15 half-bathroom ideas that will create an impact

Get creative with our half-bathroom ideas that are budget-friendly and stylish

Two neutral half bathrooms
(Image credit: Victoria Holly Interiors & Joshua Smith Inc / Allyson Lubow)

Finding the right half-bathroom ideas creates a space that's inviting, functional, and stylish. There are several design features to consider — create a focal point with a statement wallpaper, bold paint, or an eye-catching floor.

 Remember that the beauty of a small space is that it's a blank canvas for you to try out those tiles you've had your eye on for months, or that bijou sink that's too small for the family bathroom.

Small bathroom spaces can be a little challenging when it comes to interior design, which is why we've asked our experts how to transform this key area with their half-bathroom ideas, tips, and tricks. 

15 half-bathroom ideas to create a stylish inviting space

Our half-bathroom ideas will inspire you to try out new design features for your space whilst not breaking the bank — and if you're in a rental there are plenty of super stylish options. 

Prices were correct at the time this article was published.

1. Keep it simple

Small design black and white wallpaper, chrome fixtures and fittings

(Image credit: Melinda Kelson O'Connor Architecture & Interiors / Erin Kelly)

When space really is an issue then opt for a scheme that's simple yet stylish — a monochromatic wallpaper with a subtle design is one such idea.

"Sticking with a single metal tone and muted palette is always a calming choice allowing a small space to feel more open yet sophisticated," says Melinda O'Connor, principal designer at Melinda Kelson O'Connor Architecture & Interiors

headshot of Melinda Kelson O'Connor, a dark haired woman wearing a dress, standing in a kitchen looking at the window
Melinda O'Connor

A registered architect in Pennsylvania, Melinda O’Connor is the principal of Melinda Kelson O’Connor Design Architecture & Interiors, a Philadelphia-based architecture and interiors studio.

2. Add some wainscotting for texture

Farmshouse style with pastel blue wainscotting, ditsy patterned wallpaper, yellow and white stripe towels, rattan mirror

(Image credit: Victoria Holly Interiors)

Although space is tight in half bathrooms, it doesn't mean you can't add character and interest. 

Bathroom wall paneling always looks chic, plus it's easy to apply and can be painted to suit your scheme. You can take it from floor to ceiling for a coastal theme or try wainscotting with wallpaper on the upper half of the wall. 

For a similar small print wallpaper check out Wayfair's Madeline polka dots roll

3. Paint your cabinetry

White bathroom with pastel pink cabinetry, brass fixtures and fittings, mirror, pair of wall lights, white counterto

(Image credit: Maestri Studio / Jenifer McNeil Baker)

A surefire (and quick) way to update a tired-looking half bathroom is to paint your existing cabinetry. 

"The simple but elegant gold accents beautifully contrast the soft pink vanity to create a classic, bold look. We wanted this little girl's bathroom to provide playful color for her to enjoy now but act as a timeless staple that she can continue to love as she grows," says Eddie Maestri, principal architect and creative director, Maestri Studio.

Eddie Maestri headshot
Eddie Maestri

Founded by Eddie Maestri in 2008, Maestri Studio is a multidisciplinary firm specializing in full-service architecture, interior design, and landscape design. Eddie leads the studio and delivers a truly custom experience for each client.

4. Curate a gallery wall

Stone colored walls, artwork on left of mirror, wall lights, vintage mirror, rectangular basin

(Image credit: Joshua Smith Inc / Allyson Lubow)

We tend to keep gallery walls to the living room or bedroom, but they can work well in any room of your home. 

A half bathroom would benefit from a trio of artwork on a plain wall, especially if that wall has a neutral color. Bare proportions in mind, opt for small over oversized in a space that's tiny.

Botanical style designs look great in bathrooms, we love Nordstrom's Protea & Birds of Paradise framed art print.

5. Add an accent color

Quartz basin and backsplash, pale pink walls, black accents of vase, mirror, pendant light,

(Image credit: Triple Heart Design / Emily Keeney)

A quick and simple update to an existing scheme is to add a new color – this is a great budget idea if the core of the space is still one you love. 

It could be a bright shade like red or yellow, or if you want a punchy modern effect then try black.

"Utilizing impactful contrast in materials with a wall faucet, mirror and simple light fixture in black brought the modern aesthetic we wanted for the space," says Shelagh Conway, principal and founder, Triple Heart Design.

image of Shelagh Conway Triple Heart Design, blond woman wearing black top and jeans in a wood and white kitchen
Shelagh Conway

Establishing Triple Heart Design in 2016, Shelagh Conway combined her diverse career spanning real estate, construction, marketing, and mortgage finance to lead clients to their dream spaces.

