At the end of a busy, stressful day, nothing’s better than jumping into a hot shower or a soaking in a tub to release the tension. To maximize a sense of serenity and make your bathroom feel like a peaceful retreat, incorporate these remodeling tips:
1. After a long day, eyes are tired. Keep it simple and skip sophisticated design when choosing vanities, faucets, appliances and flooring. Stick with clean lines. Black or wood-toned cabinets are staples for a Japanese-inspired look, tying easily into natural accents. Stone is preferable for vanity tops in a Zen-style bath, but if you want a more traditional look, embrace solid colors that blend with flooring or cabinetry.
2. Life is complicated, but keep “complicated” out of the bathroom. Keep clutter off the vanity or edges of the tub or shower. If closet space is limited, install wall cabinets to hide personal care items. Simple shelving lined with baskets or containers made from natural materials like bamboo, reeds or grasses are beautiful and functional.
3. One of the last things to be considered, but top of the serenity list, is paint color. No matter how you design your bathroom, think "understatement" for walls. Neutrals in any shade are an absolute requirement, as well as colors found in the palette of natural landscapes, like soft shades of blues and greens. If you use white or off-whites to generate a monotone look, add contrasting elements to keep the room from feeling too sterile.
4. Carefully plan out a lighting design. Lighting is an integral part of creating a serene and functional space. Exposure to natural sources will increase the body’s production of melatonin which affects mood and overall health. If you’re completely demolishing an existing bath and starting from scratch, relocating the bathtub under a window will let in natural light. Got a small bathroom and opting for a tiled shower/tub enclosure? Spend a few extra dollars to have a waterproofed, rectangular window installed high on the wall. For artificial lighting options, select pendants or sconces for soft, diffused lighting, or use recessed ceiling lights with dimmers.
5. Speaking of natural accents, many plants thrive in humid conditions found in bathrooms and can withstand low light: various ivies, African violets, specific types of bamboo and ferns are fine for bathrooms. Rather than wait until after you finish remodeling, plan in advance for space needed to accommodate greenery. Increase visual calm by incorporating wall niches in strategically placed spots, or add properly hung shelving that can withstand the weight of pots.
6. Consider décor part of the remodeling plan. Rule of thumb: Minimize the artificial and maximize the natural for small elements. The bath is not a museum. The idea is to keep everything well-blended, including artwork. Showcase only one or two small pieces, perhaps using a small spotlight for emphasis. Or, forego the artwork altogether and substitute with a simple flower arrangement in a beautiful vase to provide visual interest or a collection of candles for restful ambience.