I have a not-so-secret love affair with bathrooms. My family knows that I cannot leave a restaurant before visiting the restroom to see what it looks like. I do the same thing when visiting friends or even strangers for the first time. When I was younger I sometimes snuck a peek into the bathroom cabinet if I thought I could do it quietly. Now I just sniff the toiletries. Yes, it sounds creepy.
There are two perfectly valid reasons for doing this though: In a restaurant, the level of cleanliness in the bathroom is, to my mind, an indication of the state of the kitchen.
The second is that being an interior decorator, I want to see whether they’ve managed to pull the restaurant or home’s décor theme or style into the lavatory. The room everybody uses, but nobody really cares about. The room with the least decorating possibilities – a toilet brush and towel isn’t much to work with.
The great thing about designing a room that has so little to work with, however, is that if you spend some time and money on the details, it’s bound to make a difference.
Being fully qualified then, as both a decorator and regular restroom visitor, I have put together a list of essentials for a well-functioning bathroom. I’ve also thrown in a couple of bathroom décor ideas.
Bathroom Décor Essentials for a Room that Works
Possibly more important even than toilet paper (yes, that’s how strongly I feel about it), is a clean, dry towel to dry your freshly washed hands on. Basically, wet towels that stay wet, start to smell and that smell never leaves the towel or the hands that used it.
One practical solution is hanging the hand towel close to a window, on a rail or hook where it isn’t bunched. This way, it’s more likely to dry and less likely to smell.
Another practical and sophisticated alternative to a wet, stinky hand towel is a set of dry facecloths. This gives bathroom visitors the option to hang the towel out to dry or to take a fresh one.
A Practical Basin
I’m really sorry. I know that beautiful square bathroom sinks with clean lines are very much on trend and suited to a variety of décor styles, but they’re just not practical. Experience has taught that they don’t drain as you’d like them to, leaving you to wash out debris, scum and worse, bits of toothpaste from the basin at least once a day.
Stone basins are beautiful alternatives if you’re looking for something a little different, but make sure to get one that’s smooth and polished on the inside. Any pores and dents on the inside of the hand basin offer a fantastic place for pieces of dirt and germs to collect.
Bathroom Decor Tip #1
The whole vanity stand offers opportunities to add special décor touches and becomes part of a sort of ritual everyone performs before leaving the bathroom. So, make it an experience!
What does your décor theme smell like, for example? Is it a moist, earthy forest; a fresh ocean breeze; or a masculine, industrial smell? There are literally hundreds of options in hand soaps and creams with the most beautiful packaging and scents.
While one towel may not offer you much to work with in terms of décor, a collection of 10 small facecloths in a neat pile or pretty basket is quite a different story. Most homeware stores sell them in plain or colourful bundles, so you can play around with the décor colours you want to incorporate.
Add to this a drying hook, and small laundry bin and you’ve managed to create a thoroughly enjoyable cleansing ritual. Make your selection of bins and baskets from wicker, metal or plastic. Tins and wooden bowls can also create unique hand towel displays. Speaking of bowls – interesting trinket or soap dishes offer a finishing touch and speak volumes about the style of the room.
Finally, the wash basin: get it in any shape (except square!) in porcelain, stone or even metal. Some restaurants also sport beautifully painted basins and if you’re not in the market for a new bathroom basin, you always have the wash stand to consider. Here you can renovate it with either paint or mosaic tiles.
This is a simple matter of common decency! Most people have had the need to dispose of something other than toilet paper in the bathroom – even if it’s just the empty toilet roll.
Save your guests, especially ladies, the embarrassment of having to find another place to dispose of the necessary and afford your family the opportunity to leave a tidy bathroom.
Whether you’re shaving, waxing, or applying make-up, you need to be able to see what you’re doing in the mirror. Of course, the existence of an essential bathroom mirror is assumed.
You certainly don’t have to go all out with a Hollywood-style dressing room mirror, but there are a variety of beautiful wall-mounted options if your overhead lighting doesn’t offer enough illumination.
Bathroom Décor Tip #2
Whether you’re installing a new overhead pendant or wall-mounted lights for your vanity, light fixtures offer a good opportunity to continue a décor theme that’s already been established in the bathroom or adjoining rooms. Just make sure that your light fittings are installed by an electrician who can certify their safety in the bathroom.
This is a décor staple in terms of items that fulfill both a functional and aesthetic purpose.
Unfortunately, the standard wall and basin cabinet usually doesn’t offer enough space for spare rolls of toilet paper, bathroom cleaning products and the odd cosmetics you only use every now and then. Additional storage also stops your brightly coloured and sometimes jarring toiletry bottles from falling over, spilling, breaking and being sniffed by snoopy guests.
Bathroom Décor Tip #3
Don’t assume that accessories are only meant for living rooms. In a bathroom, this can include hooks, cabinet trim, toilet roll holders and even an artwork or two. Vacuum-sealed frames and keeping the room ventilated will stop prints and sketches from getting damaged.
I hope this article has inspired you to start a love affair with your bathroom. If you need a little match-making, I’m happy to assist with a bathroom décor consultation to create a bathroom that works.
Feature Image: Stephani Buchman Photography