Ways to Add More Color and Interest to Your Home

A bathroom, and especially a powder room, can be a dramatic place to enter. Here are some tips on making the space more interesting.
Matisse Wallpaper
(Photo by Juris Zommers)

Use Mylar for a Creative Splash

This photo shows Tom Piehl, an extraordinarily talented artist, paperhanger and painter, installing large-size panels of Henri Matisse art on the wall from the top of the counter all the way up to the edge where the wall meets the ceiling.

The panels also need to fill the wall left to right — from corner to corner, from edge to edge. It is critical to have the art panels cover every inch of space, leaving no painted or bare wall. It is also critical to not have a ceiling molding.

In this installation, Matisse art was used instead of a decorative wallpaper because of personal connections to that art and because in Matisse there is an abundance of bright colors and very interesting shapes.

The magic in this effort comes from the highly reflective Mylar covering the entire ceiling. Just as for the wall panels, the Mylar needs to cover every inch of the ceiling — from corner to corner, from edge to edge.

Mylar is better than real mirror panels because the reflections are slightly diffused and distorted, creating just a bit of variation from the original art. When done right, walking into a space like this feels like walking into a two-story bathroom.

Installing Mylar on a ceiling is not a do-it-yourself project. It takes lots of experience, quite a bit of talent, and white gloves to keep the surface from being scratched.

Choose Intense Colors

Even without the reflective ceiling treatment, a powder room can be made much more interesting by covering the walls with a material that has great design and great color. Also, some wall coverings are printed with slightly reflective inks.

You can extend the magic by choosing very intensely colored towels. You can even get the velvet surface ones. These are not used after a bath. These are works of art.

ArtAdd Drama to a Hallway

A long and dark hallway can also be made highly dramatic. This photo, courtesy of WestSound Home & Garden Magazine, is from our website. The magic in this instance comes from walls painted almost black. Rather than a plain and simple black, it is best to choose a reddish-black or brown-black because they are more appealing to the eye.

The walls cannot be left blank. They need to be covered with as many paintings or other artwork as you can find.

As with wallpaper, the art needs to be intense. We have found that oil or acrylic paintings, rather than watercolors, provide better results.

The critical part here is lighting. If your ceiling has a surface light, replace it with track lighting. Ideally each and every piece of art needs a small spotlight.

Avoid halogen lamps. The heat created by the halogen beam can soften the oil and the canvas. The best miniature spotlight to use is a traditional incandescent one. The light is the right intensity and renders the best color.

Hallways and powder rooms are great places to be a little daring, as you don’t spend a lot of time in either one, and so don’t risk tiring of the space.

Don’t be afraid to use some of these suggestions to turn your powder room or hallway from a pedestrian space into a showpiece.