November 28, 2011

Bathroom Decor: Style vs. Practicality


Bathroom designer Helen Davies of U.K.-based Better Bathrooms was kind enough to write up a guest post for me on bathroom decorating. Read on, enjoy, and be sure to follow her blog, too. 



When decorating a bathroom, always aim to choose a style that you love – but do take care with the details, and balance your style aspirations against practical considerations. 

In the world of interiors, trends can change quickly. The bathroom cabinets you see in today’s glossy interior design magazines might be on top of tomorrow’s scrap heap. So while magazines, blogs and TV shows are great sources of inspiration, decorate to suit your needs and home rather than to emulate a style you’ve seen elsewhere. Trends will still move on – but if you’ve settled on a look you genuinely love, you’ll be happy to retain it regardless.

When deciding on a bathroom decorating plan, don’t forget that the space will not be viewed as a single room ‘set,’ but in context with the rest of your home. For this reason, it's important to choose a style that complements the rest of your home. Carry themes and colors throughout the home to maintain a sense of continuity.

No matter what its style, your bathroom is a space that should be designed to be used. If you’re remodeling, adopt bathroom furniture and a sanitaryware layout that works. On the other hand, if you’re simply redecorating, think carefully about the materials you use to ensure that your bathroom decor is durable.

Make sure you incorporate sufficient user space into your bathroom layout. There is no point in having beautiful, ergonomically-designed and robust bathroom furniture, sanitaryware and brassware, if it’s all so squashed into your bathing space that there’s barely room for you to get in there with it. Industry experts’ recommendations vary, as does the standard bathroom, but you should aim to allow at least 60cm clearance in front of a sink and toilet, and 70cm alongside a bath.

And your choice of materials is equally important. Think about the aftercare requirements of your bathroom fixtures and fittings before you commit to buy them and ask yourself if you have the time needed to devote to the upkeep of a high-maintenance bathroom. Laminate bathroom furniture, for example, will require less daily, weekly or monthly care after installation than wooden bathroom furniture. 

Different wall and floor coverings will have their own care requirements, too: natural stone tiles need special cleaning and sealant while their porcelain or ceramic equivalents simply need a regular wipe down. Love wallpaper, by all means – but try to fall in love with washable vinyl wallpaper if you plan to use it in the bathroom. And perhaps you could consider adding a backsplash made of tiles especially in wet areas, where wallpaper is not the most suitable material for the job.


Photo: West Elm

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