Should You Use Hardwood Floors in Kitchens and Bathrooms?

Hardwood floors offer a number of benefits. They are both incredibly beautiful, and incredibly easy to clean. They are a great option for allergy sufferers as carpets can aggravate symptoms. Even homeowners without allergies can enjoy the seamless look of hardwood flooring.

However, water can easily damage or warp these types of materials. So, is it a good idea to install hardwood floors in kitchens and bathrooms? Freshome asked several experts, including designers, realtors and water damage restoration experts to weigh in on this topic.

Pros of hardwood floors

Hardwood floors variety

You can choose from a variety of hardwoods for your floors. Image: Breadmaker/Shutterstock

Dave Murphy, the training director of N-Hance Wood Refinishing, believes that hardwood floors make an excellent choice in the kitchen. “Hardwood flooring is stylish and sustainable, comes in a variety of natural colors, and doesn’t absorb dust or debris, making it easy to clean and maintain,” he says. Murphy says it is also a good choice for the kitchen because you rarely need to replace hardwood flooring. “Most repairs can be easily refinished by a professional,” he notes.

Hardwood colors

Hardwood also comes in a variety of colors, ranging from light brown to gray. Image: contraaddict/Getty Images

Erin Davis of Mosaik Design and Remodeling in Portland Oregon, says hardwood in the kitchen is a very popular choice. “It is softer and warmer underfoot than tile and looks more upscale than vinyl or laminate flooring,” Davis says. “Wood also adds a comfortable, livable feel to a space due to its warmer color palettes and natural essence.”

She admits that liquids are the enemy of wood floors.  “If left too long, the wood can swell or stain so it is important that spills are cleaned up quickly.” Davis also recommends that you put a large floor mat in front of the sink.

Hardwood spills

Clean up any spills ASAP. Image: Hero Images/Getty Images

Susan Serra, certified kitchen designer at Susan Serra Associates, believes that hardwood floors, when properly finished, make an ideal choice for the kitchen. She agrees with Davis that you should wipe up spills as soon as you notice them. “Small spills, noticed later, will not damage a wood floor; however larger spills, such as a leaking icemaker in a refrigerator, or leaking dishwasher, most likely will damage the floor, especially since leaks often appear under the appliance,” Serra explains.

“The good news is that solid wood floors last for decades, even in the kitchen, as they can be refinished every 5 or so years and will look like new,” Serra says. “They give a warm look to the kitchen and it’s especially nice when the same flooring is connected to surrounding rooms for a nice visual flow.”

Hardwood floors, refinish

You can refinish solid wood floors.Image: Breadmaker/Shutterstock

There are sealants that can protect hardwood floors. But, according to Joan Slaughterbeck of Slaughterbeck Floors in Campbell, CA, there are limitations. “Sealants on hardwood floor – whether solid or engineered – are only sealed ‘finished’ on the top as a protective wear layer,” Slaughterbeck says. “Wood and water do not mix, so wood flooring cannot be 100% sealed –  it expands and contracts with heat, humidity and moisture.”

As a general rule, she says, hardwood floors in the kitchen or bathroom only face problems from leaks. “If you live in a house with a wood frame, you would have a problem regardless of the damage to the floors in an situation like this,” Slaughterbeck says. “Quite often the water from one of these types of fixtures or appliances gets under the wood and is not caught until the flooring has bucked or swollen.” By that time, she says, the leak would damage other types of flooring.

Cons of hardwood floors

Hardwood floors can warp

Hardwood floors are susceptible to warping. Image: AdpePhoto/Getty Image

John Manning, manager broker at RE/MAX on Market in Seattle, WA, advises against hardwood, and even engineered wood flooring products. “They are prone to buckling and warping when exposed to moisture over time,” Manning says. He adds that drips and spills can penetrate even the best finished floors, especially around the dishwasher. “In addition, kitchens and bathrooms are high foot traffic areas and as the hardwoods wear and gets scratched, water can get under the finish, causing unsightly stains in the grain of the wood.”

Hardwood floors leaks

Leaks are problematic. Image:

Tanya O’Coyne, owner at TSC Restoration, a water damage restoration company in San Diego, is totally against hardwood floors in the kitchen or bathroom. “If your dishwasher, toilet, refrigerator, sink or plumbing pipes leak, your flooring choice can have a huge impact on the extent of the damage,” she explains. “Wood floors can let water seep into their cracks, hide mold growth, and warp after even minimal exposure to water.”

In fact, O’Coyne says vinyl, tile or linoleum floors would make a lot of the water damage her company sees in kitchens and bathrooms less severe. “We’ve also had to rip out several rooms of interlocking hardwood floors because of damage to just a small half bathroom, since it’s not always possible to replace just a few hardwood planks,” she explains.

O’Coyne believes that hardwood floors are beautiful – but says she would never put one in her own kitchen or bathroom.

Hardwood floors not kid friendly

Hardwood floors may not be kid-friendly. Image: Imageflow/Shutterstock

Although Serra and Davis recommend hardwood floors in the kitchen, they do not suggest them for bathrooms.  “Hardwood floors can be used in bathrooms, but with all the water that we use in this small area, it’s probably best to pass on using them,” says Serra. “Kids splashing, leaks in fixtures, steam and other water issues are at the ready to damage wood, especially if the flooring has gaps.” However, she recommends ceramic or porcelain tiles. They look – although they might not feel – exactly like wood and come in a variety of styles and sizes.

Hardwood floors pros cons

Weigh the pros and cons of hardwood floors before you install. Image: Caiaimage Charlie Dean/Getty Images

Davis does not recommend wood flooring in bathrooms with tubs and showers. He says they’re fine in powder rooms, however. “Installing the same flooring in the powder bath as the kitchen is usually a designer’s first choice due to proximity of the two spaces,” Davis says.

For homeowners who want a wood appearance without moisture issues, Slaughterbeck recommends waterproof flooring. “We have installed many from our hybrid fusion line, and there are also other notable brands that make waterproof floors,” she says.

