In this post: If you’re not so into ordinary builder’s grade rooms, here are 12 tips for transforming a bland powder room into a lovely French bathroom.
How often have you seen those powder rooms typical in new development homes? You know the kind ~ new but characterless fixtures, builder’s grade faucets, bland floor tile, common sconce and mirror and little else. Often they throw a rich paint color on the wall, hoping it will mask the ho-hum feeling of the room. Such was the state of our powder room when we moved in 6 weeks ago. Here’s the before pic below.
With an entire house to make feel like home, we weren’t prepared to do major renovations in this space. The goal was to transform the room without spending much. The sink and commode were innocuous enough, although this particular pedestal sink provided nowhere to put soap, while the extra tall height left no space for a shelf. I’m not a huge fan of the ceramic floor, but ripping it out will have to wait for another time. So instead I addressed the key things that would make the biggest statement and go the longest way towards expressing my style.
Here are my 12 tips for transforming a bland powder room into a lovely French bathroom:
The single biggest transformation toward a French bathroom was achieved by getting rid of the nearly-black painted walls and covering them with a lovely toile. Wallpaper is not for everyone and if floral isn’t your thing, you’d want to pick something else, but in a room this size without windows, rug or seating, the use of wallpaper affords the opportunity to bring in pattern and personality to define your look. In a tiny room, the expense of the paper is balanced by how little you need.
2. A Gilded Mirror
A beautiful antique French mirror is just the thing to make any room special. But in a pinch, a lightweight resin reproduction will get the same point across.
3. A Tiny Wood Chest
If you’re lucky enough to have the space for it, a tiny piece of furniture adds both character and a place to store hand towels, aspirin and other guest necessities. Mine hold bandaids and lip balm, and the wicker basket beneath is a discreet holder for spare toilet tissue.
4. Silver Vanity Accessories
The place to really have fun showing your personality is with the pieces you choose to display on the limited surfaces you have to work with. These are part of my collection purchased mostly in England and add a fun touch of glimmer and refined appeal.
5. Special Towels
The hand towels are another spot where you can add a bit of flavor without breaking the bank. I enjoy a mix of patterns so I went for the cheetah print, and this is where we took the opportunity to address the lack of a shelf, adding towel bar and shelf, all in one piece. I’d prefer it to be closer to the sink, but for now this will do.
6. Unique Overhead Lighting
Many of these bathrooms come with cheap dome lighting, but ours had NO overhead lighting. Either way, bringing in an antique piece or one with special character is a great way to make your room one-of-a-kind. This lantern was in the entry hall in our old home and easily transitioned to its new role.
7. Artwork That Expresses a Passion
One of my first collections began with many assorted teacups, but as the collection grew faster than the furniture I could display it on, I began to branch out into paintings of the china. The colors here are a perfect blend with the paper.
8. Pretty Sconce
While we don’t really need two light sources in this room, we did need to deal with the existing wiring above the mirror. An inexpensive sconce was added to the mix and the change from the original is like night and day.
9. Planter as Waste Basket
Finding new uses for older things is a great practice. Here I used a pretty planter to serve as garbage can. It fuses seamlessly with everything else in the room.
10. Candle Holder
The gorgeous square votive holder adds a punch of color, as well as a taste of luxury to offer your guests. I always light it when entertaining at home.
11. Fringe Tassel
Hardly the most essential thing in the room, but a lovely addition to my French bathroom nonetheless, this sweet little tassel proves it’s all in the details.
12. Hand Creams
A final bit of pampering can be enjoyed via the hand soap dispensed in a French apothecary jar and a pretty aromatic hand cream, served up on the shelf.
A pretty big transformation, without ripping anything out, left us satisfied for now… until the next project.
French Bathroom Source List – Click on the items below for direct links to the products. Where actual items were no longer available, I’ve provided similar options. (This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.)
- Gilded mirror
- Crystal Curtain Light
- Lantern Light Fixture
- Towel bar
- Shelf bar
- Monogram towels
- Petite side table
- Dressing Table Accessories
- Teacup art and Teacup art
- Glass brick votive
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