My guest participation in Calling it Home‘s One Room Challenge™ is well underway, and (yikes!) – in week 4 of 6 – a  million miles from being finished. 😵


Progress on the rental bathroom makeover I’m working on for the ORC is chugging along. What’s the ORC? The One Room Challenge is a biannual 6-week decorating event, currently in its 10th season. Each October and April, 20 design bloggers take the challenge to transform a space. Over six weekly Wednesday and Thursday posts, designers and anyone with a blog document their process while sharing their professional advice and sources. Following the One Room Challenge is an excellent way to learn from a talented group of interior designers and bloggers.

I'm finally joining the One Room Challenge with a Rental Bathroom Makeover! Let's see what can be done in 5 short weeks to rescue and transform this tiny space into a proper Powder Bath!


After having major fun with my Living Room Fall Decorations reveal earlier in the month, I decided to keep my decorating momentum going and join the fun by ‘making over’ our powder bath. Last Spring we moved from Manhattan to Northern Virginia, where we’ve been living in a beautiful rental house. Our Powder Bathroom couldn’t be a better One Room Challenge, because it’s small (40SF), and as per our lease, cannot be painted. Nail holes in the walls are not permitted, and I obviously can’t change the tile, or fixtures. For these reasons, this is a true challenge I’m taking on. 💪🏻


Not too long ago, I published an article on removable wallpaper. I wrote that when a stylish, temporary design solution for walls is needed, removable wallpaper is a perfect option. From my research for that post, I knew removable wallpaper would be ideal for this makeover. Then when I saw the way Manda of The Merrythought applied a grid of stripe decals* to the walls of her home office, her idea had me at  😍 hello.

I’m fond of black and white palettes, but can visualize that a black grid against a white wall would be overwhelming and look Memphis–Milano -esque (see my friend Geraldine’s post on the Memphis group aesthetic, which is fabulous but not what I’m going for here) in my tight, 40sf powder bath. I want our powder room’s wall pattern to read more ‘trellis’ than ‘grid,’ so I chose a stripe decal* in color “Baby Pink,” in the same 1″ width that Manda used.

(Anything with an * next to it is an affiliate link.)

Inspiration for my One Room Challenge Rental Bathroom Makeover from Manda of The Merrythought! She used Walls Need Love's Easy Stripe Wall decals to create a grid wallpaper pattern in her home office.


In my initial rental bathroom makeover post I showed you my starting point via rather epic “before” pictures. Update: the formerly blank walls now have stripes (step 1), which I will add horizontal stripes to, to create the trellis pattern (step 2). As I mentioned, I’m a million miles from completion on this powder room, but fear not. More than the monetary investment (very minor for this project), the biggest expenditure in decorating is always time. Surveying, planning, shopping, and labor takes good old-fashioned T-I-M-E, whether you pay another person to do it, or in this case: do it yourself. Putting up the stripes, even in this small space, has taken me approx. 6 hours so far (measuring between each one and making sure the lines are straight is time-consuming!), which is why I’m running a wee bit behind. Stripe application doesn’t include time spent measuring the overall space, taking and editing pics, drawing elevations, or writing these hurr ORC posts. In other words, I haven’t been able to allot as much time as I’d like to my ORC so far, so the 2 weeks will be crunch time.


Layering and adding interest is an important part of decorating. Enhancing walls with paint or wallpaper is an excellent first step, but overlaying art or other decorative elements on top is essential (i.e. paintings, mirrors, sculpture). I always like over-sized art for impact, and in keeping with my Living Room color palette in shades of pink, blue, white, and gold, I plan to stack two 36″ x 36″ canvases painted in blue and gold over the ‘main’ wall that is visible when the bathroom door is open, and 1 over the wall with the toilet.

My husband is from India so I consistently incorporate Indian and Asian motifs into our home. I have a large paisley stencil* that I used to faux finish our (previous) entry in Manhattan with a gold and emerald wallpaper effect. The paisley pattern popped into my mind and I’m delighted to use it again for these 3 paintings. Pattern on pattern – how’s that for layering and adding interest?

As a guest participant in the One Room Challenge, I'm tacking a Rental Bathroom Makeover! Let's see what can be done in 5 short weeks to rescue and transform this tiny space into a proper Powder Bath!

In these elevations, Step 1 is done and done. Steps 2 and 3 I’ll alternate between doing simultaneously. Accessories… haven’t gotten there yet.


1 _ Install horizontal stripe wall decals.*
2 _ Pick up 3 large canvases.
3 _ Paint canvases and overlay with paisley stencil.*
4 _ Select Powder Bath accessories, guest towels, misc.
5 _ Write next week’s update post.
6 _ Take photos for the reveal!
7 _ Draft my reveal post!

Author: Sarah Sarna

Interior Designer and Author at, empowering women to decorate and dress with confidence.

  • Neat idea! Can’t wait to see your final reveal, Sarah! I am working on a laundry room and need more *time* too! Fingers crossed!