Tips on Styling a Small Powder Bath

I think most of us can agree that the powder bath can be a challenging room to design. Its a space that is easily forgotten and often times they are small. However, it's also a room that guests will most likely see at some point during their visit. And the small size makes it a room that can be fun to try out new trends or go a little "crazy" with your design. So, today I am sharing a few of my favorite tips for styling a killer powder bath that will sure to be a place you'll want to show off rather than hide!

1. Spice things up with Wallpaper:

You wont always have the luxury of being able to add much in the way of furniture or accessories in a small powder bath but you can ALWAYS make the walls pop. Wallpapering a powder bath is my favorite way to add interest because it gives you a lot of bang for your buck. A small space wont require a ton of rolls or labor for wallpapering, not to mention, that in a small space you are more free to "go for it" with a bold or graphic print.

Design by  Studio Mcgee

Design by Studio Mcgee

2. Add some interesting Tile

2. If wallpaper isn't your thing, consider adding some interesting tile to your powder bath. This could mean adding a chair rail up the wall or even putting in some sort of patterned tile on the floor. 

Design by  Rachel Halvorson

3. Make a statement with the mirror

A great mirror can make a huge difference in any room... but particularly in a powder bath, as there isn't a whole lot else to compete with it. Simply adding an interesting mirror, whether it is new or vintage, is a really easy and fairly inexpensive way to make a statement in your powder bath.

4. Change up the Vanity

You don't have to get a whole new vanity to dress up your powder bath. Whether you have a freestanding or built in vanity, you can make it look more like its own "piece of furniture" by painting it and adding some unique hardware. I suggest painting the vanity in a fun, bold color - because why not? It's the powder bath after all.

5. Dress things up with some beautiful lighting

Us designers LOVE lighting. Thats why we all agree that lighting and hardware are the "jewelry" of any room - and the powder room is no exception! Whether your bath needs a single over-the-mirror sconce, or two on each side, or simply just a flush mount ceiling fixture, there are tons of options for really great lighting out there and it will be well worth the investment.

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Hardware: The Jewelry of Any Room

One thing I can not stress enough to my clients is to pay attention to details, both big and small, when you are thinking about designing any space. Designing a home required a million decisions and half of those we don't even think about (or notice) unless they are poorly executed. For example: you don't notice a light switch.... unless it is smack in the middle of a wall. Right?

Some details are meant to be hidden and some are meant to shine. Hardware is one of those little pieces to the puzzle that should make a statement. I like to think of it as the jewelry of the room.

Sarah Catherine Design | Hardware
Sarah Catherine Design | Hardware

Hardware can be used to dress up a space or give it a more rugged feel. Small hardware can sort of disappear or chunkier hardware can be used to make more of a bold statement. It can be used to create a more traditional or a more modern feel.

Sarah Catherine Design | Hardware

Dresser source: Bungalow 5

One thing that I love about hardware is that it can totally change the look of a piece of furniture or built-ins.... but it is relatively inexpensive and easy to swap out. So if you find a dresser or chest that you love but it has terrible pulls, don't sweat it.

Sarah Catherine Design | Hardware
Sarah Catherine Design | Hardware

hardware resource: Lewis Dolin

Pay extra attention to rooms that are heavy in hardware... particularly kitchens and bathrooms. Most of us don't have the time or energy to pay attention to every single dresser in our house and think through the knobs/pulls etc. So make your efforts count by paying close attention to hardware in main rooms, hardware-heavy spaces, curtain rods, door knobs, etc.

Sarah Catherine Design | Hardware

Here are some of my favorite hardware resource:

Nest Studio // Rocky Mountain Hardware // Lewis Dolin // House of Antique Hardware // White Chapel // anthropologie

Before and After: Master Bathroom reveal

About a year and a half ago I started working with some friends of mine who wanted to turn an upstairs attic space into a master bedroom. This was a really fun project for me because it is always fun to work with good friend, but also because these clients are super DIYers who could pull off just about anything I suggested. The space had a lot of potential to become a really nice bedroom, but as with any older home, there were a few quirky spaces to work around.

Here are a few of the before pictures:

Sarah Barksdale Design

This is the area that we turned into the main bedroom

Sarah Barksdale Design

We converted this side of the upstairs into the bathroom.

There were a few challenges that we needed to work around in this space. For one, due to where the pipe lines were we had to put the toilet next to the chimney wall. That put the toilet right smack in the middle of the bathroom. Also, the staircase is located almost in the center of the space which meant that we needed to work around it in order to have a logical flow between the bathroom, bedroom and closet.

I stopped by their house one evening and took measurements of the space along with some pictures to refer back to as I worked on a layout. Here is the plan that I came up with:

Sarah Barksdale Design

We decided to build the closet into the side of the space next to the stairs, creating a hallway into the bathroom on the other side. We built a short wall behind the toilet to create a little more privacy from the door and did a corner shower. A family friend built them a vanity that we located near the window in the bathroom.

Here was our inspiration for the bathroom:

Sarah Barksdale Design

My friends loved the rustic look of this vanity and the octagonal tile in the bathroom. One thing we wanted to achieve was to make the space light and airy.... very different from the attic space it had been.

And here is out finished product;

Sarah Barksdale Design

Isnt that vanity amazing?! We used a 3" octagonal marble tile for the main floor and painted the walls a light gray. The bedroom is also painted gray, but in a slightly darker shade.

Sarah Barksdale Design

Sarah Barksdale Design

In the shower we used small octagonal tiles for the floor and inset, then we used a larger subway tile for the walls. All of the tile is marble. I love how the glass shower really allows the space to feel large and open.

Renovation projects like this are always fun to me. I love the challenges that renovation of old homes brings and the satisfaction of seeing the finished product! Thank you to my friends for letting me help with this renovation and for letting me share it here!