Do I Have a Powder Room or a Bathroom?

We often take our bathrooms for granted, but they shouldn’t be overlooked. They can do more than serve their primary function  – they can also increase a home’s value. It’s important to know the difference between different types of bathrooms should the time come to sell your home. Matching the proper design elements with the size and purpose of the space can also optimize the asking price.

What is a powder room?

The genesis of powder rooms goes back to 18th century Europe, which saw the burgeoning popularity of powdered wigs. Those who could afford them needed places to store and care for them, so they built separate rooms to do so. One essential aspect of wig care was to powder them... And thus, powder rooms were born!

After World War II, housing codes dictated that new houses contain at least one bathroom. Since building an additional one was somewhat easy, this second room was usually separate from the bedrooms or upstairs area and was meant for guests.

Why is a common washroom also called a powder room?

When indoor plumbing became more prevalent and powder rooms morphed into bathrooms, no one bothered to change the name. Even after World War II, the name stuck. To this day, some people still refer to a bathroom as a powder room.

What is a bathroom with just a toilet called?

A bathroom containing one toilet and nothing else can be called a quarter bath or a water closet.

What is a half bathroom?

A half bathroom contains only a toilet and a sink. A half bathroom is also known as a powder room, and the names are interchangeable.

How do I decorate a small half bathroom?

Guests are usually the ones who use half bathrooms. Decorating with that in mind can energize the entire process. You can look for small bathroom ideas online to get ideas on optimizing your powder room design. Some popular ideas involve playing with light and colors and thinking outside the box regarding wall space.

  • In a small half bathroom without access to natural light, you might want to take advantage of the darker atmosphere with a dark color scheme. On the other hand, adding light can make the room feel livelier and warmer.
  • Wall decor should complement the other elements, such as the tile floor, bathroom vanity, and medicine cabinet. That room’s doesn’t mean it has to be boring. A splash of contrasting color here and there can make a room feel more dynamic. Graphic wallpaper that you don’t usually see in bathrooms can also enhance a look. A map design can engage guests more than a floral pattern might.
  • Polished accents like cabinet knobs and towel racks can also make a cramped space seem more airy and unique.

How can I make my small bathroom look better? What are some good designs and layouts for a small bathroom?

Some houses have full bathrooms that are just too small. Anyone can design a small bathroom with the same methods used to reinvigorate half bathrooms. The basic ideas are the same – you want to create an impact within a small space.

  • If floor space is at a premium, installing a sliding bathroom door can regain whatever space is lost to a standard swinging door. This can make a tiny bathroom seem a bit larger.
  • Removing a shower door can also open up the air space. Replacing one with a shower curtain or simply leaving it out of the room can be a bold design move.
  • A small bathroom designed with the right colors and patterns can make a limited space feel bigger and more inviting. Experimenting with colors can open up a myriad of design possibilities. The color of every element in a bathroom should be considered, from the walls, floor, shower, and storage. A basic black and white color scheme can make a simple, yet bold statement.
  • Creating storage space can also maximize design options. Storage built into the walls where possible, in addition to creative solutions over a toilet or under a sink, can provide a better level of functionality than a plain, dead wall can.
  • Mirrors can make a small bathroom appear larger than it really is. They can also reflect light, which can make the room seem brighter. This can come in handy if the room is naturally dim. If possible, they can be backlit to provide more light and set an atmosphere.

A bathroom by any other name is still an essential room in any home. A washroom and powder room can offer functionality and chances to enhance a home’s value come selling time. Changing something as simple as a shower curtain can make all the difference in adding personality to an otherwise glossed-over room. From floor to ceiling, a bathroom’s interior design is just as important as the design of every other room of a house.


Request a Free In-Home Consultation

Provide your contact information and we'll be in touch via phone, email or text to schedule your free consultation to transform your space.

*Virtual consultations are not available at all locations. All fields are required. Review our Privacy Policy.

Or Call Now