From basic builder to beautiful, our coastal powder bathroom makeover is complete!
A Powder Room is the perfect spot to go BOLD and get creative! Since it is technically closed from the rest of the house (I assume your bathroom has a door!) you don’t necessarily need to worry about the bathroom “going” with the rest of your home’s finishes or design style, or if you are still trying to decide on the “style” for your home, a Powder Room is a great space to start! You can paint it a colour you love, add some decorative mouldings, choose a dramatic wallpaper, or do a combination of all these things and really make an impact. Keep reading if you’d like my complete source list for this room as well as tips on installing wallpaper.
Here is a look at the “before” of our Powder Room. As you can tell it was a pretty blank slate! It had a pedestal sink, a basic light fixture and mirror and a very outdated ceramic towel bar / toilet paper holder (I actually can’t believe they still install those – our house is less than two years old!)
Replacing the tiles was out of budget, and although there are much prettier ones on the market, the toilet is brand new so it makes no sense for us to replace it right now. We did however, replace the pedestal sink with a vanity and we installed a new light fixture, mirror and of course – this beautiful wallpaper by Livette’s Wallpaper!
We did not NEED to replace the pedestal sink, it looked fine, but we loved the vanity we used in our previous home. It offers a lot of storage and it’s very aesthetically pleasing with the stone top and a really great price so it was a no-brainer to repurchase it again. Since we had purchased the Canterbury vanity for our previous home on sale, I knew it would probably go on sale again, so when it did, I ordered it from Lowe’s straight away! We had only lived in this house for a month and we had no plans to do a renovation just yet so the vanity actually sat in our garage for around 6 months before we had time to install it.
Life has been busy this past year, we moved and had a baby a few months later, so even though the vanity was sitting in the garage, a bathroom makeover was not a priority. When our lives calmed down a bit (thanks to COVID I guess), I started working on a mood board. I love mood boards for getting my ideas all in one spot. It helps me ensure I actually like the concepts going on in my head before actually making a purchase. I knew I wanted wallpaper for this room, and I likely wanted to go with my favourite colour, blue, and if it gave off a coastal vibe, it ticked off all the boxes!
When browsing Pinterest, I found a number of wallpapers from the company Livette’s Wallpaper that I LOVED! They actually have their wallpapers organized by “collections” and I loved just about every paper in their Coastal and Nautical collection. I also love how you can customize the colours if you choose as well! I was ecstatic when the owner, Livette told me she loved my designs and they wanted to work with me. Liv was extremely helpful with letting me know exactly how much wallpaper I would need for my project and we ordered straight away..
I often get asked what program I use to create my mood boards. I actually use good old Adobe Photoshop. When I don’t feel like paying fo my subscription, I use Microsoft Word or Paint (or PaintBrush if you are on a Mac). I have heard some people have luck making mood boards with MS PowerPoint. I personally love photoshop for deleting the backgrounds of the images and pasting the images close or overlapping one another. I also paste everything in my project in its own layers and I name the layer what it is (i.e., vanity, mirror, etc). This way I can easily delete/replace the item if I want to experiment with a different product.
I was really happy with how this mood board looked. I purchased almost everything that I originally envisioned. I ended up finding a mirror at Home Sense for almost $100 less than the mirror I had planned to use (the mirror in my plan is actually the mirror I used in our previous home’s Powder Room). I was not 100% sure if I liked the mirror I got from Home Sense more than the original one that I had planned, but I do like how it adds some interesting character to the space! I obviously also liked saving myself $100!
Strangely the Compagnie de Provence soap in the “cotton flower” scent (white text) that I had my eye on was sold out from everywhere local to me. I ended up re-purchasing a bottle of the Mediterranean scent (blue text). We had this soap in our previous bathroom as it was also blue. I just love this smell so much! It reminds me of our trip to Italy (which is weird, since the soap is French – lol). I also purchased the olive wood scent (grey font) to try and I thought it would go really well in this bathroom. However since I hadn’t smelled it, I went with the smaller bottle which I don’t think looks as proportional on the counter of this bathroom when the ceilings are so tall (9 feet). I knew at the time I was a crazy person for spending SO much time deliberating about which soap to use.. But, with not a lot of counter space, I like when soap not only serves its purpose, but also looks pretty and serves as decor!! So the soap has to be pretty!! By the way, I buy my fancy soaps from this cute shop in Toronto. I like to support local businesses but also because they have an online shop with free shipping is convenient. FYI My biggest pet peeve is when stores don’t offer free shipping even when you spend a bajillion dollars!
