Original article on Houzz

There are plenty of reasons to take a design leap in a powder room. For one, a little bit of feature tile or wallpaper goes a long way in these small spaces, so a bold design approach won’t break the budget. Plus, powder rooms are often windowless, creating a feeling of intimacy and an opportunity to create a little jewel-box-like departure in style from the rest of your home. And the powder room is usually the most used bathroom in a home among family members and guests, so why not create a little moment of surprise? Here, designers share the details they used to bring that feeling to eight powder rooms.

1. Fashionable Floor

Designer: Tim Barber Architects
Location: Santa Monica, California

BlogHomeowners’ request. “This powder room was added to the first floor during an extensive renovation,” architect Tim Barber says. “We stole space from the former dining room. The most important aspect to the owners was to capture a masculine feel, so we selected a really powerful, geometric tile pattern and paneling. Even the sink has lots of geometry to it, which we softened with the marble sink. In the mirror, you can see that they have an incredible (and colorful) art collection. We chose a grounded, neutral palette throughout the home as the background for the amazing art.”

Main feature. Encaustic floor tile in black, white and gray. “It allowed us to be a little more subtle in other areas because the floor takes all the attention,” Barber says. “We looked at many different graphic patterns, but as we were collecting other elements in the room — particularly the sink — this tile was the one we kept coming back to.”

Other special features. Carrara marble vanity sink on polished nickel legs. “We tried to sneak a curve into every space in this home, which is sometimes difficult in architecture,” Barber says. “The actual cutout of the sink is oval, which softens all the rest of the very linear geometry in the room. We love including little contradictions like this.”

Designer tip. “In a small space, I love playing with paneling and try to make it eccentric in some way,” Barber says. “In this case, it hops up over the backsplash of the sink. This wasn’t a necessary design element, but it is interesting to take a very ordered idea and throw in something exciting — or even funny — to the rigor of the geometry. It was an opportunity to do something unexpected with this otherwise simple Shaker paneling.”

“Uh-oh” moment. “When the tile started to go down, the homeowners’ first response was shock,” Barber says. “It’s very bold, so I couldn’t blame them. Ultimately, we are all really happy with the result, but there was that moment of short-lived panic.”

2. Dressed-Up Drama

Designer: Amanda George Interior Design
Location: Newcastle, Washington

Blog ImageHomeowners’ request. “To create a little piece of luxury,” says designer Amanda George, whose clients found her through Houzz.

George used Houzz Pro software to create mood boards, shop for products and invoice her clients.

Main feature. “I believe the most significant detail in this space is the moody geometric wallcovering by York Wallcoverings,” George says. “It adds some much-needed life and character. Through the use of color, we created a space of tranquility.”

Other special features. Oversize mirror with detailed pendant. Dramatic wallchiere lights. “The detail on the quartz backsplash complements the undermount sink detail and their soft lines are a nice juxtaposition to the sharp angles of the faucet and wallpaper,” George says. “The oil painting is a particularly special piece and one of many amazing paintings in the client’s inherited collection.”

Designer tip. “The addition of character through a plethora of details made this space a success,” George says. “Don’t be afraid to be bold. Pushing my client to step outside of her comfort zone allowed us to select this amazing wallpaper, and she now refers to this room as her favorite room of the house.”

“Uh-oh” moment. “We ended up using the existing vanity cabinet but wanted to replace the doors,” George says. “There was a challenge in finding the right size doors that would fit this not-standard-size cabinet and ensuring the hinges aligned correctly. It took a lot of precision and coordination with the door manufacturer, but once they arrived, they were perfect.”

3. Soft Style

Designer: Charlotte Sylvain of Studio Fauve
Location: Brooklyn, New York

Blog Image 3Homeowners’ request. “This is a very tiny powder room with no window, so we wanted to make it as inviting and bright as possible while staying minimal,” designer Charlotte Sylvain says. “Highlighting craftsmanship was an important aspect of the project, so we selected as many natural and man-made materials as possible, which adds warmth and interest to the space.”

Main feature. Moroccan zellige tiles. “This powder room is situated on the ground floor of a townhouse, right off the garden entry,” Sylvain says. “The earthy tones of the materials make it relate to the outside.”

Other special features. Brass faucet. Oak mirror. Sand-cast brass wall sconce. Concrete sink. “We selected a wall-mounted sink instead of a traditional vanity to free up floor space,” Sylvain says.

Designer tip. “Don’t forget the small details like aligning the fixtures with the tile joints and making sure the P-trap finish matches the rest of the fixtures,” Sylvain says.

4. Leafy Look

Designer: Carmit Oron Interior Design
Location: San Jose, California

Blog Image 4Homeowners’ request. “My clients asked me to design a bright, fun, Hawaiian-style house,” says designer Carmit Oron, whose clients found her through Houzz. “One of them was born in Hawaii, so the island naturally held a meaningful place in their heart and heritage. We used bright hues and natural materials throughout the home and continued this theme even in the smallest room of the house — the powder room. Though small in size, the powder room gets a lot of traffic from family and friends, who can tell a lot about a family by the look and feel of the space.”

