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Big ideas for the smallest room

Posted on by Beyond Bespoke

Forget playing it safe – the downstairs cloakroom is the ideal place to set free your inner designer and turn the smallest room in the house into a treasure box of jewelled colour and pattern 

Decorating can be a daunting prospect. A combination of our ever-changing minds and a tendency to play it safe with interiors means that walls, ceilings and floors are often kept simple as we let our creative selves free with fabrics and upholstery instead. But even the most conservative homeowner needs an outlet for their inner designer from time to time. Enter the downstairs loo.

Downstairs loos are an ideal place for experimenting with interiors: wild colours, jazzy wallpaper, elaborate lights, painted ceilings… you name it, this is the place to do it. If you want to try using a bold pattern but have never been sure of where to do it, a smaller room is a good option as you don’t have to worry about changing the space.

Kit Miles, who recently won Homes & Gardens 2016 Best New Designer, has a collection of vibrantly patterned wallpapers and wall coverings, elaborately coloured and decorated.

kit-miles - downstairs loo
From left: Kit Miles Ecclesiastical Botanica and Pearls in the Camellias

My first choice is this stunning ornamental wallpaper, aptly named ‘Ecclesiastical Botanica’ (above). Yellow is a fun colour choice for a smaller room, as it’s bold without being too deep and therefore won’t darken the room. The green and blue add a welcome contrast to the grey leaf pattern and the birds lead the eye upwards, unfolding a narrative that is illustrated with incredible detail. Another option would be to have something that is slightly busier in its use of pattern but perhaps simpler in its choice of colour. ‘Pearls in the Camellias’ is an ideal choice if you’re confident in one colour range – unfolding palms are gracefully linked to blue ornaments creating a rush of botanical imagery offset by a soft and illuminating background.

The detail of these wall coverings makes them suitable for a feature wall. If more feels too many and the vertical emphasis that makes up several of Miles’s designs mean that these can hang solo, as well as next to each other. Pair these styles with simple fixtures and fittings – dark metal, chrome and glass – so that the pattern isn’t interrupted. 

colour-chart - downstairs loo
From left: Plum and Deep Gres de Flandres Blue, Papers and Paints, from £67.20 for 5L emulsion

As well as loud patterns, downstairs loos (and small rooms in general) are great places to use colour. As much as we’d all love to have fuchsia bedrooms, painted orange stairs and a lime green kitchen, bright colour isn’t always practical. Small rooms with bright colours can pack a real punch and are a great way to make an impact. Yes, bright colours will make a room feel smaller, but if the room is a small one anyway then make it a cosy and colourful treasure box. Jewel colours are good choices (above); go for warm and low lighting and use lots of artwork/photographs on the walls for an extra bold room. Persimmon, teal and magenta are all good choices because they’re bright but also inviting. Pair with metallic tones for more of a classy candy box that has a warming glow to it. A painted ceiling also makes a real impact but keep the walls white to avoid cramped and cluttered when you want calming and cohesive.

downstairs-loo-paints
From left: Vardo, No.288 and Charlotte’s Locks, No.268, both Farrow & Ball, from £74.50 for 5L modern emulsion

However you choose to decorate the smaller or narrower spaces in your home, go bold and don’t be afraid of colour and pattern. Make your downstairs loo your haven of artistic flair, creative genius, experimentation and interior hits and misses.

Main image: Drummonds 

For information about any of the above, please contact Letty White-Spunner on letty@janechurchillinteriors.co.uk; 020 7730 8564.

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