Boy’s Bathroom Update

Thank you SO much for all the great input on my bathroom wallpaper ideas last week!! I haven’t had a chance to answer you all back, because I’ve been completely covered in sawdust working on said bathroom. After all that wallpaper discussion and your valuable feedback, I’m throwing a big curveball at you all and nixing the wallpaper altogether! I know, I’m just as surprised by this little plot twist as you.

Last week I picked up all the tongue and groove pine planks I needed to get started on the bottom portion of the wall treatment. Well not all, it turns out I got about half of what I needed since my measuring skills are a bit rusty. Anyway, I bought 8 foot boards and was shocked when I got home that they actually ran all the way to the ceiling. Our whole basement has 9 foot ceilings, except I totally forgot about the drop-down to 8 foot in my son’s bathroom. There was a weird spot that needed to be lower because of ductwork so we decided to make the whole thing 8 ft.

This turned out to be a happy accident. Once I had a few boards lined up in there, I realized that I loved the idea of planking the whole thing. All of Instagram agreed with me – the vote registered at a resounding 93% to nix the wallpaper idea.

My thinking was I could hang fun nautical artwork that I could switch out as he ages rather than being stuck with wallpaper he changes his mind about. Plus, the vertical planking is so cottagey and charming all on its own.

I have been working away down in his bathroom and I’m almost to the finish line on the woodwork portion of this room. I will not divulge how many trips to Lowe’s I have taken in the past few days… I have half a wall to go and then I will add trim at the top, fill in all the holes and knots, prime, paint, hang artwork….

boys bathroom vertical planking progress shots


Ok, so there is a ways to go yet. Which explains my radio silence over here! I don’t’ remember how I managed to do all those DIY projects at our last house, blog about them, and keep my kids fed and alive! I guess I was younger and consumed more coffee. Either that or I didn’t spend half my day as a part-time uber driver when they were toddlers. Either way, I’m sorry the blog has been lacking lately – I promise there is fun content coming soon! I thought I would share a few quick wonky iPhone progress shots (I promise it’s going to look good these are just awful photos) to prove I’m not sitting on the couch watching Housewives and sipping mimosas.


vertical planking bathroom progress

Also, in case you are not seeing my vision on this one, here is the inspo shot from McGee and Co. that I found on Pinterest that kicked off my whole thought process on this. See how charming the planking is on its own? I’m super torn on whether to paint it a light gray tone like this or go really dark and dramatic. Either way, the vanity will be getting a new color too. I also think I’m going to take these lights down and use them across the street in the pool house and get something different in here that gives off better light. The Edison bulb situation is not great in a bathroom.


Ok, that’s all I got – I need to get back to the piles of sawdust in the basement. If you want to leave a comment below with whether you think light or dark paint, I promise I won’t completely go the opposite way and not paint at all. Paint will be happening! Pinky promise :)

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  1. I saw the bathroom finished and I love how it came out! I am in the middle of tackling my kids bathroom. I think I want to try planking their vanity wall. I looked for the tongue and groove pine boards (love them) at Lowe’s but had no luck. Do you have a link you can share?

  2. Hi,

    You put the boards over drywall correct? Just wanted to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

    It turned out so good! I won’t say “beautiful” since it is your son’s bathroom:)

  3. I love the Polo Blue. What color did you paint the vanity? I know you posted it somewhere but I can’t find it!

  4. Did you you use a construction adhesive for the planks? Running them vertically must present a challenge in terms of not having a stud for every board to be attached to.

    1. Yes but also they are tongue and groove so as long as some of them hit the studs they stay snugged in and secure by the previous board if that makes sense.

  5. Hi, what app/program do you use to visualize art on your walls? Struggling to find the right size for my space – I saw you were using a program to place the art. Just curious. Thanks!

  6. Hi Kelly – On one of your Instagram posts you mentioned how nice the boys bathroom vanity had turned out… Could you share your technique for prepping and repainting?? Thank you!

  7. I think the lighter walls would look best with the floor and love the planks. Personally I think the vanity color is nice the way it is. Add some art and you will be all set. I’m so impressed with your woodworking skills!

  8. Kelly,
    Another plank wall lover here. You definitely need to prime the wood with a good primer that prevents the wood knots from bleeding through. Ask your paint supplier for the correct kind of primer to cover the knots.

    The bathroom looks great already and will look fantastic with the plank walls.


  9. I agree that the light gray walls will look great. I am actually thinking the navy vanity with the light gray walls and some red accents would look very nautical!

    I love your house! Your my inspiration!

  10. I think you should go light for the walls. Love the plank walls…. glad you didn’t use wallpaper.
    It will look great whatever you decide.

  11. I also support light color paint. I have a small powder room that had walls in bad shape; installed plank walls painted BM Cloud White, painted cabinet black and used dark fixtures. Still love 6 years later.
    Can’t wait to see your finished bathroom. Love your style.

  12. I love the plank walls! I would go with light paint. I still think you should stick with the blue vanity.

  13. I have barnwood planking on my mudroom walls with chunky white molding around the doors and ceiling and I love the look. I would go gray on your walls to play off the floor and make the molding stand out.

  14. Kelly, I LOVE the boards! If you’re going to prime them before the final paint color, you’ll be able to see how the room looks with white boards (my preference), but I always love your final decisions. You’re an amazing designer. :-)

  15. I’d go white paint on the walls. Bring your color in with the shower curtain, towels and vanity. Can’t wait to see the finished product.

  16. LOVE what you have done and am impressed. I have to echo everyone on a light paint color, or wash. Also would love to fly you here to do a project for me! Lol

  17. I agree with the others as to light paint. A dark color would really close in this room. I agree about lack of light from Edison bulbs. We have similar fixtures in one of our bathrooms and it took many tries of different bulbs to find a good one. Just love the look of the fixtures though.
    Kelly, you have always done such outstanding work. You are amazing. Do you hire out? LOL. Can’t wait for the final pictures.

  18. Looks amazing!! I vote for light gray wash over wood and then really colorful artwork ! Great job, can’t wait to see finished room. ❤️

  19. I love what you did! I think the color of the wood is beautiful on its own but with respect to the paint color, I would go light. I think that would look best. I also love the light fixtures on the vanity wall. Very nautical and cool too! Great job! When you’re finished, would you mind flying out to San Diego and help me redo my powder room? You’ve got great ideas and skills! ?

  20. The dark is very appealing In the photo you provided but in this room I prefer the lighter color. I can’t tell by your pictures how much natural light comes into the bathroom.

    1. It get’s a lot of natural light! I went dark which is so funny everyone voted the other way! I’ll have to see if I change everyone’s mind :)

  21. Looks great! I think I would go with light paint the grey in the inspo photo is nice! When I envision nautical accessories in my mind they tend to be darker and would stand out more on the light background. When my husband and I do a project that requires trim at the end like this we paint the trim and walls before installing. Then any imperfections at the ceiling line tend to be covered up by the finish trim and then you only have a few nail holes to finish at the end.

    1. I would also go with light gray. Lighter is always better I’m a small space. Will also serve as a nice base for your nautical theme.

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