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Tips for Designing a Bathroom Retreat

Apr 25, 2007 | by Wendy Weinert

We can all agree that our homes are increasingly looked at as our refuge from daily concerns. As a result, one of the most important personal spaces within our homes is becoming a retreat for us to relax and unwind. The spa bath trend is still on the incline and shows no sign of slowing down. Here are some tips on creating a restful, pampering and calming sanctuary.

The latest color trends are as varied as they can be. Natural colors are the most versatile, but we are seeing some bolder colors such as red and blue as well as deep forest, emerald green and rust being incorporated.

Soothing blues and greens are always popular and work well for the spa or retreat feel. These shades come directly from the beach, the aquas of Caribbean sea water and the varied blues of a summer sky. The beach feel can also be accomplished with hues from sand to sea shells and stone.

Desert neutrals are popular choices as well, because of their inherently warm attributes, they can create spaces that are both comforting and energizing. These tones range from shades of clay and terracotta to camel and saffron.

Spa-like decadence can be created at home with fluffy, oversized bath sheets warmed on a heated towel rack or by adding lavish throw pillows in waterproof fabrics around a tile tub surround. To make getting out of the tub as comforting as getting in, place a thick, plush mat next to the tub.

If space allows, furniture pieces in the bathroom can make a traditionally utilitarian space seem more inviting. Elaborate window treatments and upholstery are creating opportunities for texture and pattern to be added into this private retreat, while traditional shower curtains are being replaced by frameless glass doors.

Don't be afraid to use larger tiles in small spaces, fewer grout lines will actually make the space seem larger, especially if installed on the diagonal. Another popular trend is large, rectangular tiles on the bathroom floor. Installed in a running bond or brick pattern perpendicular to the long wall in a narrow bathroom can actually make it feel roomier.

Customize bathroom cabinetry to maximize the use of space, make them shallower than the standard to create space in cramped quarters. Install electric plugs inside the cabinets to help hide ugly appliance cords, and extra-deep drawers offer out-of-site storage for tall bottles.

If you have the space, consider having the countertop installed at two heights to create a dressing table with the lowered area. Where cabinetry is concerned, more is not always better, organization is key.

Lighting - Adding all the amenities does not mean that the bathroom will become any less task-oriented, however. Lighting that is sufficient to apply make-up or shave in the morning is of the utmost importance, but in the evening, a more relaxed environment might be more desirable. Dimmable or 'zoned' lighting may be the answer. Whatever the case, the layers of lighting need to be considered, they are ambient, task, focal, and decorative.

Combining different materials is another hot design trend. Delicate art glass combined with hand-wrought iron or sleek stainless steel with rough stone are two examples of unique material combinations that we will be seeing used effectively in homes across the country.

Glass tile is emerging as a favorite material for the bath. Designing showers with glass tile in ocean colors to create a warm, relaxing atmosphere is one way to implement both trendy materials and colors, or opt to combine glass and porcelain tiles to create accents or borders that are more affordable.

Brushed nickel and stainless steel remain popular choices for faucets and fixtures with bronze gaining momentum. White is still the most widely used fixture color because it lends itself well to both traditional and contemporary design schemes, and it has a clean, crisp appeal.

Creating a luxurious and inviting personal space is easy with all the new products available today. Watch BellacorPro for more exciting fixtures and furnishings in the coming months.