Half Bathroom or Powder Room

Get tips for how to design a small but mighty space


Powder rooms, sometimes called half baths, are petite but powerful. "They are usually small rooms, but you can spend a lot of money per square inch practically," says Lori Carroll, president, Lori Carroll & Associates, Tucson, Ariz. "There are many different levels of 'wow factor' you can incorporate whether it's the floor or light fixture, the mirror, the wall tile, the specialty finish, the toilet."

Basically, you can dress a powder room to the nines and spend more in this sliver of a space than you would renovating a full bath. You may decide to pull out all the stops and design this little jewel box of a room to showcase your personal style. Guests you entertain will surely stop in to use the space at some point in the evening.

Questions to Ask

  • Is this bathroom mainly for guests?
  • Will family (children) use the bathroom on a regular basis?
  • Where is the bathroom located (off of the kitchen by a mudroom entrance; near a formal foyer)?
  • How much natural light enters the room (if any)?
  • What style is the powder room today, and is there a style you'd like to experiment with in this space?

Browse Pictures of Stylish Sinks


Think big: The powder room is really the place to install the fancy tile or choose the exotic wood cabinet or other materials that would be cost-prohibitive in a larger space. "It's the one place where you can put all of your money into the finishes because it's so small," Rady says.

Vessel sink: This is the bathroom to install that vessel sink you've been eyeing, and you can find them in glass, stone, porcelain and other materials.

Add opulence: Traditionalists, now is your chance to go diva. Choose rich colors, hang a piece of interesting artwork, include an accent pendant light fixture that makes a statement.

Ventilate properly: While you aren't dealing with water condensation from a shower, you should consider a system to keep air moving in this especially small space to get rid of bathroom odors.

Next Up

Bathroom Space Planning

Once you know what type of bathroom you want, the next step is to begin planning how you'll use the space available within it. We'll help you think about how you plan to use the space and improve the layout to suit your needs and lifestyle.

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