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Create The Right Splash With
Bathroom Accessories

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 traffic problems.

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 adult-only room.

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.

  • Contemporary...
    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.
  • Country...
    The warm, cozy, country style calls for pastel earth colors and vintage-looking fixtures.
    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 appropriate.
  • Traditional...
    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 imagination.

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 have fun!

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.

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