How to Make a Big Impact in a Powder Room

In real estate terms, it’s called the “half bath,” but most homeowners refer to it as the guest bath or powder room. And since it is the bathroom used most often by visitors, the pervasive thinking for years has been to keep the design neutral for universal appeal.

These days, playing it safe isn’t desirable anymore. Today’s top interior designers are encouraging their clients to maximize the visual impact of this modest space by going bold. What makes the powder room the ideal spot to express personality is its small dimensions. With less surfaces to cover than in a master bath, luxurious materials for walls, floors, countertops, faucets, sinks, and lighting are more budget-friendly.

Deck the Walls

How to Make a Big Impact in a Powder Room - LightsOnline Blog

The walls are the largest surface area of the powder room and there are plenty of options. Whimsically patterned wallpaper has distinguished many powder rooms recently on display at the Kips Bay Decorator Show Houses in Manhattan, Palm Beach, and Dallas as well as countless celebrity homes you admire on Instagram or Houzz.

If you’re hesitant about committing to wallpaper, there are easily removable “temporary” wallpaper sheets available in visually striking styles and themes. Alternatively, you can install colorful or textured tile arranged in creative and sophisticated patterns for a dramatic, wall-to-ceiling presentation.

Pattern-shy homeowners can participate in the trend by keeping their walls in a solid neutral color and selecting mirrors in unique shapes, fanciful frames and colors, or by hanging several smaller mirrors instead of the more traditional, single large mirror over the sink.

Mirror ideas: ET2 Crystal LED mirror, Quoizel Tiller mirror, Currey & Company Oyster Shell mirror, Varaluz Jemma mirror, Minka Lavery Oval mirror

Select Your Sink

How to Make a Big Impact in a Powder Room - LightsOnline Blog

If your powder room is tight on space, replacing a bulky vanity with a pedestal version will visually expand the room. Other options that bring an upscale feel to your half bath are vessel sinks (which sit on top of the vanity), patterned or colorful ceramic sinks, fancier faucets, and thick plush towels. Unless you have a knack for artfully mixing and matching metal finishes, select faucets and other hardware pieces in the same finish to keep the look uniform. Otherwise, having mismatched finishes could draw unwanted attention.  

The Crowning Touch

How to Make a Big Impact in a Powder Room - LightsOnline Blog

Perhaps the single most impactful change you can make to your guest bath is to upgrade the lighting. Unlike the master bath, a powder room isn’t limited to “bath” fixtures since the absence of a shower means excess moisture won’t be present. Similarly, since grooming tasks aren’t typically performed in the powder room, you can forgo the basic vanity lights across the top of the mirror and invest in a pair of glamorous wall sconces that would make an elegant, lasting impression anywhere in the home.

It is always a great idea to put whatever lighting you have in the guest bathroom on a dimmer. This affordable add-on provides you with the flexibility of keeping the light levels soft at night time plus adds a warm, beautiful glow to the decorative lighting.

Lighting ideas: Savoy House Dunbar sconce, Hudson Valley Albion sconce, Modern Forms Ember sconce, Golden Krysta sconce, Feiss Erin sconce

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