Be honest: When was the last time you set foot in your guest bathroom? We're guessing it was probably the last time you hosted friends or family—and that might have been quite a while ago.
It's easy to overlook this space, especially if it doesn't get much use. But to truly give your guests a warm welcome, your guest bathroom deserves to get some love, too. Plus, it's a spot where you can experiment with your decor style with less risk.
"If there is one place in your home where you can afford to make a statement and have some great personality, it’s the guest bath," says Luke Caldwell, designer on HGTV's "Boise Boys."
Ready to impress your guests? Try these bathroom design ideas on for size. Just be warned: Once you make over this space, your guests might never want to leave.
1. Trick the eye with mirrors and lighting
A guest bath will rarely be sprawling, but you can make your space appear larger and more inviting with a few simple design tweaks. Caldwell likes to make a little magic with mirrors—he installs full mirrors from the top of the vanity to the ceiling.
Then, he flanks the mirror with eye-level wall sconces, which allow light to reflect across the space.
"It makes the room feel much larger and gives it a real timeless look," Caldwell explains.
As a bonus, since wall sconces cross-illuminate, guests will always be in their best light; overhead lighting can cause shadows that nobody wants.
Caldwell also likes floating vanities, noting they "make a space feel larger and more modern."
2. Hang soothing wallpaper
Don't your friends and family deserve to feel like staying in your home is a true getaway? Give them a spa ambiance that transports them far from their mundane lives.
But you don't need to go all in on the cucumber water and massage tables to achieve this look. Just start with the walls and paint them a tranquil shade of blue or hang a wallpaper print that's soothing, suggests Alicia Weaver of Alicia Weaver Design, in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
"Organic or horizontal lines give the feeling of waves and water," Weaver says. "I love to use shades of blue, especially pale blue, for a spalike feel."
For an extra dose of serenity, set out fluffy "guest only" towels that evoke comfort and luxury.
3. Bring in black
Looking for something a little more chic? A black bathroom will show guests your design prowess.
"I love breaking the design rule of avoiding dark colors in small spaces," notes Leslie Bowman of the Design Bar, an interior design studio in Burr Ridge, IL. "It gives such a dramatic pop."
Keep it simple by sticking with two colors, like black and white. Add a gray tile or natural wood accents, which can provide visual balance to black fixtures.
4. Warm it up
"Bathrooms that wow are stylishly accommodating to guests," says Pam Faulkner of Faulkner House Interior Redesign, in Herndon, VA.
To help get you there, she suggests taking steps to make guests more cozy and warm. Think: heated bathroom floors, towel warmers, and thermostat-controlled showers that ensure the water is always just the right temperature. These small touches can go a long way toward making your guests feel like they're at home—only better.
5. Go green
A live plant or flowers in an elegant planter can easily add a personal touch to your guest bathroom. (It also makes guests feel as if this is a space that you do visit from time to time—if only to water the plants.)
"Bring life into the space with greens," suggests Gina Gutierrez of Gina Rachelle Design, an interior design firm in San Francisco. "I always like the look of succulents, air plants, or eucalyptus hanging from the shower head for a modern look."
Even better, the moisture from the shower will help succulents grow and thrive.