The Final Four Design Decisions: Vanity Color, Wall Color, Wainscoting Design, and Linen Storage Design

Now that things are coming together in my bathroom, I’ve finally been able to make the rest of the design decisions for the room.  Starting with…

Vanity Color – Light Teal Or Dark Teal?:

I’ve decided to go with the dark teal, Behr’s Mythic Forest, for the vanity.  The dark teal just speaks to me right now.  Light teal is Condo Kristi.  Dark teal is House Kristi.

DIY butcherblock style countertop - 40

Wall Color – Neutral Or Color?:

Almost from the beginning of this project, I knew I wanted white wainscoting in the room and a colorful vanity.  And since I was going with a colorful vanity, I just assumed that the upper part of my walls needed to be a light neutral color.  In fact, I even bought a gallon of neutral paint for the walls (something like Chocolate Froth, I think).  But I’m almost ready to paint the walls, and I just can’t seem to get myself to love the idea of neutral.  I blame it on these two bathrooms that I posted the other day.

colorful bathroom vanities - aqua vanity, Laura Machee Designs, via HouzzTraditional Bathroom by Bellaire Architects & Building Designers Laura Manchee Designs

colorful bathroom vanities - green vanity from the 2013 HGTV Dream Home, twin bathroomvia 2013 HGTV Dream Home

I’m such a sucker for blues and greens mixed together, and I love the look of having one color on the vanity, and another non-neutral color on the walls.  Of course, my bathroom will be different since I’m using a more saturated color on the vanity.  But I’m still going to add color — specifically, green — to the walls.  I think it’ll breathe some life into the room.

So I picked up four samples of green, all of which I pulled directly out of the shower curtain fabric.

wall color options

On the paint cards, all of those colors looked so pretty, and I was almost certain I’d go with the top right, which is called Outback.  But as soon as I got it on the wall, it just fell flat, as did the one below it, which is Tate Olive.  And the one on the bottom left, called Ryegrass, looked “muddy” to me.

So in the end, I decided on the top left color, called Crisp Celery.  It’s the truest green of the options.  It’s not so bright that it looks like it belongs in a child’s room, but it still looks light and fresh in the room.  I think it looks great with the dark teal that I’m going to use on the vanity, and since green is “nature’s neutral,” I think it looks really pretty with the wood in the room.

Wainscoting Design – Recessed Panel Or Picture Frame Moulding?:

I’ve gone back and forth on this for the last month, and while I do have a clear favorite, it kind of comes down to the one I can make work around the vanity, while still getting the look I want.  So the options are picture frame moulding, which is what we used in my mom’s bathroom

Here’s another beautiful example of picture frame moulding…

bathroom with picture frame moulding wainscoting, from Decor and the Dogvia Decor and the Dog

The other option, which is my favorite, is the recessed panel wainscoting.

powder room with recessed panel wainscoting by Design Cube Inc, via HouzzTraditional Powder Room by Ottawa Design-Build Firms Design Cube Inc.

That bathroom also has a tile border at the top of the wainscoting, which is similar to what I’ll be doing.

This recessed panel style is what I did on the pony walls that I built a couple of months ago.

how to build pony walls with columns - 43

So it all came down to which one I can make work around the vanity, and the issue was the baseboards.  It’s hard to describe the issue when you’re not standing in the bathroom looking at the areas as I explain the problems.  But suffice it to say that the recessed panel style, used with a separate baseboard like I did on the pony walls, sticks out from the wall too far (almost 1.5 inches total) and creates problems around the vanity.  So if I go with the recessed panel style, I’ll have to go without the baseboards (which means it’ll look like the bathroom two pictures above, and not like my pony walls).  Not the end of the world, of course, but I just really love the whole look that I created on the pony wall, so it all came down to whether or not I’d be happy with a modified version.  With picture frame moulding, I’d be able to have the baseboards, but of course, no recessed panel.

But after all of that, I still think I’ve decided on the recessed panels with no separate baseboards.

Linen Storage – Floating Shelves Or Complete Built-In?

Almost from the beginning of this project, I’ve been planning on adding a lower cabinet where the linen closet used to be, with open, floating shelves above it.  The wall color would continue around that area, and the shelves would probably be the trim color.  So that would look something like this, except I’d have a lower cabinet where the toilet is…

floating shelves in bathroom, from Designed To Dwellvia Designed To Dwell

With that design, the same backsplash that is around the vanity (which is basically the tile border along the top of the wainscoting)  would also continue around the top of the lower cabinet in the linen storage area.  Then I’d have probably three floating shelves above.