Here is a look at how the finishes came together. The wallpaper looks more grey here than it does in person. I would describe the actual colour as “dusty blue.”
Anyways, enough about soap. I was able to find or find everything else from my plan, or something similar. Now, for the part you came here for, the final reveal of our Powder Room! Read to the bottom if you would like some tips on installing wallpaper. We made a catastrophic mistake which thankfully we fixed, but I am annoyed with myself (well mostly my home builder) because it could have been avoided!!
WALLPAPER INSTALLATION TIPS
This is the sixth or seventh time Eric and I have installed wallpaper, so at this point I think we can consider ourselves experts! We have worked with cheaper wallpaper and high end wallpaper and we have learned a lot each time we’ve worked with it.
I would definitely classify Livette’s wallpaper as high end. It is thick meaning it doesn’t easily rip when working with it and it isn’t translucent on the walls. Actually, the background colour is a very pretty white. It’s not stark but it’s also not too cream – it’s very similar to Benjamin Moore’s “Simply White” which is what we went with for the trim.
TIP #1 : Don’t slack on the prep work! And start the process BEFORE the day you plan to wallpaper.
Before we installed our wallpaper, we removed everything we didn’t want the week before – this included the mirror and the ceramic towel bar/ toilet paper holder. The ceramic fixtures were glued on to the wall and left some pretty big holes, it took a few coats of DAP Drydex to fill them. When sanding the the drywall filler off the walls, I also took this opportunity to sand any other bumpy areas.
Sanding the walls left quite a lot of dust, so I made sure to sweep this up and then give the walls a quick wipe. I also gave the baseboards a really good wash with some soap and water. Even if you aren’t sanding any part of your walls, you will want to give your baseboard a good cleaning because they often collect a lot of dust which you don’t want to get stuck under your wallpaper!
I also took the opportunity to paint the trim in the bathroom. Obviously this is a step you may not need to do if your trim is in good shape and you like the colour. We are in the process of painting our entire house, walls and trim, Benjamin Moore’s “Simply White” so since I was working on the painting the house around the same time, I painted all the trim in the bathroom prior to the wallpaper.
By starting the prep the week before, we were able to work on it a few times during the week, which not only made the task less daunting, but also because it takes time to wait for paint and the drywall filler to dry, we didn’t have any delays.
We replaced the pedestal sink with a vanity a few months before we wallpapered, but If I had been more organized, it would have been a lot easier to install the wallpaper without the vanity in the way. It was hard to fit the ladder in such a small space, and it would have been easier to avoid the tricky task of cutting the wallpaper perfectly around the vanity.
TIP #2 : If you are wallpapering all 4 walls, start in an inconspicuous area!
Start your wallpaper on a wall that is not the focal point. The reason being because it is unlikely that your pattern will match up perfectly on the fourth and first wall. We chose to start with the wall behind the door.
TIP #3 : If you are working with traditional wallpaper, use a cheap brush or a roller to apply wallpaper glue directly to the wallpaper!
We worked with traditional wallpaper (i..e, we had to use wallpaper glue to stick the wallpaper to the wall).
Livette’s instructions say to apply the glue to the wall, which we tried with the first piece, and I feel like this would actually be less messy and prevent glue from getting all over your ceiling and the floor. However, I guess we weren’t able to apply it thick enough and we found that it just wasn’t “gluey” enough! Applying the glue to the wall didn’t allow the wallpaper to move a lot when working with it.
We decided to try applying the glue directly to the wallpaper. We found this way worked better for us. It is a lot messier, but we had a large sponge which we used to smooth the wallpaper onto the wall, and it also wiped any extra glue off at the same time.
TIP #4 Do not, under any circumsrances, align your first piece of wallpaper flush against the ceiling
**This is my most important tip because this is the mistake we made TWICE!
When applying your first piece of wallpaper, push it AT LEAST a few inches above the wall. This is because your walls may not be even. If the spot where you glue your first piece is not the highest part of the wall, when you try to match the next piece and the piece after that etc., it could end up going in a downward slope.
