How-To - Ask Us

Design solutions: Unexpected colour

Margot Austin gives advice on colour in the powder room and the kitchen.

Q: Can you recommend an unexpected colour to paint a mainfloor powder room? We'd like to jump-start the room with a burst of colour. The floors are honey oak hardwood, and the cabinetry, sink and toilet are white. Cathy Stotts, Calgary
Powder rooms are the ideal spaces for introducing drama, and the possibilities are endless. You could go with a glossy red paint (try Debbie Travis's Blood Red N26B from Canadian Tire) on the walls to create the look of a Chinese lacquered box. Or you could use a yummy chocolate brown (try Kona AF-165 from Benjamin Moore's Affinity Collection). Another option is a bold lattice-print wallpaper for a garden-inspired feel, or a pretty toile or damask print for a sophisticated, formal mood.

Here are some more tips for pulling together a fabulous powder room.

1 Choose a mirror and lighting that aren't bathroomy. Consider a silver- or giltframed mirror, stylish sconces with fabric shades or crystal drops, or a petite chandelier.
2 Paint the vanity the same colour as the walls or one of the wallpaper colours.
3 Replace cabinet hardware and hand towel holders with more elegant options.
4 Add some artwork and accessories to dress up the space.
Add a small posy of roses, peonies, freesia or lilies to fill the room with natural fragrance. Or try reed diffusers: bamboo sticks placed in scented oil.

Q: I'm a teen into interior decorating as a hobby. I have a small room, with a window on one side, a door opposite it, and a closet on another wall. I also have a twin bed, desk and dresser to squeeze in. I need ideas on how to arrange these to achieve a more open, inviting setup. Lisa Sevenhuysen, Nanaimo, B.C.
Start by rethinking the position of your bed. Instead of cramming it into a corner, try placing one long side against a wall, maybe under the window. Then add large square cushions (at least 26 inches) along the back of the bed. That way, you can use it like a sofa when friends come over. When it's time to sleep, stack the cushions on the floor at one end of the bed. Place your desk and dresser along the other walls.


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