By Jane Lockhart, BAAID
It’s a refuge, a retreat, a rest stop. But the bathroom can be more than a multifunctional space—it can also be stunningly beautiful. Matching square, coloured ceramic tiles with fixtures in pink, avocado or harvest gold is fun and retro, but today we can do almost anything.
Try something new
Sometimes a design trend comes along that we love, but feel reluctant to adopt on a large scale. Bathrooms can be a great place to incorporate a bold new design with wonderful fixtures. The good news is that, as a private space, it doesn’t necessarily have to match the rest of the home, so you can be brave, brace and try something different.
Today, we’re seeing these very personal spaces getting special treatment with more vivid, exclusive surface materials and lighting. From high reflectance to dark tones, be as functional, as vivid or as airy as you like.
The biggest change we’re seeing at the moment is in the use of patterns—watch for intricate fret work on vanities and elegant wallpapers.
Vanity, thy name is complicated
Thankfully we’re getting away from mass produced, big-box store vanities and leaning towards custom-built, detailed cabinetry. Deep drawers, custom colours and open shelves offer family members both utility and beauty.
Choose rich, dark shades to create the perfect base for your new dramatic palette. Consider splurging on expensive wallpaper in the same dark shade. Find patterns that have a hint of glimmer or a subtle reflective quality. Such effects are on trend right now, and just need some light to make them shine.
Bright and beautiful
I’m a firm believer in layered lighting, especially in the bathroom. It can change everything from functional to glamorous. Installing pot lights (even just one) in the ceiling is a good upgrade. That crisp downlight is a great way to light surfaces. If it’s not possible, then select an attractive ceiling fixture.
Avoid flycatchers (those upside-down “dishes” that light up the ceiling instead of what’s below, and are a good source of dead flies). Chandeliers bring sophistication, set reflective surfaces shimmering and add a touch of glam.
In addition, add cross-illumination or side lights, such as pendant lights that hang on either side of the mirror or wall sconces. This type of lighting will help to evenly illuminate your face and eliminate shadows, so it’s good for grooming.
A reflection of you
Mirrors offer style and shine, as well as being functional. Whether an entire wall is covered in antiqued mirrored subway tiles, or you prefer a single reflection point above the vanity, mirrored surfaces double the drama of a room. Hint: Make sure there is always something interesting for the mirror to reflect, such as framed artwork.
When it comes to flooring, there are so many great choices available. From travertine to marble and the great impersonator, porcelain, almost any impermeable surface is an option. Use real stone or the latest in high-quality vinyl—you’ll be amazed how far the styles and patterns have come. Try creating an inlaid “carpet” with floor tiles to add some pizazz.
Don’t be afraid to use high-gloss tiles. Shiny doesn’t always mean slippery, but if that is a concern then choose smaller tiles with bigger grout lines. And don’t forget to think about how your floor feels underfoot. Radiant floor heating is a delicious feature for our feet!
The latest upgrades
From steam showers to inset medicine cabinets, look for ways to make your bathroom more efficient, hard-working and health-focused. Upgrading your bathroom will be the second-most important investment in your home (after the kitchen). Both offer a 100 per cent return on investment when it comes to selling, and even if you aren’t putting your house on the block, an updated bathroom will give you a retreat to call your own.