Home Life How to dress up your small powder room

How to dress up your small powder room

Courtesy photo Just because you have a small sink area doesn’t mean it needs to be boring.

Some of the most elaborate remodeling work I do for homeowners is in the smallest room of the house: the powder room.

That’s because the first-floor bath, which averages just 4 by 5 feet, is so much more affordable than any other room to furnish with high-end finishes like marble floors or countertops, imported tile for the walls and unique sink basins because you’re buying such small quantities.

It’s the bathroom where you get the most bang for your buck, so to speak, which makes it the ideal spot to splurge. That little bit of luxury won’t go unnoticed, either, as the powder room is one of the few rooms your guests will see most frequently when they visit your home.

So when it’s time to remodel your powder room, go ahead and splurge. Here are a few ideas ranging from high-end to more practical that can help your home’s tiny extra bathroom make a big impression:

n Move walls. If you have the space, move the walls to convert a small square or rectangular room into an L-shape. That way, you can place the sink in a niche away from the toilet, making your powder room a bit different from everyone else’s.

n Install a unique vanity. “Furnish” the room with a vanity that resembles furniture or cabinets in a rich finish that would be nice enough to display in the bedroom or kitchen.

n Mirror, mirror on the wall. A unique mirror can enhance the look of the room instantly. After all, who doesn’t look in the mirror when they are washing their hands?

n Choose elegant selections. Install a beautiful granite or marble countertop. Texture the backsplash with glass or stone tiles. Select natural stone for the floor.

If the floor of the hallway outside of the powder room is hardwood, choose a matching wood for the bathroom to make the room appear larger when the door is open.

n Don’t forget storage. Build in storage space on walls and under the sink so you can hide extra rolls of tissue and cleaning products. Clutter never makes a good impression.

If you don’t need the storage space, consider a pedestal sink, which opens up the space and makes the room appear less cramped.  A tip: Buy one that’s three to five inches taller than a standard sink. Therefore your guests don’t have to bend down as far to wash their hands.

n Experiment with color. The room is so small that there’s no use pretending it isn’t. So skip the white paint and play with rich, dark colors—or your favorite color—on walls and cabinets.

If you want to make the room look a little bigger lay oversized floor tiles or install recessed lights which brighten the room.

n Update hardware and fixtures. Shiny brass towel racks and faucets look dated. Opt for a brushed nickel or pewter hardware for a more timeless look. Match all of the metals in the room with the same finish, from the doorknob to the cabinet and bathroom hardware.

n Add a finishing touch. Beautiful crown moulding or substantial base moulding adds an architectural element which will make the room look “finished.”

Finally, think about your guests, who will use that room while they’re visiting. Add an empty shelf or a hook on the back of the door, where someone can hang a jacket or set a purse.


Jeb Breithaupt, B. Arch., MBA, has been president of JEB Design/Build in Shreveport since 1983. You can contact him at 318-865-4914 or by visiting www.Jeb.net.

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