Half Bathroom or Powder Room

Get tips for how to design a small but mighty space.


By: Kristen Hampshire

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.

Half Baths and Powder Rooms

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Bold Wallpaper Patterns

Powder Room Stripes

Designer, Loretta Willis

Simple Elegance

Minimum Color Palette

Designer, Lauren Jacobsen

Small Space, Big Design

Mediterranean-Style Powder Room

Designer, Bonnie Sachs

Regal Accents

Designer, Thomas A. Conway

Tile Wall Powder Rooms

Designer, Andreea Avram Rusu

Beautifully Aged Powder Room

Designer, Joseph Pubillones

The Element of Surprise

Designer, Kim Smart

Organic Colors

Designer, Lori Dennis

Mirrored Walls

Designer, Andreas Charalambous

Wood-Paneled Powder Room

Designer, Gail Drury

Vanity Appeal


Kathy Greissler Best

African-Inspired Details

Photo Credit: Suki Medencevic

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?

Bathroom Sink Styles

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Self-Rimming Sink

Undermount Sink

Vessel Sink

Pedestal Sink

Console Sink

Wall-Mounted Sink


Jennifer Charleston

Vanity Sink


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

Consider how you will use the space and arrange the room layout to suit your lifestyle.

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