But I’ve been looking at other bathroom storage ideas lately, and the ones that look like complete built-in cabinets seem to appeal to me more.

built-in bathroom storage, via BHGvia BHG

built-in bathroom storage, via Harvest Architecturevia Harvest Architecture

And I really like the sparkle added with the glass shelves in this built-in storage.

built-in bathroom storage with glass shelves, via BHGvia BHG

So I’m definitely going with the built-in look instead of floating shelves.  I think it has a more custom look.  Now I just need to decide if I want wood or glass shelves.

Still lots to do, but it’s all coming together!

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  1. GMTA, because the top left color was my immediate favorite.

    Am I losing my mind, or was your mom’s bathroom on the HGTV website Rate My Space (not the show.)

      1. That room was the inspiration for me when we redid our master bathroom. I still love our Kristi-inspired bathroom.

        1. Kristi, has anyone even ask you about doing your own show or wanted to feature your work or a room you’ve done. If not it’s just hard to believe that someone as talented as you are has never been approached by HGTV. I’m just wondering if this has happened and you said no. If it’s never happened it’s hard to believe.

  2. Hi. Me, again. I was really unsure about the crisp celery color until I went to the Behr site and pulled it up. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it. It does not come through as the same color in your post, though. What camera do you use to take your pictures? Is it a camera where you can adjust your white balance? (if you’re using your phone, probably not). There’s a “tungsten light” setting in the white balance setting of most DSLR cameras. For your indoor shots, where there’s not a lot of natural lighting, you might want to adjust to that setting. Not that you have a lot of time to become a photographer, but as you develop your posting/site with tutorials, etc. it might be something you get into as you take more and more pictures of your amazing work!

    1. Oh goodness…my photography needs lots of work. 🙂 And I’m the daughter of a retired professional photographer. It’s embarrassing. I keep saying that I’m going to take a class, but I just don’t have time! I’ve got a house to remodel! 😀

      1. I painted our powder room Crisp Celery 10 years ago and loved it so much we continued out into the hallway. We had white wainscoting under it. We loved it and a couple of years later the house sold in just 6 days so maybe others did too! Thanks for reminding me of it, I have to try it again!

  3. The top left paint color was my favorite too. The built in storage will really dress things up too. Great idea!

  4. I have that exact celery green colour in my bathroom, over white wainscoting! I love it. I also have black, green, orange and white wallpaper on the feature wall, so I know it looks great with strong colours, and reads like a neutral in the end. Great choices!

  5. Love the teal, not sure about celery but like most decor issues, I have to see it put together. I’m sure it will be beautiful. Of course, I come from a family whose motto is “no green, gray, black, or brown.” Maybe we need to expand our horizons!

  6. My eye immediately went to the celery green. So pretty and fresh. I love the idea of glass shelves. If they are not too expensive. I also thought that some type of pattern (paper or paint) on the wall behind the shelves would be pretty. But perhaps the wainscoting will be there? Hmmmm I also love that you are keeping the wainscoting the same in the bathroom. I like that there is some repeat throughout the house that pulls it together. I think your scheme of blues and greens will do that too. I also love blues but I rarely pull greens into the picture. But you are right. Green is nature’s neutral. Good to remember that!

  7. I think glass shelves would be a nightmare to keep clean in a bathroom that actually get used. The combo of lots of lint (towels, toilet pape, hair) and steam will create a film that looks far worse on glass in between cleaning than it would with wood or painted shelves.

    Also,are you doing oil based paint in on the vanity? I need to get mine painted (also starting from unfinished) so it has time to cure before we install. I had been looking at Benjamin Moor Advance paint but it would be a bit of drive for me to find it. Wondering if you would suggest oil based or the Advance for brush painting a vanity.

    1. I have had glass shelves in a main bathroom and did not find that they were a chore to keep clean, just wiped them down when I cleaned the mirror. They were less upkeep than my current linen closet louvered doors!

  8. You could just take a video of the space to show the issue w the baseboards…you don’t have to be in the frame.

  9. hurrah for your choice of dark teal 🙂 and I love the crisp celery, that would have been my choice as well. Can’t wait to see both together – it’lll look fabulous!

  10. I’m so glad you decided on the teal for the vanity and I too immediate loved the Celery for the walls. Love the plan for the built-in as well. I think it’ll look much more professionally finished in the end. Can’t wait to see it all come together!

  11. Glad you chose the dark teal for the vanity. And yay too for the Crisp Celery wall color. I love it and with the gorgeous shower curtain fabric, this room will really sing. Glad you decided to do a built in look for the shelving. I was not crazy about that picturing it in my mind’s eye. Go for the glass shelves!

  12. I like the dark teal for the vanity with the celery walls. Also like the recessed wainscoting and the finished linen space with glass shelves. It’s finished but open. Love that its coming together and can’t wait for it to be finished!!

