A Fresh and Bright Powder Room

Q: I have a design dilemma! What should I do with my downstairs powder room?? Following our recent home renovation, it's currently all white and bare. I want it to look stylish, but be a practical family space. The eternal challenge!

-Francesca, London U.K.

A: Well, let me begin by saying how much I love the clean, modern look of your renovation. It feels fresh and bright, and with just a few key items on your shopping list, you can introduce a bit of warmth and personality to the room to finish it off. I always like to encourage clients to approach the powder room as an opportunity to inject a little fun or take some risks design-wise, since it’s only a small space and you can’t go too far wrong!

For your basic shopping list, we'll keep it short and sweet. Here's what I'd recommend adding:

  • A mirror above the sink, possibly with a shelf for added function and storage.
  • A small rug beneath the sink. A rug in the bathroom is slightly controversial, but with small children, it can be a good idea safety-wise to keep the floor from getting too slippery when the hand washing gets a little out of control! A small, cotton flat weave would do the trick—easy to sweep off dirt and you can throw it in the wash if need be.
  • Some colorful hand towels
  • A small basket to corral the extra toilet paper rolls
  • A few fun accessories: think a fancy soap dispenser, a hanging planter by the window, or a grouping of pretty bud vases for up on the window sill (out of reach of little hands!)

Now for your overall design approach, I think there are two basic approaches you could take. One would be to embrace the muted, monochrome look you have going on already, staying fairly neutral with the bigger pieces, and then layer in some natural materials and texture to warm up the look. The other would be to introduce some color into the textiles and accessories, and create a brighter, punchier palette for the room.

Just for fun, I’ve brainstormed two possible looks to help you get started. Some quick notes: in the first one, the mirror is meant to be oversized, spanning beyond the width of the sink and over the other hardware as well; in both options, the prints are imagined for the wall opposite the sink along with the Lisa Tolley map you've already got (not pictured). A simple grouping of three along that wall with coordinating frames will keep things cohesive, and choosing additional prints of maps or places that have meaning to your family is a easy way to make the display feel personal.

Basket // Mirror // Hand Towels //  Vases // Rug // Soaps // Print

Can’t wait to see what you end up doing!

- Jenny

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