Even the tiniest half-bath can pack a big punch. Since they’re very much in demand with buyers who don’t want to send their guests upstairs to the main bathroom (and with young families who need a restroom on every floor), having a half-bathroom can help seal the deal when selling your home.
However, the last thing buyers want to see is a space that looks unfinished, messy, or forgotten. So, I asked two experts about how to put some pow into your powder room.
New light fixtures and ceiling treatments can completely transform a ho-hum half-bath, says Kim Pearse, owner and lead designer at The Staging Consultant in Nashville. Don’t be afraid to make a statement by adding tin ceiling tiles, crown molding, or a painted mural.
“This is my favorite room to have some fun with,” says Pearse. “You could go dramatic, especially if you have high ceilings. Just make sure you don’t use the boob light, which looks so cheap. Because powder rooms are usually in the front of the house, buyers will see them quickly upon entering the home.”
Look for interesting wall-mounted sinks and vanities.
When you have an extra tiny powder room, you have to get creative with the sink, says Beth Goltz, a Realtor and interior designer who owns Beth Goltz Real Estate and Design in Boulder, Colorado.
“It may have to be a really small pedestal sink with no storage — or a floating one,” she says. “If you have a little more room, try to fit a 24- or 30-inch vanity in to hide extra toilet paper and soap.”
Choose something unexpected, such as a repurposed small dresser, a floating slab of stone with a sink on top or vibrant color. “I’m working on a half-bath right now, and was just looking at this really fun dark hunter green vanity,” adds Goltz. “If it comes with knobs you don’t like, you can always put on something else.”
Put up standout wallpaper.
Goltz says some homeowners are afraid of wallpaper, but it’s a simple way to add interest and color.
“If you’re nervous about using wallpaper, there are a bunch of great removable ones you can put up and then peel off,” she says. “I’ve seen some rooms where all four walls and the ceiling had wallpaper, and it looks really cool; just be careful you don’t go too dark, because most half-baths don’t have windows, so it can feel cramped.”
Highlight an accent wall.
Boost the glam factor in your half-bath by showcasing one wall with gorgeous floor-to-ceiling tile or wood, says Goltz.
“We have floor-to-ceiling shiplap in our half-bath behind the toilet. We did beetle-killed wood and stained it gray. It doesn’t have to be the traditional horizontal wood; do the wood vertical or even on an angle. Or, put some molding in an intricate pattern like diamonds.”
Try wainscoting with coordinating wallpaper above it for another eye-catching way to draw buyers into this room.
Pearse loves adding new plumbing fixtures that play off a powder room’s palette. “Gold is really in now, but you need a deep wall or cabinet color to make this work well,” she says.
Hang a show-stopping mirror instead of a standard medicine cabinet, adds Goltz. “There are so many cool mirrors out there in different shapes with interesting frames, like rattan or shells. And if there’s space, I like the look of sconces on each side of the mirror.”
Rather than coordinating your hardware with your faucet and door knobs, make a bolder choice, suggests Goltz.
“Mixing brass and chrome can be really cool-looking if you do it right,” she says. “Or mix a black matte with nickel, or brass with black. I wouldn’t mix more than two, because then it’s just too much.”
Create drama with bold paint.
The fastest, most affordable way to transform any room is with a fresh coat of paint. But don’t just slap on the same old, same old. Pearse suggests pairing a rich, dark paint color with a small pattern wallpaper.
“Paint the ceiling a color other than white, but you must have crown molding before you do this – I promise it’s worth it,” she says.
Focus on a few high-end features.
Showcase your half-bath by hanging a beautiful painting or investing in funky cement floor tiles. Or, add some texture to the walls with moldings or a chair rail, explains Pearse.
“Splurging on higher-priced tile and light fixtures is something I often recommend to my clients because you won’t need as much due to the size of the room,” she says.
Sneak in a pocket door if you can.
If you have enough space in your wall, Goltz recommends installing a sliding pocket door.
“It’s the perfect solution when you have a small space for a powder room, because having the door swing to the inside makes it awkward to get in, and depending on where your powder room is, you don’t want to have to have a door swinging out into the flow of traffic, either,” she says.
“Pocket doors look really nice and I don’t think they’re used enough. Whenever I see an opportunity to put in a pocket door, I go for it.”