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No more bathroom blues

Overview

Published: 07/24/2012

by Kimberley Seldon

 The bathroom is an essential space in your home, with its own unique requirements. At one time it was a purely utilitarian room but today it functions as a private retreat that allows homeowners to luxuriate in the personal pleasures of grooming.

There are myriad ways to enhance the beauty and practicality of this hardworking room.

Colour

Because a bathroom is home to a flurry of grooming activities, careful consideration must go into choosing a colour for walls that is flattering to the skin, easy on the eye and generally soothing, since most people look at this busy space as a quiet refuge.

Shell pink, pale salmon, ivory and bisque work to bring out a rosy hue in many skin tones. Because the bathroom also has a tendency to build up humidity, you may want to speak to a paint dealer about vinyl-based paints, specially formulated to resist mildew growth.

Fabrics

The bathroom tends to have many hard (though never sharp) surfaces that are cool to the touch: stone, tile, chrome and porcelain are examples. It is therefore critical to soften these hard edges with comfortable and inviting fabrics.

Plush bathroom towels (there is nothing more luxurious than a large stack of fat, white towels), a lively shower curtain, and style-appropriate window treatments are some of the places where fabric may be required.

Of course, terrycloth is a perfect choice in a bathroom, given its compatibility with water. Cotton, polished cotton and linen all work beautifully. For the shower curtain, unless you are using a laminated or water-resistant fabric, place a plastic liner on the inside to protect the fabric from direct contact with water.

Furniture

In order to emphasize the bathroom's function as a room consider placing at least one piece of furniture in the space. A small slipper chair is an ideal perch for polishing toenails, a vintage or antique chair can sit at a makeup mirror, and a handsome stool or occasional table can rest at the side of the tub for holding towels at the ready.

If the size of the room permits, a chest of drawers provides valuable storage space as well as an anchor for a decorative mirror, collection of plates or work of art.

Accessories and artwork

When it comes to finishing touches, pamper yourself with enticing accessories. French bath salts displayed in a glass decanter are an affordable luxury. A silver or mirrored pedestal tray can display a selection of perfumes and potions. An antique dish can hold a toothbrush or makeup brushes stylishly.

If counter space is limited, consider a wall-mounted toothbrush and cup holder. To keep often-used bottles and jars at eye level, install open shelving for easiest access.

Finally, do include some artwork in the bathroom. Since this is a private space, you are free to choose work that speaks to your heart. A series of black-and-white travel photographs can fill an empty wall and remind you of your honeymoon or favourite vacation. Note: If your bathroom is susceptible to high humidity, avoid works on paper which are framed behind glass. Opt for an oil painting instead.

Handmade pottery or an artist's sculpture sitting on a window ledge or tabletop will make an arresting focal point. To begin a collection of affordable original art, visit local art colleges or look for advertised studio tours and art exhibitions.

Kimberley Seldon is an award-winning designer whose firm, Kimberley Seldon Design Group, offers consultations and full-scale residential and commercial design services. For information, phone 416-780-9187 ext. 221, or visit www.kimberleyseldon.com.

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