How to Make the Most of a Powder Room

The powder room is the hummingbird of the house: a room so small you might wonder if it’s a room in any respect. (There’s a cause actual property brokers name it a half toilet.)

No matter how diminutive, although, it’s a area that can be utilized to create an outsize design assertion.

“A powder room is a perfect opportunity to get a bit crazy,” stated Paris Forino, an inside designer in New York. “We look at the powder room as a little jewel box, a little wow factor, and somewhere you can impress your guests. You can be bold, because it’s not a space where you have to worry about getting sick of something.”

Dark, saturated colours and large-scale patterns which may appear overwhelming in a lounge or bed room are sometimes ideally suited for a powder room. And you should use high-end supplies that may be too costly to set up in bigger areas, stated the inside designer Katie Ridder, as a result of “there isn’t a lot of floor and there isn’t a lot of wall.”

For recommendation on how to create a showstopper of a powder room, we talked to Ms. Forino, Ms. Ridder and different designers.

While eye-catching and even provocative design parts are honest recreation in a powder room, it’s vital to decide your total imaginative and prescient at the outset, so that you don’t find yourself with a mishmash of clashing kinds.

Or you could choose one dominant element — a beautiful wallcovering, unique ceramic tile or marble with intricate veining — and build the rest of the room around it, with subtler details in a coordinating color palette.

“Everything has to balance out,” Ms. Forino said. “If you have a very graphic wall, you might want to have a calmer floor.”

One popular way to bring life to a powder room is with wallpaper in a bold pattern.

“We used it kind of like wallpaper,” he said, “just on one accent wall.”

If you have a quieter wall finish in mind — paneling, paint, subway tile — consider making a statement with the floor.

“I like to use wallpaper in a bathroom when there isn’t a lot of other detail,” Ms. Ridder said. But when the bathroom is more than just a simple white box, she often embellishes other surfaces.

For a recent project on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, where John B. Murray, an architect, had designed handsome wall paneling and molding, she installed a floor of graphic black-and-white cement tile from Mosaic House to create a high-contrast surprise for anyone who steps inside.

Ms. Forino took a similar approach in the powder rooms at the Galerie condominium in Long Island City, N.Y., where she designed simple walnut paneling for the walls and contrasted it with an attention-grabbing herringbone pattern of green, pink, black and white stone on the floor.

The sink is the centerpiece of the powder room, and there are countless styles to choose from. For extremely space-constrained situations, or in rooms where you don’t want the sink to be the center of attention, a simple porcelain wall-mounted or pedestal sink may work best. For slightly larger rooms, many manufacturers offer complete vanity units, with a base, top and sink.

But if you want a unique, dazzling place to wash your hands, it’s hard to do better than a custom vanity top made from exotic stone.

In the powder room of a Chicago home, Studio Gild built a vanity and backsplash out of Bianco Giada marble, a white stone with swirls of gray and black, covering the walls with cost-effective grasscloth. “The big moment is that beautiful stone, and then the other elements of the room are the supporting actors,” said Kristen Ekeland, a partner at the firm.

A custom vanity top can be paired with a sink mounted underneath for a streamlined, integrated look, or with a vessel sink that sits on top, for a more sculptural appearance.

For support, the vanity top can be mounted directly to the wall, so that it almost appears to float. “When you float a vanity in a small space, it makes the room feel a little larger, compared to something that goes to the floor,” Ms. Ekeland said.

Alternatively, it could be supported by a washstand, with legs but no cabinet, for a similar feeling of airiness. Or, if more storage is needed, it could be placed on a small cabinet with a door or drawers.

Natural stone is usually sold in large, expensive slabs, but because so little is needed for a bathroom vanity, it’s possible to use remnants from stone suppliers, or reclaimed pieces from architectural salvage operations — like Mr. Paquette did for the Nero Marquina vanity in his project on Mercer Island.

“You don’t have to buy a whole slab for one tiny powder-room sink,” he said, noting that it would be both wasteful and expensive.

While you might not always be able to find exactly the stone you were hoping for — and you’ll have to do a little legwork — the savings could be substantial. A stone fabricator can then transform your remnant into the vanity top of your dreams.

The powder room is where guests will check their hair and makeup, and you can enhance their experience by adding fixtures that provide flattering light. Avoid using bright fluorescent or bluish-white LED lights. Instead, aim for low levels of warm light with a color temperature of about 2,700 Kelvin.

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