Forget the spa visit and turn your bathroom into an oasis
- Credit: Archant
Cornwall Life’s Carol Burns finds the perfect bathroom looks
There is something about winter that encourages even the most utilitarian of ablators to slip into all the pomp and ceremony of a bubble-filled bath.
And for perfect harmony to exist inside, it has to be there outside with the perfect relaxed bathroom environment – or all those expensive aromatherapy oils are going to waste. At a minimum it needs to be tidy, clean and comfortable. There’s no point lying the bath frowning over the thick layer of dust you can see under the sink or the leftover socks that have slipped down the radiator.
Good bathroom design means creating a bathroom that works for your home and its inhabitants – as well as the space itself. Baths and showers should be combined if necessary but never have one without the other, and consider your storage needs – not only for all those bath oils, but for the bathroom linen and cleaning products – you don’t have to be a minimalist to hide away your dirty clothes until laundry day.
Colour schemes have languished for many years in the neutral shades of white – but bring in some colour. Those associated with water work brilliantly, think blues and greens, blue greys and the soft off-whites created by the waves as they crash to shore. Bathrooms are often the smallest room in the house and tend to be whitewashed to reflect light – and you end up with a small boring room who’s square footage is fooling no-one. Go for drama and turn its small stature into a bonus – here’s the room you can afford to buy that ludicrously expensive wallpaper or paint or tiling that you couldn’t possibly afford to use in a bigger room. Failing that use rich, strong colours to create a dramatic and intimate space. Make sure any wallpaper is suited to the bathroom (farrowandball.com have just launched their new wallpapers inspired by the South West countryside surrounding their Dorset base). One of my favourite paints is the ones suited to roll top baths. We all know the days of avocado, peach and aubergine bathroom suites are no longer with us – although I have seen them work incredibly well with the right décor. But that doesn’t mean you have to stick entirely to the inevitable white. One of my favourite additions in recent years is the fantastically paintable roll-top baths. These sides come in a veritable sweetie shop of colour choices and mean no more wobbly plastic bath panels – and you can refresh your suite when you re-decorate without replacing it.
Lighting is vitally important – not all our ablutions can be performed in candlelight, yet often the only other option in bathrooms is the retina stripping overhead light that disperses any sense of relaxation created by a good soak. We know that electricity and water don’t mix, but get in a qualified electrician (or lighting designer) and consider your options – they are wider than you think.
And then on to soak.
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Boat bath, duchess style, freestanding or panelled, corner or double ended, Japanese soaking bath or bateau? When it comes to choosing the right bath, it’s no longer a case of picking out a standard sized acrylic number and letting your imagination run wild on the tap designs. Today’s array of baths look as good in your bathroom as they feel when filled with your favourite bubbles. So what do you choose? The experts will tell you that looks are important but it is how it feels that matters most – and how you like to lie in a bath will determine which one you go for; so its vital to go shopping and not be afraid to get in a try them out (sans water but with your clothes). Freestanding baths offer a massive range of styles and are often considered the most stylish on offer – particularly when styled up with special paints that turn the exterior into any colour you like.
Carol Burns is a designer and interiors writer. Find out more at carolburnsdesign.com