Puff-up your powder room

If you think the looks of a “powder room” don’t matter much, think about the homes of three friends. Chances are you can describe their powder rooms with pretty good detail.

Whether you call it the powder room, guest bathroom, half bath or “the first door on the right,” this small space often located close to the entry of the home gets maximum attention. After all, the door is almost always open.

“There’s a lot of potential in that space and a chance for the homeowner to have some decorating fun,” points out Lisa Crouch, owner of iDesign in Centerville.

“Small spaces can be fun and delightful,” agrees Deborah DeCurtins, owner of the Acorn Studio in Troy. Along with Anne Rettig Designs in Tipp City, DeCurtins decorated a guest bathroom in the Rike Estate, the 2013 Designers’ Show House. “The powder room we did at the Show House got a lot of attention.”

If your guest bathroom needs its nose powdered, consider incorporating some big trends into that small square footage.

A smart way to update a look is to check out what today’s homebuilders are doing. “We’re seeing people choosing a stylish faucet that projects from the wall rather than from the sink or vanity top,” reports Angela Clark, vice president of sales and marketing for Design Homes. “It’s a terrific look.”

Clark also points out that vessel sinks remain popular. These handsome sinks sit atop cabinets as if they’re just too pretty to “sink.” Designers have gone a bit crazy creating the vessels — purple art glass, a hammered copper look, a charming French Country vessel in yellow and blue flowers, a retro one with white and red dots suspended in clear glass, and hundreds more. There’s even a vessel that changes colors depending on the temperature of the water.

Traditional sinks are keeping up in the design war with their own artistic looks such as geometrics, florals and architectural detailing. Choices include tempered glass, ceramic, porcelain or solid stone including marble, travertine and granite. Pedestal sinks remain a classic way to allow other elements in your guest bath to take center stage.

A major bathroom update almost always includes a new vanity. Especially in the guest bathroom, vanities tend to look like a piece of beautiful furniture. Manufacturers offer handsome vanities with bowed fronts, legs, scrolled corbels, arched feet and other architectural features. Some decorators and homeowners have an actual piece of furniture, antique or otherwise, plumbed to hold a sink.

For the countertop, granite, marble and other high-end materials are surprisingly affordable for a space as small as the guest bathroom.

Courageous color

Earth tones might be lovely for walls elsewhere in your home, but the powder room is where you can go with “tangerine melt” or “kokopelli teal” or another smashing shades. Go ahead and experiment with color, knowing that you can easily change the walls and ceiling if you tire of the look.

“You might want to opt for one orange, a brighter pink or a teal,” suggests Crouch. “You can certainly be bolder when doing the guest bathroom.”

But Crouch advises including an accent color in the guest bath that’s featured in one of the surrounding rooms. “That keeps your guest bath joined to the rest of the house,” she says.

Conversation piece

What a kick to hear one of your guests say to another, “Did you see that bathroom!”

The most memorable bathrooms often have a remarkable feature – or two.

The mirror and lighting needn’t be practical; no one’s applying full make-up here. Splurge on those items and on artwork as well.

“I think it’s distinctive to use original paintings or sculpture in a guest bathroom,” DeCurtins said. “

“For a stunning redo, consider using lots of bling,” Crouch said. “Cabinet hardware and other accessories can shimmer and shine, or let a small chandelier really make a statement.”

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