Redecorating a Powder Room on a Budget

Keep your costs down with these tips.

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Lamps with translucent shades placed to each side of a mirror provide the ideal light for applying makeup.

Lamps with translucent shades placed to each side of a mirror provide the ideal light for applying makeup.

Powder rooms can be either the most challenging room in the house to decorate or the most fun. A powder-room space represents a welcome luxury for many people, and it's an ideal venue for stepping out of the ordinary.

If you're thinking about adding one during a remodel, it doesn't require substantial modifications to the existing structure, especially if the new plumbing lines are placed as close as possible to existing lines. If the location of the new room is more than 20 feet from the main plumbing lines, though, building and connecting will be somewhat more difficult and more costly. And keep in mind that when existing lines are used, they must be checked to ensure adequate capacity.

If you're planning to redecorate, you can keep it affordable by reducing or even eliminating the need for entirely new structural elements. Even though a powder room is comparatively small, it contains a number of fixtures that are costly to remove, restore or replace. Here are some tips for keeping costs down:

  • If the existing flooring is made of wood, don't assume it's necessary to install a hard flooring such as ceramic tile, stone or vinyl on top of it. This type of surface may be all but mandatory in a bathroom, but a powder room receives less traffic, and properly treated with several coats of polyurethane or another sealer, wood will become resistant to moisture penetration and less prone to scratches.
  • When shopping for fixtures, keep in mind that they needn't be new to look good. It's also not essential that they match one another. Salvage yards and shops specializing in demolition scraps are worth a visit; some real gems can be found in these places. A pedestal sink, for instance, may be just what's needed to give a bathroom some personality.
  • A good-size mirror with a wall lamp above it will be sufficient to illuminate a fairly small space. But should there be the requisite wall space, it might be preferable to install two lamps on either side of the mirror. Outfitted with translucent shades, they emit a quality of light that permits makeup to be applied with greater ease.
  • Baskets for towels and trash will enhance the elegant and unstudied style.
  • Geometric patterns, including stripes and checks, or a tight overall design such as paisley make good backgrounds for pictures hung on the walls.
  • If there's enough space, include a small table for a purse as well as a coat hook.

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