white powder room with white vanity, toilet and mirror

The powder room - while small - serves an important function in your home. It's the washroom that guests will most likely frequent to freshen up in during their visit. Don't let its size deceive you! Even though small, there are plentiful creative design choices that can make your powder room look and feel more spacious than it is.


What is a Powder Room?

A powder room is a small bathroom in your home that contains the minimum amenities of one toilet, one sink, and no bathtubs or showers. Also commonly referred to as "half baths," powder rooms are often found on the first floor of a home to make it convenient for family members and guests to access a bathroom.

small powder room with pedestal sink and toilet

Standard dimensions for a small powder room can be about 20 square feet and as little as 11 square feet. Although you can save a lot of space with smaller dimensions, designers recommend a half bath to be at least 18 square feet. Otherwise, it feels cramped and uncomfortable to use.


Use Small Bathroom Sinks for a Powder Room

When looking for a small powder room vanity, choose the right one for your needs. Do you want to add extra storage space in your bathroom, or are you looking to make it streamlined and minimal? If storage is what you need, look for vanities with built-in cabinets or drawers for your bathroom supplies. For a more modern aesthetic, wall-mounted vanities are a good option to free up some floor space and make the room larger than it is. Keep in mind how the vanity drawers open. Check that the toilet, doorway, or other bathroom features don't obstruct its function.

small vessel sink with matte black fixtures and Scandinavian style open shelf

If storage is not a concern and you prefer to stash your bathroom supplies elsewhere, pedestal sinks are good for keeping your powder room minimal. Pedestal sinks provide more square footage by losing bulky drawers in favour of compact forms. The bathroom above gives up cabinet space and cleverly uses a vessel sink with open shelving to store items and save space.


Making the Bathroom Wall Space Feel Big

Know how to use colour on your walls and when in doubt, don't underestimate the use of neutral colours in the bathroom! Lighter color tones, whites, and off-whites function to reflect light and make the room brighter, providing the space with an airy and open quality. Darker colours (Hale Navy and Kendall Charcoal, for example), are excellent choices for making more dramatic statements in your room so use them sensibly! Too much of the wrong colour can leave your bathroom feeling stuffy. Instead, counterbalance them with lighter bathroom elements (like vanities, toilets, or flooring) or use them as accents that draw your guests’ attention to visually exciting elements in your bathroom.


powder room with Veneto Bath walnut pedestal basin and black penny mosaic tiles


This homeowner uses dark mosaic tiles on the wall to create a dramatic play of materials that distract from the size of the powder room and bring focus to the pedestal basin and wall mounted faucet.


Dramatic Wallpapers add Depth

 A beautiful way to add depth to a space. When incorporating tiles in your half bath, the larger the patterns the better. Small patterned tiles with plenty of grout lines tend to make wall spaces look cluttered. Large patterned tiles in comparison have fewer grout lines to distract from the pattern's continuity, making the space look bigger visually. 


Feeling extra adventurous? Using vibrant wallpapers in the bathroom is good for adding drama to the powder room. Keep in mind that small wallpaper prints lead to busy visual textures. Stick with large patterns or counterbalance them with lighter visual elements.

powder room with Veneto Bath floating white stone basin and vibrant green rainforest wallpaper

This powder room with a white stone mirror and floating basin - while minimal in features - get a vivid tropical transformation, making it feel massive in a wholly different way!


Make Proper Use of Natural & Artificial Light

Natural light is your friend! Use windows and/or skylights to bring light in the space, where possible. Having a window in your bathroom not only brings in the open and bright qualities of the outdoors inside but allows the eyes to look beyond an enclosed area.

white bathroom with hanging plants and skylight

Sconces and overhead lights are also great for bringing warm elements to an area, provided you have ample space. Having multiple sources of light is a good way of eliminating cast shadows that restrict sightlines in the room.


Mirrors Give the Illusion of Extra Space 

Do not underestimate mirrors and use them to generate additional space. A large mirror over your bathroom vanity reflects all of the light and doubles the size of your bathroom instantly! Consider the size of the mirror you’re getting - the larger it is, the more impactful the illusion can be. In addition, using frameless mirrors can make the expansion look seamless and immersive.

blue vanity with large round frameless mirror and vintage lighting


Quick Tips Summary: 

Choosing the right vanity for a small bathroom is essential! Buy a small vanity with cabinets if storage is what you need and go with pedestal basins if you want something more streamlined and minimal. For your consideration, a wall-mounted vanity is great if you want to open up more floor space.


Bathroom Walls - Neutrals and white are excellent and safe choices for making a room look bright and expansive. Use dark colours to create dramatic expressions in your room or use it as a way to accent certain elements in the space.

Tiles - Looking to add an extra layer of texture to your powder room? Tiles are a great way to add bravado to your space. Think of using large pattern tilework and/or matching the floor tiles to a wall segment to expand your bathroom’s horizons.

Lighting - Use natural light and plenty of it! Keep windows clear and bring in lots of light to your bathroom to emulate an open-air environment. Layer lighting with multiple sources and minimize the dark shadowy areas in the bathroom.

Mirrors - Mirrors are great for making your space look larger than it is. The larger the mirror, the more it reflects the space around it to double the room size. Think of getting frameless mirrors for a seamless way to expand the bathroom.


Having a small bathroom layout shouldn’t be limiting. Be creative and let it guide you to create a statement space that’s as beautiful as the rest of your home!




GuidePowder room