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close up of a mirror and vanity
Brighten up your powder room with these decorating ideas.

Powder-room pizzazz

Once a small space to powder the ornate wigs of 18th-century Europe, ‘powder rooms’ these days are petite and practical visitor bathrooms with a vanity and toilet, but without baths or showers. They are often tucked away on the main level of a home where most entertaining occurs.

These small spaces allow for bold design and décor and are a great place for your favourite colour, pattern or texture. Want to give your powder room a dash of panache? We’re sharing expert D.I.Y. tips.

Splash out with paint

You don’t need to worry about bold colours in a contemporary powder room because you can always change the colour if your passion for a particular hue wanes. Pink, jewel tones and even black and gold can all grace the walls here to stunning effect.

Powder rooms often have limited light, which allows you to be daring with paint colours, says Dulux colour expert Davina Harper. “Why not do something exciting on the walls such as a deep blue, like Dulux ‘Mercer’ or ‘Lake Mangamahoe’? You could also go with some subtle warmth such as gentle pink Dulux ‘Dunedin’,” she suggests.

When adding colour, keep in mind that warmer hues work well with bathroom fittings and accessories in brushed brass or copper, while cooler colours are well suited to black, brushed titanium or brushed nickel tapware and bathroom accessories.

Bathroom with grey marble and pink wall, rectangular mirror above a white sink with storage cabinets to the right]

Add finishing touches

Small details (such as toiletries, plush hand towels in matching colours, a scented candle and indoor plants) can help make pint-sized powder rooms feel more inviting to guests. With space at a premium, house these on a small, strategically placed shelf.

Close up shot of a black soap dispenser, teal hand towel and white flower next to a sink

Bathroom tiles with style

Bring in glamour and designer punch with bold and stylish tiles – full accent walls and patterned floor tiles are great options to boost the wow factor in your powder room. If the makeover budget is limited, half-wall tiling from the sink to the ground is an option to bring visual interest to a blank space.

On smaller budgets, make the pièce de résistance the splashback, a place where guests have a moment to pause and admire the details as they use the sink or vanity. Tiles in metallics and jewel tones lend a luxurious feel, while marble has timeless appeal. Tiling the space in all black or red gives a daring and dramatic impact, while geometrics add a modern vibe.

Hang wallpaper that pops

If there’s a place to try wallpaper for the first time, a powder room is it. Pattern and colour can have intense mood-enhancing properties, and adding pattern to a wall instantly ups the welcoming atmosphere says Superfresco Easy trends and design expert Paula Taylor. “As pattern and colour can have intense mood-enhancing properties, adding pattern to a wall instantly ups the welcoming atmosphere,” she adds. “It can be used to express the personality of the homeowner, or to create a calming, neutral environment for all to feel comfortable in.”

Brave choices may be bold in colour and design but – for a safer selection – soft hues, florals and fauna will add more low-key personality.

Tip: Powder room wallpaper should last if not exposed to splashes from the basin, but it isn’t recommended for humid areas such as full bathrooms with showers.

Bathroom with a brown, patterned feature wall with windows, white toilet and double sink in foreground

Powder room lighting ideas

If ever there was a part of your home to let your design dreams run wild, it’s your guest washroom. Lighting is key. Here’s the place to have a licensed electrician install that to-die-for chandelier, showstopping pendant or stylish sconce. Ideally, you’ll have lights on either side of the mirror (or one above if space is an issue) for guests to freshen up, and one dimmer light overhead for ambience.

Switch from a sink basin to a vanity

If there’s enough room in your space, consider replacing a pedestal sink with a vanity. A vanity is more than just a functional piece – it's also an opportunity to add style and sophistication, advises Regan Clare of Stein.

“You can elevate your bathroom design with a vanity that complements your aesthetic and provides ample storage. From modern minimalism to classic elegance, it can be the focal point that ties your entire powder room together,” says Regan.

Mix it up with mirrors

Wide-framed bathroom mirrors double as art, especially those with decorative elements such as metallic finishes, glass mosaics or tiles around them. Round and square mirrors fit most spaces, but this is a place where you can try something rectangular, oval, or even irregular or custom-made.

Some products are not available at all Bunnings stores, but may be ordered.

Add some style to your bathroom

Check out our range of tiles online or in-store.

Photo Credit: GAP Interiors, Dulux, Getty Images, Superfresco Easy

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.