How to make a design statement in your powder room

It may be the smallest room in the house, but potentially, it’s the one with the most impact. This is the place to indulge any decorating dreams you may secretly harbour. Here’s how

It’s been decades since women used to “go powder their noses”, which was a polite way of saying they needed to use the toilet, but these days a powder room is a hot ticket item and the majority of new builds feature one. Home decorators love them because it’s a low-risk place to go wild experimenting with wallpaper, high-viz colour and OTT touches because if you have a change of heart, it can be repainted by lunchtime.

Paint it

Resene marketing manager Karen Warman says oneof the challenges powder rooms have is lighting.

“Many powder rooms are not blessed with good lighting, so consider choosing an uplifting paint colour, then check and adjust your lighting to bring out the best in your room,” she explains.

Because the room is a wet space, opt for a paint specifically for kitchens and bathrooms such as Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen Kitchen & Bathroom for walls if it’s a white or off-white. Otherwise, Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen is suggested for deeper colours.

If you’re getting a paint that is not specifically for kitchens or bathrooms, ask to have Resene MoulDefender added in as defence against mould.

To get painting, start from the top and work down, starting with the ceiling, walls and the floor last. “That way if you drip any paint when you’re doing the ceiling it won’t affect areas that are already finished.”

Wallpaper it

If you’ve lusted after some expensive hand-painted wallpaper but can’t justify the cost, the powder room could be the place to indulge given there’s not a lot of wall to have to cover.

Also, rules about having a vivid pattern over all the walls go out the window here. And while feature walls are all very polite, we say cover every wall.
Take a look through the Resene Wallpaper Collection for thousands of options.

Before you attempt to paper, preparation is vital and this means stripping any existing wallpaper. Metylan Wallpaper Remover helps soften the paper. Paint the ceiling and trims ahead of painting to avoid paint splatters on your precious paper.

Measure the distance from skirting board to the ceiling and add 5cm to the top and bottom for trimming. Use this as a template and use a plumbline to hang your first length to ensure it is perfectly straight. Ensure you use a sharp, straight-edged knife to trim the excess.

Anything goes

While themed rooms should, for the most part, be avoided you can get away with it in your powder room. It could be your take on Versailles, a Turkish bathhouse or menagerie of wild animals.

If you are going to be bold with the walls, it would pay to keep the floor simple. Likewise, a stunning herringbone multi-coloured design on the floor means you may want to exercise some restraint on the walls.

Tiles work particularly well in a powder room given they can be used on the floor, the walls or a combination of both. Bold graphic patterns are a brilliant way to jazz up your half bathroom. Alternatively, you could choose a netural coloured tile and experiment with a bold red grout.

Finishing touches

Good lighting is essential as there may not be a window in this room. As well as overhead lighting, a sconce situated by the mirror is ideal for those who actually want to powder their noses. A mirror positioned over the hand basin is also non-negotiable. Nice soaps or liquid soaps are always welcome.

Have you got a fantastic powder room? Enter it in our Resene Powder Room awards 2021! We’re looking for fearless use of colour and pattern, exciting use of wallpaper and imaginative decoration and finishing. 

How to enter: Email photos and a 100-plus word description of your space to with your last name and ‘Power Powder Rooms’ in the subject line. Please include your full name, home address, email address, daytime phone number, the names of Resene wallpaper, paint colours and/or products used and details of when you decorated. The five finalists will each appear in Your Home and Garden and receive a $250 Resene ColorShop voucher, starting from our August issue. Entries close October 22. The winner will win $1000 cash. 

TERMS & CONDITIONS Instructions on how to enter are part of the conditions of entry. This competition is open to New Zealand residents, except employees of Are Media, Resene and their immediate families and agencies. The five finalists and overall winner will be notified by telephone and/or email. All entries are eligible for consideration for the Resene website.

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