It may be the smallest room in the house, but the ‘powder room’ (as it’s sometimes more glamorously known in the US) is becoming the focus for a bit of serious interior design attention. Brits have long been known for a bit of humour when decorating a cloakroom or loo be it with quirky family photos, cartoons or with trophies of sporting triumphs. Now designers on both sides of the Atlantic are going all out with maximalist decorating schemes.
Powder room dreams
Luxuriously decorated loos or powder rooms are now almost as desired by clients as walk-in dressing rooms, boot rooms, media rooms and snugs.
These (often) small spaces are the perfect place to indulge in a bit of decorative humour, pattern and colour. Or for finding an excuse for that gorgeous wallpaper, tiling or flooring you have had your eye on but have steered away from because of the cost. The great thing is that you might get away with using just one roll or just a few wall tiles.
Powder Room decorating formula
The Powder Room decorating formula is a simple 10-step plan!
- Install a washstand/basin console – doubles as a dressing table
- Source mirror – preferably antique – shapely frame and foxed mirror all the better
- Invest in designer wallpaper – use liberally – even on the ceiling
- Panelling – gives a heritage look
- Wall tiles – encaustic, mother of pearl, marble, handmade
- Flooring – go max with mosaic, parquet, marble or stone
- Lighting – create ‘essential’ symmetry either side of mirror
- Small posy of fresh flowers (roses, peonies, hydrangea, ranunculas etc)
- Super smart soap and hand cream
- Cotton/linen hand towels – look stunning, are more absorbant and can be ironed
How to create a Powder Room for less
The above formula is decorating where budget isn’t an issue. However, the same look can be achieved with just a few tweaks here and there such as: turning a vintage chest of drawers into a console, adding a marble top (or not) with basin; using paint or cheaper wallpaper; opting for a smaller cheaper basin with stand; sourcing a mirror from local auction houses or from Ebay. There are many affordable lighting options too – just get in touch with me.
(Left: Pinterest; Right: Powder Room, designed by Marcus Design Inc.com)
What’s your Powder Room style?
Powder Room showroom
I recently visited the Reading Neptune showroom, which is in an attractive timber-framed house on the A4 near Wargrave in Berkshire. On arrival, I was offered Prosecco, Bucks Fizz or coffee and chocolate from their very welcoming staff (always a good start!) In amongst the beautifully styled room sets I spotted a similar Powder Room/bathroom to this.
If I was Meghan Markle, I would certainly be putting Francis-M.com towels at the top of my bottom drawer!The luxurious Irish linen hand towels struck a chord with me as they reminded me of the sort of linen we had in our family (Scottish) airing cupboard when we were children. There is one hand towel in particular which I still have and use.
Sean Moran, CEO and founder (three years ago) of Dublin-based Francis-M.com, says he “grew up in a house filled with linen. Linens handed down through several generations, linens bought at auction, linens gifted. Linen was a fundamental part of our lives.” Before setting up his Irish luxury linen company, Sean started a speciality tea brand and was an advertising guy in NYC.
Apart from the fact that linen outlives cotton by decades, Sean says that “it is also a far healthier fabric as it doesn’t harbour mould, bacteria, viruses – a rather high-tech sleep, in fact”.
Laundry – all white?
My guilty secret is that although I don’t iron duvet covers at home, I do iron pillowcases, tablecloths and hand towels. Hanging them out on a washing line not only helps to whiten linen but it smells lovely too. I love the look and feel of ironed cotton or linen. Oh, and if you have guests to stay (domestic goddess moment!), I always think it is nice to iron pillowcases with lavender water for its sleep-enhancing properties.
Finally, in case you missed it the first time around, you might like to read about the trend (yes!) for outdoor baths.
Thank you so much for reading. If you need any help sourcing or designing a Powder Room, then please don’t hesitate to get in contact. If you would also like to receive email alerts for future blog posts, then please press the large blue ‘Follow’ button either at the beginning or end of a post. With many thanks, Charis x