These Half Bathrooms Pack Big Design in A Small Space

Updated 11/27/19

Design: Jen Talbot Design; Photography: Dustin F. Halleck

Let's be honest: unless you're giving every visitor in your home a full-blown house tour to show off your decorating prowess (no shame!), the spaces they see most often is probably the smallest—the half bathroom. But what this space lacks in square footage it more than makes up for in style. In fact, because it's so small, it's the perfect arena for experimenting with colors, prints and styles you might normally hesitate to roll out in a larger room. Got a penchant for over-the-top wallpaper patterns? Dying to test out one of those on-trend navy blue hues? Just hankering to embrace your inner style chameleon and go maximalist in an otherwise minimalist home? Go for it—the half bath is your wild wild west.

These personality-packed powder rooms show that one should never underestimate the impact of a half bathroom, no matter how tiny it may be. We're finding inspiration in some of the most minuscule under-the-staircase nooks and tucked-away crannies, proving that the element of surprise may be the best design element of all—imagine guests' delight when they pop off to the loo to find a glamorous riot of jewel tones, graphic tiles, and gorgeous light fixtures.

Here are our favorite half baths that do a lot with a little space—but be warned, you're going to want to undertake a weekend remodel after seeing these showstoppers.

01 of 19

Tile Trick

Do a double-take: this penny tile wall is actually a total trompe l'oeil. If you have the patience to pull off this fake-out feat, it's a brilliant bargain-method for getting the look of on-trend penny tile.

hex tile stencil
Cutting Edge Stencils Metro Hex Tile Stencil $40
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02 of 19

Unabashedly Bold

Atomic-inspired orange wallpaper + a statement-making mid century light fixture = total powder room goals, if you ask us.

03 of 19

Marble Masterpiece

This marble sink is a total showstopper, to be sure...but the longer we look at this gorgeous half bath, the more there is to admire. Architectural details on the wall help emphasize the on-trend paint hue (and perfectly frame out the brass hardware, too).

04 of 19

Do The Wave

Bold wave-print wallpaper brings just the right touch of playfulness to this muted half bath—we love the way the mix of metals and grey and lilac tones feels totally effortless.

05 of 19

Arch Rival

Round mirrors might be having a major moment, but we think it's high time the classic arch shape makes its comeback—especially when it creates such nice contrast against an ultra-angular geometric wallpaper design.

arched metal frame mirror
Rejuvenation Arched Metal Framed Mirror $419
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06 of 19

Dark and Dramatic

Even the most basic standard-issue vanity looks glamorous when you give it a fresh coat of paint in a moody hue and swap out its hardware. Keep the walls bright white to amp up the impact of this high-contrast look.

07 of 19

Chevron Chic

Proof that the best things really do come in small packages: a miniature mirror alcove becomes the coolest spot in the house with the addition of chevron tile.

08 of 19

Jewelbox Bathroom

The only thing cooler than statement tile? A semi-precious agate backsplash. Gold-toned hardware completes this utterly swoon-worthy look.

09 of 19

Wes Anderson-Worthy

If you've ever dreamed of having your own Margot Tenenbaum moment, here it is. True maximalists will fawn over this eye-popping zebra print by iconic design house Scalamandré.

the inside x scalamandre wallpaper
The Inside x Scalamandré Peel and Stick Wallpaper $69
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10 of 19

Keep It Going

Who says tile needs to stop at the wall? If you've found a pattern you love, continue it up the wall behind the vanity for a continuous backsplash effect that's unexpected and modern.

moroccan tile
Riad Tile Erizo Blue Tile $5
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11 of 19

What's Your Angle

Designing around an awkward ceiling pitch can be tricky...or it can inspire an ultra-modern approach that guests will remember. Millennial pink paint accentuates the sharp line where the wall meets the ceiling, while geometric fixtures (like a round frameless mirror and column-like sink) play up the modern art angle.

12 of 19

Extend Yourself

While it might seem counterintuitive to extend a countertop in an already-cramped half bath, the added storage and sophisticated lines will more than make up for any lost space. This live edge-inspired woodgrain counter strikes a perfect balance between traditional and eclectic.

13 of 19

Hang Time

Sure, we have a soft spot for sconces, but maybe it's time to reintroduce hanging lights into the bathroom? This single-bulb fixture is by turns industrial and glam.

Make sure the pendant you choose is listed as suitable for damp locations.

single bulb pendant light
AllModern Henry 1-Light Single Globe Pendant $110
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Easy To Articulate

Another light fixture that truly brightens up the space—an articulated swing-arm style piece gives you all kinds of flexibility to aim the light just right (perfect for when you're applying makeup), and brings an out-of-the-box addition to this small space. Bonus points for the inclusion of on-trend rattan, too.

swing arm rattan sconce
Arteriors Home Padma Wall Swing Lamp $705
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15 of 19

Less Is More

Not quite ready to commit to a whole bathroom worth of bold tile? You can still get in on the action with a simple backsplash that packs a punch. Just four tiles create this unusual (and cost-effective!) focal point.

cement x tile
Clé Tile Checkered Past Black Cement Tile $4
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Double Trouble

If you think double-mirrors only make sense at double-sink vanities, think again. As long as you have enough counter space to accommodate them, a mismatched set of mirrors can bring a fun element to a half bath.

AYTM oval mirrors
AYTM Oval Mirrors $325
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17 of 19

Plant One On Me

Crafted with a built-in basin for plants, this terrazzo option just might be the coolest vanity we've ever seen. While we admit it's not the easiest option to DIY, it's worth filing away for your next bathroom overhaul—we imagine a trusted contractor could cut a circular hole for a planter to set down in at the same time your counter is being cut for the sink.

18 of 19

Twin Set

Symmetry is so last year. Instead of flanking the mirror with matching sconces, switch things up and place one above the other to create a more unique take on the classic pair.

dowel jones lord sconce black
Dowel Jones Lord Sconce $210
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19 of 19

The Clash

Miss us with that matchy-matchy stuff. This eye-popping powder room proves there's no such thing as too many patterns (or shapes, for that matter). We love how traditional marble takes on a graphic look against hieroglyphic-like wallpaper—and a wiggly mirror ties the whole unlikely look together.

CB2 goop wiggly mirror
CB2 x goop Specchio Mirror $499 $399
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