I spend a good deal of time strategizing how I'd improve our rental house. It was built in 1916, and, like many Craftsman homes of the era, there's only one bathroom. This isn't a major drawback, but with two adults and two kids living here, it'd be great to have an extra. I even have the perfect space to squeeze one in: it's an odd little area, a combination of a closet for our furnace and an adjoining nook. Assuming we relocated the furnace, the space would still only be a shade over 3' x 6': too small for a full bathroom, but just big enough for a powder room.
Known as "half baths" in real estate speak, powder rooms usually contain only a toilet and sink, and they're often quite minimal in square footage. That's no drawback, though. Precisely because they're tiny, you can go all out when designing one. Like a staircase, they provide a chance to do something wild, create a kind of jewel box of color and pattern. And because it's a small space, it's often possible to spring for a more expensive finish for it: a great wallpaper, for example, or a fantastic tile.
Let's take a look at some examples of beautiful powder rooms, and then I'll break one down for you, to show why it works so well.
There are a few tricks to dealing with such a tiny bathroom. To illustrate them, let's take a closer look at this beauty above, by designer Miles Redd.
This room doesn't look like it gets much, if any, natural light. Rather than fight its natural inclination to be dark, Redd embraces it. The wallpaper is opalescent, so it shimmers in low light. The trim is dark too, a very shiny black, which also adds to the luminous quality of the space. The rest of the elements work together tonally: the aged brass fittings match the mirror and the gold hue of the wallpaper. This helps to create a cohesive palette, which is really important in such a small and intensely styled place.
There are a few clever space saving features, too: the sink is corner mount, a style which takes up the least amount of room possible. It's also mounted to the wall, so it takes up less visual space than one that sits on the floor. The basin has a very generous rim, however, which gives a place to put soap, a towel, and a tiny bouquet of flowers. That's a very clever way to add storage, without taking up any additional room. (In fact, you'll notice that none of these powder rooms feature a cabinet sink, because it would feel too large in such a small space.)
Finally, let's check out that door. It's a glorious shade of peacock blue, which not only brings out the blue in the wallpaper, but is a rather tongue in cheek nod to the theme of the room. Importantly, it also opens out, which is rather unusual. Most interior doors open into a room, but in a small space, that door swing can eat up valuable real estate. If you're creating a very small powder room, best to consider a pocket door or a door that swings out of the space, so you can maximize the square footage inside.
So there you have it: some key tips and visual inspiration. Have fun with these, guys, and you'll create a room that's not only useful, but glamorous, too.