When you’re designing your bathroom, you want to transform it into an idyllic, peaceful space. You want it to be a haven, an uplifting place to get ready for the day, and a relaxing enclave where you can wind down when you need to shrug off a long afternoon.
Creating the perfect balance – especially in a bathroom-sized space – isn’t always easy.
We’ve done some in-depth investigation, though, and we discovered 10 bathroom design secrets that the pros don’t want you to know.
These are the tricks they use in celebrity homes, luxury estates and royal residences all over the world.
Each secret is followed by the name of the designer who’s famous for it so that you know exactly where to go for inspiration.
1. Recessed Shelving: Space, Ambience and Style
Recessed shelving can be the perfect design element for your bathroom. Aside from the benefit of having extra space, you’ll love having distinctive, elegant style that’s tough to replicate without a custom build.
Experts recommend shelves between 6 and 8 inches deep; that way, you’ll have plenty of room to store your necessities and create gorgeous displays.
The go-to designer for simple elegance that’s incredibly useful: Mariette Himes Gomez
2. Curved Countertops for Well-Rounded Style
Whether you’re working in a bathroom large or small, you’re going to love the look of a curved countertop. It’s more space-efficient, that’s for sure, but it’s also a unique style that you won’t see anywhere else – and that’s surprising, given the naturally curved shapes of traditional bathroom fixtures.
A curved countertop that follows the contours of the sink doesn’t leave a lot of topside storage space, so it keeps clutter to a minimum, as well. (Just make sure you’re using a spa cabinet or that you’ve set up a vanity with extra drawers to stash all of your necessities.)
The go-to-designer for thinking outside the box (literally): Albert Hadley
3. Smart Mirrors, Smart Décor
Why anyone still decorates with traditional mirrors and medicine cabinets is beyond us. Try a fitting room-style mirror above your sink; three angled panels to get a full view of the room and maximize the available light. Not that into the whole-head look? Try an illuminated mirror that relies on motion sensors or one that features Bluetooth and speakers so you can listen to your favorite tunes while you’re getting ready.
If you must have a shaving mirror, bring in a blast from the past: accordion mirrors straight from the 1950s can really add a touch of class.
The go-to decorator for mirror ideas: Thomas Britt
4. Slender Spa Cabinets
A tall, slender spa cabinet is the perfect add-on to the space beside your commode. Choose a mirrored finish to add depth, a muted and natural color to add dignity, or a bright, vibrant color to add panache. Pick one with glass doors if you’re planning to use it as a showcase. Choosing solid wood with a sturdy, front-opening door or drawers makes a spa cabinet a wonderful place to store extra shampoo, washcloths and other bathroom necessities, as well.
Spa cabinets can be wall-mounted or stand on the floor; it’s up to you. The key? Getting one that’s as tall as the top of your shower and your tallest mirror. That way, you have balance and style.
The go-to designer for traditional décor, modernized: William Hodgins
5. Color without Clutter
Having tiled walls isn’t anything new – but having an eclectic, attention-grabbing design front-and-center is a great way to add a splash of style to your bathroom without cluttering it with too many decorative accents.
Professional decorators often use tile on standard walls, too. The contrast between the matte finish of traditional paint and the gloss of brightly colored, strategically placed tiles creates a wonderful focal point in any bathroom.
If you’re not really feeling the tile, think about adding wallpaper to just one wall. Using an exciting pattern can really break up the monotony and turn an ordinary bathroom into a spectacular retreat. The pros recommend wallpapering the wall that has your mirrors and sinks for a more dramatic effect.
The go-to designer for inspiration on your walls: Mario Buatta
6. Designer Benches: The Perfect Accoutrement
A beautiful one-seat bench might be the ideal addition to your bathroom. Here’s the key: blending your bathroom bench with your design style. For a spa-inspired look, choose a simple and elegant stool made from slatted cedar; if you’re going with a beach house motif, a cabinet with a padded top might be more your style.
No matter what you choose, there’s no getting around it. A designer-approved bench in your bathroom is a fantastic way to add character. It’s also an extra place to stash your clothes while you shower, to set your book while you’re soaking in a hot bath, and the perfect place for guest towels when you have company.
The go-to designer for soothing, peaceful aesthetics: John Saladino
7. Go Big or Go Home: Large Art Makes the Room
A huge piece of spa art can turn your bathroom into a stunning retreat. You don’t have to go traditional, either, by choosing a water-themed portrait to cover half of a wall. Anything that leaves you feeling relaxed, refreshed or rejuvenated is the way to go. Maybe you like the breathtaking beauty of fall trees; perhaps you’re a big fan of winter landscapes. Some people prefer a huge painting of Chanel No. 5, while others find abstract art the best way to add style to their spaces.
If you don’t have the space for one large piece of art, consider creating a unique pattern with three or more smaller pieces. Unless it will drive you crazy, don’t bother with symmetry in your bathroom; the varying widths and heights of your fixtures will make symmetrical patterns look awkward and out of place.
The go-to designer for edgy wall art: Muriel Brandolini
8. The Dream Vanity
A vanity helps you make the most of your space – especially if you’re building it into the bathroom. A comfortable chair tucked beneath the countertop saves space and provides you with the perfect place to get ready (a lighted mirror never hurts, either), and you can use the added space beside the chair for a wheeled cart, a cabinet, or drawers that match the rest of the cabinetry in the room.
For added style (and a truly luxurious feel), put an exotic rug beneath the chair. It will break up the monotony of the tile and add an extra splash of character.
Your vanity doesn’t even have to be large. Many bathrooms have wasted space on at least one side of the sink, and you can use that to your advantage by placing your vanity there.
The go-to designer for smart, modern vanities and other furnishings: Rose Tarlow
9. Breathable (Literally) Space
Every bathroom – really, every bathroom – can benefit from living plants. They’ll improve air quality, improve aesthetics, and provide a soothing, natural environment that you’ll love.
The best bathroom plants:
Boston fern. Boston ferns only need indirect light, so if there’s a small window in your bathroom, this is the plant for you. You’ll need to mist it occasionally, and water it every few days. When a Boston fern is healthy, it’s full and vibrant – and that’s exactly what you need in your bathroom.
Spider plant. You almost have to try to kill a spider plant, so if you’re not an experienced gardener, you’ll do well with this one. These plants thrive when temperatures are at or below 70 degrees F.
Lucky bamboo. Lucky bamboo isn’t really bamboo; it’s Dracaena sanderiana. That doesn’t matter, though, because this beautiful plant only needs low light – and it doesn’t even need soil. Simply place decorative rocks in a tall, pretty vase (clear or tinted works best so you can monitor the water and see the roots) and add purified – not tap – water.
The go-to designer for bringing your bathroom to life: David Easton
10. Unexpected Accents
Nobody expects to see a collection of quirky, bright plates on a bathroom wall; they don’t expect to see a small firepot or a bubbling fountain in the lavatory, either. But things like these can really transform your bathroom into an exotic retreat, where sinking into your bath after a long day is like spending time in a vacation resort a million miles from work and everyday stresses.
Don’t let the fact that you’re decorating a bathroom hold you back. You don’t have to have seashells, bubbles or any of the standard décor; this is your space, and it should look the way you want it to look.
The go-to designer for unexpected accents: Mica Ertegun
Where it All Begins
Naturally, if you’re revamping your bathroom, you need to start with the biggest project first: your shower. Whether you want something simple and low-maintenance or you’d like something chic, elegant and luxurious, The Shower Pros can help.
Call us at 615-925-3365 or visit us online at TheShowerPros.com and we’ll be happy to help you put together the bathroom of your dreams.