before and after

Five Big Ideas for Small Bathrooms

Our girls like to say that every room in our house has feelings and the powder room was feeling left out. We wholeheartedly agreed and put Operation Powder Room Appreciation Transformation into motion after months of planning. Besides, we had been having issues with the drain pipe for years and once we opened up the wall, we soon learned why! Let’s dive into our powder room and exploring ideas for small bathrooms.

five big ideas for small bathrooms

This small bathroom transformation is one of my favorites! I love how this room now feels more connected to the rest of our home and I’m excited to be partnering with Benjamin Moore to share the details of how we transformed our small powder room to infuse charm and create a serene space without feeling cramped. I’m breaking down what we did each day and sharing our five big ideas for small bathrooms with before and after photos! Hint: it includes some paint tips and I can’t wait to share more about the tranquil color we chose from Benjamin Moore’s Color Trends 2021 Palette. Keep on reading to find out!

ideas for small bathrooms design board

This project has been on our minds since we moved in and thoughtfully planned out before we executed the work. Here’s my design board, process, and direction if you missed it that you can apply to plenty of ideas for various small bathrooms.

patticakewagner powder room before

You can also read more about the history of our small grandfathered in 45” x 77″ powder room here.

small bathroom before renovation

This remodel was done entirely by us which felt nice to be in full control of the timeline having experienced delays with our ensuite bathroom working with subcontractors. Since Brian has a full time job, he designated tasks for each evening to ensure it would be completed in a timely manner and not drag on. Let me walk you through each day that could help you manage a similar small bathroom project!

Day 1 Plan: Clear the Space

We removed the shallow nonpractical medicine cabinet, sink + P-trap (to replace the sink trim) and baseboard.

Day 2 Plan: Inspect the Drain Pipe, Skim Coat the Uneven Wall and Sheetrock

When he opened the wall, Brian discovered parts of the pipe had rotted with crud badly built up which explained the leaking issues and foul odor. So he cut out the midsection to replace with a new fabricated PVC pipe. Next, he skim coated the long wall because it was out of plumb and sheetrocked over the cutouts from the medicine cabinet and pipe. Tip: Brian used a long level and marked the distance from the wall to the level to help guide how far out to skim coat in order to straighten the wall.

Day 3 Plan: Install Wall Paneling (Read more on this DIY process)

We wanted to elevate the foundation of this plain room and wall treatment is a great way to do that. *You can see we ended up pulling out the toilet for easier work space. We ran into an issue with the right side panel not fitting and discovered that the other side of the long wall also needed to be feathered out, which made the panel that Brian had already cut for that space, too short.

Tip for paneling: All in all, this process shouldn’t be too difficult if you don’t have uneven walls like us. Just make sure to double measure to accurately mark the placement where holes need to be cut out on the panels for the pipes, electrical box and outlets to adhere to the wall.

Day 4 Plan: Continue with Panel Installation

Brian purchased more panels to cut and installed the remaining panels.

ideas for small bathrooms: panel installation

Day 5 Plan: Cut, Cope Joints, Install Trim and Paint

Brian had a major setback with the baseboard installation. He accidentally broke the smallest trim during removal but thought there was more of that exact trim in our garage. He didn’t realize the designs were different until he had cut them all and went to install the very last piece! Which wouldn’t be that bad if we could find more trim with the same design but couldn’t find any. So the only task accomplished was painting the walls + ceiling.

If you’re thinking of painting a space, be sure to check out Benjamin Moore’s Color Trends 2021 Palette. It’s filled with 12 warm sunbaked hues to create a warm ambiance in any space. I’m still gushing over the color we chose for this space. While this remodel wasn’t easy by any means, painting it was the easiest part of the transformation.

Approachable colors that radiate warmth and wellbeing. Image credit: Benjamin Moore’s Website

Approachable colors that radiate warmth and wellbeing. Image credit: Benjamin Moore’s Website


Day 6 Plan: Install New Baseboard, Crown Molding and Apply Last Coat of Wall Paint

We purchased all new baseboard trim because we couldn’t find that exact design anywhere. Which meant Brian had to start over to cut, cope joints and install the new trim.

