Skip to content

Small Guest Bathroom Ideas: How to Design a Unique Downstairs Powder Room

Tiny and charming, your downstairs bathroom is an endless opportunity to get creative with colour and texture

Bookmark article to read later

By House & Garden | May 13, 2024 | Bathroom

Small loos are the perfect place to have a bit of fun with your decoration: many of the most stylish examples in our archive are charming jewel boxes, making use of bold colours and extravagant wallpapers. After all, you (hopefully) don't have to be in there all the time, so there's no reason not to be exuberant. Here we have gathered some of our most delightful downstairs toilet ideas, full of characterful decoration.

Use salvaged materials to add character and unexpected colour to an otherwise neutral guest bathroom. Image: Supplied.

Maria Speake's tips for designing a downstairs loo

The team at Retrouvius, who specialise in the use of salvage and recycled materials in interior design, suggest that these rooms are also brilliant places to start using salvage, because their small footprint allows for the use of one-off pieces and small remnants of material.

In this powder room, Lilac marble through ABC stone, Facet mirror from Colony and Articolo sconces. Photography by Nicole Franzen.

Maria Speake and her team are fond of using old pieces of furniture to create washstands. "Loos and bathrooms can often feel bland or impersonal," they explain, "and modern sanitary ware doesn't help. An old piece of furniture adds loads of character and hides unsightly waste pipes." Mirrors are another easy way to make use of vintage pieces; they're cheap and come in a wide variety of designs, and will effortlessly add a sense of originality to the room. Mirrored panels can also help bounce light around in a room - particularly useful if you have a windowless bathroom.

This tiny guest bathroom is reminiscent of the 1960’s design movements through angular touches and rich colours. Photograph: Prue Ruscoe

The team regularly use bold wallpapers in the bathrooms they design, and the addition of bright colours, whether that's done using paper, tiles, or paint, can be a more affordable way to update the feel of a bathroom without replacing the sanitaryware. Rich, jewel-like colours such as those found in Emery et Cie's zellige tiles make a loo feel warmer and more interesting, especially when arranged in unusual colour combinations.

A small guest loo is ensconced in textural marble walls for head-to-toe luxurious experience. Image via Pexels.

Unusual materials are also key to adding character to a bathroom. Panelling the space in reclaimed wood, creating a splashback out of vintage glass, or using a brass door handle for a towel rack – these are the idiosyncratic decisions that make a room feel like something extraordinary.

This guide originally appeared on House & Garden UK.