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Ask Décor Diva: How Do I Turn My Bathroom Into A Feature?

Michelle recently contacted The Design Tabloid to ask our resident Décor Diva some advice…

Michelle asks:

We have just bought a new house and have a lot of great ideas for decorating (especially from your site!) but the guest bathroom has stumped us! It is huge…with only a toilet and small basin. I would really appreciate your creative ideas! We are open to colour / patterns / anything…it just needs to be budget friendly as we are spending money on other more important aspects of the house! My hubby is a graphic designer and this guest toilet is between the living areas of the house and his design studio and clients /guests will use it.

Décor Diva says:

In essence, this bathroom dilemma has two primary issues that need to be resolved. One – it is a large, sparsely furnished space that needs to be transformed into something visually “smaller” and more intimate. And two – the necessity to change this drab, blank canvas of a room into a showpiece that pops. Both these issues can be resolved by addressing the same key aspects.

The majority of South Africans still think about bathrooms in a very traditional way – a little room, tiled from floor to ceiling, with some nice towels and a couple of collected seashells as decoration. It should be clean and functional – nothing more… How very sad! Bathrooms, especially guest bathrooms, have awesome feature room potential! It is the perfect little space for a dramatic, over-the-top statement that will make your guests and clients go – “Wow!

The truth is – we spend a lot of idle time in bathrooms, so why not give us something interesting to stare at while there…

As your husband is a graphic designer and potential clients will often use the loo, I suggest giving him a little more creative reign than usual. View the bathroom as blank billboard space – an extension of his portfolio. There are a multitude of ways he can incorporate some of his work into the bathroom – framed illustrations maybe, or a collection of funky vintage logos.

The basin wall is an excellent space to create a gallery wall – a collection of framed art, prints, photos or funky graphics. The net is filled with awesome images and tutorials illustrating how to put together an attractive feature wall. I’m also loving the current trend of having multiple mirror in various shapes and size on one wall. Speaking of mirrors – do a little secondhand / craft market shopping and see if you can find a nice big ornate vintage mirror for above the basin. Paint the mirror frame in a bright bold colour to turn it into a gorgeous statement piece.

Now, making a large room look cosy is all about décor and visual tricks you can use to create an illusion of a smaller, more intimate space. Walls can be painted in darker, deeper, and bolder colours as they absorb light and make a room look warmer and smaller. Wallpaper is also a great option for this space – something edgy and different (check out Design Kist or Cara Saven). OR, if your husband is feeling especially industrious, he can design something himself that can easily be converted into wallpaper.

Another aspect to consider is furniture. “Whaaat, furniture in the bathroom?” you may ask. Yup, I guess in today’s smaller, contemporary, integrated homes it is not something that we see often. However, in big older houses it was quite a common thing (think Cape Dutch bigger and older).

An underused shelving unit or glass-front cabinet from a living room or bedroom can find new purpose in a bathroom. Stack folded towels and linen along the shelves and display decorative accessories & books. Another cool piece is one of those tiered ladder shelf units (I know @Home has some: here).Otherwise, you can add a funky chair or a sleek little bench seat to the area next to the basin. Include a round side table between the bench seat and the toilet – stack it with books or comics for some good on-the-loo reads.

Last thing, instead of using the traditional (and oudoos) bathroom mat set – you know, the small mat in front of the toilet and another in front of the basin – buy a gorgeous big rug to ‘ground’, balance and add warmth to your space. Your bathroom is the perfect size to accommodate a bigger rug and since no bathing or showering is involved you won’t have to worry about water damage. The Kilim type rugs are super trendy right know.

Below find some inspirational image I sourced from around the net. They are in various interior styles but the principles are sound – you can just ‘translate’ it into your preferred style…

Hope this put you on the right path to an awesome guest bathroom! Good luck and let us know how it goes!

Love, Rose  x x x

Click on the images below to be redirected to the relevant image sources:

                 

Quick Tip #14: Remember To Ventilate!

After I recently had to replace a bathroom window due to rot caused by moisture, I though to share this valuable but often overlooked Quick Tip with you….

#14   Save future DIY costs in repair by always insuring your bathroom is well ventilated. Constant exposure to moisture and trapped condensation can result in the development of unsightly and harmful fungi, rotting window frames, and can cause cornices to warp and pull away from the wall. Keep a window slightly open when you are taking a shower / bath or even consider leaving a small top window open permanently. Investing in a extractor might also be a easy long term solution. 

Repurposed Ladders

It was my intention to write a little décor Quick Tip about re-using old ladders in and around the house after stumbling across this beautiful image (right below) while browsing through Stylizimo (a funky Scandinavian décor blog). However, after doing a quick search I found a good dozen of excellent ideas and images illustrating ways in which you can repurpose your old run-down ladder. So, this is no ordinary Quick Tip, as instead of the customary one image, I included all the gorgeous images to inspire you!

#11  Don’t toss away your old wooden ladder – repurpose it. Your old ladder, whether you give it a fresh lick of paint or keep it paint-splattered & earth-stained, can be used in a variety of interesting ways: as a rustic book shelf, funky bathroom storage or even a shabby chic way to store and display your beautiful shoes. All you need is a bit of inspiration.

I adore this gorgeous use of a ladder display a few fashion items - if styled, it can be a powerful bedroom décor feature.

Scarves, necklaces, shoes and handbags and you are one rung away from a beautiful and original dressing area.

This ingenious pots & pans hanger would look amazing above the island of any rustic or shabby chic industrial kitchen

Use your ladder to store and display dishcloths, napery or other linens.

Keep the guest towels close at hand.

Every reading nook needs one of these - a funky ladder book rack! And isn't it absolutely genius to use a ladder as a way to store and display your newspapers and magazines!

My patio is asking for this - a stepped garden of potted herbs! I'm going to patch up our dilapidated ladder - herb garden here I come!

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

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