How to Decorate a Bathroom

It may be one of the smallest spaces in your home, but that doesn't mean the bathroom can't be big on style. Use these smart tricks for decorating your powder room or master bath.

Be Playful

Thanks to their smaller size, bathrooms are the perfect spot to make bold design choices. While a playful mix of colors, patterns, and textures can seem chaotic when done on a large scale, it is perfectly suited for the confines of a powder room or small bathroom. Plus, you can choose more expensive fabrics or wallpapers without breaking the bank. Experiment with bright paint, and use wallpaper or tile to create a focal-point wall. Express your personality with bold-pattern fabrics on the sink skirt, shower curtain, or window treatment. Add texture using floor tile or an area rug, and add sparkle with shiny metallic fixtures. To offset these more daring choices, fill the room with plenty of white accents that won't overwhelm the space.

Play It Cool

A soothing color palette of neutral tones inspired by nature is a smart choice in a large master bathroom where bold color can be overwhelming. Pairing white or cream walls with shades of beige or gray on the furniture and fabrics creates a calming, spa-like atmosphere. Use a large mirror to reflect natural light and flood the space with a warm glow. Floor-to-ceiling window treatments are a luxurious and unexpected choice for a bathroom. Neutral decor is classic, but it doesn't have to be dull. Colorful accents really pop when used in small doses, such as fresh flowers or an area rug.

Maximize Space

In small bathroom, floor space is at a premium. Make the most of limited square footage by going vertical. Wall-mount cubbies are a smart way to corral hand towels, soap, and other small toiletries. Store pretty and colorful items in the open spots, and use lidded baskets to stash tools and toiletries out of sight. Another colorful storage option is to install glass ledges over iridescent or color-glass mosaic tiles. Other space-saving solutions for small bathrooms include corner shelves, recessed medicine cabinets, and wall-mount sinks.

Choose Easy Upgrades

Giving your bathroom a new look doesn't need to break the bank. Tile, cabinetry, and the bathtub are the real budget busters. Keep the big-ticket items as they are; instead, let your personality shine with easy-to-replace items. Installing inexpensive glass shelves, for example, creates space to display favorite decorative items. Replacing basic light fixtures with showcase sconces or a sparkling chandelier can take the room from blah to spa. A new bath mat can cover up an outdated floor while adding a shot of color. Other budget-friendly ideas include updating the shower curtain or window treatments, repainting the room, or adding a row of decorative tile above the sink.

Build Your Character

A utilitarian space by nature, bathrooms can often feel cold and impersonal. One simple solution for creating a warm and cozy feeling is to choose furniture-style cabinetry. If you can't find an off-the-shelf unit you love, consider creating one by converting a dresser or sofa table into a custom vanity. Another great way to add character to a basic bath is by adding wainscoting, crown molding, or built-in cabinetry that gives the look of an older home. Showcase these architectural details by painting them bright white and surrounding them with bright walls and colorful accent pieces.

Light the Way

Whether it's a pint-size powder room or a spacious master bath, any bathroom will benefit from plenty of light. Natural light makes the room feel large and airy, while task lighting makes shaving or applying makeup easier. Keep windows shining bright by leaving them uncovered or using light-color blinds or curtains. Update light fixtures with modern options that provide plenty of light while adding personality to the space.

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