Day 7 Plan: Execute Final Details

  • Nail in baseboard

  • Install lighting where we hit a small snag that resulted in patching parts of the cutout

  • Apply last coat of ceiling paint (two coats overall)

  • Decide between two mirrors

  • Install new toilet handle to match the new fixtures and hardware.

bathroom light removal details

It took us an extra day than planned to complete the remodel but we got it done in a week, even with all the curveballs! We love every detail about this small bathroom transformation! Before we share some before and after photos, here are FIVE BIG IDEAS TO CONSIDER FOR A SMALL BATHROOM:

  1. Add wall treatment! Consider paneling, wainscoting or even wallpaper to elevate your powder room space. Our paneling took the half bath room to a new level!

  2. Paint the wall, crown molding and ceiling the same color to give an illusion of more space (especially if you have lower ceiling like us). It makes the cutoff between the ceiling and wall seem less visible; therefore tricking the eyes. Ideas such as this one for small bathrooms is simple adjustments that amplify the aesthetic of the space design.

  3. Choose paint colors that help stimulate a feeling of warmth and wellbeing. We were torn between Benjamin Moore Atrium White OC-145 and Gray Cashmere 2138-60 but ultimately decided on Atrium White OC-145 because we wanted something light & calm for our small windowless room that would have a nice visual flow to its adjoining spaces. The old paint color was the same as what we used for most of the main floor but because it gets no natural light, the color was appearing more blue. The creaminess of Atrium White OC-145 warmed it up so much! We used the Aura Waterborne Interior Paint product due to its exceptional durability and great color retention. It’s also mildew resistance in high humidity environments. We opted for satin finish for the wall (easier to clean + wipe) and matte finish for the ceiling which we recommend for most ceilings.

    Although we went with an inherently sophisticated and versatile white, small spaces are a great place to play with color! Some other colors I recommend from the Color Trends 2021 Palette for a small bathroom are Gray Cashmere , Silhouette and Aegean Teal.

  4. If you have a smaller sink, dress it up! Play around with finishes and faucet design, especially if you have a wall mounted sink. By updating our faucet and sink trim to unlacquered polished brass, our sink went from blah to wow! A sink can both be practical and beautiful.

  5. Splurge on at least one of the fixtures! Whether it be the faucet or lighting, make sure you have at least one quality piece so even if you’re doing a budget renovation, it doesn’t LOOK like a budget renovation.

We hope that sharing our experience will inspire you to confidently tackle your own small bathroom remodel! Here are the before and after photos of our beloved little powder room, proving that there is potential in every space no matter the size!

small bathroom ideas renovation before
small bathroom ideas renovation reveal
powder room remodel before
small bathroom full reveal
Ideas for Small Bathrooms sink before
Ideas for Small Bathrooms sink reveal
patticakewagner powder room reveal

We still need to figure out the towel holder, toilet paper holder, vintage rug and what to do with the long empty wall. Some of this may take time because most of our projects are never completed in one swoop. But the bones of the room is done and I can’t help but smile every time I walk by this cute room. I hope you enjoyed the transformation and exploring these ideas for small bathrooms! I would love to hear if you try your hand at any of these design ideas in your powder room. Thank you as always for being here!


Wall and Crown Molding Color: Benjamin Moore Atrium White OC-145 in Satin

Trim Color: Benjamin Moore Advance Waterborne Interior Alkyd Satin 792

Ceiling Color: Benjamin Moore Atrium White OC-145 in Matte






Sink Trim Kit (special order purchased through Strom Living)

Toilet Handle

Soap Pump

Turkish Hand Towel


Bath Rug

Looking for the most updated version of our half bathroom? Explore our powder room here. Plenty of design ideas for small bathrooms listed as well. And if you simply enjoying seeing before & after photos of bathrooms, you might like reading about our ensuite bathroom renovation here.

Sweetest Regards, Patti