Why you need a powder room

A powder room adds flexibility to your entire household – along with a little va-va-voom!
Loading the player...

You might be wondering what all the fuss is about with powder rooms. What are they and why do you need one? Turns out they’re not a new invention, simply a chic way of looking at an age-old convenience in your home.

A modern powder room is a smaller, second bathroom, usually situated adjacent to your living area and without a shower or bath included in the space – essentially a toilet and vanity for quick visits and touch-ups – as you would use it at the theatre or a restaurant.

Perfect for avoiding loo queues in a busy household, a small powder room handy to areas where you entertain means guests can also use a bathroom without trekking through your entire home – which means it pays dividends to have it looking lovely at all times, and to give it a little decorating love. In the same way you can tell a lot about a restaurant from its rest rooms, your powder room decor should dress to impress as it’s likely to make an impact – good or bad.

Powder room designs vary widely – from small and simple to great and grand. If you’re up for a fun decorating project and some added convenience for the whole family, use these tips and modern powder room ideas as your starting point.

Pimp your powder room

Powder room with herringbone marble wall tiles and timber herringbone floor
Herringbone ‘Bianco Carrara’ marble mosaic tiles pack a tactile punch in the powder room of this Spanish-style home in bayside Melbourne. (Credit: Photography: Armelle Habib / Styling: Julia Green)

4 tips for a perfect powder room

1. Have fun with it

Go all out with your decorating by choosing a show-stopping powder room wallpaper, statement tapware, generous mirrors and a fabulous light fitting. In this small space you can afford to splash out a little.

2. Add personal touches

Give your powder room meaning with decorative details such as a pot plant, candle and a pretty dish to pop rings in whilst washing your hands. Here is the place your very best handtowels are all essential elements to add a little luxury and make your powder room vanity shine.

White powder room with tumble stone herringbone floor tiles freestanding basin and VJ wall panelling
The Cole & Son ‘Melville’ wallpaper in Neutral depicts swimming whales is paired with a Brodware ‘Classique’ console. (Credit: Photo: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Corina Koch)

3. Give it constant attention

Keep a stash of cleaning cloths and products handy (yet out of sight) to see your powder room mirror, fittings and surfaces always at their best. Guests to your home will almost certainly visit it, so a quick brush, flush and wipe down is all it takes in this small space to make a lovely lasting impression.

modern powder room finger tiles pedestal basin
Looking for small powder room ideas? Curves appeal in this petite yet chic example, with a custom mirror designed by Smith + Levine, in this beautiful Victorian period home in Mosman. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Jessica Bellef)

4. Keep it simple

Too much clutter can undermine the efficiency of a powder room, so be sure to avoid decor and items that get in the way of form or function. Depending on your powder room size, assess your available space to include a small basin, along with a surface for makeup and utility, good lighting and a generous mirror, and perhaps a potted plant or bud vase if space allows.
Hamptons style powder room with navy wallpaper and white wainscoting
A striking Hamptons-style powder room echoes the decor of the rest of this waterfront home. (Credit: Photography: Louise Roche / Styling: Kylie Jackes)

Related stories