simply glued onto the walls using No More Nails glue* which has held a treat. The dado rail had the same treatment except for some fine pins being hammered in directly under to act as a temporary ‘rest’ just while the glue dried – they were removed thereafter.
Truth be told in a small space with wallpaper panelling you do not need much in the way of accessories but I have to give a mention to the Constance mirror*, the smaller sister of the one I bought some time ago for the hall and still the best affordable, gold, round mirror I have found by a mile. I searched high and low for the perfect brass toned toilet roll holder and towel ring but when these monkeys from Dunelm popped up the kitsch got the better of me and all notions for something cool and streamlined were immediately dismissed. The rattan apple basket was stolen from our autumnal living room and repurposed as chic toilet roll storage.
And the transformation to the powder room is complete. The small room really holds the decor very well; the strong colour on the lower walls grounds the space whilst the wallpapered panelling somehow opens the room up and makes it feel so much bigger than before. And where previously I used to direct guests to the bathroom upstairs, I now gladly send them off down the hall to be surprised by the powder room.
P.S. George tells me the nature of the panelling means that it will be super easy to switch up the paper at a later date so naturally I am already thinking about what’s next…
*Denotes affiliate links
florintine wallpaper – Laura Ashley (ON SALE) (gift)
fern paint – Laura Ashley (ON SALE) (gift)
cotton white paint – Laura Ashley (ON SALE) (gift)
wooden moulding – B&Q
wooden dado rail – B&Q
small constance round mirror – Laura Ashley*(ON SALE) (gift)
terracotta soap dish – Zara Home (ON SALE)
apple rattan basket – Laura Ashley*(ON SALE) (gift)
brass monkey towel ring – Dunelm
brass monkey toilet roll holder – Dunelm