The Half Bath – AKA our dirty little secret!

With the prospect of a housewarming party looming in the near future I think it’s time for me to finally face the challenge of the downstairs half bath/powder room.

Similar to the so called “master bath” upstairs, I haven’t posted about this room yet because its a) embarrassing and b) overwhelming.

I only WISH i had snapped a picture of the orange floral cafe curtain with the fake vine on it that was so generously left be the previous owner before Jeff took it down. Seriously, it needs to be seen to be believed.

Here are some pics that I took before we bought the house (i.e that is NOT my stuff in there!!) :

Down stairs Half Bath – Getta load of that tile!

To show ledge (where the previous owners apparently kept their toilet paper and gift wrapping supplies?) plus existing medicine cabinet mirror..and fab squiggly neon green light fixture!

Here’s a close up of the sink:

half bath sink

The half bath sink..looking alarmingly like a urinal.

And here’s the one little part of this project we’ve tackled, we put the same laminate floor planks that we used in our kitchen over the tile because we had two boxes of it left over:

half bath new floor

Half Bath with New floor.

I don’t know if its decorating burn out or what, but I’m totally lacking ideas for this bathroom.. clearly we need to replace the sink, probably with a pedestal since its a powder room and we don’t really need the storage. But other than that, I’m at a total loss as to color, style, wallpaper or paint, fixtures.

I’ve been trying to find some powder room inspiration images.. I kind of like the aqua color of the tile in this one from Remodeling My Space’s Bathroom Gallery:


Aqua color bathroom? Looks nice with brushed nickel.

Of course since I have no wall tile, I would use that color for the walls. But then I feel like I’ve used so much blue already in the dining room and the kitchen color is bluish too (albeit with a more green tint).

Also in the blue family I was thinking of something darker like this which I also think would look amazing with silver fixtures:

Possible Gray color, listed by Domino Mag’s Palettes Gallery as Ralph Lauren “Forde Abbey”.

The above would look so beautiful with a cute little chandelier like this cheapo one I’ve been eyeing from walmart of all places:

mini chandelier from walmart

But unfortunately the overhead light is pull chain activated with no wall switch!! So I guess we need to swap it with another pull chain light fixture. Do they even make those anymore??

Handier and more ambitious people than us would of course cut a channel through the wall and connect a switch..and wealthier people would hire an electrician to do so. But partly because we are neither and partly because the door is a pocket door which needs the only wall space that is near the entry (and thus makes the most sense for a switch) I don’t think we’ll be doing that. Which is so upsetting because ya’ll know how much I love chandeliers!

And what about wallpaper?

Wallpaper would seem like a natural in this room to give it some punch. Like this beautiful pic from Domino:

domino mag bathroom

But people, I have a confession to make. I am totally, completely, irrationally terrified of wallpaper! I have no idea where this fear comes from.. but it spans from finding places to buy it for less than like $200 a roll (which all the ones I like are, natch!) and from places that are NOT the UK to nightmares of me trapped in a tiny room wrapped up in a cacoon of paper and glue and not being able to escape. I told you it was irrational!

But if ever there were a place to try it it would be here, in this tiny little space.. so If you DO have a suggestion for a pattern you like, or a good place to buy wallpaper in general, I would like to know about it…and I just may act on it if I can get over my phobia. And please if you have a favorite bathroom inspiration pic, post a link, I’d love to see!

One frightening fact to keep in mind:

current hall color

THAT is the current color of the hall that leads to the half bath in question.

Yep. In an attempt to “warm up” the downstairs palette I chose a celedon/neon green color. My original plan to fix it was to mix the color with some white to tone it down, but I’m open to completely changing it to something that goes better with whatever color the bathroom should be.. but of course it must also look good with the current dining room color that surrounds it.

That’s a lot of decisions to be made.. now maybe you can understand why I’ve put it off for so long!

16 Responses to “The Half Bath – AKA our dirty little secret!”

  1. Don’t forget Anthropologie’s wallpaper.

    I like the blossom wallpaper. I’m scared to try it too. So YOU should try it and if I like it I’ll give it a shot. wink, wink.

    Try for a light with a pull switch. Pick any light you like and usually there’s a spot to select “switch” and you can have a pull switch added. They have some super cute pendants and you can customize them by shade, color, etc. I’ve ordered from them and the quality is amazing.

    I’d suggest a skirt to go around the sink but you can buy a pedestal sink pretty reasonably. Maybe make doors or a curtain for your overhead toilet paper storage. Design on a Dime made some cottage-y looking doors for a spot like that and they were super cute.

    What color is that green hall? It doesn’t look so bad in your photo though the rest of your house seems to follow a way more muted palette.

    Love the floors!

    Thanks for the compliments about my house. I shut down comments until I resolve my real estate issues. The random advice was getting to me, hard enough to take it from the realtor.

    Oh, check out “Smoke” by Benjamin Moore too if you want a gray with a hint of blue, it’s a lovely color.

  2. Lori – rejuvination is a great tip, thanks!

    I LOVE anthro wallpaper.. but I kind of want something with a tiny bit of metallic in it like the domino pic! There’s one I sort of want to try that they have at Lowes (of all places) put there’s no pic. of it online. its much more metallic than this picture though. I’m scared of ordering wallpaper online cause its so expensive and I’m afraid that (like everything else) I’ll want to return it!

