When walking through show homes, I’m always interested in seeing how the designer created the bathroom interior. I like it best when they make me feel relaxed, as if I could escape into the space for a while.
As a professional designer, I also see lots of regular homes and therein lies the realization that most of us don’t have bathrooms that look like those in model homes. And that’s just fine. We all have our day to get through and if you have a bunch of kids and a busy schedule it’s tough to keep the bathroom in show home condition.
That being said, it doesn’t mean it has to stay that way. For you, perhaps a full bathroom renovation may not be in the works just yet but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to improve upon a space that feels uncomfortable. Whether your budget is big or parsimonious, there are simple ways to make your space more beautiful and restful. Here are ideas for two mini bathroom makeovers — no remodelling required.
Your first action in creating a tranquil space, after you have made the decision to do something and regardless of your budget, is to declutter excess or unused stuff. Also, a deep, thorough cleaning of surfaces and mirrors to remove scum, dust and watermarks can help make your bathroom feel new again.
A living plant is a great way to add colour and dimension to a bath. A beautiful ficus or palm would make a nice statement if you have an available corner or empty floor space. Smaller plants can help break up the monotony of a long counter. Orchids and bamboo grow well indoors and love humidity, usually abundant in bathrooms. A traditional pot creates a more formal feel, but if you want a casual vibe you might consider unlikely pots such as teacups, bowls or apothecary jars.
I like countertops to be mostly clear. If you prefer your items to be out, consider displaying only the daily necessities, with like items grouped together. Try to keep a common denominator among containers — for example, all wood, different types of blue glass, vessels with stainless accents — so the decor looks intentional and tidy.
When you add some shelving, you gain storage and the bath gets to look more interesting. I like the rustic one.
Your towels are one of the most visible items in this room, and over time, their colours may fade or change, the edges may fray, the loops may rip. Those old towels may be usable, but are they still pretty? New towels are a quick, relatively low-cost way to refresh a tired space. You might keep bath, hand and face towels in the same colours, or consider a hand towel in a complementary colour or print.
Changing out rugs and shower curtains can also be a fun way to add a pop of personality. If you have a sliding shower door that doesn’t quite look like a showpiece (read Ugly), perhaps old and frosted with a grungy frame, you can remove it and install a clear glass frameless door that makes the space look larger and brighter.
Bringing decorative items that you love into the room will make it feel more special. Personally, I love displaying framed photos of my children and dogs, as well as figureines of sea turtles that remind me of Hawaii. It’s motivated me to keep counters clean and clear so my sentimental items remain the headliners. What would you like to display?
A new shower head and faucets with a comfortable water flow and desirable spray settings may be enough to make you feel like you are at a spa. Better still, get a shower head with a slide bar that will allow you to spray out the tub or shower and can also easily get water to your nether regions.
To keep this suggestion a modest upgrade rather than an actual remodel, be sure to choose replacement fixtures with like connections. In other words, if your sink faucets have three mounting holes — hot water handle, cold water handle and faucet — you should choose a faucet set with three parts that fit the existing trio of holes. If you are going to switch out your sink, you will likely need to get a new countertop as well. The hole cut for the existing sinke will rarely match the new one.
A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for any room. Color trends for bathrooms change every few years, and while it would be laborious to chase every fleeting trend, occasional refreshes can give your bath a new look. Alternatively, peel-and-stick wallpapers are popular at the moment, and their relatively easy removal process allows you to express your creativity without a big commitment.
Changing the toilet cover and seat is a quick way to improve an old toilet. There are two standard seat sizes: round and oblong. I recommend purchasing from the same manufacturer as your toilet; colours come in many shades, so this can help ensure a better match. Soft-close lids are also a nice feature and may even encourage family members to practice better seat-down habits! Better still, replace your toilet. If the one you have now is older, likely it uses way more water than the new ones. Almost any new toilet today is water conservation friendly and if you have men in your household, an “extended bowl” makes a lot of sense (Bigger target area). If you are a little bit older, or taller, then choose “comfort height” toilets which are a little taller and easier to get on and off.
Mirrors are a critical part of a bathroom in terms of functionality. My first choice for mirrors is full height to the bottom of the light fixture and full width of the vanity. The increased size makes the room feel larger and the added reflectance makes the room brighter.Some of the newer mirrors feature such optional, nice-to-have perks as USB charging ports, built-in TV screens or Bluetooth capability. These features can definitely enhance a morning routine, albeit at a relatively high cost and often require professional installation. If you want to replace a mirror that hangs on a flat wall, your options are endless, with any combination of a number of mirrors, sizes, shapes or frames. If you are replacing a medicine cabinet mirror that fits into a wall cavity, be sure you are replacing it with the same size; otherwise, you will be entering remodelling territory.
New tile will make a dramatic difference in your bath renovation. It is not inexpensive, but if you wish to make a statement, this is certainly one way of doing it. Another bonus would be to install radiant heating under the tile to keep the floors warm. I have installed this in a few of my homes and many of my client’s homes. This is truly a pleasure worth the money.
If you wish to add custom features to your bath remodel, there are many great ideas to choose from. A barn door entry looks great and if you are into greenery, a wall of plants over top of your tub will bask in the moisture emanating from your aqueous indulgence.
Improving or remodelling any space in your home is not just about what it looks like when it’s done, but more about how you feel when you look at it or are in it. Stumbling into the loo first thing in the morning to get yourself ready for work is just one part of the experience. A greater part is being centred and with yourself when your in the space, taking care of your body and in turn, taking care of your mind and spirit. You can go into the bath jangled and on edge and with the right experience, come out calm and harmonious. Namaste.