Achieve Powder Room Perfection in Four Simple Steps

Interior designer Andrea Johnson shows how bold wallpaper and decorative accessories can make any powder room pop

Credit: Tracey Ayton

A clean and simple aesthetic paired with a fun and quirky motif makes for a powder room that pops

Punch up your powder room decor with chic wallpaper, elegant Carrara marble and luxe accessories

The tie that binds interior designer Andrea Johnson’s cheery home together is the lighthearted use of mixed patterns and pops of colour set against a whitewashed backdrop. But in the powder room, gloriously gutsy wallpaper takes centre stage.

“I’m a huge advocate of wallpaper in general, but in a powder room, go for it,” says Johnson. “Maybe you’re not as brave to try it in other areas of the house but you can go crazy in this little jewel room.”

Picking Powder Room Wallpaper

Choosing wallpaper can be overwhelming, even for an expert, so Johnson suggests narrowing it down to a rough idea of what you want – colour, pattern, style – and then following your instincts. After all, a powder room is a small space that can take the punch.

As for Johnson’s wallpaper choice she says, “I loved the funky motif of the birdcages and birds; it had a youthful feel, and the gold, silver and pale blue really worked for me.” Those same silver finishes and hits of blue are part of the elegant theme throughout the rest of the main floor of Johnson’s fresh and bright South Surrey home. “It’s one of those things,” she says. “When I see something I love, it’s my gut instinct to go for it.”

The clean esthetic of the Carrara marble tiles is also in keeping with the whitewashed living room and adjacent kitchen, and, says Johnson, “I chose marble in the powder room for easy cleanup.” The white stone adds elegance to the room, and is at home in both modern and traditional spaces.

Accessories and Lighting

In addition to the bright floors, Johnson used a few more tricks to make the room feel larger, like choosing a smaller toilet and vanity, and using a larger mirror. “I wanted a huge mirror so the reflection would make the room look a little larger.”

Another smart tip: the lighting in a powder room can be softer and less revealing than in the main bathrooms, which are used for applying makeup and styling hair.

Using sconces or pendants on either side of the mirror versus an overhead light reduces harsh shadows and provides a warmer light. “It makes everybody look prettier,” says Johnson, “and your guests appreciate that when they’re in your bathroom freshening up.”

Even small items, like a beautiful waste paper basket are a must, says Johnson, like hers with its silver finish that adds to the reflected light and keeps in line with the rest of the silver touches throughout her home. “My powder room is teeny tiny but I wanted to add just a few things to make it look pretty.”

As well as tying in the blues and silvers, Johnson stumbled upon a vanity that came with the same durable, quartz counter as in her kitchen. “The kitchen was done before the powder room, so I was looking for a vanity that would complement the kitchen. I liked the fact that they were the same.”

One of Johnson’s favourite ways to freshen up a powder room: “Fresh flowers! It’s amazing what fresh flowers do to a room.”

Four Steps to Powder Room Perfection

  1. Make a bold statement. Use a gutsy paint colour or glamorous wallpaper that you might not necessarily use in a larger area of the house.
  2. Employ flattering light. There’s nothing worse than walking into a powder room and having unattractive, bright lights, so use a dimmer switch and install decorative lights on either side of the vanity mirror.
  3. Dress it up. Add pretty accessories like candles, fresh flowers, decorative objects and good-quality towels.
  4. Use smaller essentials. Install a standalone vanity instead of a basic cabinet, which also feels more like a piece of furniture, and find a compact toilet.

Get the Look

  1. Lovely Light: Brighten up your bath with the cheery Clear Happy Kiss pendant light. $625, Provide
  2. Classic Sink: For instant elegance, top your counter with this chic American Standard basin. $226, Splashes Bath & Kitchen Centre
  3. Branch-framed Mirror: The wood-look frame on this unique mirror makes a striking focal point for any space. $799, Mint Interiors
  4. Bathroom Blues: The blue botanicals in Clarke & Clarke’s Hula wallpaper add a refreshing splash of colour to your in-home oasis. $89.95/roll, Crown Wallpaper & Fabrics
  5. Warm Walls: For a more neutral tone, coat your walls in the stylized sunflower and bird pattern of this Farrow & Ball Renaissance print. $255/roll, Bespoke Design Ltd.
  6. Metallic Wallpaper: Try the subtle shimmer of Milly wallpaper in silver for a glamorous look. $60/roll, Graham & Brown
  7. Fancy Faucet: This sleek PuraVida faucet brings minimalist modern style to your sink. $779.13, Andrew Sheret Ltd.
  8. Clean-cut Soap: Complete the streamlined look with this compact Luxa soap dispenser. $310, Blu Bathworks
  9. Cotton Towels: Don’t forget to stock up on cozy comfort with these soft organic cotton towels from Coyuchi. $7, washcloth; $54, bath sheet, Provide

Originally published in BC Home magazine. For updates, subscribe to the free Home e-newsletter, or purchase a subscription to the bi-monthly magazine.