Monday, January 23, 2012


January always makes me look at my home through new eyes, probably for a lot of reasons. First of all, my husband and I are always lucky enough to take a few days away around the New Year and when I return home, I tend to see things through "new eyes" after being out of my surroundings for a bit.  Also, all of those decorations that filled my home with greenery n' glitter are put back in storage until next year's Christmas season, giving me a valid reason to move things around and refresh my furniture and accessory vignettes throughout the house.

One of the rooms often used but forgotten is the bathroom.  In my home, as with most nowadays, there is one bath that is a designated "guest" powder or rest room, usually near the other most-used rooms such as the kitchen or family rooms.  I know mine could use a little updating, and I'm sure I'm not alone.

I think one reason it's easy to overlook this often-visited room is that once the walls are painted or papered, a few essential accessories and toiletries are added and it's -voila! - finished, and we go on to the other rooms that are more fun and require more thought and budget to re-do.  But don't underestimate the importance of a luxe powder room and how much color, personality and quirkiness you can inject here to make it another space that you and your guests can enjoy visiting as much as the other larger rooms.

A few quick pointers for a new year restroom refresher that doesn't involve renovations and won't break the bank:

1. Add a new, clean waste basket in a fun pattern or color - or even a metallic if you prefer.  If you have small children or mischievous dogs, a waste can with a lid is a better choice.

2. Have clean guest hand towels (disposable or terry/linen towels) available all the time.  Make it clear to guests which hand towels you'd like them to use.  I know I sometimes visit a friend's home and feel a little confused about which towels they use for showering, which are for guests' hands, which are clean, etc.  Make it obvious by adding some hand towels with "guest" engraved or embroidered on them to add a beautiful touch, or simply by placing them near the wash basin so it's obvious.

3.  Scent-sational aromas are important.  We all know that restrooms aren't just for resting, and having a pretty candle scent or other air freshener of your choosing will make it a pleasant place to visit.

4.  Add artwork or other wall decor that shows some personality. Maybe it's a photo of a natural landscape, something comical or inspiring, or some still-life floral.  This is not the best room to display your family photos (hello - who wants extra "eyes" on them in the loo?) but something to add visual interest to the walls is great.

5.  A small floor accent rug.  This is a perfect way to add texture, color, and most importantly some sound-absorbing textile - just be SURE it's easily cleanable to maintain a sanitary environment.

6.  Light up the night! These rooms usually have very small windows (if any) and those windows are going to be covered for privacy, offering only filtered light at best.  Make sure your bath has the brightest bulbs that your fixtures can safely handle, and adding wall sconces or even chandelier light is a gorgeous touch.

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