Forget Steve Jobs, whoever invented the Water Closet was a genius.

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You know, that tiny room in large bathrooms with the toilet in it. The one that allow us to not occupy the entire bathroom (and sometimes, actual closet) in times of need? It’s time to give that tiny room some love with a one day water closet refresh.

For the first time in my life, I’m living in a house that has a water closet and I probably appreciate it way more than the average person. No, not because I use it more than the average person (although, now I’m self-conscious, thanks) but because it is such a small space that giving it a little character ended up being the quickest and cheapest project ever! The effort to impact ratio is off the charts.

Click here to jump to the Cost Breakdown below.

Small water closet with black, color blocked wall and walnut shelf.
Before

STEP 1- Paint a color-blocked accent wall

I wanted it to be more than just a blank box, so I knew I didn’t want to paint it the same solid wall color. I needed it to be more interesting. And since the space was small, I didn’t stress over if my design would ‘work’ in the space. I’d seen some color blocking paint on instagram recently so I decided to go for it and color block behind the toilet.

I chose my new favorite color, SW Caviar, eyeballed a height that looked right and got right to painting. I taped off the side walls and took off the tank of the toilet for better access to the wall. Once the color block was painted, I realized the rest of the room would look better in SW Alabaster for a better, cleaner contrast than the beige it was previously painted!

Basic steps to remove a toilet tank:

  1. Close the water shutoff valve by rotating the handle clockwise as far as it can go (usually, a quarter turn).
  2. Remove the tank lid and set it aside. Flush a few times to drain as much water from the tank as possible. Use a sponge or towel to remove any water remaining in the bottom of the tank.
  3. Disconnect the tank from the water supply line by removing the flexible rope that is connected under the tank.
  4. Remove the mounting bolts that secure the toilet tank to the bowl, usually located on each side, under the tank.
  5. Lift the tank from the bowl carefully and set it on some old towels.
small water closet with black color-blocked paint.

STEP 2- Add a Shelf

Now you’re eye is anchored to the dark accent wall but it still needs a transition feature- and what’s a better transition than a wooden shelf?! You can build the easiest shelf ever with a single 1″ x 4″ of pine. With only two cuts, you can get two 35″ pieces of wood that can be attached into a shelf when screwed together such as in the image below.

I stained my shelf with Varathane, Dark Walnut and sealed it with Minwax water-based Polycrylic in a Satin sheen. Once stained and sealed, attach the shelf to the wall with wood screws. I was able to line up two of the screws with studs in the wall but I wasn’t too concerned since I knew this small shelf wouldn’t be holding much weight.

35" walnut shelf rendering indicating where to screw 4 screws into the wall

STEP 3- Style your refreshed water closet!

The only thing that was left was to style my shelf with a few stems from my garden outside, and a charcoal drawing that my sister gifted me for Christmas.

Now that I have the cutest water closet, I want to spend even more time in it (don’t make it weird)! Not bad for a 1 day makeover!

Small water closet with black, color blocked wall and walnut shelf.

Cost Breakdown:

Paint– $20

1″ x 3″ Solid Wood Board- $7 (in this insane world, normally $4)

Stain– Free! I had this

Poly Sealer– Free! I had this

Wood Screws- Free! I had these

Total Cost- $27

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