When we installed the wallpaper in our daughter’s second nursery (we moved when she was 2, so she’s had 2 nurseries), we made this mistake! We lined up our first piece with the corner and pushed it flush against the ceiling and moved on. The second piece was ok, but the third was a bit lower, and the fourth even lower. The wallpaper looked like it was falling down the wall. I remember it clearly, Eric and I got SO stressed out! We cut the pieces at the bottom and they had dried anyways, so there was no way we could move them. We couldn’t even hide our error by installing crown moulding on top because one of her walls has a triangle peak.. so crown would have been a no go. The wallpaper was pretty expensive so we couldn’t do my husbands suggestion of ripping it off the wall and throwing it into the garbage -LOL! When we finished, and we let ourselves calm down.. We realized we had a piece of wallpaper leftover. We were able to cut strips out of it to fill in the gaps across the the top of the wall. You actually can’t even tell we made the mistake! Phew!
So from that experience, we knew our walls were not even and we could not just push the wallpaper flush to the ceiling. The instructions from Livette’s actually remind you to install from a level spot on the wall and warns “if you simply start to install wallpaper from the ceiling, it is possible that the panels will start to lean upwards or downwards.”
With that knowledge, with my first piece, I pushed a bunch of wallpaper up past the ceiling. Unfortunately, our walls are 9 feet tall and our step ladder is small so I was having a tough time reaching the ceiling. I really wanted to install the paper myself, but it turns out I’m short and scared of heights lol. So my husband thankfully ended up taking over the top while I managed the bottom and tended to our 3 month old baby. Eric didn’t leave as much wallpaper at the top as I wanted (blame the husband right!) but I did remind him about what happened in Clara’s room, so he did leave 2-3 inches at the top for the first piece. Here is a visual for you :
Technically leaving 2 inches should have been fine, and it was fine for this entire wall AND the next wall. BUT.. when we got to our third wall, the wallpaper started sloping downward! I was so upset with myself! How could this happen AGAIN!? What we realized after fact was, the third wall was TWO INCHES shorter than the other walls! I know some walls are crooked but I can’t believe how much shorter the wall was! Honestly I wonder if this is a building code issue LOL! But I’m not a construction worker so I’m going to assume the walls aren’t going to fall down. The super annoying part was, if we had started on this wall, this would have been the tallest wall and then we never would have had the problem of the wallpaper sloping downward. It would have sloped up, but in that case, you just trim the excess wallpaper from the top.
This leads me to part 2 of this tip : If you are wallpapering an entire room (all 4 walls), measure the height of all your walls! If the walls are not all the same height, make sure to either start from the tallest wall, or account for that wall being higher.
When we were done wallpapering, we ended up using scraps to cover the wallpaper that was sloping downward on the one wall. Since this was the second time this happened, we didn’t freak out and we knew the problem could be fixed. We contemplated installing crown moulding as it would be a quick fix and avoid the “wallpaper puzzle” that became of our Saturday night, but the window almost touches the ceiling, so crown wasn’t really an option in this space.
Just to be clear, all the wallpaper was perfect, this was not a problem with the pattern or the printing of the wallpaper. The problem is strictly with our walls being increeeedibly uneven! Livette’s instructions do advise you to start from a level part of the wall and to give yourself a few inches. In our case, our walls were just beyond unlevel! Oh well, we fixed it and we will REALLY know for next time.
TIP #5 : Measure your walls accurately and order EXTRA!
Measure the height and width of each wall very accurately. There are online calculators to help you figure out how much wall you have to cover. If the wallpaper company has an option to email for help, I would take them up on it just to double check! If you run out of paper and need to order more, you don’t want to run the risk of the patterns being slightly different colours or the pattern not matching perfectly.
When we wallpapered our daughter’s first nursery, Eric and I both misread the wallpaper dimensions. Since it was described as a double roll, we multiplied the dimensions by two, but the product description was actually giving us the dimensions for the entire roll, not half the roll!. So, we only had enough wallpaper for half the wall. I had to re-order which meant pay for shipping from the United States plus customs TWICE! To date that was our most expensive wallpaper project. The next roll ended up having some sort of a printing error, the quality was not as good. Luckily it was not too noticeable, but still annoying given the price. The company ended up giving me a discount for the error which helped my wallet recover!
