Powder rooms are generally small but can be easily personalized

“It’s a small world after all. It’s a small, small world,” lines from a song written by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman.

The smallest room in the house is usually the one seen by the most people, and that’s the powder room. In today’s lifestyle and modern homes, the powder room is considered an essential. Most of us prefer not to have our guests using our personal bathrooms, hence the popularity of a powder room.

According to wisegeek.com, “The term powder room dates back to the early 18th century when it was used to refer to a closet-sized room where people went to have their wigs re-powdered. The expression carried through to Victorian times when any reference to personal bodily functions was considered indelicate. Ladies of the era were embarrassed to speak of such things and would excuse themselves from mixed company to go to ‘powder their noses.’ In fact, many women still refer to a public ladies’ room as a powder room.”

Thank goodness for the web; how else would we know these useful facts? (I’m joking!) And thank goodness we’re not ladies of “that era.”

Past use aside, powder rooms are favorites of designers today. Several reasons account for this. The room is small, usually no more than 4 by 5 feet. The small size allows for more expensive materials to be used in the room and also gives designers the freedom to use a particularly loud or bold design.

A small space limits homeowners in some ways, but the tiny powder room opens up a lot of opportunities for color, pattern and accessories.

The small size also dictates content in the powder room, and most include only a toilet and sink. And this is where you can really have some fun. There are some awfully cool sinks that are just perfect for a small room. Because of their size, they are much more appropriate for a powder room than a personal bathroom.

If you have a tiny powder room, you might consider using some luscious paint, paper or tile — it doesn’t have to break the bank — and then splurge on a beautiful sink. Toilets don’t cost that much, so for not very much money, you can make your little room a jewel box.

Hang a mirror, provide good lighting, include pretty towels and soaps and, by all means, make sure the room smells good!

Beautiful tiles for walls and flooring are a big hit in tiny bathrooms. Again, you can splurge on super cool tiles and not break the bank.

Recently I went into a small condo that was for sale and was totally surprised by what I saw. In the hallway of this standard model is a midsize linen closet. This homeowner removed the closet and converted the space into a beautiful little powder room.

It was small but so attractive and provided a space for guests And the owners would not have to open up their private baths. The sink was tiny, but all you need is a little water, right?

And it had a standard size toilet and beautiful walls and flooring. It was awesome. So keep this in mind if you have a space that doesn’t get used that much and one that could be transformed.

The particular model that I saw was a standard two-bedroom, one-bath condo. So, how exciting it would be to say “1.5 baths” if you ever put it on the market. By the way, this one sold quickly.

With a little imagination and creativity, the tiny powder room will become the biggest star in your home. And whether you and your guests powder noses or wigs, the powder room will rock!

Carolyn Muse Grant is a founder and past president of the Architectural and Decorative Arts Society, as well as an interior design consultant and stylist specializing in home staging. She can be reached at creativemuse@cox.net.

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