Create The Right Splash With
by Maureen Grenier
When decorating your bathroom, it is important to choose practical and
beautiful bathroom accessories that also enhance the style of the room. It is
this kind of attention to detail that separates a bathroom with charm and
character from one that is strictly ho-hum. Bathrooms have come a long way from
the days of strictly utilitarian design and use, and are now viewed as
sanctuaries to which people escape and indulge in personal pampering.
The Powder Room - Go Wild!!
A powder room will be located where it is convenient for the use of guests,
and is usually a small room. This means you can opt for such expensive
decorating touches as crown molding and high-priced wallpaper which may not be
affordable for the larger bathrooms in your home. As well, no bathtub or shower
means there are no moisture concerns when selecting materials and decorating
touches. You can hang a nice piece of framed artwork without worrying that
dampness will destroy it. This is the bathroom in which you can use vibrant
colors, and display luxury collections on a counter or shelf.
The Family Bathroom – Make Sharing Easier
Even if the family bathroom is of average size or larger, it may seem small
because of the number of people using it. If this is the case, incorporate some
creative storage ideas and pull out all the stops in creating the illusion of
spaciousness. If there are young children in the family, you need to pay special
attention to safety features as well.
- To make the room appear larger, choose light, cool colors for walls and trim,
such as buttery or cream colored walls with white or beige trim, and make sure
your bathroom accessories are also color coordinated: towels, shower curtains,
bath mats, rugs, the clothes hamper, scales, and storage bins. Oversized mirrors
can also enlarge the appearance of the room.
- Make sure there is at least one drawer or cupboard that can be locked so that
medicines and other poisonous items can be safely stored.
- Attach a grab bar to wall studs located by the bathtub or in the shower stall
as another good safety feature.
- In this day of pedestal sinks, storage has been sacrificed for style but do
not accept defeat. If there is a closet of any kind, buy a closet organizer to
hold towels and facecloths, and bins for personal items, one for each family
member. If there is no space for a closet, add open shelves over the toilet, or
any place they will fit, and use decorative bins to hold various personal items.
- If you can add a second wash basin, it will help relieve some of the bathroom
The Master Bathroom – You Deserve All the Luxury You Can Afford
The master bathroom, depending on its size and your pocketbook, can
incorporate decorative ideas from both powder rooms and family bathrooms, and
can include more luxurious bathroom accessories since it is generally an
If it is large enough, you can turn the master bathroom into a personal spa,
with an oversized, jetted bathtub and an in-line water heater. Steam showers and
rain bars are other elegant amenities, as is radiant heating and towel warmers.
Make A Plan
There are bathroom furnishings and bathroom accessories available to fit any
budget. Before you begin to decorate or remodel, list what you need to do, what
you would like to do and what you would do if you could find the money. Estimate
the cost of materials and tools for the do-it-yourselfer – if you are one – and
the cost of a plumber, an electrician, a carpenter, and a painter, if you are
not. Decide what you can afford to do and whether you should go for an
economical quick fix, or a more expensive major overhaul.
Paint, wall coverings, and flooring materials for all bathrooms except the
powder room must be appropriately chosen for durability and water resistance. A
water-base paint is acceptable throughout most of the interior of your home;
however, interior painting of the bathroom requires an oil-base – enamel –
paint. In general, materials that stand up well to excess moisture are:
- Plastic laminate
- Vinyl-coated wallpaper
- Semi-gloss enamel paint
- Masonry block
- Cast marble
When choosing colors, remember that light cool colors will make a room appear
larger, as will painting walls and ceilings the same color. If you have a large
room with a high ceiling, a dark color on the ceiling will lower it.
The "Quick" Fix
- Paint or wallpaper the walls.
- Paint the trim and the bathroom cabinets and shelves.
- Replace bathroom faucets.
- Color coordinate bathroom accessories: towels and face cloths, the shower
curtain, scales, hamper, and storage bins, rugs, and bathmats.
- Replace the mirror or paint the frame.
- Replace lighting fixtures.
- Add decorative, color coordinated items to hold cotton balls, swabs, bath
salts, hand lotions, etc.
The Complete Overhaul for Dramatic Change!
If the "quick fix" above isn't enough for your taste... please continue!
- Install new fixtures: bathtub, shower stall, toilet, and sink.
- Replace bathroom cabinets, and bathroom countertops
- Choose new flooring.
- Install new bathroom faucets and showerheads.
Select Your Favorite Style
When you have settled on a decorating style that reflects your taste and your
lifestyle, choose your bathroom accessories so that they will reinforce the look
you want to achieve. There are three main styles, and, of course, you can
develop one that is very personal.
The contemporary style demands clean straight lines and solid colors. Choose
plain fixtures, natural wood for cabinets, stainless steel faucets, and
decorative materials of wood, stone or tile. The room should look sleek and
clutter-free, which means a minimum number of items on display and on the
counter. Select streamlined bathroom accessories.
The warm, cozy, country style calls for pastel earth colors and vintage-looking
You can go wild with floral patterns and fabrics, and use wicker for towel and
toilet tissue baskets, and for the clothes hamper. Collections of bottles,
framed botanicals, stencils on the wall, and other such decorative items are
Glamour and elegance are hallmarks of the traditional style and you should
select porcelain fixtures with gold, silver, or brass faucets and fittings.
Think floral fabrics and groupings of treasured collections, and use gold
accents and gilded finishes wherever you can.
- A Personal Theme...
A collection of seashells, or your fondness for cactus plants or birds might
dictate a particular motif that delights you and other family members. Bathroom
decorating and bathroom accessories can revolve around this theme and inspire
particular color choices and the inclusion of elements from the sea, the desert,
favorite animals or birds, a fantasy world, or anything that has captured your
There are countless products and materials designed to enhance the beauty,
comfort and convenience of bathrooms. When it's time to decorate, you can really
About the Author: Maureen Grenier is former editor and writer
for Meridian Magazine, and for the Canadian Institute of Actuaries. She is
currently freelance writing and enjoys providing tips to consumers for
home improvement projects,
home products and
do it yourself catalogs.