Make a Big Splash in a Small Bathroom
Sometimes, the smallest spaces give us the best opportunities to go big with decor. Here, we’ve rounded up some bathrooms with real pizzazz along with expert advice on how to create impressive impact in a small space.
Photo By: Ghislaine Viñas Interior Design
Photo By: Lowe's
Photo By: Brian Kellogg ©2012 Brian Kellogg
Photo By: Corey Damen Jenkins
Photo By: Preston Lee
Photo By: Mia Baxter Smail
Photo By: Stacey Brandford
Photo By: Susan Gilmore Photography
Photo By: John Woodcock Photography
Photo By: Jim Tschetter
Photo By: DISTRICT DESIGN
Photo By: Rennai Hoefer
Photo By: Chipper Hatter
Photo By: The Home Depot
Photo By: Katie Nathey
Photo By: M.A. Allen
"Small rooms can pack a lot of punch, and powder rooms especially are great for unexpected surprises," says Ghislaine Viñas of Ghislaine Viñas Interior Design. "For me, it's often a 'go big or go home' moment. I love being bold in my treatment of powder rooms."
Wide bands of fluorescent yellow paint brightened up the alcove of this bathroom. With no direct sunlight in this room, the color lends a sunny vibe. “The rest of the powder room was left white so it’s clean and fresh. The beauty of the treatment, too, is that if one grows tired of the color or the stripes, it’s easy to refresh with a new design,” Ghislaine says.
By painting the vanity a dreamy blue shade, this tiny bathroom gets a bright and pretty focal point. Adding a band of glass mosaic tiles adds another personal touch to the space and is an eye-catching, cost-efficient alternative to a fully-tiled wall.
Then, it’s art and accessories that enhance the room’s colors and style. The splashy painting behind the commode pulls the room together, while a trio of bottles and a bird-topped decorative orb add personal touches.
Chic All Over
“Our client loves design impact. This gave us permission to layer found lighting pieces, a statement mirror and vintage bathroom hardware onto an already graphic wall covering,” says Kerrie Kelly of Kerrie Kelly Design Lab.
For this bold half bath, Kelly worked to create a personalized aesthetic that would also complement the adjoining living and game rooms. “We began our design process by selecting a wall covering. From there we were able to source pieces from our client’s treasure trove of objects found while traveling to make it a space all her own.” In general, Kelly likes to “celebrate a small space by providing a bit of drama that complements other areas of the home.”
Masculine and Modern
“Fantastic wall coverings, bold flooring choices, unusual light fixtures and daring paint color combinations are all elements that can be manipulated to make even the tiniest loo a ‘wow’ space,” says designer Corey Damon Jenkins.
In this bachelor pad, “the tiles have an iridescent quality, and we lacquered the ceiling in black paint as well,” Corey says. “As a result, the white vanity, crystal lighting and oval mirror ‘float’ and reflect brightly against these gleaming backdrops.”
While some people assume that dark wall colors make a room feel confining, Corey disagrees. "In reality, it's the exact opposite. They actually make the space expand visually because they obscure the lines that define the room's true size and perimeter.”
In the Mix
Sarah Wittenbraker of Sarah Wittenbraker Interiors offers this suggestion, “When designing a small bathroom, make the floor tile or wall covering a standout. Or better yet, do both! Also, be smart about storage: Even powder baths need a cabinet or drawer for the necessities. I usually 'just say no' to pedestal sinks.”
With this guest bath situated right off the living room, it is very visible and frequently used. “The book cover wallpaper was the perfect color palette for our home,” says Sarah. “Plus this bookworm about died over turning our bathroom into a ‘library!’”
A Spa-Like Setting
Keeping things sleek and chic was a priority in this elegant bathroom, with the finishes and palette helping lend the space a spa-like air. The wall-mounted, contemporary chrome faucet is cool but unobtrusive, integrated beautifully with the soft-toned mosaic tiles.
The simply styled, coordinating chrome-framed mirror matches the design, and it’s mirror-like finish keeps the look light, bright and modern. Minimal accents, such as the softly-hued green vase, keep the look clean and welcoming.
A Woodsy Welcome
We love the forest-inspired wallpaper in this small bathroom. The vertical design keeps the eye moving upward, visually adding height. And it was all inspired by a fanciful framed print. “The homeowner had this whimsical piece of art they wanted to incorporate, so we started there. This led us to the wall-covering choice,” says Jen Ziemer of Fiddlehead Design Group.
