tag : bathroom renovation, Powder room, Renovation Bootcamp, Robin Siegerman, Sieguzi Kitchen & Home, Tales from the Trenches
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When you stumble into the bathroom in the morning and look in the mirror is the bleary eyed image with the greenish complexion peering back at you the result of being over-served at the office party, or is it just bad lighting?
Is your bathroom storage so inconvenient to use that your counters are a jumble of stuff?
Does your bathroom feel like a punishment rather than a refuge?
Expertly planned, gorgeous materials can make even the worst morning a lot brighter. Here are my top tips for making a splash with your bath:
Conventional wisdom says that bathrooms should be a pastel color since strong color will be overwhelming. To that I say, “PSHAW!” Most people are
color sissies worried that they’ll make a mistake if they use color, so they default to builder-bore beige. Even if it’s called “Fawn”, or “Early Dawn” or “Bunny Fur”, it’s still beige. I’ve ranted against beige for years, starting in 2009 when I wrote a column for Canadian Kitchen & Bath Magazine titled “Banishing Beige”.
Now, to be fair, there are people who actually LOVE beige. If that’s the case, go ahead and use it, and more power to ya. But if you’re using it because you want it to be
- appealing to “Everyman”
it’s a terrible idea, and you’ll end up being unhappy without being able to pinpoint why. If you can’t afford a color consultation (even though it will be the best couple of hundred dollars you ever spent), then use color in ways that can be changed without a whole new renovation. But do yourself a favor and read about the psychology of color before you pick one, since it can pack an emotional wallop, then look in your wardrobe for cues of the color you like best and will like to live with for a long time. Paint, towels and accessories are the safe bets to add color. But if you get a little more daring, you can add blasts of color in the tiles and lighting too, and DON’T forget art! ART in a bathroom?! HECK,YAAAA!
2. The Contrast Rule
This is similar to the color tip, but it can be successfully used with “neutral” or “natural” colors too, if you’re actually one of those people who like beige. The idea is that if you use strong contrasts, you can get lots of visual punch and interest. So, for example, dark brown and bright cream. Or, like I did in this bathroom deep teal and white and dark brown of the vanity and white countertop and wall tile. Even if you’re working with a small bathroom like I was here, trying to go all neutral to make it seem bigger, is just a complete fallacy and is the kind of stuff you hear from people who are
color sissies who don’t know how to use color. If you truly love the monochromatic calm of beige and creams, you can try a beige that has an undertone of a warmer hue, which will be more flattering for most skin tones.
3. YOU DON’T ALWAYS NEED TILE
If you ask 10 people what are the things you’ll always find in a bathroom, they’ll name the obvious: toity, sink, tub, shower, and then they’ll say tile. But where was it written you have to have tile in the bathroom? Granted, if you’re a walrus and like to splish-splash when takin’ a bath, or you have a steam shower, tile is going to provide you with a surface that’s impervious to water, therefore resists the dreaded growth of mold and mildew and is easy to wipe up.
But if you have a powder room that has virtually no steam and a house hold full of adults whose aim is quite good, think of wainscoting on the walls instead of tile. My preference is that you have proper wainscoting with a recessed panel and a nice molding accentuating it, but if you must, find a panel mould, nail it to the wall in a regular panel pattern, top with chair rail and paint the whole shebang a different color than the wall.
The misconception is that because a powder room is small, it should have less “stuff” going on or it will look too busy. I disagree. I think “stuff ” going on distracts the eye from the cell-like proportions of most powder rooms. The key is to have the RIGHT “stuff”.
4. PAY ATTENTION TO THE LIGHTING
Even in a powder room, or some would say ESPECIALLY in a powder room, lighting is critical. The goal should be to always have a light source on either side of the face, not only from the ceiling or from the wall above the mirror, which causes deep eye bag shadows. And I don’t know about you, but the only bags I want are from Louis Vuitton.
The color of light that is reflected off the walls is important too, so you know when I said don’t be afraid of color in #1 above? Well be VERY afraid of the WRONG color mixed with a cool light temperature, which you can get from fluorescent if you don’t know how to specify the correct color temperature. And since most places in North America will ban the trusty incandescent light bulb within the next year or so, you need to be concerned about the quality of light you’ll replace it with.
But if you don’t have room on either side of your mirror for wall sconces, which is common in many bathrooms, you could put them on each adjacent wall so you still get fill light on either side of your face. Au revoir eye bags. It’s cheaper than a face lift.
5. Strategic Splurging
If you see a wall covering material that lights your fire, but it happens to be a bazillian dollars, you might still be able to use it sparingly and still get the visual impact you crave.
I thought I would faint when I first saw the mother of pearl wall covering in a shimmering, gold champagne below. I knew I would use it or die trying, so I was able to massage the budget for this powder room to put it on one wall. The logical choice was opposite the door so it was visible from the hall. I saved money on the plumbing fixtures and faucet, which were good quality, but were probably not worth of Her Majesty’s posterior, and literally put it on the wall instead. Money well plastered, I think. And luckily, so does the client!
If any of this seems to daunting to tackle alone, contact me and ask me to help you with my virtual design service! You could live on the moon and I could still help you as long as you have an internet connection and a phone! Or, if you want to flex your creative muscles, check out Modern Bathroom.com and Faucet.com in the side bar and get shopping for all the stuff you’ll need to make a splash in your bath!