Powder Room - Makeover!

Updated on June 07, 2012
J.S. asks from Saint Paul, MN
7 answers

Hi everyone,

We are getting ready to re-do our first floor powder room... we had a plumbing problem and we decided it was a good enough reason to replace the toiler and sink (since we didn't like them anyway) which led to getting a new mirror and light fixtures... and because the previous owners tiled up to the toilet (not under it) we now need to replace the flooring as well.

I've NEVER done a project like this before, but we are determined to do the work ourselves... so here we are trying to finalize a project and I need some unbiased bathroom opinions! :)

1. What kind of floor would you put in a small powder room? Tile or stone? I'm leaning toward tile, but my husband likes slate because we have slate in our entry (although I am not a fan of our entry)... I think tile would be easier to care for - thoughts?

2. Wainscoting - yes or no? Every photo I look at that I like has white wainscoting in the bathrooms... but our wood trim is wood, we just put in a wood blind last year, and the door is wood. If we were to change it all to white, we'd have to paint the door (then what do you do on the exterior of the door - leave it wood? Wouldn't that look funny?)... what about wood grain wainscoting for a bath?

3. Tile on the wall. I'm considering rather than wainscoting around the whole bath (it's only 4 x 4 so it's tiny) I'd rather tile the wall that has the fixtures on it. Do you have a powder room with one wall tiled? Do you just pick a simple tile that goes with the floor and then add color/interest on the walls?

AHHH! Thankfully we have everything picked but the floor and the wall (wainscoting, tile or just leave them and only paint).

Thanks for your help!

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So What Happened?

You all are so helpful! Thanks so much!

Today we picked a Granite floor for the powder room. It's blackish gray with some interesting inclusions and should look really sharp with the new pedestal sink and toilet. I love that it's pretty neutral so we can use any color (rather than the slate which seems more limiting to me). I like pattern we choose (a simple angled installation of rectangles) and think it will actually make it seem like there is more floor space. We opted to skip the tile and wainscoting and just paint the walls. Thanks for that advice, it really helped me!

More Answers



answers from Appleton on

Tile and slate are very slippery when wet. Bathrooms floors get wet. I would not use either. You do not have to paint the wainscotting white it can be stained to match the door and other wood in the room.
I personally do not like wall tile I think it makes the room look to instutional -- like a hospital.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

You don't have to put anything on the wall besides paint. If you are looking to do something unique/creative, then I think tile on the wall would be easiest. I love wainscoting, but you have the dilema of liking white wainscoting which would be hard due to your wood door.

Have you considered porcelain tile? Porcelain is easy to clean but looks like a natural stone, so both of you would be happy. Since your area is small you could put it on the floor and half way up the wall or 3/4 up the wall, to give it a little larger feel.

I've always been one to neutralize the big stuff & add color by using items that are easy to change out; paint, pictures, accessories, towels etc

Have fun, maybe you could post a pic when it's all done.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Find a tile floor that is slip resistant. If I had in the bathrooms the tile I have in the kitchen my whole family would have brain damage by now from all the slipping.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

These are style vs. practicality questions in my opinion, and that means you're going to have to duke this out with your hubby. Sounds like you have opposing tastes, and that, my friend, I think is going to be your biggest problem.

I have tile in my master bath and slate in my guest bath. They are both functional, clean up well, and look gorgeous. I think it is a total matter of taste...what look are you going for? Slate is more rustic and often more masculine looking, and tile more crisp and feminine. What's the decor of your home? Maybe use that to determine which way to go.

As for wainscoting...only looks good in older homes IMO. So if you have a Victorian for instance it's a nice compliment to wallpaper prints for instance. A tile floor might look nice with that look as well. No to wainscoting and slate. Yucky-poo.

If you paint the door white on one side and leave the wood alone on the other side, it looks fine. We did this in an older home (Victorian) we had once. It's a bear trying to keep the white from bleeding on the edges, but if you tape, you should manage to get a crisp, uniform look.

If you do tile, you'll definitely want it to match or compliment the floor where color theme is concerned! So white tile floor ...you'll want white tile walls. You can add flair with borders or intermingle printed tiles for instance in a pattern throughout the wall. Having one wall tiled may work, but it all depends on shape of the room, whether there is a window or not, is it behind a toilet (might look like a urinal you know) or on a solid wall with nothing around it. Once again..that's a style thing.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

In a room that small, I think less is more. I wouldn't put anything on the wall other than a great paint color. Maybe let your hubby pick the flooring and then you pick the wall color?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

1. In your case I would opt for a tile with the feel of slate. Slate and long term water don't mix well. Definitely opt for a no slip tile.

2. I would just go for a fresh paint job on the walls. No wainscotting. Less work and just a less fussy look. Paint the interior of the door to match the walls. When the door is closed it will have a unified look with the rest of the bathroom.

3. Tile is easy to clean on the walls as it is on the floor but I like keeping my do it yourself projects simple. I happen to love more complicated tile work like a diamond pattern or basket weave pattern or subway tile pattern. I definitely shy away from just plain squares laid in a checkerboard fashion.

I really hope these opinions here help. It really is a matter of preference. I have a stone type tile in my bathroom floor. It is a 12x12 in tile. It is beautiful and functional and not slippery at all. Got it from Home Depot or Lowes I don't remember which but both have wonderful options. It took only 12 squares to do the entire floor. That bathroom floor is very small.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

My powder room floor never gets wet. Does yours? I have hardwood in mine because my powder room is off of the foyer which has HW so the continuity is nice. Also, there is non slip tile. I have it in my kitchen:)
Check out houzz.com. Lots of great ideas!

1 mom found this helpful
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