  13. Kristi, The crisp celery was my favorite also. I love the Idea of the built in shelves, and I think the glass wood look stunning!…Some people think they would be hard to keep clean, but you don’t have little one’s and you also took your window out , so I think you should go for the Glass!…I love how you like to get others opinions, cause we all got one…Haha!!…This bathroom is going to be so beautiful!

  14. I too liked the darker teal and the top left paint swatch immediately. I also think that glass shelves will help to keep the room open and airy. Your design choices are spot on!

    Happy to see everything coming together, and can’t wait to see the finished result.

  15. The celery was my immediate choice as well. This bathroom is going to be so pretty when you are finished. I think glass shelves would be outstanding as well.

  16. I agree with your choice of green, but, Lord help me, if it was my bathroom, I’d go with the Tate Olive (lower right) simply because of the drama! LOL! Love darker colors, and love dramatic colors!

  17. I love your final choices of the darker teal and the crisp celery. It’s going to look stunning!
    I also love the idea of a built in look linen storage area with glass shelving. I think the glass shelving will make the area appear larger. I cannot wait to see your blog everyday with your progress on this bathroom.

  18. Where did you get that fabric, and what pattern is it? I absolutely love it! HELP!
    I love the whole color scheme!

  19. Kristi, would you please, please post exactly how you make your shower curtain when you get to that point? I’ve searched for a shower curtain for 9 months and have not found one that wasn’t cringe-inducing! I loved your very detailed post showing how you made your pinch pleated living room drapes…SO helpful!
    I LOVE that you chose the dark teal and celery green, and I just can’t wait to see how darn gorgeous it’s all going to look when you are finished!

  20. I agree with an earlier post – glass shelves will be a nightmare to keep clean, but that’s just my experience. I love the celery green – that was my first pick. Everything will be lovely!

  21. I have come to the conclusion since following your blog that you always make it come together so I’m sure this will be no different!

    You wouldn’t happen to know how wainscoting holds up in bathrooms? I debated it our master bathroom reno we’re working on right now, but my big beautiful bathroom window doesn’t actually open and the single fan in there is a joke (will be replaced eventually). I’d love to do something like wainscoting around our garden tub and new vanity area, but between the bathwater and dampness, I’m afraid it would be ruined in a short amount of time (my kids like to come swim in my tub, lol). Just thought I’d ask 🙂

    1. My master bath that Kristi shows here was done in 2007. It is used every day and gets lots of steam. The wainscoting is just as pretty now as the day it was finished. I’m still loving it.

  22. I love all that you’re doing and I’m so glad you’re going with the recessed panel without the separate baseboards. I think it’s going to look so rich. However, as much as I agree with you on the ‘sparkle’ of the glass shelves, I would go with wood in a bathroom because steam, dust, etc, could lead to you having to clean them a lot to keep the ‘sparkle’. Surely you’ll be doing something in the music room, breakfast room, foyer, etc, that you could do the glass shelves. Heck…even your master bedroom. Just for a thought! Save the sparkle for a more practical space!!! 🙂

    PS…I just love following you and your blog makes me want to start my own and chronicle my own house. You are such and inspiration.

  23. Well, I was “all light teal, all the time” yesterday. But, today…I LOVE the dark teal! You’re right! The light teal is “Condo Kristi” and now that you are “House Kristi” you gotta go big!! 🙂

    I loved the crisp celery with the dark teal and your dark wood ceiling and counter color from the first second! Crisp celery is definitely the one!

    Love the idea of the built-in storage instead of the floating shelves.

    And, all of this with the french doors!! I may need a sedative!!! This bathroom is going to be off the chain!! I can’t wait for the next email!! 😉

  24. I love the glass shelves I have in my bathroom…when they are clean. It’s our main bathroom and is used frequently so the glass needs cleaned almost ever other day. It’s a trade off for me, but you may not have the same issues. Love your color choices!

  25. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this crisp celery! My daughter painted a hallway and living room in her mobile home this color, and it IS beautifuL

  26. For days have wondered how this was going to work out, but (as usual lol) you nailed it with dark teal vanity and celery walls. For the built in, I love the sparkle of glass, but would get tired of cleaning it and it will need to be cleaned! The dust will show up between the piles of towels or display items. That said, the tradeoff is yours to make and your choice will show the room off best as always! The difference in the recessed panel wainscoting does not jump out at me – the recessed panel draws my eye.

  27. For me the recessed panel on the pony walls looks much better than the recessed panel in that other bathroom. Not only because of the skirt boards but because of the ratio between the width of the frame and the recessed area. In the bathroom panels there are big flat areas without anything on them, looks too flat in my oppinion.