What are your thoughts on hardwood floors in the kitchen or bathroom? Let us know in the comments.

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7 Tips for a Relaxing Feng Shui Bathroom Retreat

relaxing bathroom retreat

We love the spa retreat experience, especially when we can recreate it at home. Creating a relaxing vibe in your bathroom is about more than just candles and a fluffy robe. You can also embrace the soothing energy of feng shui with your favorite decorating style and color palette. Using these simple principals is an easy and beautiful way to create a soothing feng shui bathroom retreat.

1. Choose the right feng shui bathroom color scheme

The white Birch Lane Heritage Aurelia Bathroom Vanity Set within a neutral color scheme, warms up the cool feng shui water energy in this relaxing bathroom. Courtesy of  Birch Lane

It may surprise you to know that the best feng shui colors for your bathroom are not just blues and greens. While these cool colors can have a place in your color palette, in feng shui they represent water which is already abundant in your bathroom.  The glass, metal, and water, of your bathroom represent water, too. The simplest way to decorate your bathroom with feng shui principals is through balance, especially through color. Your goal in choosing the right bathroom colors is to balance the strong water elements with warm hues and wood accents. Blue and green can be a part of your beautiful color palette, but you’ll want to mix it up with natural accessories and colors.

2. Declutter and simplify for a relaxing bathroom retreat

Feng Shui Bathroom Storage

A single vanity can still provide ample storage, like the Davis Single Sink Vanity. Shelves and baskets can make bathroom storage beautiful. Courtesy of Pottery Barn

It’s hard to be relaxed when we’re faced with clutter. For a small room, like a bathroom, clutter is an even bigger problem. Feng shui is all about energy, or Chi. The movement of energy can get trapped in pockets of clutter, making your bathroom a place to escape from, not to.

Start by tackling bathroom counter clutter. In our rush to get ready each morning, we stop seeing the clutter we leave behind every day. By using drawer organizers and pretty storage on top of the counter, you can hide the clutter that creates stress as you begin your day. Assess your storage needs and make clearing the counter a priority. Also reassess your bathroom trash can.  If it it seems to overflow faster than you can empty it, you might need to upgrade. This is a big source of clutter stress in the bathroom.

3. Update your lighting for a feng shui bathroom

Bathroom lighting ideas

The right lighting can make your bathroom much more relaxing. Think of your bathroom lighting as layers of design. The Pottery Barn Ultimate Double Sink Storage Vanity provides unique options for lighting your bathroom.  Courtesy of Pottery Barn

Bathroom lighting is almost as important to feng shui as your color palette. How your colors (and you) appear in your bathroom can make or break your morning. Think beyond just the typical overhead light or vanity light. Look for ways to “layer” your lighting for a relaxed ambience. With the focus on feng shui energy, the right lighting is essential to your bathroom retreat, as too-bright lighting can be too energetic for a relaxing space.

If you’re not getting the look you want from your morning makeup routine, the latest LED lighted mirrors can illuminate you and your vanity beautifully. The quickest way to change your bathroom lighting is through your light bulbs. Make sure that your light bulbs are right for your bathroom by experimenting with warm, daylight and soft lightbulbs, until you get the perfect look.

4. Choose the right bathroom linens

Spa Bathroom linens

For a soothing spa-like retreat, your linens should be enjoyable to use and look at like Williams Sonoma Home, Chambers® Heritage 800-Gram Solid Towels. Courtesy of William Sonoma Home

The softest linens are a must in your feng shui bathroom retreat. Fluffy towels and robes invite you to linger and let go of stress at the end of the day. White or neutral gray and beige are the perfect colors for bathroom linens because it encourages you to be creative with your color scheme.

5. Add the perfect feng shui bathroom accents

Feng shui bathroom

Natural elements and deep colors enhance the feng shui elements of the Wildon Home Freestanding Soaking Bathtub. Courtesy of Wayfair

Whatever bathroom color scheme you choose, you can improve your soothing feng shui energy with the right accessories. Of course, you’ll want to keep your accessories simple to keep your clutter to a minimum. If your bathroom color palette is filled with “water colors,” your decorative accents will be the most balanced if they’re warm and natural. Teak boxes or a small bench can balance too many cool colors in your bathroom. For a dark bathroom color palette, accessories made of driftwood or whitewashed wood are the perfect touch to lighten things up.

6. Don’t forget to add soothing scents to your bathroom

Neutral bathroom decorating

Candles are a great way to add relaxing scents to your bathroom, and create soft lighting for the perfect soak behind the Willa Arlo Rieke Shower Curtain. Courtesy of Wayfair

Like the perfect spa experience, the scents you choose for your bathroom are an important part of your feng shui transformation. The elements of a retreat bathroom should engage all of your senses, and choosing natural scents is an authentic way to bring them all together.

7. Bring your feng shui design into the master bedroom

Feng Shui Bedroom ideas

Flow that amazing feng shui bathroom vibe into your master bedroom with neutral Hilda Embroidered Bedding. Courtesy of Williams Sonoma Home

Love your new feng shui bathroom vibe? Carry that same spa-style into your master bedroom. In feng shui practice, the colors and elements are different for a bedroom, but you can still achieve a soothing atmosphere. The easiest way to add comfort to your bedroom is through luxurious linens, and soft scents. Just adding a soft throw and scented candles can totally transform your bedroom and create that feng shui retreat feeling.

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These Bathtubs Will Make You Want to Soak for Hours

While most people prefer to take showers, there’s something about being able to soak in a bathtub that’s downright therapeutic. You can just sit and relax in a tub in a way that’s not possible when you take a shower. Being submerged in water can actually relieve stress and soothe aching muscles. And when you add bubble bath – well, that’s another level of relaxation.

If you’re a shower person, these bathtubs might change your mind. Here’s what you need to know.

