How Emily Henderson uses color to make her powder room the most playful space in her home

If you can't display a wallpaper that makes your heart sing in the powder room, where can you?

Emily Henderson
(Image credit: Getty Images)

In all their compactness and functionality, it can be hard to see how a powder room can ever be the most playful room in the home, but Emily Henderson has just changed these conventions. 

The Secrets From a Stylist presenter shared footage from her newly renovated powder room – and, together with vintage wallpaper and dusty pink paint, she has reminded us just how much potential this space holds. 

'She is a little moody and full of a lot of soul and fun,' Emily explains on her blog. Though the space is naturally compact, it packs a host of lighthearted design elements, from the vintage apothecary jars to the cosmos from her garden. And, of course, we can't fail to give an honorable mention to the framed pug, which, according to Emily, is a 'royal pet from some Queen/King dynasty' in the late nineteenth century. The most impactful design feature of all, however, is how Emily uses color.

The space plays with two main hues: pink and blue – the latter through both paint and wallpaper that stands as a playful yet nonetheless timeless focal point. 

'This room is right off the family/media room, so as you can see, I wanted the colors to coordinate and flow nicely,' Emily says.

'I love how the blue of the wallpaper calls back to the color of the room (SW 6223 Still Water). That dark mauve color (SW 9078 Cocoa Berry) is so hard to read properly on camera/computer.'

Despite its playful vintage paper, flirtatious pink paint, and pug-themed accessories, the bathroom doesn’t neglect the practical elements that always need to be considered in a small bathroom

Emily has incorporated closed storage in a way that feels effortless and charming, in keeping with the country cottage scheme. For example, the sink skirt provides somewhere to conceal toiletries, as does the small wall cabinet, but both are decorative and, of course, a lot of fun.

Colors aside, Emily emphasizes the whimsy of the space through her bathroom vanity, which is slightly off-center. 'We put it off-center on purpose – mostly because I thought the asymmetry would look cool (and I liked that the sink was centered on the door),' the designer says. 

This isn't necessarily a sign for us all to move our vanities off-center (unless, of course, we want to), but it could be our cue to play with smaller pieces that are easier to experiment with. For instance, a piece of artwork shuffled to the right on a shelf so it's not directly above the couch will create a more artistic and whimsical impression similar to Emily's almost-dreamlike space. 

For more design advice from Emily (beyond making our powder room beautiful), we're picking up her guide, available via Amazon below.

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.