6. Opt for a floating vanity

Damask style wallpaper, gold effect fixtures and fittings, floating vanity unit, mirror,

(Image credit: Brad Ramsey / Paige Rumore)

When it comes to space saving in a compact space, a floating vanity unit is your best friend. It allows you to see the floor which tricks the eye into thinking the floor space is larger than it is. 

If your half bathroom allows, choose a vanity design that has storage, if not, opt for a slimline design that hugs the walls.

7. Go bold with pattern

Vibrant bathroom with coral wallpaper, green vertical tiles, pink basin

(Image credit: Divine Savages)

Going big with color and pattern is one of our favorite modern small bathroom ideas. Why not create a fabulous design feature for this key space?

"We love to mix and match pattern and color to create a visually stunning and dynamic space and this vivacious blend of pink and green happens to be one our favorite color combinations," says Jamie Watkins, co-founder of Divine Savages.

Be creative with how you lay out tiles too, "We created a simple but striking stripe using tiles in two colors which grounds the more eccentric large-scale pattern on the walls, in this case a witty and whimsical wallpaper that makes the walls anything but ordinary. The result is a bathroom bursting with personality and pattern that shows you can still go really bold in a small space," Jamie adds.

To copy Jamie's tiles have a peek at Wayfair's Melanie Zellige subway wall tiles.

Jamie Watkins
Jamie Watkins

Divine Savages specializes in creating exquisitely crafted wallpapers, fabrics, accessories, and limited-edition art prints for the brave and bold.  It was founded by husbands Jamie Watkins and Tom Kennedy in 2017.

8. A wall sconce will add ambient light

Neutral elegant bathroom with round mirror, wood and marble style vanity, textured tiles, wood and brass wall light,

(Image credit: Hollis + Morris / Riley Snelling)

Good bathroom lighting ideas are essential and even more key in a half bathroom's design. Often they don't have windows which means you need to provide a welcome light that's enough for you and your guests to check make-up for example. 

“Adding a sconce to your half bathroom can make all the difference. It will not only serve as a stylish accent, but the specially frosted lens will shine a soft glow that will perfectly complement the smallness of the space," says Mischa Couvrette, founder and creative director, hollis+morris.

Sconces work well as they're wall hung and even one is enough if you don't have space for a pair, another option is downlighters but a practical yet softer light is more inviting.


expert headshot of Mischa Couvrette
Mischa Couvrette

Mischa Couvrette is the founder and creative director of hollis+morris, the Toronto-based brand specializing in sustainable, timeless furniture and lighting designs that reflect a harmonious blend of modern and minimalist silhouettes.

9. Change up your floor

Half bathroom with blue textured wallpaper, gold sconces and mirror, marble effect vanity, patterned floor tiles,

(Image credit: Brittney Ferguson Interiors / Michael Hunter)

If you love your half bathroom but feel it needs a little uplift then consider changing your floor. A great budget-busting idea is to use peel-and-stick floor tiles if the thought of investing in ceramic options is too much of a stretch.

They're simple enough to use — just clean your floors with vinegar first and make sure it's dry before you apply them. 

10. All over wallpaper

Small bathroom with cloud wallpaper, small vanity with blue cabinetery, wall lights, mirror,

(Image credit: Flax Interiors / Vivian Johnson)

Small spaces can benefit from an all-encompassing design feature like wallpaper, pick a colorway that's easy on the eye like a muted tone if bright designs feel too intense.

"Half bathrooms give license to take design risks and a departure from the overall vibe of the rest of your house. At Flax Interiors, we say go for joy with a bright vanity color or bold pattern. I adore an all-over wallpapered bathroom that takes you into an other-worldly place as you step into it and shut the door behind you," says Emily Flaxman, founder, Flax Interiors

Melinda O'Connor agrees, "In a tiny half-bathroom room, focusing on one element like wallpaper can add enough polish and design that the other elements can remain quite minimal."

expert headshot of Emily Flaxman, Flax Interiors, a dark haired woman wearing a patchwork style dress in a white kitchen
Emily Flaxman

Emily Flaxman, principal designer of Flax Interiors, seamlessly blends her passion for interior design with her expertise in psychology.

11. Two tone fun

Two tone green bathroom walls, top half pale green, bottom dark green, small white basin, mirror, wall lights,

(Image credit: Little Greene)

If you're more of a paint person than a wallpaper one, then have fun with the colors you love. Single-color spaces look fabulous, but why not take it a step further and go for a two or even three-tone look? 

