5 Steps to a Quick Powder Room Update

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builder grade bathroom with new mirror and Sherwin Williams Sea Salt painted walls

5 Steps to a Quick Powder Room Update You Can Knock Out In a Weekend

Do you need a quick powder room update for the current decor? These five DIY tips will take your builder grade bath from blah to Ahh in one weekend or less.

I can empathize; we have a 2000’s builder grade powder bath downstairs that gets a lot of use. We wash our hands in it before dinner. Most guests that drop by end up seeing this powder room as well. I was tired of the builder grade look and wanted it to feel personalized without spending a fortune.

I made a few inexpensive changes to the powder room to update it before sinking a lot of time and money into it. The long plan is marble tile, a console vanity and bold wallpaper. For now, it has more of a spa like feel than a rest stop bathroom, so we have that going for us!

I have laid out 5 simple steps to upgrading your powder room that you can easily complete in a weekend.

Tips for a Simple Bathroom Update

1. Swap out the builder mirror

First thing- change out the builder frameless mirror for an upgraded mirror. Home Goods and Project 62 from Target carry mirrors for around $39. To change out the mirror

  • Remove the screws from the brackets.
  • Remove the old mirror.
  • Pull the anchors out of the wall.
  • Patch the holes with DAP and let dry.
  • Sand until smooth and level with wall.
  • Paint (or cover with new mirror if you are lazy like me).
  • Measure the space and center the hardware. Hang the new mirror.

2. Paint on the walls

One of the most impactful decor changes you can make on a tiny budget is paint. To DIY , use an edger for clean lines and cling wrap the toilet so that you don’t cover it in paint. When you are finished painting, unwrap the toilet for easy clean up and a paint free base. In the powder bath, we used Sherwin Williams Sea Salt for a spa like feel.

3. Change out the cabinet knobs

Next up is chaining out the nickel cabinet knobs for something custom. Many online retailers sell cabinet knobs for $5-15 a piece. With only 2 knobs, this is an inexpensive upgrade. World Market has a great selection of knobs and pulls. You can purchase them individually to mix and match, which is perfect for a small project where you only need 2-4.

4. Buy a pretty hand soap

Don’t underestimate the power of a visually appealing countertop styling. A small green plant, a trinket dish and an amber bottle of hand soap elevate the counter.  Another World Market win is the beautiful floral wrapped bar soaps. Personally, I keep extra pump soaps under the cabinet for the kids to use or to transfer into the amber bottle.

5. Hang the perfect towel

First, change out the exciting hand towel hook with nicer hardware. Coordinate the toilet paper holder to the hand towel bar. My go to store for towel bar and toilet paper holders is Anthropologie. While it may seem a little pricey for a DIY, the quality is unbeatable and the hardware looks and feels expensive. Anthropologie sources unique items that the hardware store doesn’t have, so it will feel custom at a lower price.

Next, for the hand towels, skip the overly holiday inspired towel. Opt for a simple strip or solid color. I snagged these (set of two) striped blue towels at Walmart in the kitchen section. They are from the Better Homes and Gardens line. They are the softest, most durable hand towels. I bought two sets because I loved them so much. These hand towels look like their expensive boutique store counterparts, but come in at only $10 for 4. Source: Better Homes & Gardens Fringe 4-Piece Kitchen Towel Set


That’s it friends. Your builder bathroom now has personality and color. These 5 quick ways to give your powder bath an update make a huge difference.

Related posts: How to Paint Vinyl Floors and DIY Navy & Gold Bathroom Refresh


Paint the Bathroom Vanity

If you are willing to go a step further, you can make a huge impact on your builder grade bathroom with paint and new lighting. Choose a quality furniture paint for the vanity. I recommend General Finishes Milk Paint for vanities. It goes on flawlessly and holds up over time (even to my feral children).

Proper Lighting

Swap out the standard vanity light for a new fixture from a lighting store. Ideally, vanity lights should be hung as sconces for the best lighting on your face as opposed to harsh overhead lighting, but this is reserved for an electrician. Additionally, standard powder bath’s are often small and don’t have room for sconces beside the mirror in which case you should choose an attractive new fixture for atop the mirror.

Powder Room Window Treatments

Another great way to add wow to the powder room is to install window treatments. Hopefully you already have blinds or plantation shutter covering the window. If not, do this now- no guest wants to use a restroom open to the public view.

Next, opt for a roman shade to give a decorative touch to the room without obstructing the function by dragging the floor. In terms of cleanliness, you also don’t want a curtain that hangs down- it’s asking to collect, you know, germy matter.

Artwork in the Bathroom

Should you hang artwork in the powder room? Yes, you absolutely can and should. The bathroom has an abundance of walls asking for art. It is often overlooked as a place to add artwork, but adding art is a great way to add personality to the room.

Often you can hang a piece of art above the toilet or on a wall flanking the window or door, whichever has the most space. Hanging two pieces of the same size over a full size towel bar is another prime placement.

Hang the artwork at eye level, about 57″ from the floor. Purchase a pice large enough, generally, 20″+ or at least 3/4  the width of the toilet or towel bar you will be hanging the art over. In terms of artwork size, bigger is usually better meaning an 8×10 isn’t going to cut it.

Lastly, consider the subject matter. The bathroom isn’t the ideal place for family photos. Opt for a natural landscape or abstract piece. A small collection of coordinated pieces would be fine as well. To preserve the quality, avoid hanging a priceless heirloom in the bathroom as humidity can be an issue.


If you are interested in a more involved DIY bathroom renovation, checkout my painted vanity and mixed metal hardware bathroom update. You won’t be disappointed (see below).

DIY steps for powder room project in this navy and gold bathroom

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