Starbursts & Sputniks

Fireworks for the Home

Five Questions with Amy Peters

Creating a Beautiful Kid-Friendly Space

Lighting a Powder Room

A Space To Indulge Whimsy

June 23, 2020

Lighting a Powder Room

A Space To Indulge Whimsy

June 23, 2020

A powder room presents an exciting opportunity to indulge your sense of whimsy. Think of it as an oasis: a space you and your guests go to refresh. To make it feel refreshing, you can make a big splash.

Other bathrooms in your home are about functionality; this one is just about fun. So have fun with it.

One easy place to start with "fun?" Wallpaper.

Homeowner: Ariel Garneau of Pmqfortwo | Mina wall sconce

Design: Grayscale Design | Kings Point wall sconce

Jewel Marlowe of Jeweled Interiors is never one to shy away from high-impact colors and textures, so when she applied this way of thinking about powder rooms to her own, the results were stupendous. Combining black marbled honeycomb tile, dark green wainscoting, and bold wallpaper with inspired lighting choices, she created a walk-in jewel box worthy of her name.

"The powder room is my favorite room per square inch in the entire house. It all started with the stunning wallpaper from Fine and Dandy Co. I could have opted for gray paint, but I usually try to avoid gray at all cost. [Laughs] Green seemed so much more lush and rich. That combined with the black marble and console all packs one sexy punch."

"I happened upon the traditional mirror, which seemed perfectly oversized for the small room. The only problem was that it felt a little stuffy with a ceiling medallion and chinoiserie wallpaper. I KNEW that I needed modern lighting to keep it fresh. The Easton was just edgy enough to tip the scale back to chic and cool. Also the Easton emits a lot of light, a requirement for a room with only one light source." 

Homeowner: Jewel Marlowe of Jeweled Interiors | Easton pendant

Jewel's powder room had some pretty serious space restrictions that guided her light choices. Each powder room presents its own unique challenges and opportunities.

Ideally, a powder room needs three light fixtures. Two of those will be a matching set of sconces on either side of the mirror. They can be bath and vanity sconces or wall sconces. 

Design: Nina Davis Associates | Dayton sconce

Design: Cecilia Walker | Red Hook sconces

House Beautiful Kitchen of the Year 2016 | Andromeda sconce

If you find you don't have the space for that, you might suspend one-light pendants in their place at about eye-level alongside the mirror, or, as in the two below, elect for a bath bar on top.

Cornwall bath and vanity bar

Design, Autumn Hachey. Photo, Lauren Miller. | Fleming bath bar

The third light illuminates from above, providing the ambient layer. Powder rooms are often intimate, cool affairs, so you'll want to make sure it's on a dimmer. Ceiling height will dictate the best choice for your space: either a pendant, a semi-flush mount, or a flush mount. 

Design: Tobi Fairley Interiors | Logan sconce | Humphrey semi-flush

Some spaces will be best served by just one pendant, something a little larger, suspended near the sink and mirror. As a place to "powder up," visitors need to see themselves well in the mirror, and so this is the most essential area to consider when selecting light fixtures.

Design: Brit Arnesesn of Brit Dot Design | Abigail pendant

However many lights work best for your powder room, just remember that this is a space where you can create a fantastical escape. The lights might play a cool assist to a stunning wallpaper or they may be some of the most enchanting elements present. They may tie into a textural story that will have big impact in such a confined space. But it's up to you, and it's a great space to cut loose and create a little magic.