Lather, Rinse, Repeat… and Relax

A bathroom, although used quite frequently, is still usually the smallest room in the house. And when it comes to design, the focus and visual excitement is saved for the main living areas. Why?



More often than not, bathrooms don’t get the design attention they deserve. Homeowners don’t give it that much thought, often relegating it to the end of the design planning stage, which is odd considering most of us start and end our day with a trip to the bathroom to freshen up. For some, it’s an escape to a private zone where we will not be bothered while we take a warm bath and relax for a while (parents of young tots are naturally exempt from rule!). Think about it – a tour of a potential new residence usually involves a showcasing of all the main rooms and bedrooms, except the bathrooms, and an enthusiastic explanation about the grand design of the place. A bathroom is usually the smallest room in the house, but used quite frequently for needs that don’t need to be explained, yet we choose to save the exciting design for everything else. Why?

Bathrooms are a necessity in any living situation, but because of the nature of its use, the focus around its design gets reduced to the essentials only. Agreed, this is not the case in a luxury home setting, but that five-star hotel and spa feeling, and your bathroom don’t have to be mutually exclusive experiences. A strong case exists to design bathrooms with as much attention as we do the rest of the home. Because, let’s face it, we could all use a little bit more pampering.

Article Feature Image: Hansgrohe; Above: Axor

A multi-use space

You would ordinarily start your day there by brushing your teeth and freshening up. You use the mirror to maybe style your hair, put on your makeup, or simply spruce your look, and at the end of a long day, a relaxing bath or shower awaits. (Also, if we’re being brutally honest, for some of us, it’s a judgement free audition space for your many solo concerts.)

There’s more activity in a bathroom than you care to imagine, many of which are crucial to our day. Installing the right amount and level of lighting is key. According to Michelle Koh of Dwell, it’s important to ensure that task and mirror lighting is correctly placed to avoid shadows, and a  great way to create a more relaxing atmosphere is mood lighting: bright setting for your grooming activities and a dim one when long baths. 

Next step is having the right storage and organisation elements to support all the activities we mentioned earlier. For those without the luxury of abundant real estate at your disposal, it is important to maximise your space for everyday tasks. This means ensuring that every element in the bathroom serves a function that improves efficiency and comfort. 

Top row from left: Franke, Mosa; Middle row: Dyson Airblade and Airblade Wash+Dry; Above: Kohler

A fortress of solitude and wellness

Hopefully, you live with people who know better than to bother you when you’re taking a shower. Taking some time to disconnect from your hectic life by indulging in a relaxing bath can be immensely helpful for your overall wellbeing. We need this to keep ourselves healthy and sane.

Before even thinking about bathroom wares and accessories, consider the layout carefully. To create a sense of calm, the bathroom layout should allow sufficient space and minimal clutter.  Furthermore, avoid making the seat as the focal point of the bathroom. Instead, install a vanity, freestanding tub, or a shower system, that becomes the first piece you see when you enter the room. For those of you who can afford it, adding a few design touches, such as heated towel rails, a rain-head shower, or ambient lighting, go a long way in creating a relaxing, spa-like experience.

Above: Grohe

An extension of your home’s personality

The design of a bathroom, both visually and functionally, is just as important as the rest of the living spaces. Residents feel a sense of disconnect if bathrooms have a cookie cutter design. How a bathroom is put together plays an important role in setting the tone for the rest of your home. Accenting it’s design patterns and accessories, and adding a subtle finish of luxury in the right places can really round off the finishing touches for this oft-ignored room. 

As you’ve gauged by now, our point is that the bathroom should be no exception to spaces where you can showcase your style. According to Yanic Simhard of Toronto Design Group, “There are plenty of low-commitment ideas that can be implemented. Energetic patterns can add life to any room. Adding a patterned window shade or playful towels, or hanging a colourful print (or wallpaper sample) in a frame as artwork, are simple but effective ways to add personality. These ideas allow you to keep a classic colour scheme for the fixed elements while dabbling in colour trends as and when the mood strikes.” Simhard also recommends natural materials to reintroduce some warmth and a sense of human touch, so look for places to add wood, organically-shaped stone or woven baskets.

Above: Hansgrohe

Good bathroom design is an investment worth making

A well designed bathroom goes a long way, financially and mentally. While creating a personal wellness zone in your home does wonders for the body and soul, there are other benefits in the form of financial returns that can be achieved when you invest in good quality materials and fixtures. 

For starters, consider the number of people in your household who may use the bathroom. Based on that, it’s worth installing quality materials on the floors, walls, and other areas. Materials that are long lasting and easy to clean – low maintenance products that retain the shine for as long as possible after repeated cleans are worth your money and time. Materials like glazed porcelain simply do not absorb water (it’s 0.5% porous and virtually stain-proof). Applying semi-gloss paint is also a simple yet inexpensive way to keep a bathroom looking fresh, as you can easily wipe the moisture from right off.

From there, you can turn your attention to a whole range of eco-friendly products. Water saving faucets, and low-flow bowls and shower heads go a long way towards water conservation. You can achieve the luxury you want without worrying about the impact on the environment or your pocket!

Above: Cosentino

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