Oron used Houzz Pro software to manage and coordinate this project with her clients.

Main feature. “The entire room is based on the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel wallpaper,” Oron says. “It features large, lush banana leaves on a light background. The print is rich and colorful and the scale of the print, with its deep hues and vibes, was just right. I didn’t want to go overboard and make the room look too visually noisy, so I designed 6-inch horizontal shiplap wainscoting, painted white, that wrapped around the room. The wallpaper was installed above the top of the wainscoting line.”

Other special features. “To create a classic and timeless look, I used 12-by-24-inch Carrara honed tiles in a herringbone layout for the floor,” Oron says. “Woven baskets add a Hawaiian touch to the vanity, and the brass light fixtures and mirror add to the wallpaper’s luxurious feel.”

Designer tip. “I was overjoyed when my clients approved the banana leaf wallpaper,” Oron says. “It wasn’t an easy decision, because there’s a fine line between looking classy and looking overbearing. I think that the wainscoting on the bottom half of the wall breaks up the space and helps create a lighter feel. So the room gives off Hawaiian vibes but with a twist. In general, I love wallpaper and think it’s a fun way to upgrade a room, give it personality and make it more interesting.”

“Uh-oh” moment. “One of the unexpected challenges while remodeling this house, particularly this room, was when the wallpaper installer ditched us at the last minute,” Oron says. “This no-show really took us by surprise. My clients were on a tight time frame and desperately wanted to move into their home. So I decided that I would install it myself. It was crazy but I’m glad that my client trusted me. She even helped install it.”

5. Elegant Escape

Designer: Carter Brown Williams of Beaty & Brown
General contractor: Hampden Hill Custom Building
Location: Richmond, Virginia

Blog Image 6Homeowners’ request. This powder room was part of an addition built during a whole-house renovation.

Main feature. Wallpaper inspired by the inside end sheet of an antique Italian book.

Other special features. The homeowners repurposed leftover marble from their kitchen countertop for the vanity top. Gold and crystal sconces coordinate with a gold scallop-frame mirror, while silvery finishes in the vanity base, faucet, door hardware and towel rack add to the mixed-metals look.

6. Green Glamour

Designer: Traci Connell Interiors
Location: Possum Kingdom Lake, Texas

Blog Image 7Homeowners’ request. 
“This powder bathroom is off the bar and they wanted something that felt like a ‘jewel box room,’ ” designer Traci Connell says.

Main feature. 
Emerald green tile focal wall. “It grabs your attention as you walk in,” Connell says. “We chose to go with a crafted tile where each tile has its own personality, versus a tile that was all one shade of green. This gave a whole new depth to the bathroom and pops off the black travertine stone floor.”

Other special features. “The homeowners did not want to add another typical cabinet in this room since there was a linen closet right off the bathroom, so to add interest we added a floating black stone sink with gold accents,” Connell says. “The floating vanity helped create a more open room. The pops of gold really shine against the emerald green. Having the exposed P-trap below the stone sink adds a bit of shine for this space. And carrying the black from the stone sink to the floor grounds the space.”

Designer tip. “Adding only one statement pendant over the mirror helps make a space feel a little more open and less crowded rather than trying to squeeze two into a narrow space,” Connell says.

7. Geometric Gem

Designer: Elle Cantrell of Elle Du Monde
Location: Atlanta

Blog Image 7Homeowners’ request. “The powder room was a blank slate with a white vanity, white marble floors and white marble counter,” designer Elle Cantrell says. “The footprint and plumbing in the space worked well, but it lacked personality and warmth.”

Main feature. Geometric wallpaper featuring indigo shapes on a linen white background. “It was the first item we selected for the space and a jumping-off point for the rest of the design,” Cantrell says.

Other special features. Rich blue vanity paint (Blue Danube by Benjamin Moore). “It adds interest and an element of surprise,” Cantrell says.

Designer tip. 
“Don’t be afraid to add a bold pattern to a small space,” Cantrell says.

8. Pattern Play

Designer: Allyson Coburn of Cru Design
Location: Houston

Blog Image 8Homeowner’s request. This powder room is near the pool, so the owners wanted it fully tiled. And the homeowner was open to bringing in a fun pattern.

Main feature. Cement tile feature wall in green, black and white.

Other special features. Open stand-alone vanity. Pipe frame mirror. White subway tile walls. White penny tile floor. “The homeowner wanted the bath to be all tile so that it could be washed down, so a drain was added to the floor,” designer Allyson Coburn says.

Designer tip. 
“Fun tile with lots of color is always a great option for pool baths because it’s usually a small space and therefore if budget is an issue it won’t break the bank,” Coburn says.