I need some ideas for sprucing up the look of my powder room. It's a rented house so I'm not looking to invest in a huge redesign.
Apart from our living and dining rooms, guests are most likely to use the powder room.We've all endured the embarrassment of barging into the wrong room while trying to find the bathroom at a friend's house. Spare your guests this fate. The Singways store at Mall of Emirates in Dubai stocks some wonderfully quirky toilet signs that will make a great addition to your toilet doors.
A small space like the powder room is the perfect place to experiment with colour. Have a look at Pantone's 2012 colour of the year: Tangerine Tango (turn to page 4/5 for more on this). The National's trendspotting expert recommends using it to paint a feature wall, and then reintroducing it in accessories. The vibrant orange hue will lift the look of the room. If your walls are tiled, think about painting the ceiling and complementing that with splashes of orange around the room, such as a rug or a bath mat.
Tiled walls tend to give the bathroom an institutional feel, so why not use this surface to advertise your accomplishments? Create a gallery of high school triumphs and holiday pictures on one wall. Or choose some landscape photos from your travels. Think about getting them printed on canvas rather than the usual photo paper and glass frame. Virtually every mall in the UAE has a stall that can do this.
Most residential toilets come with a fluorescent light, and while they're economical, they're not particularly flattering. Replace them with a warm white light source. Sparsam low energy bulbs from Ikea produce a warm tone. For a dramatic statement, suspend a pendant light or small, crystal chandelier from the ceiling.
Cultivate the eclectic look by doing away with the standard square mirror and introducing a classic Venetian mirror above the basin (available at Irony Home, Dubai Mall). This piece will give the room real character and it's easy to transport into a new bathroom when you move.
Finally, think about the experience of using the powder room, not just the look. Use luxury soap dispensers and hand creams. Accessorise your countertop with fresh flowers, candles and perfumed oil diffuser sticks. They look great and keep the space smelling good.
And invest in some plush, matching towels. Trust me, guests will notice.
Pallavi Dean is an award-winning independent design consultant who practises in the UAE. If you have a question for her, email firstname.lastname@example.org