Simple Powder Room Refresh

Paint, a long 1x12 piece of lumber, and some brackets are all you need to turn a powder room into something special.

When we moved in to our new house in almost every room was a different color. The entry was a mint green, the living room a dark depressing brown, the kitchen an interesting shade of turmeric. The master bedroom was a pastel shade of mauve while the guest bedrooms were orange sherbert and lavender. The dining room had an eye-catching coffered ceiling that practically disappeared since it was painted all white while the walls were a bold red. This rich red was the only color repeated in the house - every wall in the downstairs powder room was painted that same color. It was slightly overpowering in such a small space.

See? It's very...red. And why is there a bath towel rack over the toilet in a POWDER ROOM that has no shower or bath? So confusing. Our first order of business was to paint every single room, including the powder room, whose facelift included three crisp cream walls and an accent of blue behind the water closet. With the paint done, it was at least manageable and other projects took precedence, like refinishing the kitchen cabinets and installing the shallow kitchen shelves, creating the living room accent wall, and turning an unused closet into a wine bar. But I was annoyed with the powder room every time I walked into the room, which was quite often because it's the only downstairs bathroom. There was zero storage and zero personality so I decided to take a cue from the laundry room refresh and use the same combination of stained wood against the dark blue paint.


This is seriously the easiest project. I measured the width of the wall, decided how wide I wanted the shelves to be, cut my wood pieces to fit (I used 1x12), sanded, stained, applied a topcoat, and installed them. If it weren't for having to allow the stain to dry for 24 hours before applying the topcoat you could finish it in one day. As it stands with the stain and topcoat, two days (and not a lot of hands-on time) and you're done.


Chances are your walls aren't square (mine weren't) so to make things simpler I decided to have the shelves stop a few inches from the wall. The wall behind the toilet measured 38 1/2" inches so I decided 34" was a nice compromise, plenty of room for storage without needing any special cuts to accomodate for wonky walls. I spray painted brackets that I had on hand gold and let those dry.


Pre-stain conditioner, a coat of Minwax red mahogany stain, and three coats of polycrylic top coat and the shelves were ready to install.

Installation is also simple. Decide how high you want your first shelf to be - the general rule of thumb is to leave at least 24" between the top of the tank and the first shelf for clearance. I positioned one bracket with the shelf sitting on top, made sure it was straight and level, marked the holes, pre-drilled the holes (if you hit studs, great, if not, use drywall anchors), installed the drywall anchor and then attached the bracket to the wall. I repeated the same steps for the other bracket, letting the shelf sit on top, using a short level to make sure the shelf stayed level and straight before attaching the bracket to the wall. With both brackets attached to the wall I then attached the shelf to the bracket. Figure out how high you want the second shelf to be and repeat the same steps. Style as desired and all of sudden you have functional storage, a display area for decorative accents, and personality. And it was SO easy.






If you transform your redrum, ah, we mean outdated, powder rooms, please share it with us! Tag us @reddesignedinteriors and #reddesignedfurniture #reddesignedtutorials. Happy designing and fabricating!


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