Nothing is less inviting than a dim and drab bath. If you're currently designing or sprucing up a guest bath, clean lines and bright walls and fixtures work well. Simple is often better in the bath—plain tan tiles on the floor, white beaded-board wainscoting, and a white tin tile ceiling give this bath a vintage look with modern appeal.
Give your guest bath the look of a serene retreat with a color palette reminiscent of the best spas. Pale or dusty blues, soft greens, pale grays, and beige are tranquil options for a relaxing room, especially one that comes with a large soaking tub, as seen here. If your guest bath doesn't get much use between visitors, make sure tub, shower, and sink are thoroughly scrubbed and the room is dust-free before your next guests arrive.
Proper lighting can enhance your guest's experience in the bath. Provide overhead and task lighting at the sink for getting ready in the morning or refreshed during the day. Include a dimmer to lower light levels for a relaxing soak in the tub or to accommodate a late-night visit to the bathroom. Make sure to check all bulbs before guests arrive.
Add a glam touch to your guest bath with mirrors. A large reflective wall, such as this one, visually opens up a small space and bounces light throughout the room. For a formal, glitzy look, layer another, smaller mirror over a plate-glass wall mirror. At the very least, make sure all mirrored surfaces are pristine and shiny clean.
Put essential bath supplies in a storage cupboard niche so that they're easy for guests to find. In this bath, a narrow niche next to the shower makes use of an otherwise empty stretch of wall and holds necessities such as towels, soaps, and bath tissue. If you don't have a large space, assemble some pretty offerings in a basket.
If space allows, include comfortable seating—even if it's just a stool—in your guest bath plans as an antidote to the porcelain fixtures and hard surfaces. Here, a green silk pillow adds a burst of color against the patterned linen upholstery of a small bench.
Fabrics create warmth and softness in a bath; they also add pattern and color. Make your guest bath cozy with a full fabric shower curtain, thick towels, window treatments, and an attractive rug. If your shower liner is getting old, replace it with a fresh one a week before guests arrive (to get rid of the plastic smell). Better yet, use a new fabric liner that resists mold.
Make sure the fixtures in your guest bath are secure, functioning well, and leak-free. You don't want your guests to be kept awake by a drip, drip, drip or running toilet! If it's time for an update, choose faucets and showerheads that complement the style of your home or the decor of the bathroom.
One of the easiest and most affordable ways to update your guest bath is to replace the hardware. Switch to a bright and timeless chrome or nickel finish on knobs, drawer pulls, towel bars, and cabinet latches. Complete the facelift with matching robe hooks, shower curtain rod, window sash lift, and toilet flush lever.
Provide your guests with the most luxurious and invigorating shower experience you can afford. In this large marble-tiled shower, a diversion valve allows guests to use the rain showerhead or adjustable head separately or simultaneously for a custom shower experience.
A pair of side-by-side pedestal sinks increases convenience for a couple in the guest bath, allowing them both to get ready at the same time.
Add visual interest to the walls of your guest bath with pattern. Forgo wallpaper in favor of pretty motifs painted on the walls using stencils. For an even easier path to this charming look, use wall decals that apply directly to the painted walls.
Stock at least two complete sets of fluffy towels in your guest bath, including bath sheets, hand towels, and washcloths. If more than one guest is using the bath, provide sets in two different colors so guests can identify their own easily.
Boost the storage options of a small guest bath with shelving and hooks. Attach easy-to-assemble bracketed shelves to walls to help keep the countertop clutter-free. Install a row of hooks to keep towels and robes off the floor.
If you have a vanity counter, place a tray of essentials on top for your guest's use and to corral clutter. Provide a cup for a toothbrush, add a dish of soap and a couple of hand towels, and any other small items that guests will appreciate as they get ready for bed or to meet the day.
Boost the bath experience for your guest with small touches that make a big difference. Include scented or aromatherapy candles and an attractive box of matches on a tray by the sink or tub. Another relaxing addition is a CD player and CDs of nature sounds or classical music.
Bring a bit more nature into the guest bath with a fresh bouquet of flowers in colors that complement your decor. For a more lasting option, include a small potted plant such as ivy or a large specimen, such as a moisture-loving Boston fern.
Give your guest bath a bit of extra character with artwork on the walls or shelves. Choose prints or photographs that augment the relaxing mood you want your guests to experience during their stay.
Allow your guests to pamper themselves by offering a supply of French soaps, loofahs, and bath salts in easily accessible baskets on open shelves. Hand and body lotions, toothpaste, and shower gel are thoughtful gestures your guests will appreciate in case they forgot their own.
Make a long soak in the tub even more inviting with a wire rack that keeps little luxuries handy and a good book dry. A stack of bath towels within reach is also a considerate touch.