    The green hall is actually glidden “celedon green”. It sure lived up to the name..

    I will definitely check out smoke. Thanks ;)

  3. Your pocketbook is probably hurting right now, so my advice is to get an inexpensive pedestal sink and faucet set for now, paint the room white and pick up light blue towels. (Restoration hardware is having a sale!) Get some baskets and hide all that stuff on the ledge. Keep all the fixtures either chrome or brushed nickel (or whatever you used in the kitchen) and it’ll be fine. Not a showstopper, mind you, but fine. Then go to etsy and buy a fabulous bit of art.

    Oh–and an ornate mirror like the one in your wallpaper photo would bring the whole thing up a notch (and give you the same feel as the chandy would). That would make the room a “showstopper!”

    PS: hanging wallpaper in a powder room is actually more complicated than other rooms–if only because it is small (more trimming) and you have to take out that darn toilet to paper behind it).

  4. All good points Alana!

    In re to the toilet, Jeff already had to take it out to do the floor and its -ahem- leaking a bit so he needs to take it out again anyway!

  5. If you go the wallpape route, try walnut wallpaper and wallpaper from the 70s (better than it sounds).

    I have a full bath downstairs to work on, and I’m totally out of ideas too.

  6. I have a tiny half bath and have been toying with the idea of using an ornate stencil in a wall paper like pattern. My walls are baby pink and I think I’m going to use silver stencil paint. Then, if I dont like it, poof… paint right over it. Of course now I just actually have to DO it.

    I love your flooring, and I also really like the gray paint color in the photo.

  7. Liz – that’s such a great idea!!
    I think I’m gonna try that. Um, how do you make a stencil?

  8. Love your idea of clean blue grey, pedestal sink and nickel fixtures for the powder room.
    Wallpapering in a tiny space is hard and can be VERY Frustrating with 2 people trying to do it.
    Go for paint and then stencil. If you hate it you can always paint over!
    You can buy premade stencils at Michael’s or other craft stores. and use metallic craft acrylic paint in the smaller bottles!
    You can also make your own stencil. Draw a pattern onto mylaar and cut it out with a kraft (Xacto) knife but be careful at corners to make them clean.
    Not an artist! Then use your computer, a b/w line drawing/pattern and printer to print onto a transparency sheet. then cut out.

    This link has some basic directions:

    also try

    Have fun and Happy stenciling!

  9. OOPS! forgot to tell you…
    There are also many online stencil companies…if you can wait that long for the mail order stencils!!!

  10. if the toilet is leeking, it may just need a new “jelly ring” from HD. It’s a $5 item and is the jelly like ring that the toilet sits on and makes a tight seal so that nothing leeks out between the toilet, the floor and the big whole/pipe in the floor.

  11. Your descriptions of the before pictures make me laugh! I love the gray color. If you’re not feeling the green in the hallway, go gray there too, maybe. I love the idea of wallpaper, but I think stenciling would be a better option and more personal too. If you get tired of it, you can paint over it. I’d go for keeping it simple. A small sisal rug on the floor, some matching baskets up top there, maybe a magazine holder somewhere. I think you’re really brave to ask people what they think you should do. I’m afraid it would give me horrible decorating ADD!

  12. Im also irrationally afraid of wallpaper – mostly b/c Im afraid I’ll hate it in a few years and have to spend a lifetime scraping to get it off. So I love the idea of a metallic tone on flat tone stencil to mimic wallpaper.

    I think you could use the existing sink if you changed the piping and the faucet. Why replace the sink if you dont have to. A skirt around the base would definitely add a little bit of whimsy to it. You could put the money you would spend on a sink on buying a fab mirror for the space above it. Love the white painted one you have above. Or you could go for a small venetian style one. They sell them for a reasonable price at Home Goods.

  13. Hi there – I’m a new reader and LOVE your blog. I had to comment on this bathroom because I can tell you’re into renovation burnout…been there myself. This room isn’t nearly as daunting as it may seem. The new floors look great. I agree with the others that all you need is (not to make this sound overly easy, but…) an inexpensive pedestal sink with an updated faucet, a coat of grey/blue paint, a fabulous ornate mirror (Home Goods, Ebay, Craig’s List…you’ve done a great job already finding things like that – you’ll be fine), and a cool light fixture. See how you like the room at that point and you can always add to it once you have fresher eyes (and more energy). You’re doing a fantastic job!!!

  14. I love the basket idea for your clutter area. Totally forgot about baskets.

    I like the stencil idea too. Domino magazine once used a stencil from, they used fortuny (you can search for it). There’s also and I can’t wait to see what you do.

    I’ve also wanted to try wall decals like these:

    Oh, I’ve seen fancy mirrors at homegoods for a steal.

  15. From here that bright color in the hallway looks lovely – I’d just paint the bathroom white with a hint of that green in the accents, much less to regret in the future. Can you tell me what color it is? It’s almost the same color as my home office!

  16. Yes, the baskets are a great idea! Thanks Leigh.

    Nicole – sorry your post went into the spam filter (I don’t understand why – stupid askimet!) so I didn’t see it until today.. Yes, I’m totally in love with wallpaper from the 70s!

    Anne, the color is called “celedon” from Glidden.

Leave a Reply