The History of the Powder Room

Have you ever wondered how the now-ubiquitous powder room first came about?  Though we still refer to “powdering our noses” as a polite way of excusing ourselves to the bathroom when out with friends, the original powder rooms were not actually intended for face powdering or relieving one’s self at all.

In the 18th century, wigs were commonly worn in high society, and large homes typically boasted a convenient ‘powdering closet’ for those who needed to re-grease (ugh) and re-powder their wigs after many hours of socializing. Also referred to as wig closets, they usually contained a comfortable chair situated in front of a mirror. There was certainly no plumbing, and therefore no toilet or sink, though some of them did provide fainting couches for those moments when a guest just needed to lie down and recover (those corsets, burdensome wigs, uncomfortable shoes, and heavy clothes surely must have taken a toll).

As wigs fell out of fashion, powder closets continued to be used for refreshing appearances … and were no doubt enhanced by the lack of bear grease and talc floating through the air. The Industrial Revolution helped create the middle class, and powder closets became more common as a way for people to showcase their increasing wealth. The powder chair was replaced with a chamber pot and washing basin, and eventually with today’s modern toilets and sinks. Though some people refer to these rooms as half-baths, we prefer to call them powder rooms.

Powder rooms have gained a reputation for being small rooms with big personalities; because of the typically small square footage, homeowners can create beautiful spaces for their guests without breaking the bank. We’ve designed powder rooms in many different styles through the years to reflect the personalities of our clients and have had a lot of fun doing so.

Today we’d like to share powder room projects in two different client’s homes that showcase the flexibility of this space.

Powder Room #1

Client’s style:  Transitional Modern
  • 36-inch Kohler vanity in Poplar Gray
  • Brushed nickel faucet, tissue holder, and towel ring
  • Vanity light with four glass shades in a silver leaf finish
  • 36-inch round metallic silver leaf mirror
  • Vinyl grasscloth wallpaper, which is perfect for a bathroom to withstand any water splashes!

Powder Room #2

Client’s style: Transitional with a flair for the sea!
  • The window reflected in the mirror reminds us of a porthole
  • We kept the current vanity and painted it (with lacquer finish) in SW 6218 Tradewind
  • We replaced the faucet, tissue holder, and towel ring with Kohler’s aged bronze finish to add a bit of glam
  • The wall sconces were removed and replaced with two pendant lights in gold leaf with glass accents.  These hung from the ceiling and framed out the beautiful gold leaf mirror.  With the addition of large, round Edison bulbs, the light fixtures reminded us of something that would be used in an old ship.
  • To complete the design we went with beautiful wallpaper in blue hues that are reminiscent of ocean waves.

In both projects, we utilized wallpapers that are environmentally friendly and made with paper from responsible sources.

We hope you enjoyed taking a peek at these two powder rooms that reflect the very different preferences of our clients. Your home should be a reflection of the things you love, and there’s no better way to showcase that than in your powder room!

If you are ready to makeover some of the rooms in your home, give the team at AHT Interiors a call at (770) 887-7612. As you can see, we enjoy integrating our clients’ tastes into our designs; we always listen to their preferences and place close attention to their lifestyles and budgets when creating new interior spaces.

Love where you live!

The Team at AHT Interiors