Ruth Mottershead, creative director, Little Greeneagrees, "Bathrooms are often painted white out of habit, but these schemes can often feel a little cold. Create a relaxing haven with deep muted greens, indulgent browns, or warm neutrals, or combine to create an interplay of different colors with a two-tone effect. 

Combining two hues in a color block scheme is a simple way to add design detail to a space. Consider the height that the colors meet carefully, a dado or picture rail height color change will feel most natural as they emulate traditional architectural proportions."

"The bathroom is likely to be visited by all your guests so it's the ideal space to go all out and embrace your creativity by selecting bold and vibrant designs that speak to your personality," says Jamie Watkins. 

expert headshot Ruth Mottershead
Ruth Mottershead

Ruth Mottershead, creative & marketing director of Little Greene, has been working in her family’s business for 12 years. She writes content for the company’s marketing material, manages photoshoots, and communicates with Little Greene and Paint & Paper Library’s customers.

12. Choose the right mirror

Small bathroom with stone wallpaper, dark countertop, vase, orange towel, rectangular mirror,

(Image credit: Shelley Cekirge Interiors / Kirsten Francis)

As with lighting, a bathroom mirror is a key part of a half bathroom. It needs to be in proportion to the rest of the space and if it can have a double use then all the better.

"One of the best secrets to save space in a small bathroom is to install an LED mirror light. This does double duty as both the mirror and the light and won’t take up too much space in the room. I always top off the room with a plant or floral arrangement for a little elegance and tranquility. Works every time!,' says Shelley Cekirge, founder, Shelley Cekirge Interiors.

Wayfair's lighted round bathroom mirror will do the trick — the shape will help your eye to flow around the space and it will make the room feel bigger too. 

image of Shelley Cekirge Interiors
Shelley Cekirge

Shelley has spent years helping clients create spaces that are elevated, inhabitable, and deeply personal. From Fifth Avenue penthouse apartments to luxury custom-built homes Shelley's knowledge of interior design and attention to detail have paved the way for her company to become one of the fastest-growing, boutique design firms on the East Coast. 

13. Color drenching

Bright yellow color drenched bathroom, shiplap, small mirror, square basin, towel hooks,

(Image credit: Farrow & Ball)

Color drenching has been a key trend over the last few years and it's easy to see why. Bold and impactful, it can be used with any color you choose and it's a good option for a small space.

"Don’t be afraid to experiment — let your imagination run wild to achieve a look that reflects your personality and puts the ‘pow’ into the powder room!” says Jamie Watkins.

In a half-bathroom, you can break up the overall look with white sanitaryware and accessories, white will give a crisp finish. 

14. Look for decorative touches

Bathroom with fish wallpaper in blue, silver mirror, decorative basin on white countertop,

(Image credit: London Basin Company / Design by Page Louisell Design / Leslee Mitchell)

Small groupings of patterns add a decorative aspect to the half-bathroom, they also help to distract the eye from the small space.

“A feature basin creates a natural focus point in bathrooms and is especially useful for adding style to smaller half bathrooms. Even small spaces in the home can be beautiful and bring joy! Adding wall-mounted taps with a countertop basin not only looks fabulous but is a great space-saving solution too," says Anna Callis, founder and designer, London Basin Company

headshot of Anna Callis, founder of London Basin Company, a blond woman wearing black
Anna Callis

Founded by interior designer Anna Callis and her daughter Nathalie, London Basin Company makes richly decorated porcelain basins, reinventing a classic art form for contemporary bathrooms and cloakrooms.

15. Perk up with brass

Teal bathroom with wainscotting and wallpaper, brass fixtures and fittings, marble topped vanity unit, brass mirror

(Image credit: Mendelson Group / Tim Lenz)

On a budget but still want to upgrade your half-bathroom? It doesn't always need to be about the walls and floors, consider the hardware too.

Updating a faucet can be more transformative than you might think, after all, it's something that gets a lot of use so why not make it special?

Amazon has some fabulous choices, we particularly love this GGStudy bathroom sink faucet in antique brass, it's full of character and looks great with teal.

Our half-bathroom ideas will help you pack a punch with yours – all it needs is some clever upgrades and a touch of creativity. 

It's possible to create a half bathroom that's welcoming and practical for your family and friends. 

Sophie Warren-Smith

Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 22 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor of indie magazine, 91, Sophie trained to be a florist in 2019 and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for the modern bride.