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How To Use Black In A Small Powder Room

The most common misconception about black is that it makes a space feel smaller, or cave-like.  That can be the case depending on how it’s being used in the room. But black can sometimes actually open up a small space and give the illusion of a bigger space. Depending on the foreground, black walls can seem to recede visually, therefore creating the illusion of a bigger space.

Take a tour with me of my small design studio powder room and you will see just what I mean.

Here is what the room looks like now

Black powder room with marble vanity

Black Powder Room

And here is where it started.

A pretty tired, bland and basic bathroom. It needed to go!

Here are some tips for how I accomplished this gorgeous space that feels so elegant and inviting

Add Contrast

For a small room painted in black not to look cave-like, you must add some strong contrasts. By keeping the background (walls) in black, the foreground, or some of the key elements must be a high contrast. Here, I used this beautiful geometric pattern marble tiles. It is mostly white with subtle gray veining from the marble. But the fact that it is mostly white contrasts nicely with the walls

The trim and ceiling were also kept white

I decided to go a step further and break up the black walls with the gold picture frame mouldings. This adds a very elegant touch to an otherwise utilitarian space


Repetition is one of the basic principles of interior design that plays a great role in a successfully completed design. Certain elements must be repeated for the room to feel cohesive. When a room is cohesive, the eye is able to rest while taking in the space, and therefore creates a more visually inviting room. I repeated the gold of the walls in the antique style mirror, the faucet, the base of the vanity and the frames of the art. I also repeated the marble  from the floors in the vanity countertop

Great Lighting

This is a must for every room, but especially a small room that uses black. Black is also a color that will look different with the wrong type of bulb. You want to use higher temperature bulbs that produce white lights that mimic daylight, especially if the room does not have windows. Here in my small studio powder room, I have just a ceiling fixture (not shown), but the bulbs provide all the lighting the room needs

Visual Interest

This may be a powder room but I wanted to add visual interest through artwork. The space is small with not very many walls, but I still wanted to bring in bold and interesting art. The snake giclee on the left wall with the kelly green background is an eye catching piece that you can’t miss as you walk in. I also added the black and white giclee on the right wall, and just above the toilet I added the 4 geometric prints. For such a small powder room, I was able to bring in a lot of eye candy through art.

Something Unexpected

Every room needs a bit of whimsy or something unexpected. The black toilet is it in this space. I know some people hate black toilets, but it was perfect for this room. It just fades away. That helps to open up the space a bit because the toilet seems to be non-existent against the black walls

Keep the finishes in mind

Layering different textures in a black room is important, but try to avoid too many shiny or reflective surfaces, unless you are going for a lacquered look. Here I used a matte black finish paint on the walls. It helps to minimize the walls being too reflective. The more  the walls reflect the more stuff the room seems to contain.

Add flowers or greenery

Flowers or greenery always add life to any space, and especially to a small black powder room. These florals are faux tulips, but don’t they look so real? They make such  a great addition to this powder room.

Black powder room with marble vanity

You can see that this powder room looks so much more open than it was before. It feels good being in there. Though it is a small room, it feels like a much larger room.

Have you used black in your home lately?

Wishing You Beauty And Inspiration!


1,333 views1 comment

1 Comment

Jun 22, 2023

Love this Where did you get the mirror?

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