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Do it yourself

Refreshing a powder room

Our most recent project was a little update of our main floor powder room using my favourite current design trend - shiplap! With the help of RONA, my husband Matt and I were able to find all the materials and tools we needed to tackle the job, from the basic wood and trim, to new fixtures, to ECO-conscious paint for that finishing touch! I decided to go with an off-white, brushed gold, and matte-black colour palette for this space which is super cozy and on-trend.

This is a fun and relatively easy DIY that can be done over a few weekends, but definitely requires some patience and a bit of problem solving to work around tight spaces and irregular sections. Hopefully I can help navigate those moments with some tips and tricks... so let’s get started!

Christine Kissick

Prepare the room

Shiplap is traditionally installed horizontally, but a recent trend is to install it vertically and I love this new spin on a classic look, so we’re going vertical!
  • 1.1 - Remove all existing baseboards and nails with the pry bar. If you’re planning to reuse the baseboards, take extra care with this step.
  • 1.2 - Mark your studs using a stud finder, and using a level draw an outline of the stud on the wall. With a vertical installation you won’t hit a stud with every board, hence the need for adhesive. The stud marks are important for baseboard and crown moulding installation however, so a good trick is to stick a piece of masking tape on the ceiling and floor where each stud would be.
  • 1.3 - Once all studs are marked, you’re ready to start shiplapping.

Pro Tip

You can create your own shiplap panels with MDF sheets. You need to measure and cut the MDF sheets to create planks that are even in width, and paint the plank edges.

Install the boards

  • 2.1 - Choose a starting corner, and using a level check that the board sits plumb against the corner. Start with the tongue side of the board facing away from the corner. This makes subsequent corners much cleaner and easier to deal with.
  • 2.2 - Apply adhesive to the back of the board (small dots will do the trick).
  • 2.3 - Tack the board to the wall with a finish nailer (only when your board is on a stud).

Pro Tip

Place a 1/4” piece of wood on the floor under each board as we installed, to act as a spacer just in case there is seasonal swelling of the material.

Fitting around windows, counter, and electrical outlets

This is where it gets a little bit tricky because windows and counters require some fancy measuring and jig saw work. Don’t forget to account for the overlap on each board as you’re measuring. Outlet holes can be cut using a jigsaw if they cross over two boards, or by using an oscillating multi-tool if they land in the middle of a board.

Be sure to install electrical box extenders on all outlets, switches and light fixtures to ensure there is no possible contact with the shiplap panels.

Adding shiplap extension

We have 9-foot ceilings in our main floor powder room, and with the shiplap boards only available in 8-foot lengths, we had to improvise by cutting and adding extension pieces of shiplap and covering the resulting seam with a piece of trim.
  • 4.1 - Use a basic 3.5” x 1/2” primed MDF (may have technically been baseboard) and beveled the edges around the window and it turned out great.
  • 4.2 - Install 5.25” traditional style baseboards to complete the look.

Finishing the project

The shiplap boards are up and all that’s left is the finishing touches.
  • 5.1 - Filling all the nail holes with spackling.
  • 5.2 - Once dry, sand if necessary.
  • 5.3 - Small gaps are inevitable throughout the installation, and especially around the windows. We didn’t remove the window trim for this project, instead deciding to butt the shiplap panels up against the window trim as tightly as we could. The finishing touch is a bead of acrylic caulking around the window frame to seal the gap, and voila!
  • 5.4 - The Metrie shiplap boards come pre-painted in a polar white colour, which is lovely, but I really wanted the powder room to be a softer white colour so we decided to paint over the boards. We chose SICO Evolution line of paint + primer, which is an eco-friendly, low-VOC paint that was a breeze to apply.

Change the fixtures

I decided to go all out for this update and replace the wall sconce and faucet, and install a new paper holder. I love Moen bathroom fixtures and RONA carries a TON of choices. So we went with a brushed gold faucet and paper holder which adds a rustic yet elegant feel to the space. The wall sconce from Globe is black with brushed gold accents and fits perfectly.
Christine Kissick
Christine is an Ontario- based Home Decor and Motherhood content creator, and the founder of Brogs at Home. You can follow her work on her Instagram account @brogsathome and find her inspirations on Pinterest.

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