Luxury means different things to different people and one individual’s indulgence is another’s expected level of comfort so your first step to designing a dream bathroom is to define your terms.
For Cheryl Gurner, creative director of Bathrooms International, there are two essentials: stone surfacing and a good shower. ‘Marble and granite are luxurious,’ she says, ‘but other stones can be eye-catching, too, and if you’re on a budget, stone-effect ceramics have a similar appearance and will save money.
An effective shower is the other must-have and a drenching “sky” shower fitted in the ceiling will give the atmosphere of a spa environment.’
Interior designer Charlotte Crosland agrees that ‘surrounding the bath with beautiful stone or marble will always make the room feel very inviting’.
As a surfacing material, stone is infinitely versatile and won’t tie you down to a particular style. It comes in a vast choice of colours and finishes, throwing open a whole range of decorating options, all with a luxurious look.
Charlotte’s second piece of advice for creating a glamorous bathroom is ‘Try not to hold back on appealing lighting. Choose fittings that are both decorative and functional.’
For the smart bathroom she designed in marble, mirror and chrome, she chose tiny downlights to provide bright general light, recessed lights fitted low on the walls to give discreet lighting for night-time use of the bathroom.
and alongside the mirrors, and Gina decorative wall lights from Charles Edwards for an extravagant Art Deco detail.
For interior designer Cate Burren of Angel + Blume, look and function are inseparable when it comes to bathroom design – if the room works efficiently, it will probably feel luxurious.
‘Underfloor heating and a well designed layout are absolutely essential,’ she says. ‘Even apparently small elements, like putting the heated towel rail in the correct place, within easy reach of the bath or shower, are important to get right.’
She also believes that, provided a sense of balance is maintained, traditional and contemporary style can marry quite happily, and often selects modern lighting for a period bathroom.
Practicalities are always important but don’t let them limit your vision. If you think your bathroom is too small to be glamorous, Cheryl Gurner would disagree. ‘Size doesn’t matter,’ she says, ‘it’s all about perception’.
And in this, mirrors are the designer’s most effective tool. ‘They’re such clever things,’ says Cheryl. Beautiful bevel-edged mirrors placed strategically in a compact bathroom will expand the space magically. ‘You can even mount them on hinges to conceal shallow shelves set in the wall behind.’
Another ploy to detract attention from the room’s vital dimensions is to ignore the usual advice to use light colours in a small space. ‘Be bold and go for strong colours instead,’ says Cheryl, ‘then with mirrors and imaginative lighting you can create a feeling of drama.’
Original article appeared in Period Living August 2011. Images by Drummonds.