The Most Popular Bathtubs

ArchiViz/Getty Images

A white, freestanding bathtub is the runaway favorite. Image: ArchiViz/Getty Images 

According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s 2018 Design Trends report, 87 percent of professionals (designers, remodelers, architects, dealers and manufacturers) list freestanding tubs as their favorite. White is the dominant fixture color, with 78 percent of respondents choosing it over silver/gray or beige tones.

Get a Room with a View

TMSK/Getty Images

The view doesn’t get better than this. Image: TMSK/Getty Images

A bathtub with a scenic view allows you to enjoy the beauty of nature while submerged in one of the world’s most precious resources.

Use Natural Light and Materials

Runna 10/Getty

Natural light brings the outdoors inside. Image: Runna10/Getty Images

Even if you can’t get a spectacular view, natural light can help to make your soaking time more enjoyable. However, exercise caution to ensure that your bathtub isn’t visible to your neighbors.

Consider Practicality

“Everyone loves a beautiful, freestanding soaking tub, and they are now one of the most commonly requested items when it comes to a master bath remodel,” says Mina Fies, the creator of the Renovation Roadmap and Founder & CEO of Synergy Design & Construction.

light and airy

A light and airy bathtub. Image: Synergy Design & Construction

However, she says that bathtubs shouldn’t just be beautiful to look at – they should also be used. “Good design takes usage into consideration. This freestanding Victoria + Albert bathtub is made of volcanic limestone and is a beautiful focal point and refuge for relaxation,” she says. “A linear wall niche accented in glass and stone mosaic tile adds a convenient spot to store bathing essentials – or a glass of wine.”

Choose Flooring Carefully

Asbe/Getty Images

Flooring should be durable and waterproof. Image: Asbe/Getty Images

Bathtubs are heavy and, when filled with water and the weight of your body, they’re even heavier, which puts a lot of weight on your floor. Proper floor joists and framing can ensure that your subfloor doesn’t sag, which could damage your floor and cost a significant amount of money to repair or replace.

Also, you need a durable floor that is water resistant (and, preferably, water proof), like tile.

Consider Hot Water Needs

Kooogle/Getty Images

Make sure you have hot water when you need it. Image: Kooogle/Getty Images

“The biggest mistake people make when finally getting their dream bathtub is overlooking whether or not their current hot water system is capable of producing enough hot water to fill some of these tubs,” explains Jarret Acevedo, a master plumber and owner of Jarret Acevedo Plumbing and Heating. “Always have a qualified plumber come in and size up your system to make sure it meets the demands of your new tub. Otherwise, you’re in for a lot of cold showers and baths.”

Water Conservation

Runna10/Getty Images

There are several views from this bathtub. Image: Runna10/Getty Images

Your bathtub can hold a lot of water and it’s tempting to try to fill it with as much water as possible. While this may sound relaxing, it’s also wasting a lot of water. The City of San Diego’s Water Conservation site actually recommends shallow baths with no more than three inches of water in a bathtub. You’re probably not going to do that, but you should try to conserve water, which will also help you save money on your water and electricity bills.

Care and Cleaning

Katherine Zenteno/Getty Images

Nibble and sip while relaxing in the bathtub. Image: Katherine Zenteno/Getty Images

“Many homeowners are concerned about the maintenance and cleaning required in hard-to-get places behind the tub,” Fies says. “However, there are new designs on the market that look like they are freestanding but are actually attached to the wall, which makes them easy to clean.”

When cleaning your bathtub, a soft, damp sponge or cloth and a small amount of dishwashing liquid are usually enough. Don’t use brushes, steel wool, scouring pads or other abrasive materials that can scratch or chip the finish.

Resale Value


onurdonel/Getty Images

What buyer wouldn’t want this bathtub? Image: onurdongel/Getty Images

According to Jennifer Baldinger, Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker at Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty in Scarsdale, NY, “Bathtubs are one of those things that buyers want to have but rarely use once they have them.” Baldinger says sellers believe they must have a bathtub for resale value. “I’m not sure who is right or wrong, but a new bathtub is certainly beautiful to look at in a bathroom.”

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15 Bathrooms That Will Make You Fall in Love With Penny Tile

penny tile

Penny tile can give any bathroom a polished look. Image: Hisbalit

Tile in the bathroom might sound as original as florals for spring. But like any good floral print, the wow factor of the tile all comes down to the one you choose. Don’t be square! The penny tile (also known as a penny round) is a small tile in a round or hexagonal shape that can help you make a visual impact in your bathroom.

Penny tiles are often spotted in historic homes, but we’re also starting to see them in the hippest coffee shops and hottest bars. Why? They add an interesting aesthetic, they’re extremely versatile and – like any good tile – they’re also easy to maintain in even the wettest areas.

penny tile 2

Find this tile in a metallic finish for a sophisticated feel. Image: The Yard

Using penny tile in the bathroom

Let’s talk more about the versatility of these tiny tiles. You can find them in traditional ceramic or porcelain, but they’re also available in more interesting materials like glass or metal. And before you despair about the work involved in laying what is essentially a low-key mosaic, don’t worry. You can buy penny tile already arranged on a mesh backing so all you have to do is grout around the established pattern. It’s a little trick that will have people thinking you invested a lot in establishing a high-class look for your bathroom.

penny tile 3

The penny tile backsplash is easy to keep clean, helping it regain popularity. Image: Modwalls Tile Company

The resurgence of the penny tile

This isn’t the penny tile’s first time in the sun. The tile – especially the hexagonal variety – was popular in homes across the country in the early 20th century. That’s while you’ll often spot it in historic homes, or in homes where people are trying to create a vintage feel.

That doesn’t mean this tile style only works if you’re going for a retro feel, though. Choosing a single color of penny tile can deliver a clean, minimalist look. On the other end of the spectrum, choosing a broad range of colored tiles and arranging them in interesting patterns delivers maximalism. Clearly, this is a versatile design feature. Let’s take a look at some more bathrooms that use penny tile to get your creative wheels turning.

