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Living Well

Designer Tips for Perfect Powder Room Decor

[Posted on April 24, 2013]

Interior designers are practically unanimous in their enthusiasm for the powder room as one of the most enjoyable spaces to conceive of for a home. “The powder room is often among the first things that guests see upon arriving into one's home, so it is a great place to make a statement,” says Julia Edelmann of Buckingham Interiors & Design in Chicago, echoing the sentiments of many of her peers.

“Because powder rooms are typically small, you can get away with design elements that may not work in other parts of the home.”

“This small but public space is a great room to ramp up your style,” agree Tracy Huff and Kelcey Schlegel of Bethesda, MD-based Waterlily Interiors. “For the most part, the door is always closed, so you can really have some fun”—with bold wallpaper, bright paint colors, luxe fixtures, fine candles and soaps, and a number of other design elements you may love but dare not try elsewhere.

However, no matter how much fun you have with the powder room, its design should connect to the overall aesthetic of a home. And while this jewel of a room dazzles your guests with a glimpse of your creative vision, it should also provide them with the necessities—great lighting, a big mirror, the softest luxury hand towels  —that make them feel at home in your home.

Here, top tips for designing a powder room, along with a handful of images guaranteed to inspire.

" matter how much fun you have with the powder room, its design should connect to the overall aesthetic of a home..."

Designers’ Top Tips for a Peerless Powder Room


“Invest in the most stylish and pretty faucet set you can afford. This gives the biggest bang. Everyone touches this. It should feel heavy and solid and substantial to the touch.”—Sally Wilson, Wilson Kelsey Design, Boston

“Don’t forget a beautiful fingertip towel, preferably monogrammed to give it a personal touch, a luxurious hand soap, and a soft-scented (seasonal) votive candle.”—Priscilla Fenlin, Priscilla Fenlin Interiors, Villanova, PA

“Make sure to edit. This space is a display of your organizational skills, so keep it clutter-free. It’s not the place for family photos, potpourri, etc.”—Nina Freudenberger, Haus Interior, New York

“Have fun with it. Use a color or some fanciful wallpaper that you might not be brave enough to try in a larger space. Hang a fun mirror or chandelier that might not be practical in a bathroom that serves as a wet space.”—Nicki Bongiorno, Spaces, Kennebunkport, ME

“Sconces and a good mirror are a must.”—Chandos Dodson, Chandos Interiors, Houston.

“Wallpaper can add texture with woven grasses or can add height with vertical elements. It's also more affordable to wallpaper smaller rooms.”—Tracy Huff and Kelcey Schlegel, Waterlily Interiors, Bethesda, MD

“Try including a more saturated version of something else that’s going on in the house. For instance, if the house is relatively neutral but a consistent accent color is green, then I would envelop the powered room in a green paper or paint or put up an outrageous green mirror on a neutral wall.”—Liz Caan, Liz Caan Interiors, Newton, MA

“People don't often think of displaying art in a powder room but it's the perfect venue for appreciating a wonderful piece of art within a close range.”—Darron Andress, FW INTERIORS DESIGN, Wappingers Falls, NY