A simple guide to improving your bathroom
Wednesday, 22nd May 2013, Lucy Mccoy
A bathroom is a relatively easy room to decorate, but that should not be an excuse to make zero effort. With a little inspiration and a few changes, your bathroom can become a source of pride.
Even for people that are not houseproud by nature, it can be satisfying when part of their home is looking stylish. You spend so much of your life in your house that it should be a place that lifts your spirits and makes you feel comfortable no matter what is happening outside your window. A bathroom is very much a function-driven room, yet it can be made to form a crucial part of your sanctuary.
Essentially, you want your bathroom to function correctly while at the same time look good, with a little individual aesthetic character - there is no need for it to be an avant-garde masterpiece, but equally you should not settle for a bland and soulless cupboard...
Your first steps are very simple: seek inspiration, take stock of your current bathroom and consider what you want from the room. In terms of inspiration, you should look at design or interiors magazines, walk around a couple of bathroom stores and browse the net. Social network Pinterest is an absolutely incredible resource for creative ideas. Make a note of anything you like the look of.
Taking stock of your current bathroom involves drawing up a little plan of the room to scale, as this will help you understand how much space you have for changes without needing to actually move furniture around. Creating this type of plan might even alert you to how much - or little - space certain objects take up.
Finally, what do you want from your bathroom? Men may want to think about having a mirror and sufficient light to shave their face. Women may want to consider where they will shave their legs. It could be that one of your hobbies has an impact - for example, surfers could want somewhere to hang their wetsuits when they get back from the sea. Don't forget to bear in mind your own preferences too, so if you love taking a bath at the weekend, then ensure the bath area is a priority!
Make a plan
The guiding philosophy for bathroom design should generally be 'keep it simple'. Unless you have a grand plan in mind, then it is usually best to combine a neutral colour like tan or cream with a slightly more vibrant colour, perhaps a pale blue or a sunny yellow. With your two shades in mind, you suddenly have a palette with which to work. Another option is to go with a theme - such as nautical or country garden - and let this guide your colour choices.
Bear these colours in mind when you are making any upgrades - for instance, if you are choosing some new tiles to go around the sink or a shower curtain. Look at your core equipment - sink, bath/shower, toilet - and consider whether you want to replace it because it is inherently ugly or ill-suited, or if you can use the surrounding decor to freshen it up.
In some cases you may be better off replacing items to give your bathroom a bit of wow factor, perhaps installing a granite bathroom worktop or a free-standing bath to really create a powerful feature. In other situations it may be that you can work with what you have - for example, painting a wall in a more vibrant colour around dated tiling can give tiles a new lease of life.
Textures and lighting are very important in a bathroom too. You want to maintain clean lines where possible, so avoid having more than one statement pattern in the room, but also consider how you can use two different materials to create contrasting textures. Tiling, wallpaper, fabric, granite, quartz and wood panelling are just some of the options to consider.
Most people like to have as much natural light as possible streaming into the bathroom, but remember to maintain your privacy! You may also be able to use candles or lamps to create a soothing atmosphere for those end-of-day soaks...
There are a lot of easy things you can do that make a big impact:
Storage - It is absolutely vital to avoid clutter in a bathroom, so find elegant ways of keeping your bathroom products out of sight that also make the best use of your space. An antique cupboard can be a great way of adding character and functionality to the space, while cupboards with pull-out drawers are also excellent.
Little touches - Fresh towels, a new fluffy bath mat, candles, flowers (even fake ones) - these are all easy ways of adding life and warmth to the bathroom. A few repurposed antiques dotted around are also brilliant 'quick wins' - an old tankard can make a great vase and pretty jars can house toothbrushes.
Cleanliness - Keeping your bathroom clean is not just a hygienic consideration, it is crucial to an elegant aesthetic. Force yourself to regularly clean the room and think about maintenance when buying your bathroom furniture. Some materials are harder to clean and maintain than others - quartz will not require anywhere near the upkeep of wooden items - so make things easy for yourself where possible.
With these tips and a little inventiveness, your bathroom should be looking crisp and stylish in no time at all...