Are Powder Rooms And Bathrooms The Same Thing?

While you might categorize any room with a toilet in it as a bathroom for simplicity's sake, it turns out, that's not quite accurate. Anyone who has scrolled through real estate listings in search of their dream home will know that there are often distinctions drawn between full bathrooms, half baths, and powder rooms. However, what exactly do these different categories mean in reality, and is a powder room just a nicer name for a bathroom?

Simply put, no — there is a key difference, and it comes down to what's in the space. As Belle Maison explains, powder rooms got their name popularized during Prohibition as they were bathroom spaces where women could powder their noses and attend to other grooming necessities. However, while the name powder room makes it sound like a chic, glamorous space, in actuality a powder room is simply another name for a half bath.

For those unfamiliar, a half bath means the space contains, well, half the amount of what a typical bathroom contains. So, rather than the toilet, sink, shower, and bathtub that a regular bathroom has, a powder room only has the first two. Your guests won't be able to take a bubble bath or quick shower in a powder room, but they'll be able to freshen up and use the facilities. This guest-friendly set-up means that powder rooms are quite commonly located on the first floor if your property has multiple stories, as Dream Maker Bath & Kitchen states.

The benefits of powder rooms

Curious as to why exactly a half bathroom AKA a powder room would be such a great addition to your house when you could have multiple full bathrooms instead? Well, there's a reason that many homes — even those that have several full bathrooms — contain a powder room.

As Maris Home Improvements outlines, one of the main benefits to having a powder room is that it gives guests a space to use the facilities without intruding on a more private bathroom space, like your master bathroom. And, it allows your home to have a guest-ready bathroom available at a moment's notice. In most cases, you won't be using your powder room as your regular spot to get ready every morning, since it doesn't have a bath or shower, so you don't have to deal with scooping up all the toiletries that you've left out on the counter.

The second perk, a major selling point for home design enthusiasts, is that the smaller space allows you to really go all out with your decorating, as HGTV explains. Since the space is typically smaller, and you don't have expensive elements like a shower or bathtub, you can more easily splurge on items like your choice of lighting, tile, or other accessories. Finally, as Star News Online reports, any extra bathroom can boost your home's sale price by around 24% — so the return on investment for that powder room upgrade or addition might just be worth it.