Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves.
Doll, we know that potty talk is even more treacherous at a party than political talk, but we have to go there. And we have to go there right this minute – because bathrooms are one of the most important yet overlooked elements of party planning. You can’t think of every chic and creative detail like freezing edible flowers into ice cubes and handwriting all your place cards and then forget to prepare your powder room for your guests, can you? So, without further ado, pour yourself a Lipstick Cocktail and let’s discuss the ten best ways to mind your Ps and Qs when prepping your powder room for a party.
1. Make it scentsational. Add fragrance, but skip the sprays. Instead, choose a fragrant candle with a stunning exterior that adds to the visual atmosphere. Diptyque candles are classics for a reason. Or go bold with this marbleized version from Furbish or one of these beautiful candles that the world’s best party hosts favor.
2. Hit the right (floral) notes. Bring your powder room to life with a vase of beautiful fresh flowers. Keep the arrangement simple and elegant, but choose a color that carries through your party theme. For example, placing a spray of red garden roses, white freesia, greenery, and all-American strawberries in your powder room for an Independence Day barbecue shows you considered every festive detail.
3. Be ready for their close up. In addition to making guests feel welcome, one of the most important jobs of a party host is to make them feel gorgeous. An excellent way to do that is with perfect party lighting. In the powder room, that means soft, flattering lighting, preferably on dimmers, instead of harsh, interrogation-level lighting that makes people feel unattractive when they look in the mirror to check their hair or make-up. Guests should see themselves in the absolute best light during their quick solitude so they can bound back into your soirée with a renewed zeal.
4. A good lock is key. Make sure the lock on the powder room door works, even if someone on the other end gives it a forceful tug. Also, check that it’s clear from the inside that the lock is secure. You want your guests to feel certain that their privacy is ensured once they’ve pressed the button, slid the latch, or turned the dial.
5. Prepare for snoops. While we all want to believe our guests will keep themselves from peeking in our medicine cabinets, our research on the topic was a bit of an eye-opener. So it’s best to ensure that snoopers won’t discover much. Move anything too personal to the bedroom. If your guest bath has a shower, check the shelves there as well. If someone happens to peer behind the curtain, there’s no need for them to know about the condition of your scalp.
6. Get pumped. When entertaining more than a handful of guests, a pump soap in a beautiful glass container will always be the best-looking and most hygienic option. If you’re having both male and female guests, choose a brand and fragrance that will appeal to everyone. Those with herbal or citrusy, rather than floral, notes work best, which is why these are the ones we see most often in the powder rooms of The Salonniere 100. Make sure there is enough soap in the bottle to accommodate your guests, but give a new bottle a few pumps before the party to give it a “lived-in” look.
7. Don’t dampen the mood. Linen guest towels like these that are embroidered with a monogram or a design that communicates your party theme are an elegant alternative to paper hand towels. But if you do opt for linen towels, go with a stack of them so your guests won’t have to face the unpleasant task of wiping their hands on a damp towel. When hosting a large number of guests, order design-your-own guest towels from here. Whether you choose linen or paper, ensure that you have a lovely wastebasket like this stylish shagreen one, this solid teak version, or this beautiful amber onyx one in which to toss the used towels.
8. Garnish your powder room too. Borrow a tip from the world’s best hotel bathrooms, and make a variety of little extras available to your guests. Place a lovely box or tray on a shelf or countertop or under the sink and stock it with toiletries that your guests will be delighted to find, such as Advil, small tissue packets, safety pins, hair spray, feminine hygiene products, and packs of Tic-Tacs or individually wrapped breath mints. Corral them all into a chic tray like this pretty one from Biscuit.
9. Take the plunge. All it takes to kill a great party atmosphere is a few whisper-shouts that the toilet is stopped up. Of all the things you put out for a party, plungers are probably the least attractive, but certainly the most critical. Buy the most attractive one you can find, and place it an inconspicuous but accessible spot. Also, make sure to stock some extra rolls of toilet paper.
10. Check, mate. Be sure to check your powder room throughout the night to make sure it’s clean, all is in working order, there are enough fresh guest towels, and the waste basket doesn’t need to be emptied. If you’re having your party catered, instruct your wait staff to do the same.
One final note: preparing your powder room for a party also means prepping your master bath. Inevitably, guests will find their way there when the powder room is occupied. You don’t need to go the same lengths – flowers and a candle aren’t necessary – but you will want to snoop-proof it and make sure it’s been stocked with fresh hand soap, clean towels, and a full roll of toilet paper.
Party-Ready Powder Room Welcome Mash-Up
Welcome photo: Audrey Hepburn
Welcome quote: Dorothy Parker
Photo sources: Mark Shaw, Style at Home, Pinterest, Elle Decor, Mark D. Sikes