Decorating Traditional, Old World Style Powder Rooms



The powder room got it's name from the fact that they originally did not include plumbing, but were used to provide a place for servants to add talcum powder to the white wigs of respectable men. 


Today females in need of emergency makeup checks know the importance of a powder room. 





Furnished with only a sink, toilet and mirror, it normally serves the purpose of guest bathroom and is generally located on the first floor the house, so as not to invade the privacy of the host. Since this room is regularly in use, it should look more like a decorated room than a utilitarian after thought.

I love decorating powder rooms because I believe you can turn them into little jewel boxes that can make quite a statement. They are small projects that can have you guests saying "WOW"

Below are some pictures to inspire you and tips to make your "small project" a success. This post features my favorite styles which are more old world and classic. Just stay tuned for a future post on more modern and chic styles.





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In older homes you can count on character such as pretty moldings, doors, and sometimes a bit more space. You can however make a new powder room have that same old world style by incorporating some patina via your vanity, mirror, lighting  (mix it up like this with lanterns and crystal) and other furniture.You don't have to buy a new vanity. I have made sinks out of antique washstands, buffets, sideboards. Find a piece that may be in need on some TLC and be creative. They can be refinished, painted, stenciled, mirrored....the possibilities are endless. And they are unique so you don't have that cookie cutter look.



These small rooms are perfect for that  hand painted design you have always wanted.  It won't cost you a fortune. Or try your own hand with stencils.


Of course all powder rooms need a fabulous mirror but you should also consider mirrored panels on the walls to create an illusion of space.


Pretty wallpaper and the warm glow of brass make this a lovely powder room. Remember brass is back.....just stay away from the plastic looking finish and you will be OK.

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I adore a powder room that is tucked under a staircase. Small but charming!


French toile de jouy is a splendid choice for the walls of a  powder room.


Try Chinoiserie for an exotic look in your powder room. The ideal powder room vanity allows guests to maneuver easily without sacrificing storage or counter space.

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You might think that a large or colorful pattern might not work in a small space......but it does!!

mabdesigns.net

If you really want to make a statement somewhere in your house, this is where you can do it!

Norman Askins

The sink should be the centerpiece of the room. Choose a sink that perfectly defines the style of your bathroom

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Add lighting through lamps or decorative wall sconces if natural light isn't available.  Also the powder room is a place where you should do something interesting with the flooring as it won't cost much since it is a small space.


Perfect example of how a small powder room can look like a jewel box with the right paper, moldings, and accessories

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I love this powder room. It is very small but SO  interesting. The treatment of the door makes the space seem larger. When it comes to the powder room....think outside the box!!!


What makes this room so pretty is the mix of pattern in the paper, window treatment and flooring. Mosaic tiles make lovely classic floors for a small room like this and the Greek Key motif is timeless as is the pedestal sink.


Make your powder room interesting and charming but avoid over decorating which will make the room feel cluttered.

Miles Redd

A powder room in which the homeowner has made great classic choices.....the color black, marble topped vanity, timeless sconces and a wonderful mirror. And look at that ceiling!!


Unique shaped rooms make wonderful powder rooms. This vintage one and the one below have lots of charm. 


Don't overlook your powder room because it is small......remember big things come in small packages. Think of the small details when designing a powder room.


Look what pretty moldings do for a small space. This is something easy to do to make your room look classic and refined. Imagine this room without the millwork......just a cream box. Don't forget that sinks can be placed in corners too!!


Get a muralist to give you a spectacular view in a small powder room.


We know about mirrored walls, but mirrors on the ceiling is another way to make your room seem larger.

Eloise Kubli

The gorgeous wallpaper and the vanity style give this powder room it's opulent appeal.


Decorating small spaces seems like a task, but really they are quite fun. The powder room is he perfect place to experiment with drama and style. Red walls are perfect.


I had to add this tiny space to show you that no matter how small your powder room is it can still pack a decorating punch!!

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