before and afterDIY

Before & After: A Bathroom Gets Dressed Up With Wallpaper

by Maxwell Tielman

ba_ostrichbathroom_header Design*Sponge | Before & After: A Bathroom Gets Dressed Up With Wallpaper

When it comes to homes, the word “finished” can mean vastly different things to different people. While some people might regard a room as finished as soon as its most basic elements are accounted for (a bed for the bedroom, a refrigerator and stove for the kitchen), others can take a lot longer before they feel fully satisfied with the “done-ness” of any one room. There are a number of things that can lend a sense of finality to a project: the right paint color, the perfect carpet, getting the lighting just right. For Kentucky-based blogger Emily May, the finishing touch for her bathroom was a beautiful Ostrich wallpaper—a decorative element that was, as Emily puts it, both quirky and classy. Indeed, although the bathroom was not too shabby in its “Before” state, this fresh new look, guided by the wallpaper, provides a cohesive, harmonious, and totally finished appearance! Check out all of the photos, plus Emily’s design notes after the jump! —Max

ba_ostrichbathroom_form_2 Design*Sponge | Before & After: A Bathroom Gets Dressed Up With Wallpaper

“This bathroom remodel was never really in the plans,” Emily May writes. “We were fine living with it (for now) because we knew we had bigger fish to fry, like the kitchen. All of that changed when I came across the ostrich paper. I first saw it in Christine Dovey’s house (of Bijou & Boheme) and knew it would be the perfect addition to help transform the bathroom into something more us. The wallpaper in and of itself is quirky but for whatever reason, it comes across as somewhat classy too. Quirky and classy? I’ll take it! The ostrich is supposed to represent denial but my mother jokes that it’s simply trying to give the bathroom user his or her privacy. She makes a good point.”


“Once the wallpaper was in, everything else was very DIY in that some sort of creative solution was used to save money. We tailored a twin sheet (and by tailored I mean the very sophisticated practice of hem taping) to act as the shower curtain, the “art” behind the toilet is a quote I wrote out in calligraphy and the trash can was updated with paint to match the color scheme. At 3 weeks, this was the fastest makeover my house has ever seen. It was one of those makeovers where everything just worked out. We savor that because that is a phenomenon that doesn’t happen often around here.”

ba_ostrichbathroom_form_4 Design*Sponge | Before & After: A Bathroom Gets Dressed Up With Wallpaper Design*Sponge | Before & After: A Bathroom Gets Dressed Up With Wallpaper Design*Sponge | Before & After: A Bathroom Gets Dressed Up With Wallpaper Design*Sponge | Before & After: A Bathroom Gets Dressed Up With Wallpaper Design*Sponge | Before & After: A Bathroom Gets Dressed Up With Wallpaper Design*Sponge | Before & After: A Bathroom Gets Dressed Up With Wallpaper

Key Materials and Sources:
Ostrich Small Wallpaper – Beware the Moon

Brass Rivet Medicine Cabinet – Restoration Hardware
Sink and Faucet – Newport Builders Supply (local)
Oil Painting of Man Leaning on Vanity – Benjamin Rogers Art
Brass Urchin – DwellStudio
Longan Berry Stem – Crate & Barrel


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  • I love this bathroom, and Emily’s blog is a joy. I’ve had a similar experience of crafting a room around one beginning element–for me it made the process of gathering the other pieces for the room more enjoyable and I was really pleased with the end result. That wallpaper is the best: hilarious and classy at the same time. Thanks for sharing!

  • Fancy and fabulous wallpaper! So cool you are from Covington…I used to live on Greenup Street. Great architecture in that little town!

  • What a great space! I love all of the colors and finishes together. Could you share what paint color was used on the vanity?

    Also, a few mentions of the shower curtain but no picture!

  • Looks great – it’s adorable.

    I am now more convinced than ever to wallpaper our tiny en suite powder room (i will just have to do it when my husband leaves town some weekend….)

  • This is perfect!! But I always have a question in mind when I see beautiful bathrooms like this one, the wall above the sink doesn’t get wet? And if yes, how doesn’t it ruin the wallpaper/color? In most usual bathrooms the wall is covered with tiles so this isn’t an issue, but I love the idea of having a pattern on the wall!

  • This bathroom is one of my favorite makeovers this year! I just love everything Emily does and this is no exception. I am excited to follow along in her kitchen remodel which is turning out fabulously already.

  • I’m usually very iffy about wallpaper, but this really does make this room which yes, was very nice before (And I love “Quirky and classy? I’ll take it!”) . And the art is perfect, too.

    I also think the darker sink cabinet makes a big difference – I’m a big believer in contrast in kitchens in bathrooms as it gives a great sense of cleanliness without being sterile.

    And I love that framed handwritten wording above the toilet – where is it from?

  • Love the wallpaper! I just started this blog so any recommendations would be great – I’m still trying to figure it all out! xx

  • Love this colour scheme. The black cabinet looks so good with everything else in white and the the black illustrations on the wall paper. For me what finishes off the look so well are the touches of colour. Looks amazing!

  • I love it! I love beautiful spaces that have a little humor. Well done. Where did you get the mirror?

  • Wallpaper in the bathroom – this is such a good idea. Sadly most bathromms in Germany are still covered in tiles. So I have to share this one I guess!!

  • I pretty much love everything about this bathroom. It’s definitely got personality! That wall paper is so unique, never seen anything like it.