$500 Powder Room Makeover Challenge

January 11, 2019


(design by Caseworkit)

We started on our first home project of the year this week with a $500 powder room makeover challenge! We have gotten to work with some wonderful companies this past year on renovation projects, but we really want to be able to share more budget friendly ideas with our readers. Designing your home doesn’t have to drain your savings account! The powder bathroom we are renovating is on the main floor of our home, so it is the most used. Read on for the before picture, and what we have started already…


What we will change:
Light fixture
Paint color
Sink Faucet

What we will keep:
Pedestal Sink
Hardwood floors

This bathroom is a lovely dark maroon hue, and while this color may suit some, it makes me feel like I am in dungeon closet due to the zero natural light factor. I couldn’t wait to change up those walls and toss the gloom and doom! This was the same color of our  small dining room we turned into a music room  Painting it white completely opened up the room and made it look like a natural extension of the living room. Since this small bathroom has zero natural light we decided this space also needed lighter hues. We will be doing half of the walls with board and batten, and half with a patterned wallpaper. While wallpaper can be both time consuming and pricey, if placed on only part of the walls, it is a perfect opportunity to experiment with something beyond the usual solids.

(design by cmnatural)

This is a bathroom I was really drawn to because it’s bold! If there was any window in our powder room, I would have gone for a dark floral or dark walls!


I also loved this two tone wall bathroom with beadboard and paint. If you are attempting tile, you can go a little bold on the floors, and a more monochromatic look on the walls. The deep blue grays are a great color pool for small bathroom spaces.

(design by Sarah Sherman Samuel)

This small bathroom design by Sarah Sherman Samuel has the midcentury and traditional elements that make it stand out to me, and the tile walls are stunning! Since tile can be extremely time consuming and pricey as we learned with our guest bathroom, we are opting for wallpaper this go around! On to the first steps of the reno…

The first step in this renovation was ripping out the baseboards to prep for board and batten. (We will be doing a separate post on installation process for this!) We decided to do this on the bottom half of the walls with a glossier paint which is easier to clean. Since this bathroom is frequently used by our boys, wallpaper wouldn’t quite be compatible for bad aim if you know what I mean!


We also needed to patch all of the holes or dents in the walls to prep for paint. As you can see there were many! We also removed the light fixture and patched behind it since we are going from a three light fixture to a solo sconce. Behind the light fixture Gabe discovered a nice size hole which needed extra time for patching and sanding. We have learned to always leave room for unforeseen time suckers!


After holes and dents were patched, we primed the wall with a primer and paint we had leftover from another project. This is to make sure the red doesn’t bleed through the lighter wallpaper color, and the bottom board and batten will need a an additional coat with a glossier finish.

Today we started planning out the board and batten measurements, and used a level and pencil to mark along the entire wall where the boards will go. After this process we realized the sink wasn’t installed properly and was at a slight tilt, so that is a current dilemma we are trying to think through!

To be honest, I was doubtful we would find the hardware, wallpaper, faucet, and supplies for board and batten in the price ranges we need for this challenge. Thankfully, after scouring the internet for way too many hours looking for a wallpaper we liked that would actually fit in the budget, I found an option I loved! The goal was to try something more abstract vs. geometric, light enough to lift the shadows and dark corners. Amazon has also been a helpful resource to find like new or refurbished items needed for this powder room. I can’t wait to see it all come together, and share the outcome!

We will continue to post videos of the process of this bathroom transformation on our instagram stories, and more thorough blog posts about the process here. I am hoping we can knock this out pretty quickly thanks to the real MVP Gabe Liesemeyer.

Please leave us any questions you have below!

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