Tag Archives: powder room

monday musings: british cloakroom vs. american powder room

monday musings: british cloakroom vs. american powder room
 written by David

So, what do you call the smallest room in your house?  Growing up (a product of the Nuns and the Catholic Schools) we always referred to the small rooms in the back of our classrooms, which only held a toilet and a sink, as a “lavatory”.  Some of my friends had homes with what they call a “half-bath” (not my family…6 kids one full bath and the reason, like Pavlov’s Dogs, I still get up at 5:30am every morning).  Somewhere along the line, in deference to the fairer sex I presume, we began calling the space a “powder room”.  While I’m sure this is a reference to a softly lit room with a water closet, vanity and mirror, where the ladies could go to freshen their makeup ( i.e., powder their noses.) still, I have to say the name does give a rather quirky wink and nod toward the 1980’s drug culture, don’t you think?  Enter the ever thoughtful British Real Estate Agent, trying to make the properties seem as grand as possible and seeking to lend a more masculine reference to the minuscule room… the CLOAKROOM was born.  Previously the CLOAKROOM was reserved for public buildings, train stations or in reference to the small rooms next to legislative chambers, presumable where the legislator’s hung their cloaks.  While it may be tiny, a cloakroom can be big on style and impact.  After all, this practical room is most likely viewed by every guest you have in your home.  Let’s talk about one tiny room in the house that can exude a lot of glamour or drama.  A cloakroom is a great space to experiment with color.  These little rooms can handle dark and vibrant colors that actually make the space seem bigger in scale.

Bold wallpaper is another way to make a grand statement and impact.

A cloakroom is a great space to create a gallery wall of photographs or mementos.  In our next home (unfortunately our log cabin doesn’t have a cloakroom although it does have a nice under-the-stairs pantry complete with plumbing rough-in), Stephanie has visions of a gallery wall consisting of framed front covers from found vintage comic books.

Even a simple printed roller blind can add a punch as in this girly cloakroom…

I for one intend to always and from here on out refer to this potentially spectacular room as the CLOAKROOM!  Lets face it, if the CLOAKROOM is a grand enough space for Kate Winslet to display her Oscar’s, it’s clearly a space that could add a dose of glamour to all of our lives.

If you are in need of a CLOAKROOM makeover, PlanetDwell is here to help.   We would be happy to design and build a space that suits your musing.

…what have you mused about lately?  Happy Monday!