12 more bathrooms with penny tile

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You can use penny tiles to create an abstract pattern. Image: Design Platform

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White-hued penny tiles can give a bathroom a clean look without feeling too stark. Image: L. Thibeault & Assoc.

penny tile 6

You don’t have to limit yourself. You can mix and match tile styles to create your dream bathroom. Image: Kitchen Design Concepts

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Choose penny tiles in a moody hue to give your bathroom a retreat-like feel. Image: Студия Антона Базалийского

penny tile 8

If you’re looking for a classic feel in your bathroom, penny tiles are just the thing. Image: Brennan + Company Architects

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Choose tiles in multiple shades of the same color for a textured look. Image: bg architecture

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Rounded penny tiles give a bathroom a clean, polished look. Image: Kelly Scanlon Interior Design

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Contrasting tiles can add an interesting element without overwhelming a small powder room. Image: Peter A. Sellar – Architectural Photographer

penny tile 12

Marry penny tiles and wood for a refined sauna. Image: Hufft

penny tile 13

Play your penny tile against other patterns for a fun feel in your bathroom. Image: Embracing Space

penny tile 14

These small tiles are perfect for lining smaller areas, like this wall nook. Image: USi Stone & Tile

penny tile 15

There is no limit with this tile. Any pattern you can envision, you can create. Image: Nicole Migeon Architect

What do you think of penny tile’s return to popularity? Would you use it in your bathroom? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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How to Decorate a Bathroom for the Holidays

decorate a bathroom for the holidays

Don’t leave your bathroom behind when setting up for the season! Here are a few ways to decorate a bathroom for the holidays. Image: Julie Ranee Photography

Nothing helps you get in the holiday spirit quite like decking your own halls with all of your seasonal decor. Whether you do the full-blown tree and garland on every mantel and railing or just set out a few cherished items, getting your home ready for the holidays is part of the fun of the season. Don’t miss your opportunity to expand that experience to every room in your house. When you decorate a bathroom for the holidays, you make sure each corner of your living space is filled with cheer.

But how do you decorate what is usually a smaller, very established space? You most likely can’t move around furniture to make room and, between a shower and mirrors, your walls are probably already fairly full. That doesn’t mean you should give up this festive opportunity, though. We’ve gathered up a few quick and easy ways to decorate a bathroom for the holidays.

bathroom holiday decor 2

Seasonal bath mats are an easy way to get your bathroom holiday-ready in minutes. Image: Dirt, Stains, and Paint

Use the whole space

As we’ve already discussed, bathrooms are more compact than most other rooms you’ll be decorating. This is where making use of every square inch is critical – including the ones under your toes. Some holiday-themed bath mats are a great way to get your bathroom ready for the season in seconds. Plus, because they’re made to stand up to wear and moisture, they pack well when they’re not in use.

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It’s important to work with your existing color palette when you decorate a bathroom for the holidays. Image: Robeson Design

Embrace what you’ve got

If your bathroom is already red, white or green, setting it up for the holidays is probably going to be a snap. But what if it’s black or blue? You could try to shoehorn the traditional holiday colors in, but you’ll probably just make yourself crazy trying to get the colors to meld in such a small space.


Holiday decor can work with even the most minimal aesthetic. Image: Jeff Karskens Designer

Instead, work with what you already have in place. A beachy, blue bathroom works well with snow-inspired accents in white and silver. A minimalist, dark bathroom can get a holiday update with a gathering of evergreen branches on the counter or some simple black and white holiday decor. If you let your current space inform your design choices when you decorate a bathroom for the holidays, getting your house holiday-ready becomes much easier.

holiday bathroom decorations

A mantel isn’t the only place a stocking can hang this December. Image: Farmhouse 5540

Use your leftovers

Do you have extra holiday decor that just doesn’t seem to fit anywhere else in the home? Find it a space in the bathroom! Even seemingly unconventional bathroom decor can work with a little creativity. Say you have an extra stocking. Left on its own, it might look out of place. But if you stuff it with some seasonal greenery, it becomes a perfect addition.

bathroom holiday decor 3

Choosing a single holiday color – like cherry red – and running with it makes decorating a small space a breeze. Image: Lowe’s Home Improvement

Keep a clean palette

Bright, cheerful colors are a signature of the season. That doesn’t mean you should try to incorporate them all in your bathroom, though. Because it’s a relatively confined space, saturated color can quickly feel like too much of a good thing. It’s a good idea to pick one accent color that melds with the elements already existing in the space and build from there.

bathroom holiday decor

Mixed metals are an easy way to make a bathroom feel holiday-ready and glam. Image: Wilson Lighting

Mix your metals

Most bathrooms have their fair share of hardware. Your faucet, drawer pulls and shower curtain rod are all design opportunities. Integrate metal holiday accessories on your countertop to quickly and easily create a cohesive look. The hard textures of metal decor work well in a space where you don’t want things to trap moisture. And mixed metals give your holiday bathroom decor a glam feel.

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Garland is a quick and easy way to make a bathroom feel festive. Image: Traditional Home

Keep it simple

Decorating a bathroom for the holidays should be fun. If it feels like a burden, you’re probably doing too much. Simply draping some garland over the bathroom counter, adding a small vase of evergreen branches or hanging an ornament from a wall sconce is plenty. This is a small space so you don’t need to do much. If you’re still looking for inspiration, we’ve got 10 easy holiday decorating tips that should help.

Happy holidays from our family at Freshome to yours!

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50 Powder Room Ideas That Transform Your Small Half Bath From Ordinary To Extraordinary

The powder room, also known as a small guest bath or half bath, is usually located near a home or apartment’s entrance and consists of a toilet and sink. Most half bath spaces are small and basic, but they don’t have to be.

If you entertain often, your guests will most likely use your half bath. What does the room say about you? It’s time to transform your half bath from ordinary to extraordinary with our powder room ideas and tips that will make your guests’ visit a swoon-worthy experience.

