The term “powder room” actually dates back to the 18th century when many aristocrats would build a small room in their home where people could take a break from the big party and get their wigs re-powdered. While powdered wigs aren’t exactly all the rage anymore, homeowners still like to have a small room in the home to accommodate guests. Today, a powder room is just another name for a “half bath” or small bathroom that features only a sink and a toilet.
Because of its small size, the powder room is the place where you can take chances and get creative with design. Unlike larger, actively used rooms like the kitchen, you don’t have to worry much about functionality. You will likely have a limited floor plan, which is why you can focus your full attention on aesthetics. Go for intense colors, bold patterns or an unusual accent piece: anything that might grab attention.
The walls in a powder room are essentially blank canvases just waiting for you to get creative. Forget neutrals. Try painting the walls with a bold color such as chocolate brown, navy, yellow or ruby. Although conventional design wisdom says that using deep colors in a small space can make it look smaller, feel free to ignore that rule when designing the powder room. There’s no need to make it look spacious. Go for exciting instead. Wall treatments can be pricey, but because there’s significantly less area to cover in a powder room, it is the perfect place to experiment with wallpaper, tile, wood and more.
It’s likely that this room will have no natural light, so your choice in fixtures will be key in creating the best possible lighting. You may want to bypass conventional over-the-mirror lighting in favor of sconces or overhead lighting, which will add a unique touch to the room.
The powder room is also a great place to implement some delicate or pricier pieces. Choose an exotic stone for a vanity countertop, install hardwood flooring or a vessel sink. You can also afford to spend a little bit more decorative pieces like artwork or mirrors. You won’t need much to fill the room, so choose items that make a real impact.
Lastly, don’t forget about the little details. Pay attention to everything from the drawer pulls you select, to the faucets, soap dispensers and towel racks. Have fun experimenting with materials and ideas that you wouldn’t get a chance to use anywhere else in the home.
David Decker is president of The Affordable Companies, which provide affordable luxury in kitchens, bathrooms and flooring. They are based in Carmel (317-575-9540, www.the-affordablecompanies.com). Email home improvement questions to email@example.com.