Upstairs bathroom renovation: the plans

27 August 2020

Is renovation the right word to use here? It’s probably a bit too strong. But since we’ve done literally NOTHING to this bathroom since moving in besides hanging a shower curtain and changing lightbulbs occasionally, it feels appropriate! This project is already underway (exciting!!), so I thought I’d share a bit about our plans today!

Here’s the before. (Yikes, bathrooms are so hard to photograph!)

This bathroom it is the only one upstairs in our home. Though our children’s bedrooms are upstairs, it’s mostly used by guests right now (our current routines mean our kids bathe and brush their teeth in the downstairs master bath 99% of the time – more on that here). I’m assuming at some point in the future, though, our kids will use it more, so as I thought about design options, I wanted something that felt appealing for both kids and adults, and for both boys and girls.

Almost immediately, I zeroed in on Julia Rothman’s Daydream wallpaper from Hygge & West. I have loved it since at least 2014, when Jenny Komenda used it on the ceiling of her playroom! John, however, was NOT excited about the idea of wallpaper, so I compromised by agreeing to use the removable version. If the future wallpaper catastrophe he’s imagining ever materializes (?), we will have options.

I ordered samples of the yellow and green colorways, and as I waited, I put together this little board:

The samples arrived, and interestingly the clouds are different shades of blue, which is hard to tell online: the clouds in the yellow colorway are French blue, and the clouds in the green colorway are almost gray. In addition to preferring the French blue, I thought the yellow would pick up some of the creamier tones in the floor tile (which we aren’t planning to change) and the countertop (also not changing), so we went with the sunshine colorway!

That decision made, I revised my board to the current plan:

It makes me so happy! Here’s where I am in the project and what’s left to do:

Paint the vanity. We went with Benjamin Moore Palatial Skies and so far I’ve done two coats of primer and the first coat of color! I feel like I am worse than the average person at choosing paint colors, so I have my fingers crossed. Waiting to see whether we need new hardware (probably something simple like this) until the paint is finished. The blue vanity above is from a room by LEB Interiors, but I’m not sure what color she used!

Remove the builder-grade mirror, repair the drywall underneath, and paint the walls. I was originally planning to remove the mirror myself but Youtube videos intimidated me, so I think I will hire this out along with the wall painting to our favorite handyman. We’ll use Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace for the walls.

Wallpaper the wall above the sink. It’s just a rectangle, so I’m going to tackle this myself! Probably with some begrudging help from John :)

Change out the light fixtures. Thinking these ones. (Is this the right order? Should I replace them before or after hanging the wallpaper?)

Hang mirrors over each sink. These ones.

Switch out towel bars for hooks. I think hooks are better for guests and often easier for kids to use!

Hang a new shower curtain. I haven’t seen it in person yet, but to bring the blue color into the shower room, I’m hoping this one will be the right shade. The white waffle weave I considered earlier in the process is here.

Add rugs, art, step stools, and any other decorative accents. I’m so looking forward to adding a little personality to this space! The step stool in the board is so beautiful but also $$$, so I will probably hunt for one at Home Goods :)

So there you have it! While I’ve made good progress this week on the vanity, things will slow down a bit from here as we wait on our handyman – we are on his schedule for late September. I’ll be back to share the finished result once everything is in place!

Friends, I’d love to hear: have you ever used removable wallpaper? Will it get the best of me? Any tips to share?

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August 27, 2020 6:13 am

I love this design! It’s fresh and fun, but also seems like it will hold up well over time. Oddly enough, I also happened upon this stool while browsing TJ Maxx online yesterday—thought I’d share in case it’s similar to what you’re looking for.

Kelly Strawberry
August 27, 2020 8:38 am

One subtle guest bathroom change I made a couple years ago was changing out the vinyl shower liner with a fabric liner (for reference, I have the white waffle weave curtain like you referenced and now a solid white fabric liner behind it). I guess I’ve just never given much thought to shower curtain liners, but when I stayed with a friend she had a fabric liner and said it cost about $20 at Home Goods. Maybe everyone already has fabric liners and I’m just behind but it was a great and cheap swap that really elevated the bathroom. :)

August 27, 2020 10:44 am

I LOVE this wallpaper! So pretty! Also, wanted to share a helpful app to use when trying to pick a paint color. It’s the Project Color app by Home Depot: It lets you take or upload a photo of anything (like the one of the vanity from LEB interiors), and it will match the colors in the photo to available paint colors. Genius! I used it when I was trying to paint a bookcase and felt so overwhelmed every time I’d go to the hardware store.

August 27, 2020 11:33 am

Excited to see how this turns out – it looks like it will be a fun refresh! I wish I leaved close by – I have 2 gallons of Chantilly Lace that I accidentally purchased (gave Sherwin Williams the wrong color number!) that are going to waste.

August 27, 2020 12:23 pm

So fun!! That wallpaper is beautiful and makes for a great color palette! I‘d love to do some wallpaper accents, but like yours, my husband hasn’t been too thrilled with the idea, haha! Can’t wait to hear how it goes!
Also: that shower curtain is beautiful!!

August 28, 2020 8:34 am

Oooh, exciting!!! I will speak from my two bathrooms’ worth of experience when I say that this is a very satisfying refresh to make ;) Chantilly Lace is my swear-by-it white, so I enthusiastically support that paint choice. Following along for any removable wallpaper tips, and cannot wait to see how this comes together!

August 28, 2020 9:07 am

This is lovely! We used removable wallpaper in our powder room and laundry room. It’s not difficult per se, but it does help to have two people (one to hold the paper in place and another to peel the backing and attach to the wall). Not sure if your wallpaper comes with any tools, but we found a squeegee to be helpful in smoothing out air bubbles. For the light fixtures, you will probably want to remove the existing ones during the wallpapering and install the new ones when you are done. This way if the back-plates of the new fixtures are smaller than your current ones, you don’t have any gaps after the fact. Excited to see this come together!

August 28, 2020 2:09 pm

About your mirror, it is only attached by the 4 silver pieces. If you put a putty knife or straight screwdriver under it and lift up it is on a spring and you can just grab it. Not hard at all. I’ve moved many of them! You will need to dispose of it at the dump or try to give it away on FB Marketplace. People don’t really pay for them. One time I attached one vertically and made it a floor length mirror in the bedroom. Worked great for my then teenager. Ask if you have more questions.

August 31, 2020 2:29 pm

I am VERY excited for this reveal when the time comes! I have a feeling it’s going to be delightfully wonderful!

[…] Best home improvement: Our upstairs bathroom refresh has been such a fun upgrade – I smile every time I walk past it! Full reveal to come soon, but you can see the plans here. […]

December 31, 2020 10:01 pm

[…] We headed home from Connecticut in August, then celebrated our own Octonauts movie premiere, an Articles Club reunion (outside!), and, most momentously, our kids’ first day back at school. I also recorded my episode of Work & Play and began the upstairs bathroom refresh! […]