The bathroom has historically served as a private haven for pampering and relaxation. As anyone who grew up with lots of brothers and sisters knows, it’s the one sure place you can get some coveted “alone time” – at least for a few minutes. For most of us, it’s the first room we visit upon waking in the morning and the last room we see at night before going to bed. When building a home, it’s the perfect place to splurge on fixtures and decor that will create a luxurious retreat you’re sure to enjoy for years to come.
A large master bath is perennially at or near the top of most homeowners’ wish list for their new home. In response to this ever-growing trend, home designers are incorporating larger, more luxurious bathrooms into their plans. Most new home plans offer master baths with an average of 100 square feet of space or more, and usually feature his-and-hers vanities, a whirlpool or soaking tub and a separate stall shower. In newer designs the toilet is frequently secluded in its own private room within the bathroom, allowing for more privacy. Many homeowners are electing to make their bathroom even larger by incorporating a sitting area, exercise room, a private garden accessible from the bath or a yoga/meditation area to further customize the space.
Bathrooms of old were purely utilitarian rooms with little, if any, decoration. Master bathrooms today are decorated as lavishly as the rest of the home, often incorporating custom millwork, a fireplace, vaulted or tray ceilings, high-end decorative lighting, and upscale accessories such as oriental rugs and custom window treatments. Items that used to be considered luxuries (saunas, steam showers, whirlpool tubs, heated floors, towel warmers) are becoming commonplace items in homes in all price ranges.
Product manufacturers continue to offer an almost overwhelming number of choices in fixtures and fittings for the bath, reflecting the desire of homeowners to have a truly personalized space. Whether you prefer a vintage-inspired room complete with claw-footed tub or a minimalist modern space, you will be able to find fixtures and accessories that will allow you to realize your vision. Design and décor in the bath is very personalized, with as many options as there are homeowners. Though the space is truly a blank canvas to furnish at will there are a few overall trends that are consistently popular. While homeowners want the latest technology including whirlpool baths and showers with multiple body sprays, most prefer to have it wrapped in a traditionally-styled package. Using vintage-inspired fixtures helps to create a room with classic looks and offers a timeless appeal, no matter whether your idea of vintage is Victorian or mid-century modern.
Neutral colors are always welcome in the bath and are universally appealing. White has been the color of choice for fixtures practically since the indoor bathroom was invented, but recently softer (but still neutral) shades such as ivory and bone have begun to edge out white in popularity. While still neutral, these warmer shades create a softer, more soothing feeling than stark white. Since fixtures are the most expensive items in the bath it’s generally best to choose a neutral base palette and incorporate more vivid hues by using colorful accent pieces such as rugs, towels, paint, and other decorative accessories and artwork. That way, if you tire of the color scheme you can totally redecorate the room without having to change the flooring or fixtures.
Finally, don’t forget the importance of lighting in the bath. While personal grooming requires a certain amount of bright light to be able to see clearly, remember that you can also set a relaxing mood by having secondary lighting on dimmer switches. Soft lighting is particularly conducive to long, relaxing soaks in the tub. Windows and skylights are another great way to bring natural light into the bath. Mounting windows high on the wall allows light in while preserving privacy.