When it comes to making our rooms work harder, perhaps it’s time to stand back and see the bigger picture in the bathroom.
A place where we can escape the day-to-day and take time out for ourselves, this haven also has the potential to be pivotal in our decorative prowess – but all too often they’re last on our list when it comes to home styling.
“I ask clients to start by looking at the bathroom with their living room eyes,” says Emma Merry, director of Emma Merry Styling (emmamerrystyling.com) and an interior designer on Houzz.co.uk, the home renovation and design platform.
“Think of it as a place to relax with luxe touches. A space that evokes the feeling of rest and rejuvenation, but you can definitely still have fun with the design.
“We aim to tap into all the senses, such as the tactile elements of natural stone and timbers, or the aromatic scents from natural oil steam diffusers set into purpose-built niches around the bath,” says Merry. “And finally, the visual impact of statement pieces.”
Many of us have taken a step away from the functional all-white space over the last few years, with homeowners and designers on Houzz making bolder design choices, investing more in their wash space and embracing a more varied palette.
“In 2021, the term ‘blue bathroom’ shot up by 170% in searches and the term ‘pink bathroom’ doubled in popularity, while ‘green tiled bathroom’ saw an increase of more than a third,” says Victoria Harrison, editor, Houzz.co.uk.
“Dark tones are also proving popular, with searches for ‘black shower’ rising significantly.”
Blending function with flair, if you’d like to dip your toe into a more maximalist bathroom design, professionals on Houzz recommend starting with the cloakroom or downstairs toilet (if you have one separate to the main bathroom).
“This smallest room is the perfect place to have some fun, whether you choose a dramatic wallpaper, interesting tiling or a gold ceiling, the options are endless,” suggests Harrison.
Think out of the bathroom box
“Just as living rooms, bedrooms and dining rooms become hybrid spaces to enable working from home, our bathrooms are also spaces that should work hard and offer versatility,” says Lauren Kavanagh, Hovia’s creative designer.
Faringdon Under Sink Storage, £145, Next (Next/PA)
“Consider flexible, multi-use pieces for your bathroom to optimise the space you have,” Kavanagh adds.
“Cater for more compact bathrooms by opting for vanity units that feature removable storage baskets, or boxes that can be moved or adapted with use over time.”
Remember, there might be pockets of space that can be used up more wisely – like beneath a sink or basin.
V&A William Morris Strawberry Thief Indigo Blue Roman Blind, from £42.75, Blinds2go (Blinds2go/PA)
Depending on your budget, don’t feel like everything needs to focus on the bath tub, even though we’d all love to slip effortlessly into a luxurious freestanding bath. But there’s a whole room to play with.
“I’ve built a design around a sink before,” says Merry. “We started with a one-of-a-kind terrazzo basin, which we wall mounted with satin brass taps, and we let this be the focal point for the room. Paired with …….