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Choosing Color for a Powder Room

Nov 27, 20110 CommentsBathrooms, Case Studies

I am defining a powder room as a half bath. I have seen many small powder rooms that don’t have windows. In that case good lighting will make a difference in what color to choose, especially if you want to use a deep color. Getting good bright lighting is the first step. I highly recommend you do that before you choose a color.

The powder room above had a 9 ft. ceiling. The horizontal stripes with the decorative border brought your eye to the top and you noticed the height. Painting the crown molding a bright white gave the room a crisp clean look against the green grey.

Many powder rooms don’t have tile on the walls as in the room above. That makes the choice a bit easier because it is one less thing to consider. Here’s a list of what needs to be considered when painting a powder room.

  1. What color are the fixtures (toilet and sink)? Are they white, off white, beige or any other color? Know the color.
  2. What color is the floor? It doesn’t matter whether it is ceramic, wood, laminate, or any other material. Just note the color of the floor.
  3. Are there windows, doors, and molding in the room? You will probably want to paint them a different color than the walls.

Let’s start with the woodwork, doors, and molding. If your fixtures are white or off white choose a color that matches the fixtures. Using several different whites in one small room is not a good idea. So, if the fixtures are pure white use pure white for the woodwork. If the fixtures are off white find an off white that matches the fixtures. Unless the floor molding is very high or special, paint that the wall color. Use a semi-gloss finish for the woodwork.

The ceiling color can be painted the same white that was used on the woodwork but use a flat finish.

If the floors are also white or off white, the walls can be almost any color you like. Deep colors or bright colors look great next to the white of the woodwork and can be used in a small space. Be daring. Have fun.

If the floors are wood or a neutral color like beige, brown, or grey, choosing a color in the same family of colors, slightly lighter or darker will give the room a soothing, calming effect. This is a monotone effect which means the whole room is basically different shades of one color.

If, on the other hand, everything in the room is neutral in color and choosing another neutral color for the walls is too bland for your taste, you can go for a bolder look by choosing a strong color for the walls. Even choosing a much deeper shade of the neutral grey or brown can be very effective and beautiful.

The bottom line is, in a small powder room, don’t confuse the issue by using many colors. Stick to one or two which includes all the existing elements in the room like fixtures and floors. For washability use an eggshell finish for the walls like Benjamim Moore’s Aquavelvet.