BATHED IN BEAUTY – How to Create a Place of Rest and Refuge

Call it what you will; the loo, the lavatory, the water closet or the “salle de bain”.  The bathroom has evolved over the last few years from being a utilitarian, functional space into a sanctuary of peace and relaxation.


If you’re considering a bathroom renovation, the options available are astounding.  And if your budget allows it, the luxury of a sumptuous soaker tub, rain shower, granite or marble tiles, and sleek modern faucets are a must.   But you can achieve a remarkable makeover on a more limited budget by focusing on lighting, simple decorative touches, attractive furniture pieces, and designer storage solutions.  “We’re making the bathroom into a much more decorative space,” says interior designer, Elizabeth Metcalfe of Elizabeth Metcalfe Interiors & Design.  “We want to make bathrooms more glamorous.  It’s about decorating the bathroom and making it look pretty, like a sanctuary.”


Decorative lighting has a place in all areas of the home, including the bathroom. “We’re seeing more decorative lighting,” says Metcalfe.  “We’re often (installing) nice ceiling fixtures such as chandeliers,” she adds, explaining that more modern fixtures in hand-rubbed brass or polished nickel are also being used. Do the metals all have to match?  “Definitely not,” states Metcalfe. “We would pair a hand-rubbed brass finish with a polished nickel.  We go out of our way to mix palettes and finishes.”

The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) suggests using a dimmer switch for all bathroom lighting so you can adjust the mood accordingly.  If there is more than one doorway into the room the NKBA also recommends installing a switch by each doorway for extra convenience.

Fresh Furnishings
Interior designers are also suggesting adding fresh furniture to the bathroom if space allows.  Instead of a built-in bench for the shower, for example, think about a stool made from teak or Corian.  Consider adding a piece of art, a French vintage-inspired mirror, or if there’s room, a lovely chaise lounge.   Metcalfe also suggests hanging beautiful draperies in the bathroom.  They will make a small room look bigger, and it’s a great way to add softness to the room, which is predominantly tile and hard surfaces.

Getting Showy
Where in previous years shower stalls were understated and frameless, the look today is to have a stall framed with polished nickel or black metal.  “It’s a very custom look, and very high end,” explains Metcalfe. Many of us live a hectic lifestyle, surrounded by visual clutter.  If you are able to start (or end) the day in a stunning space, it sets a nice tone for the rest of the day or before you hit the pillow.


Tips for a

Get ideas from magazines or on Pinterest and consult with a designer._MG_6129

Do you want his and hers areas, or one sink and a designated vanity/makeup area?

Optimal lighting is essential to the look of the room (and your complexion). Use bright lighting for the vanity area and accent lights elsewhere with a dimmer function.

Anticipate your storage needs.  Use a mixture of hidden storage for toiletries and custom bookshelves to show more decorative items.

Include heated towel bars, heated floors, dual showerheads, body jets or an overhead shower.

Consider built-in media in the bathroom, like an LCD monitor hidden behind a high-tech mirror, a hardwired sound system, or an area for a Bluetooth speaker to fill the room with music.

Hang beautiful draperies in the bathroom.

Consult 2014’s paint colour trends here.


Article written by Becky Dumais

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