Decorating bathrooms

Put the fun into your functional bathroom.
bathroom renovation decorating tips Leann Yare

Just because your bathroom, or en suite, falls into the “service” category, doesn’t mean you can’t decorate it with the same thoughtfulness, creativity and passion as any other rooms in your house.

  • There are many directions you can go when designing your bathroom, so create a mood board for these ideas. Collect different pictures from features in magazines, adverts, online, etc and pull them all together. Your own style will begin to emerge. Ensure your decisions are also practical – the details matter, especially in a small working space. Make sure your doors open fully and are hinged the right way, and shower heads are installed at the right height.

  • I don’t stick to a budget with as much restraint as I should, but bathrooms are somewhere I do encourage planning with serious gusto. If a blowout is going to happen, it’s often here or the kitchen. When you draw up a budget, start with your planned spend and pop 15 to 20% of it straight into the overrun column, then work with what you have left, juggling here and there until it balances.

  • Prioritise. Budget is going to drive your choices for this room, so work out what features are non-negotiable items. Shop around: basic fittings, such as a great tap, can cost anywhere from $100 to $2000. Look for brands such as Methven, who offer affordable style, but with a lengthy warranty.

  • Storage is essential. Estimate what you think you need, then double it! Utilise all the spaces you have, as a couple of drawers or an under-sink cupboard is not going to cut it. Opt for quirky wall cabinets, freestanding units, and a coat rack to avoid clothes being flung all over the floor.

  • Think outside the square – there are no rules. A vintage table or butcher’s block makes a great vanity, wallpaper adds a punch of colour, and pattern and pendant lights (that won’t be ruined by steam) work in the bathroom as any other room. Don’t forget to throw in a rug to keep your feet warm during the colder months!

  • Budget for all your great accessories. Indoor plants in a cool pot will thrive in the bathroom, while a mug or a jug makes for a great toothbrush holder. Layer up the walls with art (something that won’t be ruined by the constant moisture). Why not get colour-coded towels for each family member, or even have their initials monogrammed on to help keep things in order.

  • Finally, there is nothing worse than a bathroom that smells like wet towels or dirty socks! It’s easy to fix – I use Ashley & Co home perfumes in my bathrooms, along with some scented candles. That always impresses my guests.

  • While fancy tiles in a rainbow of colour choices may be an exciting prospect, sometimes simple does work best. Never overlook a basic white subway tile – it’s one of my all time go-to products. It’s one  of the cheapest options, so it will save you valuable dollars. It works with any style from ultra-modern to country cool, and is also easy to maintain and keep clean. Take your tiling all the way to the ceiling because for a few extra dollars, the result looks a million dollars.

by LeeAnn Yare, Mitre 10 Dream Home judge

Related stories

Get The Australian Woman’s Weekly NZ home delivered!  

Subscribe and save up to 38% on a magazine subscription.