Use Some Creative Powder Room Ideas To Create A Picture-Worthy Setting

powder room ideas and half bath decor

What’s the first thing a first-time visitor will notice when they open the door to your half bath? Make it creative and memorable, like this powder room. The homeowner layered a decorative, antique mirror over the simple wall mirror and included plenty of half bath decor and art to finish the room. Image: Cynthia Driscoll Interiors

First things first. Don’t treat your powder room like an ordinary bathroom. See your half bath as a tiny treasure box waiting to be opened and discovered. And so the first secret to creating a gorgeous space is to consider what guests will see the first time they open the door.

Tip: Open the door to your half bath and visualize what it should ideally look like. Will there be a bold splash of color? Will the vanity and lights be symmetrical and perfectly centered in the door opening? Will the colors and textures draw you in?

Pretend you’re a photographer and snap a photo of your half bath from outside the room with the door open. Then see how you can improve the design for a better photo, like these half bath ideas:

half bath ideas and half bath decor

When visualizing what you want your half bath to look like, imagine what guests will see when they open the door. Draw them in by choosing the best and most beautiful elements you can afford. Images: BK Interior Design and Alidad

Half Bath Ideas Featuring Color

Powder rooms are where you “freshen up,” so why not freshen up your half bath by adding an unexpected color like violet? Image: Black Lacquer Design

You’re dealing with a small space, so don’t be afraid to be bold. One of the easiest ways to make a big statement is with a bold color.

Tip: Forget the rule that small spaces should be white or light. Add your favorite color to the walls. Some powder room ideas that add color to your space include:

  • Painting the entire room in a deep, rich color – ceiling included
  • Painting the wall behind the vanity in a high-gloss, bold shade
  • Adding colorful accents like towels and art in bright tones

Read more about small bathroom rules worth breaking here.

Here are some powder room ideas featuring color for inspiration:

Primary Color Powder Room Ideas

blue powder room ideas and half bath decor

Blues and indigos are a natural color for a half bath. If choosing rich colors, contrast the tone with a white or light secondary color for the vanity, toilet and towels. Images: Elena Phillips Interiors and Carla Aston

half bath color ideas

Colored glass and high-gloss finishes add a reflective quality to rich colors and create a vibrant half bath. Images: Weinstein Luxury and Chris Jovanelly

half bath ideas

The color lilac is on-trend – and the perfect shade for a dramatic powder room. Images: Carey Karlan and Black Lacquer Design

Black Half Bath Ideas

black powder rooms

There’s nothing chicer than a black powder room. If you’re going black, commit 100 percent and include the color on the ceiling and floor. Images: Just Jill Interiors and Cornerstone Architects

Wallpaper Your Powder Room Walls

A high-glam powder room featuring velvet, tufting, marble and a metallic geometric wallpaper. Image: Eurodale

The latest wallpaper designs are a great way to breathe life (and design) into your small powder room. The variety of colors and patterns available can transform your powder room into quite the showcase!

Tip: Choose a vinyl, water-resistant wallpaper, just in case splashing happens. And if you live in a rental, look for removable wallpapers that make it easy to take the wallpaper down without damaging the walls when you move out. You can read more on removable wallpaper here.

Colorful botanical or floral prints are popular choices for a powder room. Images: Together Interiors

The latest removable wallpapers are both water-resistant and easy to take down. Images: F.A.D. Inc. and Kriste Michelini Interiors

Splurge On Stunning Tile

A geometric tile in fashion-forward lilac creates a one-of-a-kind powder room. Image: Complementto Tiles

Tile can be expensive. But if you have a tiny half bath, you don’t need a lot of tile to make a big statement. Go for it – the effect far exceeds the initial cost.

Tip: If you’re going to splurge on tile, choose a tile with a graphic pattern or unique look and use it floor-to-ceiling. If your budget is limited, tile the vanity wall and use a less expensive flooring option, like vinyl adhesive tiles, that look like stone or real tiles.

powder room tile ideas

These powder rooms show unique ways to feature tile. Images: TEC Plumbing & Construction and Risa Boyer

Don’t Settle For Ordinary Powder Room Mirrors

Your half bath square footage is limited, so make every inch count! Powder room mirrors are not only the exclamation point in your half bath’s design, but they also expand a tiny bathroom.

Tip: Don’t shop for a basic mirror. Look for an interesting art frame and add a mirror to one. Or do something unexpected like creating a gallery wall of small mirrors over your vanity. Get creative!

powder room mirrors for your half bath

Look for a mirror with unexpected details like a lattice design to the glass or a Moroccan shape, like these dramatic powder room mirrors. Images: MHouse and St. Amand Design

powder room mirrors

What’s the first thing you notice in these powder rooms? It’s most likely the beautiful, unusual mirrors. Images: Pulltab Designs and Croma Design

Choose Powder Room Lighting That’s Functional And Fashionable

There are several lighting elements in this modern powder room: a wall-washing overhead can, a candle and lighting mounted behind the mirror to cast a glow. Image: Chris Jovanelly

Good lighting can make all the difference in your powder room. Consider the powder room lighting to be the earrings that complete your outfit (or half bath).

Tip: Layer your lighting to include mood lighting and functional lighting. A pendant can create a statement and still light up the room. Wall sconces or candles can add to the ambiance. Consider a brighter, cooler-temperature bulb for your functional lighting and dimmer, warmer bulbs for your ambient lighting.

powder room ideas

Architectural wall sconces set the right ambiance in your powder room. Images: Jodie Rosen and Charlie & Co Design

A combination of wall sconces and an overhead pendant create the perfect lighting effect in your half bath. Images: Diel Design and Raegan Ford

Offset The Elements On Your Focal Wall For Visual Interest

Want to do something fresh and modern in your half bath? You can center everything and go for a symmetrical look. Or you can break the rules to add interest by grouping things to one side.

