Design lesson: Powder rooms with presence
Questions about small spaces dominate our mail at STYLE AT HOME. That's why we dedicate an annual issue to the joys and challenges of living in tight quarters. That's also why choosing a topic for my first book, 500 Ideas for Small Spaces: Easy Solutions for Living in 1000 Square Feet or Less ($30, Creative Publishing, 2007), was a no-brainer. I believe you can live large no matter what your floor space. Consider the powder room: it's likely the smallest room in your home, but its potential for impact is huge. For some DIYers, the goal is simply to make it seem bigger. For others, it's an opportunity to create an experience for all who enter. Here are a few tips from my book.
8 ways to enhance size
Dark shadows will make any room feel small and oppressive, so a good lighting plan is essential.
1 Begin by eliminating shadows with warm lighting in the form of ceiling fixtures or pot lights.
2 To maintain floor space, install a slim 18-inch-deep vanity instead of a typical 21-inch-deep one.
3 If a standard door swing sacrifices too much space, consider installing a pocket door, which slides discreetly out of sight. Or replace the standard door with two doors, effectively cutting the intrusion in half.
4 Choose a monochromatic colour scheme, using variations of one family of hues, to create the illusion of space. Paint the baseboards and crown mouldings the same colour as the walls.
5 Dark cabinets can make a bathroom feel small. Give existing wood cabinetry a freshened-up, custom look with a coat of paint the same colour as the walls.
6 Provide warmth and acoustic buffering with textiles like blinds or drapes. Keep the window coverings close in colour to the walls.
7 Take advantage of the space behind the door to hang towels or a full-length mirror.
8 Minimize visual clutter by keeping toiletries hidden from view.
5 ways to boost decorative impact
1 Although a powder room can benefit from a high-impact pattern on walls, it's best to avoid small all-over patterns that quickly become monotonous. Good choices include geometric designs, classic florals and even scenic patterns.
2 A small bathroom has a distinct advantage when it comes to incorporating extravagant materials. After all, expensive options can be affordable in small quantities. Hand-painted wallpaper, stone countertops, hardwood floors and Italian glass tile may all be within your budget.
3 Small spaces, like larger rooms, require a decorative focal point. Provide such a feature by choosing a chest of drawers as a stylish setting for an ordinary sink.
4 Extend the depth of a windowsill, creating a ledge that's ideal for displaying a decorative collection.
5 Even a tiny bathroom deserves to dazzle. Embrace its intimacy with rich metallic-finish tiles or bold paint colour in a pearl or semi-gloss finish. Consider painting or papering the ceiling as well as the walls.
For more tips, see Kimberley Thursdays, plus once a month with design editor Samantha Pynn, on Citytv's CityLine.