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Create a Smashing Powder Room

Fun, easy decorating project: Powder rooms are places where you can use high style for big impact in a small space.

Written and produced by Lucy Fitzgerald
  • John Bessler

    This sassy powder room in the 2018 Hampton Designer Showhouse by Jackie Young for Baltimore Design Group was inspired by the super-chic Beverly Hills Hotel, with its iconic striped ceilings and banana leaf-motif wallpaper. "Interpreting summer in the Hamptons, the delicate blush pink suggests the sky at dawn and a chilled glass of rosé from a local vineyard," Young says.

    The wallcovering, by Voutsa, is by artist George Venson. The ceiling design also was hand-painted on-site.

    "I used a mix of materials—Carrara marble, an abalone shell chevron mosaic floor, and a shiny lacquer vanity, but I also wanted to add more natural earth tones," Young says. "The rope ottomans and the custom-designed wallpaper printed on grass cloth help create an earthy texture." 

    The feminine color palette consisting of light pinks and peach creates a backdrop that flatters most skin tones. "I wanted everyone to feel and look their best while in the powder room," Young says. "The 'Be-you-tiful' lipstick-scrawled message on the mirror screams that attitude.

    "In any small space, the design challenge is to make it functional and interesting with plenty of eye candy," Young adds. "Bubblegum-pink lips and the lipstick message accomplish that—paired with the contrasting candy striping on the ceiling and walls with amber tones reminiscent of sand."

    She envisions the space, designed for big impact in a small footprint, as a delightful suprise for guests. "I wanted them to have fun," she says, "feel glamorous, snap a selfie, be beautiful." 

  • Designer Jennifer Jones created a feminine powder room for the 2013 O’More College of Design Showhouse in Franklin, Tennessee. Above the limestone wainscoting, Jennifer installed a floral wall covering that peeks through the fretwork of a handmade Italian mirror. The powder room’s neutral color palette works with the rooms around it while maintaining its own elegant charm.

  • Powder Room with Large Pattern Wallpaper

    The powder room designed by Frank Ponterio is nothing if not breathtaking. A large-scale landscape wallpaper from De Gournay makes a bold statement. The custom tile floor with a compelling silver starburst pattern was designed by Frank.

    See the rest of Frank’s apartment in the Ritz-Carlton Design Showcase in Chicago.

    Photo: Werner Straube
    Design: Frank Ponterio

  • Powder Room with Mirrored Surfaces

    This room’s floral-patterned wallpaper is reflected in its many mirrored surfaces. The vanity is wrapped in mirrored panels with beveled edges and crystal knobs. The mirror above blends in beautifully with the wall covering.

    Details on the following slide.

  • Powder Room with Timeless Style

    In the home of architect Michael Graves, every detail exudes timeless style. The downstairs powder room is no exception, with a classically informed antique pedestal sink and Verona marble floors. The light sconces and mirror are Graves’s design.

    Explore the rest of this stunning home here.

    Photo: John Bessler
    Design: Michael Graves

  • Copper Sink Details

    The hammered-copper sink lends both texture and shine to the powder room’s black granite countertop.

    Photo: Werner Straube

  • Feminine Pink Powder Room

    Bubblegum-pink walls and a floral framed mirror make this powder room undeniably feminine. Hexagonal marble tiles add texture and mimic the pattern of the floor tiles. Framed artwork throughout lends personality.

    Photo: Colleen Duffley

  • Small Powder Room with Big Impact

    A tiny space makes a huge impact with striking patterns and gorgeous marble. A hand-painted, fish-themed silk wallpaper from de Gournay covers the walls; mirror-mounted sconces are from Boyd Lighting.

    Details on the following slide.

  • Marble Details

    Designer Antonio Martins incorporated materials like travertine and Carrara marble to create a sleek yet elegant atmosphere.

    See the rest of this opulent dressing room here.

    Photo: David Livingston
    Design: Antonio Martins

  • A gorgeous Georgian home was restored to highlight its classic architectural features. Artist Judy Mulligan painted the floors in the powder room to reflect the timeless design elements throughout the rest of the home, like checkerboard floors and architectural medallions. “When I work with a house this beautiful, I try to stand back and let the house tell us what to do to let it shine,” says designer Marshall Watson. An antique Biedermeier desk and mirror underscore the home’s historical significance; the countertops are antique marble.

    Explore the rest of this lovely St. Louis home.

    Photo: Werner Straube
    Design: Marshall Watson

  • Handsome Historical Vanity

    A 19th-century mirrored red cabinet from a Spanish monastery was modified with a sink for the powder room vanity in a Beverly Hills home.

    Photo: John Granen
    Design: Kim Alexandriuk

  • Glamorous Blue Powder Room

    Rich sapphire-blue walls inject this powder room with unexpected glamour. Fuchsia blooms pop while a vintage lamp and Murano glass bowl keep the space feminine. The marble-topped vanity features mirrored accents to keep the space sparkling.

    See more of this stylish Tulsa home.
    Photo: Werner Straube
    Design: Jan Showers

  • Peaceful Green Powder Room

    An ornate gilt-framed mirror and sconces lend sophistication to this powder room. Peaceful green walls feature a subtle weave pattern for added texture.

