Before & After: A $1500 Refresh Transforms a Boring Powder Room into a Hotel-Quality One

published Jan 5, 2022
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Before: Gray builder-grade bathroom

Sheet mirrors, shades of gray and beige, and chrome finishes: sound familiar? Likely yes, because those are the ingredients of many mid-2000s builder-grade bathrooms. If you’re looking for budget-friendly ways to spice up your builder-grade powder room without changing its footprint, try adding wallpaper, swapping out the vanity, or hanging artwork.

You’ll find all three worked out well in Jovana Halverson’s (@heyitsjovana) One Room Challenge powder room refresh, which made her once-boring 2011 builder grade bathroom look like a five-star hotel.

Before, her bathroom was “sterile, lacked character, very bland, not memorable,” as she puts it. “Although it was new and fully functional … it wasn’t special and didn’t describe who we were as a family.”

Jovana’s family of six uses this powder room frequently as it sits in the middle of their open living, dining, and kitchen area. She wanted to create something with a bit more glam not only for her family, but also for guests because she often entertains.

“I was so inspired by our travels to Manhattan and NYC luxury hotel bathrooms,” Jovana says. “I wanted to create that factor and a magical moment as soon you walk in. New York luxe right at the center of Minneapolis suburbs.”

Because the bathroom is small, Jovana didn’t want to compromise on storage for hiding all extra toilet paper, towels, lotion, and other powder room staples. A roomy vanity was non-negotiable, she says.

“We began by making sure we had a blank slate,” Jovana says of her eight-week revamp, which she completed with her husband. They removed the vanity, disconnected the plumbing, and patched the holes, then filled it with their new, more bespoke picks.

“The biggest challenge was how truly tiny this space was and actually working in it,” she recalls. “It barely fit a ladder! I had to get extremely creative with the wallpaper install as well as the plumbing, faucet, and moulding install,” she says, because she and her husband couldn’t both work in the space.

Their new vanity is a dark, dramatic choice with marble on top from Home Depot, and it matches the moulding (including architectural corner decals!) they added to the lower part of the walls. The new, modern faucet is Kingston Brass.

Jovana scored the mirror in advance from Facebook Marketplace — and it sort of inspired the whole project. “I wanted a mix of old and new, and this Carolina mirror was a perfect touch of ‘old,'” she says. She also loves how it’s juxtaposed with a more modern light fixture above.

But the real “star of the show,” Jovana says, is the black and white wallpaper from Spoonflower. “I haven’t installed a pre-pasted wallpaper before, and it was, surprisingly, the easiest part of this renovation,” she says. It took her under three hours to install all of it.

It “ties it all together and truly brings that wow factor I was craving,” Jovana says.

Jovana learned tons of DIY skills in this project in addition to the wallpaper install, like planning, problem solving, and even plumbing basics. (But, she says, if she could do one thing differently, she would hire a plumber for help.)

But she’s proud of the high-end, high-impact look she created, all within a $1,500 budget. “I enjoy hearing people saying: ‘Wow … whoa … this is cool,’ the moment they open that door!” she says.

This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Before and After: A $1500 Redo Gives This Boring Gray Powder Room Some Luxe Hotel Vibes