Considering their size compared with other rooms in the house, bathroom renovations require a huge amount of planning and resources. And mistakes are costly. But there are simple, affordable ways to restyle your bathroom — no tradies required.
Make art work. Bathroom art must be able to withstand a moist and humid environment. Professionally framed prints and photographs will generally be able to cope, especially if the room is well ventilated. Wall hangings, glass or ceramic plates or decals are also good choices. So are hanging baskets or vintage signs. Unless sealed by glass, acrylic or oil paintings should be avoided.
In terms of subject matter, water scenes are obvious, as are nudes and botanical prints. And how about a world map or two upon which the eye can linger?
Texture wrap. Materials traditionally found in bathrooms such as porcelain, stone and marble can look cold as well as feel cold. Adding a feature rug might seem strange but it will soften the room in the same way as cushions do a couch. Materials like sisal, jute or small animal hides work well.
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Outdoor in. Plants that love humidity or low light thrive in bathrooms. Orchids, peace lilies, bromeliads, spider plants and some hardier types of ferns are great, as are snake plants and philodendron. Hang them from walls, place them on shelves or position them on the edge of the bathtub.
Tap swap. If the fittings are the same, swapping out one tap for another is a job within the skills of a home handyperson. Matte-black tapware is stylish, hugely popular, goes extremely well with traditional bathroom materials such as marble, copper and wood and is easy to keep free of fingerprints and watermarks — as long as you avoid harsh or abrasive chemicals.
Window dressing. Privacy is usually the main aim of bathroom window furnishings, with blinds or shades being the most practical. Shutters are a stylish solution, especially in bathrooms with good natural light, ditto window film, which has the advantage of being relatively inexpensive. But, if you take ventilation into consideration, there's absolutely no reason why full-length curtains, replete with pelmets or voluptuous swags, can't be used to add drama to a room that's usually considered the least glamorous in a house.
Make it shine. Statement mirrors are often used in living areas to create visual interest, not to mention bounce light around. But despite the fact that mirrors are a necessity in bathrooms, their impact is often overlooked. Antique, wood and brightly coloured frames add style and crisp glamour to any bathroom, especially when the walls are plain white. But if you want to double the wow factor, hang two identical statement mirrors side by side to add symmetry and balance.
Luxe it up. Never underestimate the luxe factor when it comes to bathrooms. Beautifully packaged soaps and lotions, plush towels and stylish canisters for toothbrushes, etc aren't just nice-to-haves, they are the essentials of a modern bathroom.
Stylish storage. Hooks that look like "dots" on the wall; ladders with towels carefully arranged over their rungs; metal and wicker baskets; over-the-door hangers; wall baskets and pretty open shelving … these are all the things a stylish — and functional – bathroom makes.
Top tip: Currently hugely fashionable, matte black tapware such as this freestanding bath mixer by Meir, is stylish enough to stand the test of time.