Bathroom interior design guide

The bathroom has an immediate association with water as it is a room which is essentially designed for washing and bathing. Whether it is because we spend only short periods of time in them, or because the act of bathing relaxes our senses, we tend to bring a more dramatic sense of colour to the decoration of our bathrooms than we do to most other rooms.

This sense of adventure with colour also seems to be enhanced by the fact that in most contemporary homes, bathrooms take up relatively little space. This makes them good places in which to experiment with colour, as a ghastly mistake will take little effort and expense to correct.

Water, Light & Colour - Water is an element that changes according to the quality of light available to it and which reflects the colours of everything around it. For decorating purposes the colour which most effectively enhances this play of light and water is turquoise. A true turquoise is half way between blue and green on the colour spectrum. It can be used as a base or foreground colour and can be used to create a number of different looks. Team it with white for a Mediterranean feel or with warm coral colours for a more Caribbean look. A calm, cool, colour it also withstands combination with fiery reds and deep greens. Using it with darker blues emphasises its connection with the sea. Starker, pale blues can appear cold. If used over too large an area. It is more pleasing to use blues that contain a hint of green taking them closer to turquoise. Alternatively, blues with a hint of red shift their hue towards purple - a colour often associated with opulence.

The White Bathroom - Associated with light on water and cleanliness, white has long since been the traditional colour of choice for basins and lavatories. Brilliant white can be emphasised by shiny chrome or brass fittings as much as by dark woods and strong base colours. Its strongest merit therefore is its versatility. It will work as a base colour also, but can look stark or clinical if not accompanied by bright colour accents in the form of soaps, towels, curtains, blinds and pictures. Lightest grey as a wall colour, rather than white, adds a touch of sophistication; a blush of pink creates a romantic bathroom and cream creates a more relaxed light-hearted atmosphere.

Mirrors & Tiles - provide a number of properties . They are economical, practical, functional and decorative. Many tiles are now available on the market and it pays to research them. The theme for the rest of your bathroom can be set by the tiles that you choose. Multi-coloured tiles can give you more than one option to work with, but in small or compact bathrooms can be too busy and overpowering. Try combining coloured, patterned or textured tiles, (maybe a contrasting border tile)with cheaper plain tiles to add interest without "overload" and help keep you within your budget.

As well as performing a much used and needed practical function in bathrooms, mirrors can also be a design feature in their own right. Their ability to reflect not only image but light means that a large mirror used in a small space is an invaluable way of increasing the source of natural light and will therefore, appear to alter the apparent size of the room. It is often hard to assess the scope of a mirror before you hang it so experiment first. Use a small piece of mirror such as a mirror tile and hold it up at different levels. Strategically placed, they can intensify the use of colour highlights. The play of colour and light can be enhanced by using mirrors on more than one wall. Putting mirrors on three walls at right angles to each other for example, works particularly well as it allows the glass to reflect the colours on the opposite wall in different ways. The least effective position for a bathroom mirror is opposite a door because you will not be maximising its effectiveness.

Wallpaper & Paint - An easy way of giving extra character to a bathroom is to use wallpaper or paint effects on those walls which are not to be tiled. Stripes will give a classical look, floral patterns are more conducive with a traditional or romantic atmosphere. Fantastic results can be achieved featuring gold or silver strongly; particularly combined with a dark floor treatment, they can set the scene for a theme of fantasy or pure opulence.

En-Suite Bathrooms - Contrast or harmonize your en-suite, whichever is your preference to the room with which it connects. Take care when choosing your colours though to check them against the colours of the bedroom on a sample board. A significant shift of scale is evident when, as is usually the case, a small bathroom sits along side a spacious bedroom. A dramatic shift of colour from one to the other as well as the difference in size, will only achieve a disjointed and overpowering contrast between the rooms. If in doubt stick to white or light neutral shades in these small rooms combined with reflective surfaces should as brass, chrome, glass and gloss finish tiles.

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