Tip: Some ways you can add visual interest by offsetting the elements in your powder room include:

  • Mounting the mirror to the left or right of the vanity
  • Hanging lighting or pendants in a grouping on one side
  • Grouping accessories on one end or the other
powder room ideas

Here are some examples of how you can freshen things up by not centering elements like lighting, accessories and the mirror as expected. Images: Laney and UA Creative

Make The Vanity The Star Of Your Half Bath

The powder room has two main functions: washing up and using the toilet. The vanity, therefore, is very important in your small bathroom. Make it a showstopper.

Tip: Choose a small piece of furniture to repurpose as a vanity. Add a vessel-style sink that sits on top of the piece. Or to save space and go for a contemporary look, mount a floating-ledge counter. Looking for the perfect small bathroom vanity? Check this roundup out, featuring the best small bathroom vanities for sale now.

These geometric vanities create an interesting effect. Although they don’t feature a lot of storage, they do add a clean, minimalist look to your powder room. Images: Amy Emery Designs and Sara Baldwin Design Blog

For a contemporary look to your small half bath, mount a floating-ledge style surface with a vessel sink that sits on the ledge. Images: Zero Energy and VT Constructors

Here are two creative half bath vanity ideas: an antique sewing table and a farmhouse-style basin sink. Images: Int2 Architecture and Aamodt/Plumb

Dress Up Your Half Bath Walls To Add Value

The elegant wall panels, reminiscent of a French drawing room or traditional library, can add a luxurious look to your half bath. Image: Gresinger Construction

A little bit of carpentry can add a high-end, expensive feel to the most basic half bath. If you own your home or apartment, adding wainscoting, paneling or molding to your powder room can increase your home’s property value.

Tip: Mount crown molding or pre-fab wood wall panels to your half bath and paint them in a semi-gloss or eggshell finish for a high-end feel.

Here are some paneling ideas you can incorporate into your powder room design. Images:MHouse Development and Laura Iverson Designs

Small In Space But Grand In Texture Is The Secret To A Stunning Half Bath

powder room ideas

The designer sourced an antique Moroccan tile for the powder room. To continue the high-texture and pattern theme, the pendant, mirror, wall art and vanity feature Moroccan design. Image: Imperfect Interiors

Texture adds an air of sophistication to any interior. Texture is also incredibly attractive to most people because of its tactile feeling that draws people closer to touch. Although your powder room is small, layer as much texture as you can to add depth.

Tip: When working with texture, stick to a soft, monochromatic color theme. If you stick with natural colors that are varying shades of the same tone, mixing and matching different patterns and textures will be successful.

Some ways to add more texture into your powder room include natural stone finishes with varying (and imperfect) patterns and surfaces. Images: 2id Interiors and Laura U Interiors

Complete Your Half Bath With Accessories

powder room ideas and half bath decor

Here’s a half bath that’s crisp and well-tailored in neutral tones with black and white accessories like hand towels, candles and wall art complete the look. Image: Magleby Construction

Now that you’ve created the coolest powder room ever, it’s time to pull it all together with the perfect accessories. After all, the magic is in the details.

Tip: Some items you may want to add to complete your powder room include:

  • A wastebasket that coordinates with a soap dispenser, tissue box cover and tray
  • Wall art
  • Candles or room diffusers
  • A vase or decorative vase collection
  • Towels featuring a unique design detail
  • Plants or orchids

Check out these half bath decor ideas that complete the space:

half bath decor

Monogrammed towels, flowers and touches of high-polish silver personalize these powder rooms. Images: Traci Zeller and Lucy Interior Design

Add some fragrance to your powder room with reed diffusers and candles. Images: Moodhouse and 2id Interiors

Nix the plain white towels and choose guest towels in fun colors or patterns. Don’t forget to add a bathroom-loving houseplant like an aloe or orchid. Faux silk ones look realistic and will always be in bloom. Images: Mercury Mosaics and Traci Zeller

We hope you’ve found plenty of inspiration in these powder room ideas so you can execute the most memorable half bath ever. Share your transformation with us on our Facebook page!

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Think Wallpaper is Outdated? It Can Actually Update Your Bathroom

Wallpaper. Just the sight or sound of that word usually evokes 18th Century scenic or floral images or, worse, the gaudy, headache-inducing designs that were widely – and wildly – popular in the 1970s. However, wallpaper is making a comeback. Maybe “reincarnation” is a better word since, thankfully, the new trend in wallpaper looks radically different from the styles of yesteryear.

In fact, wallpaper can actually be used in the bathroom to create glamour, elegance, drama and even fun. Below are some of the various options to consider:

Half-Wall Application

Half-wall application

This gold and white wallpaper helps to create a luxurious bathroom. Image: Moen

You don’t have to wallpaper the entire bathroom. Used sparingly, like the wallpaper applied below the chair rail molding in the photo above, it can still create a powerful impression. “Wallpaper done tastefully can add character to any room, especially bathrooms and bedrooms,” says Angela Williams, a Birmingham, AL-based realtor at Extreme Agent Realty. “I don’t suggest papering an entire room, but accent walls are trendy,” Williams says.

Updated Classic

Updated Classic

A stylish powder room in a Wellington, FL home. Image: Pegasus Builders

The clean lines of this classic plaid wallpaper work well in this design.  Always order extra wallpaper, just in case you need to replace a section and the manufacturer has stopped making that particular style (or has gone out of business).

Updated classic2

Another bathroom in the same home. Image: Pegasus Builders

In both bathrooms, the wallpaper is tasteful and doesn’t overwhelm the senses.

Classic Victorian

A classic Victorian bathroom. Image: Great Neighborhood Homes

In this bathroom, wallpaper adds more interest than mere paint would.


Classic Victorian

A Minneapolis bathroom with bling. Martha O’Hara Interiors

This hand-painted, patterned wallpaper brings out the metal in the console, sconces and faucet. When combined with the chandelier, it creates a glitzy bathroom design. “Wallpaper has really transformed over the last decade,” explains Kimberly Schmunk, an interior designer at Focus Builders. “There are several new designers that have a variety of fresh and graphic designs and textures.”

