The powder room is a half bathroom traditionally just off of the entryway for guests. While a half bathroom can now be used by anyone, its design remains unchanged.
Many homes will have a half bathroom included in their floor plan. This small bathroom may be located in the traditional powder room location, or may be tucked into various corners of the home as a way to streamline the home’s traffic flow.
While the half bathroom includes little more room than necessary for the toilet and sink, the design possibilities in this small space are large.
In this article:
- Tile in the Half Bathroom
- Small Bathroom Fixtures
- Colors of the Half Bathroom
- 12+ Best Powder Room Ideas
- #1. White pedestal sink: before and after
- #2. Eclectic Bathroom Design
- #3. Dark florals
- #4. Batten white wainscoting and bronze light fixtures
- #5. Shabby chic neutral design
- #6. Dark cabinet, fun tiles on the floor and lots of photo frames
- #7. Small space with tree wallpaper
- #8. A large mirror with light fixtures
- #9. Navy wall, beveled mirror and light fixtures above
- #10. Vintage Powder Room
- #11. White vanity and wall
- #12. Parisian Eclectic Powder Room Makeover
Tile in the Half Bathroom
Tile in the half bathroom focuses on two functions. As a floor covering, or backsplash behind the sink and as a style element to help visually enlarge and enhance the room.
The floor tile in a half bathroom should follow one of two models. Either using a 12” tile, or larger in modern half bathrooms, or by using a mosaic tile. A 12” or larger tile will have fewer grout lines than 6” or 8” tiles. This will help visually enlarge the room, as it creates less of a grid effect on the floor. Formal powder rooms can make the most use of this by using a polished marble on the bathroom floor. Since the space is small, heavily veined marbles can provide a visual effect that draws the eye outward to the sides of the room, enlarging it.
Mosaic tiles including traditional bathroom tile designs such as basketweaves or octagon and dot patterns create a pattern across the entire floor which helps to visually enlarge the room as well.
If wall tile is used in the half bathroom, it should be kept to the wet wall, or the wall behind the sink and toilet. While wainscoting is a popular bathroom feature, it can make a small bathroom seem smaller, so keep wall tile as an accent to enhance the room, rather than close it in.
Dramatic effects can be produced by using an accent wall behind the sink. Use mosaic wallpaper, or continue polished marble to the ceiling on this wall to draw the eye upward and visually enhance the space.
Small Bathroom Fixtures
The pedestal sink is a small bathroom fixture which has stood the test of time, and can compliment many bathroom designs. If there is no room for a vanity in the bathroom, or if a vanity would take up more visual space than it really requires, consider using a pedestal sink and toilet suite.
Suited bathroom fixtures are designed to work with one another in color, lines and shape. As the sink and toilet are frequently near one another in a half bathroom, using a fixture suite helps give the bathroom a cohesive appearance.
If there is room for a cabinet, or if some storage is required, consider using a furniture style vanity cabinet. A furniture style cabinet can be made of either a wooden cabinet with door fronts and a wood top; a whole can be cut into the top by a contractor for a decorative drop in sink, or can be a vanity cabinet specifically designed with furniture details, such as raised legs.
The reason for the use of a furniture style cabinet in the powder room is twofold. One, frequently powder rooms do not have a great deal of depth to them, and the vanity, if used, will need to be fairly narrow. The furniture style cabinet will often have enough detail and design elements to make up for the narrow appearance that a traditional box style cabinet will give. The second reason for use of a furniture style cabinet is the interest and design element it brings.
Look for furniture which is set on legs, up off of the floor. This will allow the tile to run beneath it, visually enlarging the room. The furniture top and other elements will provide subtle interest to the room, without a heavy appearance which could make the room feel cramped.
Finish the vanity with a fluted or handpainted drop in sink to further enhance the design.
Colors of the Half Bathroom
Keep the colors of the small bathroom design cool in tone whenever possible. Warm colors, contract visually, which is why they are thought of as “cozy”. Cool colors recede from the eye, visually enlarging the room.
If warm colors are used, either due to the presence of warm wood tones in the room, or to continue the color palette of the rest of the home, keep the fixtures white to provide contrast, and a crisp, clean finish.
The half bathroom or powder room design should flow seamlessly off the room it is located. If the powder room is off of a formal entry, consider tile and fixtures which work accordingly. A half bathroom off of a children’s playroom, however, would take its cues from an entirely different style.
Keep the half bathroom design simple and cohesive with a few design elements which work together. Visually enlarge and enhance the room, and keep the powder room or half bathroom as beautiful as it is functional.