TIP #6 : If you are wallpapering an entire room, split a piece of wallpaper for the corners
When we wallpapered our old Powder Room in our previous home, we were stupid – LOL! When we got to the corner, we simply cut the top, bottom AND the side of the wallpaper, and then we threw that piece out and started with a new piece for the connecting corner. The pattern was pretty tiny, so it matched fine, not perfectly, but nothing noticeable. We ended up short on our wallpaper! I refused to buy an entire $100 USD roll for one tiny section so, after staring at it for HOURS and hours, like a puzzle, we ended up slapping up a random piece.If we hadn’t literally thrown out paper, we would have had enough paper!!
So, here is what you should do to make things easy on yourself! When you get to the last piece before your corner, measure exactly how much you need. Say for example, your wallpaper is 2 feet wide, but the piece you need for the remaining section of your wall is only 1 foot wide.. Cut the wallpaper into two 1 foot wide pieces. Make sure to mark which is top and bottom so you don’t cut from the wrong side! Apply the first half of the strip of wallpaper to the section on the wall you are working on. Then use the remaining part of that strip of wallpaper to start your next wall. The piece of wallpaper will obviously be less wide than your other wallpaper strips, but if the wallpaper is good quality you won’t see the seams. This method is going to make your corners match PERFECTLY! And you won’t waste any paper!
TIP #7 : Reduce the amount of wallpaper required by installing wainscoting on the bottom 1/2 or the bottom 2/3 of your wall
Let’s face it, although GORGEOUS, wallpaper can be expensive!! I love the look of having wallpaper on all 4 walls, but wallpaper is basically home decor gold and that can get pricey! If you are coveting an expensive wallpaper, consider adding moulding to the bottom of your walls. The most expensive wallpaper I have worked with thus far cost me $600 to do one wall! Eric almost killed me, but we won’t get into that here! If it’s within your skill level, calculate the cost of installing DIY wainscoting and see if it costs less than installing wallpaper on the entire wall.
The first time we did wainscoting was in our previous home’s Powder Room. We already had the tools and paint so I think adding the waincoating cost around $50 CAD. Adding wainscoting to the bottom half of the wall cut the amount of wallpaper we needed in half, so for us, it was more economical to do a combination of wainscoting and wallpaper.
*If you are installing wainscoting to save on wallpaper (and not strictly because you love the look of wainscoting), something to take note of first is how the wallpaper is sold. Wallpaper is often sold in rolls, but sometimes wallpaper is sold by the sheets. If the paper is not made in a length that fits your need (i..e, you may only need 5 foot length sheets, but the wallpaper only comes in 8 or 9 foot sheets, then you will still need the same amount of wallpaper regardless of their being wainscoting on the bottom half of the wall).
And there you have it, that is what I have learned wallpapering seven times and the tips I will abide by the next time I wallpaper a space. Honestly, even though we made mistakes literally every time we wallpapered, the wallpaper looks amazing and no one has ever noticed the “errors” – even when I point them out! We are home owners DIY-ing our home, we are not professional contractors. It may take a lot of patience to literally put together a puzzle, but it’s doable, so if you make a mistake, just take a break and go back to it when you have time. Also no one will notice your mistakes except you. With that being said, the next time I wallpaper, I am determined that it will be absolutely PERFECT!
I hope you enjoyed the Powder Room reveal as well as my tips! If you have any questions please feel free to comment below or send me an email!
Here is a list of everything I used in this project!
Vanity : Lowes
Pulls : Lowes / Similar / Similar (I think I prefer the similar options)
Wallpaper : Livette’s Wallpaper
Faucet : Amazon (Under $100!!) / Similar (also under $100)
Towel Ring : Amazon Canada / Wayfair (USA)
Toiletpaper Holder : Amazon Canada / Wayfair (USA)
Mirror : HomeSense
*This project was in collaboration with Livette’s Wallpaper who generously provided me with the wallpaper for this project. All thoughts and opinions are my own!
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