The lighting, says Jen, is a fun juxtaposition to the rustic elements. Hooks and shelving help offset the lack of storage space, and the result is a small powder room that’s the perfect combination of style and function. “Don't be afraid to go bold in a small space!” says Ziemer. “Have some fun and give your guests something to talk about.”
For this children’s bathroom in a vacation home, Linc Thelan of Linc Thelen Design Adding the colorful geometric fish wallpaper, trough sink and custom woodwork gave this bath style and an experience of what summer homes are made of,” says Linc.
The graphic, fish-patterned wallpaper adds just the right amount of color, whimsy and impact to this otherwise white space. “Find a statement piece and work around that,” Thelan says. “Select a striking floor tile, wallpaper or cabinet and build off it.” Adding child-height double hooks provides a bit of storage and incentive to hang up wet towels, swimsuits and robes.
Go for a Gallery
Personalizing a space can be done in many ways, but displaying prized collections is definitely one of the most satisfying. In this boldly-hued bath, children’s artwork and fun collectibles are framed and proudly displayed, creating a unique gallery-style environment where it’s least expected but certainly appreciated.
No vertical space is off limits. Here, even the door becomes its own art-laden wall. While this example shows a children’s bathroom, the concept is just as delightful in adult powder rooms, too!
Tons of Texture
“I think small bathrooms are great places to take design risks. Because they are such small spaces, a bold color or wallpaper choice can be a great surprise for guests, but you don't risk dominating a whole area of the house,” says Carmel Greer of District Design.
In a fun twist, Carmel used architectural ceiling medallions as wall ornaments. Painted the same color as the walls, these medallions become eye-catching works of art. Various shapes and sizes of medallions add a whimsical feeling to this uber-textural design choice. This unusual but impactful decor is a clever way to decorate the walls in keeping with the feel of the turn-of-the-century row house in which it is located.
In this gorgeous Mediterranean-style bathroom, an exquisitely decorated terracotta sink takes center stage. All the other elements in the room, from the golden color of the walls and border detail to the wrought iron towel rack and light fixture, serve to highlight and enhance the sculptural sink.
The result is an inviting powder room with a sunny feel and well-traveled aesthetic in keeping with the home’s bright, globally influenced decor.
When small bathrooms are carved out in unusual spaces, the result can be quite charming. Here, an array of angled walls gets refined with an elegant quatrefoil pattern that’s airy enough to take on a small space from top to bottom without feeling claustrophobic.
We love this choice of pattern, as it plays as beautifully overhead as it does on the walls, adding even more personality to a potentially difficult-to decorate area.
Cool in Color
Whether you want to celebrate the color of the season, your signature hue or just a favorite shade, you can’t go wrong bringing a bolt of bold color to a small space. In this radiant-orchid powder room, the accessories are kept traditional, yet minimal.
Gold and black frame the art, mirror and sconces for an elegant air. A ceramic garden stool and towels in a cool neutral help offset the stark white pedestal sink to create a harmonious space with lots of eye appeal.
A shower of peppy blooms in shades of pink and white gives this powder room its decidedly feminine feel. An oversized framed mirror, complete with golden hardware, helps to brighten up the room by reflecting the natural light from the window.
A washstand with a luxe look but spare design fits right in with the decor, while leaving the space feeling open and airy. Keeping the towels and accessories neutral allows the floral print to be the main focus.
An RV Retreat
“Our main objective was to keep our small bathroom simple and functional and to make us feel as though we had walked into a mountain cabin, not an RV,” says Katie Nathey of Mountain Modern Life. “We simplified the color palette and accessories to create a space that feels larger and uncluttered.”
Personalized touches make this petite bathroom even sweeter. “We were married at a cabin wedding venue in North Carolina, and the owner was kind enough to give us some reclaimed wood he had on the property. Some of that wood was used to create our bathroom counter as well as the shelf we use to store towels and toilet paper. We also reimagined the linen closet door using old tin and wood from my husband's family's farm. We love using materials that add history and tell a story!”
Pop of Pink
With its graphic print and a fresh rosy hue, the wallpaper in this tiny bathroom takes center stage, making a lasting impression on its visitors. A drawer-front vanity provides some much-needed storage space beneath the marble-topped sink.
Sconces with clear bases are affixed to opposite walls, rather than beside the mirror, to help visually open up the space. Simple accessories, a thin-framed mirror and minimalist towel bar also work well to keep the wall covering the star and finish off this jewel box of a powder room.