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Put the POW Back in Powder Room!

By Barbara Eberlein

Don’t let your powder rooms be an afterthought… Celebrate this special space with dramatic character, exuberant color, interesting finishes and expressive details. Make it memorable!

Because the time spent there is relatively brief, - a staccato experience – you only have a minute to make an impact. Whether they’re intended for guests or family, tucked into tiny spaces or generous rooms, powder rooms can take aesthetic risks and reap big rewards.

Let’s look at 15 secrets for success:

Cheswold Carriage House Powder Room1. Light, airy elegance is always appealing. Treat crisp white pedestal sinks as sculptures and highlight with gleaming gold fittings.Hand stenciled walls, substantial millwork and crystal fixtures let you know this is an important room.

Mountain Retreat Powder Room2. Make it cozy – Relax a while. A soft slipper chair in a sunlit corner is a perfect reminder that you can take a moment to rest and refresh. Reinforce this message with warm textural materials and soft lighting.

Delancey Place Townhouse Powder Room3. Be bold. Embrace Art.Take advantage of windowless spaces by punching up the contrast and reflectivity. Let the walls, ceiling, counter, cabinetry and floors fade away to highlight the gleaming moldings, niches and fittings and focus attention on significant art.

Margate Contemporary Powder Room4. Let surfaces shimmer. Especially in small, interior, low ceiling spaces, don’t let the sparkle stop. Adorn walls and ceilings with metallic papers that create dynamic movement even in the most contemporary interiors.

Chestnut Hill Grace Powder Room5. Focus the palette and celebrate vibrant color. Saturated color and glowing wood is a winning combination in rooms short on textiles. Create visual richness with confident use of deep, translucent color.

Oceanfront Reimagined Powder Room6. Use challenging dimensions to your advantage. Clipped ceiling lines make curtains hard to design. Compromised corners make rooms difficult to furnish. Awkward proportions make spaces feel ungainly. But relax…you’re in the powder room! A long, thin room can be a fabulous opportunity to use a bronze trough sink and angled ceilings can virtually disappear by floating sculptural sconces on full span mirrored walls.

Portledge Powder Room7. Go for the glamour. And nothing is more glamorous than a sitting room entry to a powder room adorned with antiques, oriental rugs and ball-gown draperies. Carry this luxe message all the way through with a bombè commode, gilded XVIII mirror and upholstered silk walls.

Cheswold Carriage House Powder Room8. Know when to be family friendly. Of course, this alternate approach can be equally appealing. For powder rooms frequented by kids playing sports, guests in the swimming pool and pets needing a cool place to nap, use forgiving materials that camouflage spills, soap and sunscreen. And don’t forget to make privacy window treatment, easy to use and hard to break.

Contemporary Elegance Powder Room9. Contemporary is confident. Introduce strong, crisp, linear moldings to frame intricate marble tile in a micro mosaic pattern. Create multi step, rectilinear coffered ceilings to reinforce the horizontality and add ample glowing light to illuminate the tortoise shell concept.

Delancey Place Townhouse Powder Room10. Powder pink is pretty… and so are you. Even if you don’t have a powder room separate from the toilet room, you can still create a perfect perch for powdering noses and perfecting lipstick. Extend the vanity top, add a pretty chair, mount a magnifying mirror and put out lotions,perfumes and beauty accessories to pamper your guests. And always remember flowers…

Colorful Personality Powder Room11. Have fun with tile. Powder rooms can celebrate your favorite color or express your alter ego, so… explore, experiment and enjoy! Save the dignified marble for the master bath and here have fun mixing kicky combinations of tile patterns and colors instead.

Shingle-Style Beach House Powder Room12. Honor spirit of place. Let the special character of the home and its surroundings be celebrated in everything you do. At the seaside, sky blue mosaic waves lap against a sand ground and a shell shaped pedestal sink floats airily in front. Be sure to add a shallow console table for hand towels, candles, soap petals and flowers.

Rittehouse Square Penthouse Powder Room13. Make a dramatic entrance while creating privacy. The powder room can be a jewel like focal point in any home so create an intriguing entry visible from the hall. A thoughtful layout will maximize privacy for the toilet area while keeping the room open and welcoming.

Cheswold Carriage House Powder Room14. Celebrate hand crafted materials. Honed soapstone, forged iron fixtures andhand-hewn stencil-cut millwork are the perfect compliment for glazed Moraviantile in a multitude of burnished colors and Arts & Crafts decorativemotifs. Warm and evocative, this room isa testament to enduring craftsmanship.

Old World Inspiration Powder Room15. Personalize with layered collections. Most important, make this room yours! Cherished heirlooms, favorite accessories collections, an assemblage of expressive small paintings… all of these personalize a space and add charm, wit, and warmth.

Barbara Eberlein founded Eberlein Design Consultants Ltd in 1984. She was formally educated in the classics, history and art, an education that has served her enduring passion for design. She approaches the creation of interiors with the knowledge that, one day, these too will become part of the fabric of history.

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