Having a main-floor powder room is a major bonus—it’s convenient for both homeowners and their guests. The downside? Most half-baths are small, with barely enough room for a toilet and a sink. However, this tiny space offers a great opportunity to unleash some bold design choices, colours, and textures! Here are some tricks of the trade to add style and function into your powder room.
1. Don’t be afraid to add some drama.
Small spaces can pack some big design punches, so think about going in a totally different direction here than you may have used in the rest of your house, suggests interior designer Arianne Hudon-Brooks, owner of HB Design in Montreal.
“Since powder rooms are rarely used to get ready in the morning, we get to have fun and disregard a few rules we might stick to in main bathrooms,” explains Hudon-Brooks. “Although many of our clients like bright-feeling rooms, some want to take advantage of the smaller space and create a darker, moodier effect. With powder rooms, we can be more daring with bolder finishes, too.”
2. Make the space appear larger with scale and colour.
Some half-baths are so tiny you can barely turn around once you walk in. However, you can visually enlarge the room and free up some floor space.
“Using light colours on the walls and selecting an appropriately scaled toilet and vanity will go a long way,” says Hudon-Brooks. “A standard vanity is 22 inches deep, yet many of the small powder rooms we have worked on could not accommodate this. Wall-hung toilets and vanities leave more open floor space, which makes a room feel more spacious. Pocket doors and doors that open outwards allow for more circulation space in a half-bathroom.”
3. Let there be (plenty of) light.
Since it’s pretty rare to have a window in your powder room—many are off an interior hallway, tucked under a staircase, or in a converted closet—it’s important to find another way to brighten up the space.
“Usually, we like to use either pot lights, a fun sconce or two on the wall, or a pretty flush-mounted or semi-flush-mounted light fixture by itself if we are leaving the walls bare of lighting,” says Hudon-Brooks. “We rarely will have more than one type of decorative lighting in such a small space. In all cases, we love making them all dimmable so our clients can dim the lighting in the evenings.”
4. Splurge on high-end flooring.
Since you only need to cover about 20 square feet in most powder rooms, you won’t have to purchase a huge quantity of flooring. That means you can choose something luxurious to add visual interest and impact.
“An interesting floor can make the room,” says Hudon-Brooks. “In most cases, we will be sourcing flooring for its resistance to water, such as porcelain, hand-painted cement tiles, or natural stone in either large format or a gorgeous mosaic.”
Powder room flooring can also be a continuation of an adjacent space or you can use the same tile laid elsewhere on the same floor or in the home, she adds.
5. Up the wow factor with luxurious accents.
To really make a powder room shine, add some glamorous details such as a high-end faucet, a show-stopping framed mirror, plush hand towels, or a bold wall treatment.
“We love wallpaper for a powder room, and because the space is small, it allows us to use higher-priced products,” says Hudon-Brooks. “Once your powder room layout is planned out, start with one finish or fixture that will drive the rest of the design and create some magic in your space.”
6. Squeeze in some extra storage.
Even in the tiniest powder rooms, you can carve out space for stocking supplies, says Hudon-Brooks.
“We’ve hidden some storage using mirrored medicine cabinets, which can be practical for keeping products close at hand,” she explains. “When space is tight, a simple basket for extra toilet paper rolls can work to complement a floating or pedestal sink. A double toilet paper holder could also do the trick. We also like to include a hook on the back of the door so guests can hang up their purse or bag.”
Your powder room can often be thought of as a space too small for décor, but in fact it’s the opposite! Your tiny powder room can offer some big “wow” power through colour, décor, and clever design.