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The Powder Room – Your Chance to get Really Creative

bathroom-decor-country-themeLast week I shared the experience of a budget-friendly update to an outdated kitchen. Now it’s time to address the client’s old and drab powder room.

The powder room is a perfect space to really let loose and get creative. Generally, guests spend less than five minutes in the powder room, so they don’t have time to tire of a particular design, or to be overwhelmed with a bright color. This is why it’s a great space to add interesting and imaginative touches.

Bright or unusual colors are perfect for powder rooms. At times, red walls can be overwhelming, and one can tire of the color very easily when living in it day-to-day. But step into a powder room that is painted the color of a rich tomato soup, and suddenly the heart warms, the lighting is soft, and for a short time, you are enveloped in a creamy and lush space.

Have you always wanted to try out a bright turquoise for the walls, but just didn’t have the guts or the desire to commit to it? The powder room is a perfect place to experiment with this color. It’s a quick slap to the senses, but your guests will really appreciate the brave use of color, and the experience of being in a very interesting space.

Perhaps there is a wallpaper that’s caught your eye, with big, bright flowers or a wild pattern. These wacky wall treatments could easily become tired in a main room, but would be refreshing and fun in the powder room.

For my client’s powder room, there was outdated wallpaper on the walls, an old sink and oak cabinets, a leaky faucet, and white tile floor with light-blue grout. Time to get out the sledgehammer!

Our goal was to create an elegant and sophisticated, slightly modern space that would also tie in with the rest of her traditional home. As with the kitchen, we were once again on a tighter budget than we had been in the past. But with some simple design details, I was sure we could make her powder room an interesting space.

The first thing we did was remove the wallpaper and apply paint instead. We settled on a beautiful and rich tobacco brown that would instantly catch the interest of her guests, and give the room a sumptuousness. To add some drama and reflect light, we used a high-gloss finish. The result was warm and modern.

The ceiling gave us a chance to really get creative.  We had originally selected a beautiful wallpaper for the powder room walls. With a metallic background, it featured a chinoiserie pattern and statuesque pagodas; it was simply irresistible and elegant.  But once we priced it out, we realized it would be too expensive to cover the walls with this paper. Instead, if we purchased a roll, we could cover the ceiling with it. This beautiful wall treatment – on the ceiling – would be reflected in the high-gloss walls and in the mirror. Guests would still be able to enjoy the elegant design, and how fun to look up and be so surprised!

For the floors we ripped up the old white tiles and purchased 12” square carrara marble tiles from a home improvement store at a great savings. To give the new floors more of a custom look, we cut the tiles in half, giving us 6” x 12” rectangles. We then laid them in what is called a running bond, so that the tiles didn’t line up, but were alternated.

The oak cabinets had to be replaced. To add a modern touch, and to simplify the room, we installed a white pedestal sink. The cabinets had previously stored cleaning supplies and extra toilet paper; but with a closet so close by, the client was willing to trade in storage space for a more graceful and clean look.

To really up the “wow” factor, we found a beautiful antique brass and crystal chandelier that we hung on the ceiling instead of a flush mount fixture. The chandelier’s crystals gave off refracted, prism-like light, which was also reflected in the high-gloss walls and metallic wallpaper. The result was dazzling.

By replacing the floors, painting the walls and replacing the old sink and cabinets with a sleek pedestal sink, the powder room was instantly transformed into a sophisticated and stylish sanctuary for guests! How simple, and fun.

August 27, 2009

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Erin Vosti Lal


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