Here’s how to design a bathroom you’ll want to spend more time in
These days, a bathroom is about so much more than brushing your teeth. While functionality is key of course, we’re seeing bathrooms move towards decorative, living spaces that not only offer the opportunity to celebrate our design personalities, but also spaces that invite mindfulness, reflection and wellbeing, as well as getting clean.
The good news is that with a few key design tweaks, you can transform your bathroom into a space that not only works better but looks better as a result, too. Read on for our favourite room-enhancing updates – from storage musts to healthy upgrades – and see what you can do to bring the magic back to your bathroom.
1. Design less bathroom, more “room”
In line with the trend of bathrooms becoming less … ‘bathroomy’, consider borrowing decorating ideas from the rest of the house. While, white is generally the best colour for porcelain as it won’t date, there is so much opportunity to show off your personality elsewhere in the bathroom with fun and quirky fittings, such as a rich paint shade or stand-out fittings such as the black tapware and plumbing shown here. You could also add inviting soft furnishings, such as rugs and curtains; striking furniture pieces, such as vintage washstand or even hang a bold bathroom wallpaper.
If you’re unsure where to start, it’s always best to work with your existing palette to ensure a flow between spaces – between your bedroom and your bathroom, for example. Even if you go with white, consider which elements you could use from other spaces – similar tiles or materials, for example, or the same accent paint colour.
Bonus tip: If space allows, consider adding seating to your bathroom. A statement chair in the corner of your space is a great way to boost your scheme’s decorative credentials, or add a stool to the shower (or a built-in seat if your scheme allows for it) for a place to perch mid-wash that doubles up as a handy spot for your lotions and potions.
2. Add a nifty niche
They may seem like tiny details, but shower niches can make a big difference to how your shower functions. They prevent bottles collecting in a bunch on the shower floor, keep products neat and within easy reach and these days provide an extra design opportunity.
In this bathroom in Victoria, London, a bespoke shower niche with lighting was added to the marble shower surround, that makes a design statement and also provides subtle mood lighting for relaxation.
3. Invest in bespoke storage
Bespoke bathroom storage is well worth the investment, especially in schemes where space is at a premium. From custom-made bathroom vanities (see above) to recessed glass medicine cabinets, made-to-measure storage can be an absolute game changer.
Firstly, think about what you need to store – be it towels, toilet paper, toothbrushes, bath toys or the family medicine kit – and plan around that. The beauty of going bespoke is that you can build your storage to the exact depth and height you need for your essentials.
Bonus tip. Beware of bottles. It’s important to invest in bathroom storage, but not so much that you’ll be tempted to store unused bottles that will gather dust. A generous ledge for the side wall, such as the one shown here, is always useful for your favourite products to live – store in trays for an easier clean.
4. Bring in the plants
Plants are a beautiful addition to the bathroom. They bring a touch of nature into the space and encourage a sense of calm and wellbeing – perfect for a room that’s all about cleansing and relaxation. Plus, they’re a great way to add colour and to soften the lines of tiles and bathroom fixtures .
Tropical plants are a good choice for bathrooms as they can deal with less direct sunlight than other plant species. Alternatively, choose a tough indoor succulent, such as mother in law’s tongue (Sansevieria).
In this bathroom extension in Brook Green, a feature wall of reindeer moss was added not only to soften the industrial scheme – it goes perfectly with the grey concrete accents and Crittall-style steel bathroom screen and doors – but also to reduce moisture and humidity; the perfect blend of style and functionality in a smaller space.
5. Heat it up
Bathroom heating, while often unconsidered as a design tweak, is an absolute game-changer in a bathroom. Adding comfort and luxury – particularly when you step out of the shower on those chilly winter mornings – it’s also another design opportunity.
If you have a small space, treat your toes to underfloor heating, or if your space is big enough, you could opt for a heated towel rail or radiator to dry linens and keep the room cosy. In this bathroom, a heated towel rail in black matches the darker tile grout and gives the period scheme a contemporary twist. If traditional style is more your thing, opt for a cast iron or chrome design.
6. Marvel at marble
Marble is the ultimate in luxury, providing cool elegance to a space – no matter the size – and bringing natural artwork with its unique veining.
While often used on horizontal surfaces, such as vanity worktops, marble used on vertical surfaces can have striking effect. Carrara and Calacatta are both varieties of marble with a pale base and beautiful grey veining – perfect partners for white porcelain.
If you don’t have the budget for the real thing, you can embrace this timeless look with floor-to-ceiling feature tiles in a marble-effect porcelain, such as the large format tiles shown here. They’re teamed with rich brassware for extra warmth. Alternatively, add accents of marble in smaller doses with a feature splashback or bath surround.
If you have the budget, embrace this timeless, trending material with floor-to-ceiling tiles, or create features with a marble splashback, bath surround or feature shower wall shown here – teamed with bronze fittings that pull out the metallic tints in the veining.
7. Celebrate its history
Tiles in ‘Maranello’ by Fired Earth
Add comfort and decadence to your bathing space by embracing its period features – a great way to add decorative touches and embrace this room as a living zone in its own right.
Start with a stand-out piece to draw attention – a feature floor of tiles will inject bags of old-world charm, while a roll top bath with claw feet will add luxe, Victorian grandeur.
Sourcing vintage furniture is another great way to bring in elements of days gone by. Work in a vintage washstand, work example or a standalone console table. If you’re not keen on adding extra furniture to your space, go for a chrome washstand console instead. The pipework frame will add all the character you need. Hang an antique mirror (or two) to complete the look.
The important part is researching your property’s era and finding the right pieces to match. Choose the right expert to help you source antique items and install them to work with modern plumbing, as well as advise you on the best way to transform your space.
Be inspired by more of Huntsmore’s latest projects in our photo gallery. Plus, if you’re looking to start your own unique project, we invite you to book a complimentary consultation with one of our experienced design experts who will advise you on how to turn your ideas into reality.