Bathrooms are a space we use multiple times a day yet, apart from the basic requirements, we rarely give a thought to how they affect our well-being. As most of us are well travelled nowadays, we often look at high-end hotels for inspiration, and wish we could recreate that look of luxury, style and quiet elegance in our homes. You can achieve this by adding sleek accessories, fine toiletries, plush towels and thoughtful details to glam up your ‘very personal’ space. With your own hotel-style bath, you won’t have to travel far to achieve spa-level relaxation, forgetting, for a minute, your little imp banging on the door shouting for mamma or papa!
Materials that enhance
Bathrooms should be a combination of functional and aesthetic value. It’s important to consider materials and finishes that enhance the overall look while providing lifetime value. Combine natural stone and tactile finishes, and surfaces to create stunning visuals with durable appeal. Marble, travertine, pebbles, sandstone, glass, natural stone, the list is endless, and it all depends on the look and feel you want.
Check durability of stone
The biggest advantage of marble and travertine is, naturally, beauty. They’re luxurious, elegant, timeless and romantic all at once. The downside, of course, is that they’re both rather delicate, so unless treated properly, they either scratch easily or are porous. Make sure that the slabs are treated with the highest quality sealant. Their slip-resistance is also rather low, so it would be a good idea to use tumbled travertine, or honed marble rather than polish, that too in the dry areas of the bathroom.
You can go rustic
Other stones that are used in bathrooms are sandstone, limestone and slate, each of which adds a natural rusticity to any surface. Stone tiles bring colours and texture of nature into our homes, and add a quality and warmth to a room that’s impossible to replicate, for our quest for rest and relaxation.
A porcelain tile is, of course, the most popular bathroom finish, and the most versatile. It is scratch and water resistant, and can be finished to emulate almost any appearance, all of which is low-maintenance and budgeted. The grouting needs to be top-notch, if water seepage issues are to be avoided in the future.
Going by the glass
Glass is also growing in popularity for sinks, counters and bath enclosures. It is an eye-catching alternative to traditional materials. Mosaics blend colours together with an iridescent, glossy or matte finish, and can be used to create eye-catching wall murals that can form a focus in the bath space.
Use neutral colours for a sense of calm and pleasing aesthetics. While white is associated with cleanliness, it can look too clinical too. The best option is to go for a tone-on-tone palette, in beiges, warm greys or soft hues like powder blue or sage green. The overall effect is still serene and spa-like, without jarring visual breaks to shrink the perception of the space.
Let the light in
Lighting is the most important part while designing a bathroom. LED downlights are an energy-efficient option for bathrooms, and will safely light up wet areas while providing task lighting over the basin. It’s also important to consider the ambience in windowless rooms that don’t benefit from soft and natural light. Having a couple of bathroom wall lights on either side of a mirror will balance out the bright overheads, while offering a more flattering reflection. Trying to marry practicality with flair, a single statement pendant or chandelier overhead brings that much-needed touch of glamour to an otherwise prosaic space.
Read the signs
Good design is in the details. Using the best quality hardware and fittings will save you a lot of heartache down the road. Multiple options for sinks, showers and sanitary ware are available, so ensure that it suits your need. Space is most often at a premium in most homes today, and bathrooms take the brunt of the space crunch. Do try to optimise the limited space by choosing sleek fittings, practical objects that won’t impinge on a sense of space.
Eye on doors, windows
No space should be neglected in the quest to maximise comfort and functionality in the bathroom. Even in small bathrooms, thinking beyond wall space to take advantage of doors and even window sills can improve flow, opening up design possibilities. The perfect placement of towel racks, toilet roll holders, bath accessories and wall hooks go a long way.
Off the floor
Move everything off the floor. This helps to keep the line of sight unbroken, is practical and easy to clean. Wall shelves, mirrored shelving and floating under-sink cabinets impart a seamless feel.
Wall it right
Don’t forget the wall space behind the toilet. This often-overlooked area is ideal for shelves or even a bathroom cabinet. Use baskets for smaller items, hanging racks too.
Large mirrors reflect light and open up spaces. If a wall-to-wall mirror is possible, it will literally double visual area. Opt for mirrors with eclectic frames, offbeat shapes to ramp up your decor quotient. A beautiful metal-framed mirror lit by stylish sconces or a chandelier overhead spells the last word in glam.
If you’ve got room, add extra seating — a small stool or ottoman for an elegant and upscale feel. Shower curtains, floor rugs and towels, either in soothing shades or in jewel tones to add that bit of pop, can instantly update and upgrade a space.
At the end, it’s also about adding personality to your bathrooms, considering how many hours you spend there. Adding a large artwork, vintage posters or framed seashells, can be a perfect way to tie the whole room together. Sprinkle in stylish accessories. Antiqued glass jars holding a palm leaf, wicker baskets holding potpourri or fragrance diffusers, a plant, all these act as stylish connections to the natural world, and add to the restful ambience you seek.
—The writer is passionate about art and design, and wants to leave behind a beautiful planet for children. She runs her own interiors firm, Eclatliving....