Three-Quarter Bathroom

Get tips for designing a just-the-basics bath for guests or secondary use.
Contemporary Bath with Glass Tile Walls

Contemporary Bath with Glass Tile Walls

Photo by: Geoffrey Hodgdon

Geoffrey Hodgdon

By: Kristen Hampshire

Ideal for overnight guests or as the second bathroom—or perhaps the third full bath in a house—this configuration is designed around utility. The idea is to get in, do your thing, and get out: toilet, sink, shower—keep it simple. This basic theme doesn't mean the space has to be boring. Interesting tilework, updated fixtures, a high-drama mirror or decorative light fixture will dress up this down-and-dirty space.

Chances are, this is not your main family bathroom, and you might also have the luxury of a master bath in your home, as well. Still, by focusing some attention to detail in this bathroom, you can convert a purely functional space into a comfortable, stylish place to take care of your everyday bathroom activities.

Three-Quarter Bathrooms

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Add Interesting Yet Subtle Texture

Photo By: Designer, Lauren Jacobsen

Bathroom Shelves for Open Space

Photo By: Designer, Erica Islas

Add Classy Details for Character

Photo By: Designer, Kenneth Brown

Use Complementary Tiles for a Striking Space

Photo By: Designer, Shane Inman

Refreshing Bathroom Colors

Photo By: Designer, Celia Berliner

Tie Together Different Patterns

Photo By: Designer, Amy Bubier

Upscale Finishes Add Luxury

Photo By: Designer, Velvet Hammerschmidt

Small Space, Spa-Like Feel

Photo By: Designer, Linda Maglia

Use Patterns for Modern Space

Photo By: Designer, Vanessa DeLeon

Elegant Prints

Photo By: Designer, Trish Beaudet

Questions to Ask

  • Is this your primary bathroom?
  • How many people use this bathroom, and what are their ages?
  • Do the people using this bath have physical limitations/special requirements?
  • Is this a main floor bathroom, or located in a basement or upstairs (away from main traffic)?
  • What is the key purpose for this bathroom: for "basic" activities, or do you want to expand its functionality so it is more of a retreat?
  • What styles appeal to you? (color scheme, finishes)

Modern Small-Bath Makeover

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Midcentury Bath Makes a Comeback

Blah Beginnings

Photo By: Photographer: Christina Wedge

Splurge vs. Save

Palm Springs Print

Don't Replace, Just Reface

Clear Shower Door

Geometric Design

Convenient Shower Dispenser

Iconic Atomic Fixtures

Tile All Over

Mosaic Floors

More Than a Commode

Mix and Match Finishes

Bath Towel Pegs

Faucets and Other Fixtures

Simple Aesthetic

Vinyl Style

Fifth-Wall Flair


Shower extras. You can elevate the basic shower to an "experience" shower by opting for a couple now-affordable extras, such as a rain shower head or hand showers.

Good medicine. The medicine cabinet is making a come-back, but updated designs are deep enough to include electrical outlets so appliances can stay plugged in all the time. The benefit of this cabinet configuration is its space-saving nature. You get the mirror plus storage without sacrificing wall space.

Natural light. Skylights and enlarged windows open up a small bathroom and bring the outside in, adding character to a "basic" space.

Other considerations. This space is probably too small to create a separate room-within-a-room for the toilet, but you can still hide the loo with a layout that positions the commode so it's not the first feature you see when you walk through the door.

Sleek cabinets made from exotic wood veneer dress up under-sink storage. "We're getting away from the panels and trim," says Rick Miller, president, Miller's Fancy Bath & Kitchen, Louisville, Ky. "Veneers are easier to maintain than a raised-panel door, and they're a transition look between contemporary and traditional."

Picture-frame mirrors are a pleasing statement piece in a simple bathroom design.

Next Up

Half Bathroom or Powder Room

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

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