A powder room or half bath is one of the places frequented by your guests – they may never see your bedroom, but your living spaces and powder room, absolutely! And because this is such a small space, decorating it beautifully doesn’t need to break the bank.
This is a great place to add drama. I’m not talking about ‘the sky is falling’ kind of drama – if you live with a teenager you already probably have MORE than enough of that! I’m talking about bolder design choices you might tire of in your living room or bedroom but might be just the thing to create the wow factor in a powder room.
You can transform your powder room entirely, or just kick up the style with a few small changes like paint or mirror or lighting. Here are 7 places to add pizzazz to your powder room.
Deck the Walls
This is the perfect place to use bold colors or designs that you love but that might be too much for you in a larger space or a room you spend hours at a time in (hopefully, no one is spending hours at a time in your powder room…). This powder room features the high contrast of white fixtures against glossy black paneled walls and a black and white striped pattern in the mosaic tiled floor.
It is also a great place to indulge your champagne taste in wallpaper – it only takes around 3 double rolls* of wallpaper for the average powder room and even less if you have some millwork on the bottom.
*NOTE: Lots of things factor into the amount…size of the wallpaper roll, size and match type of pattern repeat, and of course the actual size of the room! I recommend having the installer tell you how much they need. Getting additional goods later is frequently a nightmare because you run the risk of dye lots not matching, so getting the right amount the first time is always best.
A fresh, pretty, large scaled floral wallpaper wraps this powder room by Shannon Ggem in style.
Millwork is another way to upgrade the room that is affordable in a small space. Crown molding, picture rail, and/or wainscoting go a long way to correct the proportions of a room that is sometimes taller than it is wide, a situation which can give you the uncomfortable feeling you are standing at the bottom of an elevator shaft?! Wainscoting on the lower portion of the wall could be in any number of styles to match the aesthetic you are after – shiplap, beadboard or board and batten for a rustic or cottage vibe; and applied molding, raised or recessed panel, or judges paneling for a classically elegant look.
Elegant recessed panel wainscoting and scenic wallpaper make a huge impact in this elegant space.
Casual paneled wainscoting runs 2/3 of the way up the wall and is topped with a sophisticated toile wallpaper.
An antique Italian commode and mirror are highlighted in this powder room with mirrored paneling and a mint green ceiling.
Here are some statement wallpapers that would add an exotic note to a powder room (click on each image for more information)
Give the Ceilings a Lift
While we are on the subject of drama, this is also a good place for a dramatic ceiling! Adding some metallic paint or a wallpaper to the ceiling has a lot of impact in a small space. There are other options as well – a tented upholstered ceiling, a pressed tin ceiling, antique mirror ceiling…the options are only limited by your imagination!
Metallic silver on the ceiling is the crowning touch in this fanciful powder room.
Elevate the Style with Flooring
Like the walls, the floor is another place where the small square footage allows you to indulge a bit. Wood, stone, or tile (or a design created with a mixture of those) all have great design options – painted or stained or inlaid designs or mosaic designs, are just a few of the many options. Just be cognizant of how many patterns you mix. In a small space, too many competing patterns can become claustrophobic.
The handpainted design on this wood floor is the perfect complement to the Biedermeier chest/vanity and mirror.
Supercharge your Lighting
Powder Rooms are great places for decorative lighting fixtures. You don’t need to be quite as concerned with being able to see every pore in your skin in here so you can have pretty sconces and/or a ceiling fixture. If your ceiling height allows for it, a pendant or small chandelier is fabulous, but there are also wonderful flush and semi-flush mounted fixtures available. Sconces on either side of the mirror can be highly decorative as well and should relate to, but not match, the ceiling fixture…we want it to look well designed, not mass-produced!
These contemporary candle sconces work well with the orb pendant chandelier.
Check out these pretty sconces and ceiling fixtures (click on each image for more information)
Upgrade the Mirror
Since this isn’t likely to be the space you use to get ready, a medicine cabinet is usually unnecessary here. There are tons of wonderful decorative mirror options that fit every style - no need to cop out with a boring plate glass slab. The size should be in good proportion to the size of the sink/vanity, and should usually extend from just above the faucet to at least 78” from the floor so you don’t run the risk of chopping off anyone’s head! NOTE: If you already have a whole wall of plate mirror, all is not lost, you can easily add a decorative mirror right on it.
This unusual pagoda topped mirror is the perfect pairing for the Chinoiserie wallpaper.
Mirror options - most of these are on sale right now! (click on image for more information)
Personalize the Sink and Vanity
A powder room generally only has one sink and doesn’t really require a lot of storage so a pedestal sink works well here. But there are so many other interesting options as well! If you are building new or renovating, a retrofitted piece of furniture can make a unique vanity. Or consider a custom floating vanity, a curved vanity, or a vanity with open shelving. I’m personally not a fan of those ones that look pregnant with the sink bulging out over the cabinet – there are other ways to fit in storage if you need it…but if you love those, go for it. There are many styles that are more interesting than your standard box with doors, but if you have one of these and don’t want to change it for whatever reason, then painting it and changing the hardware can offer it a whole new lease on life.
A retrofitted washstand, blue river rock floor, shiplap walls, and lantern fixtures all contribute to the casual elegance of this Birmingham poolhouse bath.
Because there is no shower in a powder room, there isn’t the worry of humidity affecting artwork, so adding art in a powder room is relatively risk free (okay, maybe not too close to the business end of the toilet…). You could do a whole gallery for impact. And don’t forget pretty soaps and lotions, a tissue box cover, pretty hand towels, and an interesting small trash bin.
Below are some stellar details from trash bins to hand towels to upgrade your powder room (click on image for more information)
Add fresh flowers and a candle and you are all ready for guests!
What’s your favorite way to add pizzazz to a powder room?
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