A powder room may be the tiniest room in the house, but its impact can be – and should be – huge.

Designers often suggest ways to make small rooms seem larger and airier. You can ignore that advice for the powder room. Instead, embrace the intimacy. Think jewel box.

Here are some considerations:

• The space is tiny, so you can invest in more costly materials for the powder room, such as a couple rolls of Scalamandré or de Gournay wallpaper. This is the room to indulge in striking large-scale patterns or bold vertical stripes. Upholster one wall with leather, seagrass or fabric. Or support the creative folks among us and hire an artist to paint a mural on the wall or the ceiling.

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• The powder room provides an opportunity to play with intense colors that would never make it into other rooms. But don’t stop there. Give the painted wall a glass-like finish. Or use two different sheens to create subtle stripes. Use stencils to mimic the look of hand-painted wallpaper.


• This is the room to splurge on ornate fixtures, antique mirrors, sparkling chandeliers and gorgeous marble. EBay and Etsy are bursting with old light fixtures ready for you to rewire. Buy a glass sink and light it from below. Use pebbles or tumbled glass in the floor. Check out Historic Houston’s salvage warehouse and Heights antique shops for old stained glass. Choose beadboard to make your powder room feel vintage-y.


• Because you don’t have to deal with the moisture that a tub and shower create in other bathrooms, you can use more delicate items in the powder room. Let guests examine your favorite paintings, photos or art prints up close by styling a group. Cover the ceiling with gold or silver leaf. Display a collection of heirloom embroidered fingertip towels. Install a regulator clock on the wall. Use panels of vintage wrought iron or a Chinese screen on a wall.


• The lavatory basin doesn’t need to do double duty as a storage facility in the powder room, so this is the room to install a pedestal sink or some kind of imaginative repurposing. For example, buy an old dresser from one of Houston’s resale shops and wrap it with mirror and add vintage porcelain or crystal knobs. Another popular (if somewhat overused) trick is to convert a piece of antique furniture – a Victorian washstand, for example, or Chinese cabinet – to hold a sink.


Let your imagination get a little wild in the powder room. And, if you grow tired of it after a few years, you can restyle it in a single weekend.

Here’s a look at a few more for inspiration. Photos below by TK Images