Spa bathroom

A London spa bathroom. Image: Gemma Zimmerhansl Interior Design

The wallpaper adds just the right amount of sparkle in this master bathroom in London.


Understated bathroom

The wallpaper blends into the background in this Miami home. Image: Krista + Home

The aqua linen wallpaper in this Miami master bath complements the grays and whites in the design.


Dramatic bathroom

This aptly named circus mural design is unforgettable. Image: Malcolm Duffin Design

If you have a flair for the dramatic, you can definitely express it in a beautiful and vibrant wallpapered ceiling. This particular design is called Circus Mural and is made up of several strips of wallpaper.  “I am a big fan of mural wallpaper or ‘photo wallpaper,’ which is wallpaper on a very large scale,” Schmunck says. Other popular types of wall murals and photo wallpapers include such options as brick effects, marble, underwater images, sports themes and graffiti.


Whimsical bathroom

This bathroom is the location of at least one of the three Rs. Image: Angela Gutekunst

This wallpaper design is an ode to the fact that many people spend most of their reading time in the bathroom.

However, keep in mind that Williams isn’t the only realtor not completely sold on the merits of wallpaper. “In my experience, wallpaper, while not a deal breaker, generally affects a sale adversely,” says Sheila Trichter, an agent at Warburg Realty. “The first thing many buyers ask is, ‘How expensive and difficult is it to remove the wallpaper?’ No matter how beautiful.”

Mark Ferguson, a real estate agent, investor and the author and creator of, agrees. “I have never been a fan of wallpaper and that may be because it is such a pain to take off and we have to remove a lot of it,” he says. “I have seen it start to come back and I think it is crazy – I would not put it in a house I was rehabbing because I think it would only appeal to a small portion of the population.”

Peel and Stick

Peel and stick

Tempaper provides the freedom to change your mind. Image: Soft Surrounds

If you think you might want to try a wallpaper design in your bathroom, but you’re not sure if you’ll like it or not, you might be more comfortable using removable wallpaper. Since you just peel off the back and stick the paper on the wall, it’s easy to remove or reposition it.

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What’s Trending in Bathroom Design? The National Kitchen + Bath Association Reveals All

Traditional bathroom designs are taking a back seat to a more spa-like, clean and minimal look, according to the National Kitchen + Bath Association (NKBA). The organization queried hundreds of designers, remodelers, architects, manufacturers and dealers to discover the trends in bathroom styles, sinks and tubs, cabinets, lighting, flooring, colors and other elements.

Freshome asked trend spotter Elle H-Millard, Certified Kitchen Designer and Industry Relations Manager at the NKBA, for photos and comments on key design trends in U.S. bathrooms. Here are the NKBA bathroom design trends you should know.

The most popular bathroom styles

Bathroom trends1

A transitional bathroom. Image: NKBA

According to H-Millard, both transitional and contemporary styles are popular in bathrooms. “Transitional bathrooms have clean and classic lines, with painted walls and wood cabinetry,” she says. Undermount sinks, brushed nickel and cool color palettes are also features of the transitional style.

Bathroom trends1

A contemporary bathroom. Image: NKBA

“The uptick in soaking tubs lends itself to a more sculptural feel, giving rise to the contemporary look,” H-Millard says. Features include frameless cabinetry and porcelain tile. “Also, larger surface areas in the bath make it easier to clean, making both transitional and contemporary popular.”

Trends in cabinets

Bathroom trends1

A freestanding vanity with creative storage options. Image: NKBA

Freestanding vanities, wood vanities, linen storage cabinets and open shelving are the most popular types of storage options. Medicine cabinets, console tables and toilet-topper cabinets – not so much.

Trends in surfaces

Trends in surfaces

A bathroom with soft blue painted walls. Image: NKBA

Quartz is far and away the most popular choice for countertops, with granite a distant second and marble/cultured marble an even more distant third.  “Another runaway favorite is porcelain tile floors, followed by ceramic tile and stone floor,” H-Millard explains.

When choosing a wall surface, paint is the most popular option, although porcelain tile is also popular. Ceramic tile is a distant third.

Sinks and faucets

Trends in surfaces

The trending porcelain sink. Image: NKBA

Undermount sinks are almost twice as popular as an integrated sink/countertop or a vessel sink. “The preference for porcelain sinks is significantly higher than the desire to use glass or decorative metal,” H-Millard says.

Regarding faucets, brushed nickel, satin nickel and polished chrome are in a virtual dead heat.

Trends in bathtubs

Trends in surfaces

A white acrylic bathtub. Image: NKBA

Acrylic is the most popular bathtub material, followed by cast iron and fiberglass. “By far, the most popular configuration is free-standing, compared to a skirted or platform configuration,” H-Millard says. In terms of bathtub fixture colors, white is the overwhelming favorite, although silver/gray is gaining popularity. Beige/bisque/bone/almond is only preferred by a small percentage.

Trends in sustainability

Trends in sustainability

A bathroom featuring sustainable materials. Image: NKBA

The most popular trends in sustainability are LED light bulbs, followed by energy-efficient vent fans and low-flow toilets.

Trends in master vs. second/guest bathrooms

Trends in master baths

Multiple shower options. Image: NKBA

A handheld showerhead paired with a mounted showerhead is the top feature in a master bathroom, followed by a freestanding tub and a soaking tub. “In second or guest bathrooms, a smaller percentage list having a handheld shower (in addition to a mounted showerhead) as the top feature,” H-Millard says. However, instead of a freestanding tub, a standard tub with shower surround is more popular. “The third most popular feature in the second/guest bathroom is water saving shower fittings,” she says.

Other trends in bathroom design elements

Trends in master baths

Soft colors in a relaxing bathroom. Image: NKBA

The most popular bathroom color schemes are whites and off-whites, grays and blues. Lighting in the shower is the top lighting trend, followed by recessed lighting and sconces. Radiant floor heating is also popular, along with towel warmers and steam showers.