    Tour the rest of this Louisiana home here.

    Photo: Werner Straube
    Design: Marlene A. Shaw

  • Updated Classical Powder Room

    Designer Dan Carithers upholstered this powder room in a historic print to quiet the room and make it “look ancient.” Using a lighter color palette helps to keep Carithers’ period-rich aesthetic feel fresh and updated.

    See more of this home here.

    Designer: Dan Carithers
    Photo: Emily Minton-Redfield

  • A gray-and-white wallpaper with an Art Deco pattern wraps this powder room in sophisticated style. A frameless mirror blends in beautifully with the wallpaper’s design, while the vanity below adds to the glam factor.

    See the rest of this Dallas home here.

    Designer: Jan Showers
    Photo: Werner Straube

  • Powder Room with Charming Mix

    A powder room designed by Carole Reed for the 2009 Hampton Designer Showhouse is an eclectic mix of wood, marble, and cloth. Reed covered the walls with “the amazing texture of Crezana’s hand-dyed Madagascar cloth, which features a subtle damask pattern for an extra layer of warmth.” Blown-glass sconces from HelenBilt Lighting and a wooden head sculpture from Mecox Gardens add interest.

    See the rest of this showhouse here.

    Photo: John Bessler and Squire Fox
    Design: Carole Reed

  • Clean and Simple Powder Room

    A simple powder room reflects the same clean and classic design as the rest of the Georgian-style home in East Hampton. Putty-colored walls above white paneled wainscoting keep the mood serene; a checkered floor lends timeless style.

    Tour the rest of this home here.

    Photo: Tria Giovan
    Design: Larry Laslo

  • Powder Room for Dog Lovers

    Large patterned wallpaper is a great way to add personality to a small powder room. This one is no exception: A yellow-striped wallpaper is dotted with vintage-framed portraits of puppies, adding a touch of cheerfulness to the small space.

    Photo: John Granen

  • Powder Room with Classic Mural

    A local artist painted a gorgeous Hudson River School-style mural on the back wall of this powder room, which was then glazed and crackled to achieve an aged look. Designer and homeowner Sheila Barron dropped a sink and countertop on an Italian gilt console to create a vanity.

    Photo: Bob Mauer
    Design: Sheila Barron and Laura Stoll

  • Glittery Gold Powder Room

    Inspired by the sparkly powder room at Bemelmans Bar in Manhattan’s Carlyle hotel, this room is sheathed in gold. Osborne & Little’s gold-patterned chinoiserie wallpaper adds texture, while the penny tile floor lends interest underfoot. The opulent ceiling is covered in hand-applied gold leaf.

    Explore the rest of this stylish home.

    Photo: Colleen Duffley
    Design: Berkley Vallone

  • Victorian Powder Room

    This spacious powder room is given a Victorian touch with a Louis XVI-style chair and artistic silhouettes painted on the baby-blue walls. The chair has a crackled finish for texture and is upholstered in a floral yellow fabric that brings warmth to the space.

    Photo: Eric Roth

  • Rustic Powder Room with Natural Elements

    A birch-bark wall covering lends a touch of fairytale whimsy to this powder room, designed by. Lights from Rejuvenation and a mirror from Carver’s Guild add artisanal touches. Dorado stone countertops maintain the rustic aesthetic.

    Explore the rest of this lakeside cottage here.

    Photo: Werner Straube
    Design: Mick de Giulio and Veronica McGraw

  • Vintage Vanity

    An old desk is transformed into a powder room vanity with vintage appeal. A jewel-shaped mirror hangs above a bronze sink by Ann Sacks. A pair of mirrored wall sconces helps to add light into the windowless room.

    Explore the rest of this stylish New York apartment here.

    Photo: Francesco Lagnese
    Design: Benjamin Bradley and David Thiergartner

  • Stylish Orange Powder Room

    An attention-grabbing wallpaper from Twigs gives this powder room some serious style points. The antique painting shares a similar palette, while a classic chandelier from Revival Antiques lights the space.

    See the rest of this stylish L.A. home here.

    Photo: Grey Crawford
    Design: Jeff Andrews

  • Chic Powder Room

    A custom striped floor tile is laid in a herringbone pattern to make a big impact in the small space. The vanity cabinet and sink from Devon and Devon sits on elegant silver legs.

    Photo: Werner Segarra
    Design: Jamie Herzlinger

  • Powder Room for Canine Fanciers

    At the 2012 Stately Homes By-The-Sea Designer Showhouse, a hammered-copper sink and a pebble-tile floor team with dog-patterned wallpaper and curtains to create a charming powder room. “It reflects the personality of the country estate and the homeowners’ love of dogs,” says designer Joe Parisi. Statues and artwork reinforce the room’s tail-wagging theme while orange accents, charcoal trim, and porcelain wall tiles tie it all together.

    Tour the rest of the showhouse here.

    Photo: Peter Rymwid and John Bessler
    Design: Joe Parisi and Donna Martin

  • Powder Room with Crystal Walls

    Hand-applied crystals give major wow-factor to the powder room designed by Julia Wong for the Ritz-Carlton Designer Showcase Apartments in Chicago. The room’s airy palette keeps the space feeling light and modern.

