Five Tips for Better Bathroom Décor

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Follow these tips for making your bathroom a welcome and wonderful retreat from this hectic, fast-paced world.

By Diane Franklin

Many people view bathrooms as their sanctuary—a place to retreat from all the demands and sensory stimuli that bombard us on a daily basis. Your decorating choices certainly contribute to how soothing a bathroom retreat can be. Here are five tips for turning your bathroom into a warm and inviting respite from the world on the other side of the door.

1. Choose Relaxing Wall Colors

You’re most likely not going to enjoy a long and luxurious bath if you’re surrounded by high-energy reds or yellows. Instead, paint your bathroom walls with colors that exude relaxation and comfort. Gray’s popularity is a wonderful trend for the bathroom, given that it conveys a sense of calmness and modern sophistication. Another popular neutral for the bathroom is taupe, with the brownish-gray hue helping to warm up the space. Both gray and taupe work well in contrast to the white tile, fixtures and molding that typically dominate in a bathroom.

Of course, blues are extremely popular as a bathroom color choice, helping to create a spa-like atmosphere of tranquility and restfulness. Seafoam green is another color that provides a peaceful spa effect. Still other choices that bring a relaxing vibeare creamy white, powder-room pink, coral and charcoal.

If painting a bathroom with high moisture, you may want to optfor a kitchen and bath paint that will add mold and mildew resistance. Satin or semi-gloss are the best paint sheens for a bathroom

If you want to add some pattern on your walls, consider wallpaper. Visit your local paint and decorating store for a complete selection of wallpaper especially suited for the bathroom. Stripes, geometrics, florals and novelty patterns are among the selections that work well in a bathroom setting.

2. Find the Flooring That Fits Your Décor

Floor covering options for bathrooms are more diverse than ever before, with waterproof vinyls and water-resistant laminates opening up a whole world of dramatic patterns underfoot. The vinyl flooring of today is much more durable and more luxurious than the vinyl flooring of old—and vinyls are versatile not only because of their pattern variety but also because they simulate a lot of other materials such as wood planking, porcelain and ceramic.

If you like the look of porcelain or ceramic, you can certainly go for the real thing. There are a variety of decorative options available in these flooring categories—everything from the look of natural stone or marble to geometric designs.

A relatively new player in the bathroom flooring market is water-resistant laminate. These laminates can give you the look of real wood, which offers a nice sense of luxury in the bathroom. But caution: Make sure you confirm the product you are buying is, in fact, water-resistant. Otherwise, the water that typically finds its way onto a bathroom floor is going to be punishing. And because the product is water-resistant but not waterproof, you should make sure it is installed properly with an underlayment and vapor barrier to prevent water damage to the underside of the product. In any case, you should still take care to avoid standing water on the surface. Otherwise, you’re testing the boundaries of water resistance, and the flooring could actually warp.

Just remember that many flooring options can become very slippery when wet, so keep water on the floor to a minimum by using small bathroom rugs and/or bath mats outside of showers and bathtubs.

3. Stress Privacy at the Window

Privacy is important in a bathroom, so you’re going to want to make sure that you select a window covering that can serve the function of obscuring the view. One of the most versatile products for accomplishing this in a bathroom is the honeycomb window shade. The light-filtering properties still allow in the natural light while maximizing privacy and also providing energy efficiency. These shades come with a top-down/bottom-up option, meaning you can let the light come in at the top of the window while still maintaining privacy as needed.

Two additional options well-suited for bathrooms are vinyl shutters and faux wood blinds. While these products both simulate the look of wood, they won’t be susceptible to moisture problems like the real deal. Using vinyl shutters or 2-inch blinds in white will give you a clean, sophisticated look that will go very well with the concept of a spa-like bathroom retreat.

4. Add Some Luxurious Extras

Bathrooms are retreats because of the extras that make them special. When creating your one-of-a-kind bathroom décor, consider such accessories as shelving, towel racks, decorative toilet paper holders and cabinet pulls. If your bathroom is large enough, bring in a dresser, cabinet or highboy for holding your towels and toiletries. Perhaps faux-paint this furniture item to give it some interesting visual appeal. Metallic paint is another way to add some glamor to a bathroom. A great place to use metallic touches are on mirror frames or to highlight areas on the front of your vanity.

5. Don’t Overlook the Ceiling

When you’re lounging in the bathtub, the view of your ceiling takes on greater importance. White ceilings are standard for a bathroom, but you can choose another color that works well with the rest of the décor. Painting the ceiling the same color as the walls is perfect for a bathroom as it helps a small space look bigger. Or you can pick an accent color from the room—perhaps matching the ceiling color to the grout color, to a subtle color in the wallpaper or to the predominant color in the vanity top.

Other ideas for the ceiling include the use of ceiling tiles or ceiling panels. You also may want to install an ornate light fixture in the ceiling to provide one more decorative element in the room. Consider a dimmer feature for the ceiling and vanity lighting, so you can create just the right ambience for your bathroom retreat.

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