Renovation & Design

CONNIE OLIVER: Turn bathroom into an oasis

The tall, slender strip of mirror adds height and drama.

Updating the bathroom décor regularly is not only fun it's necessary. The bathroom takes a lot of daily abuse. From styling products to shower steam every surface in this room needs regular attention. Even the linens and accessories get worn from constant laundering and daily scrubbing.

The fun part of a bathroom décor update is two-fold. The bathroom is usually the smallest room in the home so changing wall colour or adding wallpaper is not an overwhelming project. As well, the plethora of design and colour options in new linens and coordinating bathroom accessory sets makes changing the bathroom an enjoyable prospect.

Our feature photograph shows how the right wall colour and a few stylish choices can turn a worn-out space into an updated, trendy room.

The colour palette of earthy green and tan creates a spa-like atmosphere and works well with the red-tone wood vanity. The new towels look fluffy and decadent, which creates a sense of luxury. We all need to be spoiled now and then so it's a good idea to splurge on new linens when updating the bathroom.

Consider updating the bathroom mirror with something unusual like the unique mirror in our feature photograph. The tall, slender strip of mirror adds height and drama to the space while still performing its function. The slimmer mirror also provides additional wall space for the shelving and towel ring.

The co-ordinating Moen faucet, towel ring, towel bar and shelf help streamline the look. Keeping the finishes the same when choosing installed items like this is a good rule of thumb. These fixtures don't have to be matching but try to stay in the realm of a similar finish and style whenever possible. I love the decorative floor vase with the silver swirl design. It picks up on the fixtures and adds some whimsy to the space. The collection of green glassware is also a nice touch. They add colour but the translucent quality keeps the room light and airy. The masculine soap dish mimics the vanity style and finish. Each item has been carefully chosen to maximize the room design.

Depending upon your bathroom layout, even updating the flooring can be a quick, weekend job. Because the floor space is likely small you may be able to splurge on high-end flooring.

If storage is a problem there is a lot of options out there in add-on cabinetry for the bathroom. Slim, pantry-style cabinets will take up a small area but can hold a lot of toiletries. These cabinets often come with a mirrored door, which offers visual expansion and a full-length dressing mirror. Behind the toilet storage towers are also a great addition because they come in a wide range of styles and finishes and again, house a lot of stuff. Small, decorative shelves, like the one in our feature photograph, are great for open display. Use them in groupings to maximize your display area. Opt for glass shelving when possible, as they will keep the small space feeling open and airy.

Seemingly insignificant changes, like replacing a plastic liquid hand soap bottle with a decorative soap dispenser can make a huge difference in the overall feel of your bathroom. Stores that carry home décor items offer lots of stylish storage solutions for any room in the home. From robe hooks to towel bars, the choices out there are endless and affordable.

Don't forget about art. Keeping in mind the potential moisture issue, you can still decorate a bathroom with great photography or prints. I have a wall of large, framed nature photographs in my bathroom. I purchased affordable picture frames with simple frames but with glass on both sides. The affect makes the photos appear to be floating in the frame. Moisture and styling products have not affected the photographs at all because the photos are sandwiched between glass and are well protected. For a more contemporary look, consider displaying graphic, black and white photography in a gallery style.

A bit of advice before you paint

If you're completely changing the look of your bathroom, new shower curtains, towels and colour scheme for instance, choose the shower curtain, mats and matching accessories first. Then pick your paint colour to match or coordinate with your chosen bathroom set. It's easier to match paint to a shower curtain, for example, than vice versa.

A bathroom update can be an enjoyable and affordable project. Watch for sales on the items you want then take the plunge and create a new bathroom oasis.


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