    See the rest of Julia’s high-rise apartment here.

    Photo: Werner Straube
    Design: Julia Wong

  • Blue-and-White Tiled Powder Room

    A blue-and-white palette pays homage to the sea in this powder room. The high-contrast wallpaper features a vintage floral pattern, counterbalancing the modern look of the tile backsplash.

    Photo: John Bessler
    Design: Eric Cohler

  • Modern Powder Room and Alcove

    A contemporary moiré patterned vinyl wallpaper by Robert Crowder drove designer Jo Ann Hartley to create a dramatic powder room and alcove for the 2011 San Francisco Designer Showcase. “I broke the rules and made the small rooms dark and sexy,” she says. A hand-cast mirror by Blind Spot and a silver-leaf design on the Venetian plaster in the alcove both reflect the wallpaper’s natural motif.

    Tour the rest of this stunning showhouse.

    Photo: Philip Harvey
    Design: Jo Ann Hartley

  • Lovely Showhouse Powder Room

    Quince branches and Asian-inspired vases flank an antique Chinese console in Melissa Ziober and Noe Guerra’s peaceful powder room at the Red Cross Palm Beach Showhouse. To maintain the historical home’s integrity, the NXG Studio design team first restored the walls, moldings, and floor. “The space is traditional while still feeling modern and fresh,” Ziober says.

    See more of this powder room on the following slide.

  • Circular Mirror Alcove

    A grass-cloth wall covering by Kravet adds texture but doesn’t compete with the room’s soft teal and coral undertones. Above the sink, a circular mirror lures eyes upward, drawing attention to the arched wall and making the small space seem larger.

    Tour the rest of the Red Cross Palm Beach Showhouse here.

    Photos: Robert Brantley
    Design: Melissa Ziober and Noe Guerra

  • Black-and-White Powder Room

    A handsome black-and-white powder room is wrapped in a whimsical tree-patterned wallpaper by Hinson & Company. A black marble sink and black-painted mirror keep the contrast going; gold-framed paintings interject color.

    See the rest of this inviting home here.

    Photo: Werner Straube
    Design: Gail Plechaty

  • Dark and Dramatic Powder Room

    An eclectic mix of styles, this powder room wows with a metallic weave-patterned wallpaper, composite fish-eye mirror, and classic white sink. A print of Shakespeare and vase supported by a freestanding column lend personality.

    Photo: Dominique Vorillon

  • Coral and Gold Powder Room

    Gold walls and fiery fabrics bring this powder room to life. An Asia-influenced design on the painted walls and the large potted orchid give the room an exotic touch, while shimmering red draperies from Real Simple Design and a matching sofa bring on the color.

    See the rest of this environmentally sound home here.

    Photo: Edmund Barr
    Design: Gail Plechaty

  • Powder Room with Lively Zebras

    A lively zebra wallpaper from Scalamandré jazzes up this powder room. Gold accents at the mirror, fixtures, and lighting complement the rich brown walls.

    Explore the rest of this colorful home.

    Photo: Werner Straube
    Design: Melissa Warner

  • Small Striped Powder Room

    Vertical striped wallpaper lends verticality to a small powder room. A slender mirror and top-venting window suit the space’s dimensions.

    Photo: Laurie Black

  • Space-Saving Pedestal Sink

    A vintage wood pedestal supports a simple bowl sink and limestone countertop in this powder room. Designer Julio Quiñones designed the candle sconce above for an elegant touch. The mirrored wall behind the sink anchors the Phylrich faucet.

    Explore the rest of this Spanish Colonial home here.

    Photo: Werner Straube
    Design: Julio Quiñones

  • Powder Room with Gold Palette

    A shapely Venetian commode serves as a powder room vanity in this mountain home. The bold black-framed mirror above grounds the room’s golden palette.

    See more of this home here.

    Photo: Jon Jensen       
    Design: Jan Showers

  • Bright and Modern Powder Room

    “Edo” wallpaper from China Seas adds graphic pattern above subway tile wainscoting in this powder room. The traditional wood-framed mirror is juxtaposed with the textural and modern vanity below.

    Tour the rest of this colorful home here.

    Photo: Werner Straube
    Design: Julie Massucco Kleine

  • Retro Floral Powder Room

    A Designers Guild floral wall covering in 1960s colors lends large scale to this small space. “Powder rooms should be alive with color and sass to make up for their tiny dimensions,” says designer Judy Howard. Modern metal sconces with crystal balls sprouting out of each end flank a Century mirror that reflects the statement flower pattern. A Sherle Wagner pedestal sink formed from sand-colored marble lightens the space.

    Take a look at the rest of the 2011 Red Cross Designers’ Showhouse here.

    Photo: Robert Brantley
    Design: Judy Howar

  • Ultra-Feminine Powder Room

    Café curtains, frilly valences, and a pretty purple-and-green palette give this powder room some feminine flair. A vintage porcelain sink keeps things classic; beadboard walls and ceiling lend texture.

    Photo: Steve Gray