Emerging trends

Trends in master baths

A wet room. Image: NKBA

“The wet room, using the linear drain, is an emerging trend in the bathroom,” H-Millard says. If you’re not familiar with this term, in a wet room, there isn’t a shower enclosure. The entire bathroom (or, in other cases, the entire shower and tub area) is considered the shower enclosure. H-Millard notes the two-person, spa-like statement shower is another emerging trend.

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Small Bathroom Vanities that Take Back Your Space

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Just because your bathroom lacks space doesn’t mean it can’t be functional. You simply have to figure out clever, space-saving ways to lay it out. In most bathrooms, the sink cabinet is often too large and lacking in useful storage. Take back some of your tiny bathroom. Replace old, outdated cabinets with one of these modern small bathroom vanities.

Wall-mounted small bathroom vanities

One of the best ways to open up the flow of a tiny bathroom is by wall-mounting your bath vanity. Add baskets or boxes below the vanity for extra storage. Or, you can also leave the space open for a clean, minimalist feel. Wall-mounting a small bathroom vanity takes a little extra work – the vanity must be anchored to the wall studs – but the extra effort may be worth it for a clean, contemporary look.

Meredith 19″ Bathroom Vanity Set at Wayfair, $167, featuring an open cubby for towels or baskets.

small bathroom vanities

The Cubical 19″ Wall-Mounted Vanity is only 8.7” deep for the tightest of small bathroom spaces. At Wayfair, $330.

best small bathroom vanities -

The Kegley 18″ wide x 13″ deep Bathroom Vanity Set with Mirror at AllModern, $510 features sleek, chrome accents to add contrast to the clean white cabinet.

best small bathroom vanities

The Tenafly 19″ Wall-Mounted Bathroom Vanity Set at Wayfair, $198 is perfectly small-scale. You can also mount two (if you have the space) for his-and-hers vanities.

best small bathroom vanities

A rustic, white washed oak finish warms up the hard, minimalist lines of the Bolivia 24″ Small Bathroom Vanity Set at AllModern, $470.

Corner bathroom vanities for tiny bathrooms

Corners are often unused and forgotten spots. Why not designate a bathroom corner as the wash area?

Renovator’s Supply Corner Wall-Mount Bathroom Vanity Sink at Amazon, $290, features an ergonomic, rounded style.

Renovator’s Supply Corner Pedestal Sink at Amazon, $150, is a great small bathroom vanity for a traditional tiny bathroom.

Small bathroom vanities with storage

Adding storage to a tiny bathroom is one of the best ways to hide clutter. It also creates a visually larger, more expansive bathroom. These small bathroom vanities feature smart drawers and shelving that make use of every square inch in the cabinet.

best small bathroom vanities

The Simpli Home Burnaby 20″ Bath Vanity has a durable, textured granite top for a transitional look. Available at Amazon, $395.

best small bathroom vanities

You can use the bar-style drawer hardware of the Maite 24″ Bathroom Vanity Set at AllModern, $480, as towel bars for small hand towels.

The Eckard 24″ Vanity Set at AllModern, $310, features a popular industrial look, thanks to the black iron finish and rustic warm wood.

Go simple with the clean, crisp and white look of the Knighten 18″ Bathroom Vanity Set at Wayfair, $207.

Small pedestal sinks

If storage is not an issue, a small pedestal sink may be the perfect upgrade. These are great in a guest bathroom where a statement pedestal can make the room memorable. Check out these architecturally stunning small pedestal sinks.

small bathroom vanities

The conical Rockview 18″ Pedestal Sink at Wayfair, $1090, looks best against a boldly-painted or wallpapered wall.

small bathroom vanities

One of the most graceful and  uniquely-shaped small bathroom vanities in our roundup is the Vitreous China 11″ Pedestal Bathroom Sink at Wayfair, $268.

small bathroom vanities

When storage is not a requirement, Kohler’s Parigi 20″ Wide Pedestal Sink at Amazon, $614, has a striking design that can work with many different styles.

Mirrored small bathroom vanities

Nothing brightens and expands a small space better than mirrors. The following small bathroom vanities feature chic mirror designs. They add style and also create a bigger bathroom effect.

The 24″ Mirrored Bathroom Vanity at Pier One, $599, has a Hollywood glamour feel that can add a little bling to your tiny bathroom.

The classic black finish and graphic door design of the 21″ Bathroom Vanity Set at Pier One, $530, adds a signature touch to any small bathroom.

The Denker 24″ Single Bathroom Vanity Set with mirror at AllModern, $900, features a marble countertop and mirror on the cabinet doors.

Small glass bath vanities

Tiny bathrooms can feel closed in and restricting. A glass vanity can add a contemporary look. Plus it provides extra counter space without making the bath feel cramped.

Renovator’s Supply 16″ diameter and 5″ deep wall-mount console sink at Amazon, $175, features two modern bathroom trends: glass and the vessel-style sink.

QIERAO 23″ wide x 21″ deep Pedestal Bathroom Vanity Set features tempered glass and an integrated towel rack, at Amazon, $200.

Apron-front small vanities

The farmhouse style is one of the hottest home design styles today. Adding an apron-front sink vanity adds that updated country-chic look to your bathroom, even if it’s space-challenged.

best small bathroom vanities

Painted in a classic dove grey, the Legion Furniture 24″ Vanity at Walmart, $245 and up, looks crisp in white and grey.

The 16″ wide x 12″ deep small vanity at Amazon, $289, features a coastal slatted-door effect.

small bathroom vanities

Classic and bold in a rich blue-grey tone, the Betterton 24″ Vanity Set at AllModern, $310, adds charm and elegance in a small bath space.

When updating your bathroom vanity, don’t forget the other elements that will complete the look:

  • A stylish mirror
  • Wall sconces or a pendant light
  • A modern faucet

Check out more of the best small bathroom vanities around. You’ll find plenty of ideas on how to save space and beautify your tiny bathroom in no time.

Which style of small bathroom vanity is your favorite?

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