A powder room is typically small, but it’s full of enormous possibilities. Traditionally a half bath, housing a sink and a toilet, the room is also known as a guest bathroom; after all, it’s one of the spaces most commonly seen by visitors. Despite this room’s diminutive size — or precisely because of it — a powder room is an ideal place to make a big design statement.
“Powder rooms are the perfect spaces to have a little fun with design,” explains Megan Dufresne, founder of MC Design. “They are more forgiving and less of a commitment than other rooms in the home, so step out of your comfort zone and try something new.”
Alice Benjamin of Alice Benjamin Interiors vehemently agrees. “I love designing a space that speaks to the people who inhabit it — conveying a mood, a cultural heritage, a passion — while keeping functionality and habits in mind,” she says. “Powder rooms are one of my favorite spaces because even people who are scared to go bold can experiment in their powder room and unleash personality. They can be playful without impacting their entire homes.”
Indeed, powder rooms are trending bolder, more glamorous, and more expressive of personal style than ever. We asked five interior design pros to share their expert observations on the latest powder room ideas to supply you with a douse of inspiration. Here’s what they said.
LED backlit mirrors
Interior design pros say they’re seeing spaces transformed — and seriously upgraded — with the addition of backlit mirrors.
“You may not have the budget for a complete bathroom renovation, but you can change the entire look and feel with a new vanity mirror, and backlit mirrors and medicine cabinets give a touch of modern to the space,” explains Next Luxury interior design expert, Andra DelMonico. “It also adds an additional layer of light as it glows on the wall, which elevates the space.”
Nancy Charbonneau of Charbonneau Interiors agrees that LED backlit mirrors are a worthy investment for a stunning, even conversation-starting, powder room upgrade. “From a technology standpoint, there are also so many more options when it comes to mirrors and lighting in baths,” she says. “One example of this is backlit LED mirrors. They’re beautiful, modern, fun, and really make a statement. Plus, it has really beautiful, flattering lighting that just adds to the wow factor.”
DelMonico notes that, while this design element can be a favorite feature for the home’s occupants and guests, don’t expect to recoup the money spent when you list. “This is one of those investments that is purely for you,” she says. “It won’t have much impact on your resale value.”
And while that may be the case, don’t be afraid to invest in a piece you love because you can always take it with you! “I believe that mirrors are always worth the investment, as well as fantastic light fixtures,” Charbonneau says. “They’re things you can bring with you once you move from your home and can serve a purpose as you move from home to home.”
Get the look: Dimmable lighted mirror, $299 and up at IBMirror
While moisture from showers and bathtubs drives some of the design decisions in full bathrooms, powder rooms typically contend with far less humidity. Still, you can expect some moisture in the air in a powder room, which, until recently, limited material options.
“You want wood flooring in your bathroom, but actual wood is a terrible idea, and laminate and vinyl aren’t much better. All of these materials don’t last for the long haul in high-moisture environments,” DelMonico says. “Tile is your best option. And now you can have the look of wood with the durability of tile. Expect to see more hyper-realistic looking and feeling wood tile [in powder rooms].”
Replacing outdated flooring with a durable, neutral option will increase the value of your home, offering two distinct benefits for resale: removal of outdated tile and the addition of tile with broad appeal.
Get the look: Wood-look tile, $1.89 per square foot at Wayfair
Dramatic, statement wallpaper is trending for the powder room. It’s often easier to commit to making a big splash in a small space than in a larger room like a dining room or primary bedroom; if you change your mind, it takes less effort (and budget) to reverse.
“If you are going to go with wallpaper, go big!” Dufresne says. “The newest trend in powder room wallpaper is to incorporate the ceiling into the design. This technique creates an encapsulating, dramatic effect that is sure to wow.”
Andi Morse, of the design firm Morse Design, echoes the same sentiment. “Powder rooms are typically small spaces that you can pack a lot of punch in by adding a gorgeous wallpaper. Depending on your taste, you can go subtle or go big. Either way, the powder room looks way better than being a blank, white box. I always say go big or go home!”
In terms of resale potential, she says that subtler wallpaper is the better bet — but it’s not so important a decision that you shouldn’t just go for what you love. Since the room is small, it’s an easy fix for the buyer who wants to make a change.
Get the look: Encyclopedia wallpaper, from $35.99 at I Love Wallpaper
If you can’t quite get your mind around the drama of an ultra-bold wallpaper design, Dufresne suggests incorporating the bold wall treatment trend through wainscoting instead. “Using wainscoting to bring a pop of color and texture to your powder room is less of a commitment than wallpaper but offers just as much in the way of design,” she says. “You can go more traditional with wood wainscoting or go a bit bolder with tile or faux-finish paint.”
Get the look: Beaded wainscot panel, from $10.48 at Lowe’s
LED under-counter and toe-kick lighting
LED lighting placed under the counter or at the foot level is trending in a big way; it creates a custom look, distributing light throughout the room for a glowy atmosphere. Control the light strips with a dimmer for a bespoke solution that allows you to create the perfect lighting scheme to suit any mood.
“Our clients like it also because you can leave it on while all the other lights are off,” says Charbonneau. “It really just draws you in because it’s fun, cool, and this element of unexpected luxe.”
Get the look: LED linkable under-cabinet light fixture, from $25.95 at Home Depot
Vintage or statement pieces
While new trends always provide design inspiration, one styling approach never goes out of style: personal expression. And, as Charbonneau says, expressing your personal style, ancestral history, or any unique point of view in a powder room can make a dramatic statement that is also right in line with current trends.
“I do think there is incredible sentimental value, and some resale value, in having really unique and one-of-a-kind pieces that you can’t replace, even in unexpected places like the powder bath,” she says. “In one of our projects, our client had this beautiful, antique chest that had been an heirloom in the family. To create function for it, we converted it into a base for the vanity in the home’s powder bath. And while it’s still this really fun conversation piece, it now has purpose and function beyond what it was originally intended to be.”
Get the look: Stingray-inspired vanity, from $2,865 at Restoration Hardware
Header Image Source: (Krystal Black / Unsplash)