Bathrooms can have personality.

We all have been inundated with the knowledge that the most involved, expensive and ultimately the most rewarding renovation is the kitchen. However, bathrooms have been making great strides in the ability to empty the pocketbook and demonstrate their own personality power.

When discussing personality regarding bathroom design, let's clarify the term "theme" (I prefer the word concept or design strategy). A theme is supported by surface decorative elements, such as colourful fish on the wall for an aquatic feel or a "bathroom in a bag" matching matt, towels and shower curtain. This however may be a great inspirational starting point to begin adding personality to your bathroom.

The importance of bathrooms has amplified as work days become longer, more stressful and life clicks along at a faster pace. The bathroom is one of the few places in a home where someone may find personal sanctuary, a place to collect and rejuvenate for the next day or contemplate the day gone by. The new bathroom allows us to be encouraged and inspired.

The Vision

Before you begin any purchases or selections of materials, first contemplate your full design vision (strategy), or in this case your inner bath personality!! It is critical to view the over all picture as well as realize the importance of each and every choice to ensure a successful outcome. Form follows function in this space and one must allow for a variety of tasks to be performed in this multifunctional space.

Whether you are a minimalist with limited material changes or a true artist with a love for a variety of colors, there are innovative design products on the market specifically for you. Here is a quick review of some products that immediately come to mind to consider as possible design elements:

  • Flooring — With so many price conscience flooring options that can provide impact, take time with this decision. The pebble stone tile can easily become a favorite. Tile comes in so many textures and colours, it will be hard to choose what suits your inner id. Don't forget the floor warming options available with ceramic tile. There are also sheet vinyls that are so realistic, you may find yourself reaching to see if they are the real thing.
  • Vanity — There are really only three or four surfaces to address in this space, best to make an impact at this initial focal point. Cabinets can be in any material imaginable- classic wood, glass, stainless steel. Repurposed tables turned bathroom cabinets have a sense of history and glamour at the same time. Counter materials such as granite, glass, or concrete are remedies to any lackluster vanity.
  • Sinks — vessel sinks have created a trend for the "do-it-yourselfers". These come in all forms of materials, glass, stone, porcelain, and metals. More recently these sinks have become available with a variety of edge treatments, smooth and flat, rough or the ground and polished edge. These are just as functional as any other sink, but they really speak out in a room.
  • Showers — multiple showerheads are on the market now with a range of sprays from massage to pulsating. Not only are there a multitude of sprays but the placement of them can be in every direction at once... remember though, the more shower heads the larger the hot water tank. And what better departure from the warmth of the water to the warmth of a heated towel off of the warming towel bar!
  • Tubs — the jetted tub or air massagers are a wonderful addition to the bathing ritual. Many tubs can have the option of a heated liner, or speed pump supports in the case of multiple users. The ultimate in personalization is a tub or shower equipped with stereo systems, televisions, or a telephone- even chromatherapy!
  • Toilets — check out the new modern and contemporary shapes rather than opting for a color. Consider as well the automatic flush feature, remote control bidet feature or a quick button flush on the wall. For lessening water consumption don't forget about the dual flush.
  • Lighting — Lighting fixtures are always at the forefront of design. There are rustic, country and funky statements being made everyday with a mixture of lighting sources. However, due to the multiple tasks taking place in this space consulting with a lighting specialist or using an interior designer would be ideal.
  • Accessories — From decorative towel bars, toilet paper rolls, faucets that can cost more than my first car, there are so many details out there waiting for you to put that final touch of sparkle that really adds your personal stamp.

The pictures show a bathroom full of personality. This is a favorite contemporary client, with a basement bath connected off the backyard pool, and hot tub. Every material selection from the stone feature wall to the suspended concrete basin, compliment one another and create the clients personal "understated elegance". The smooth simplicity of the hat box toilet and the large "clean" glass shower stall add the perfect balance when contrasted with the detailed wood wall and pebbled floor.

Throughout your bathroom renovation, the stress of all the possible options will send you straight back to the tub to relax. After completion however, the end result will provide you a space to reconnect with your inner self and continue to rejuvenate and inspire.

Hot tip — Use storage as a detail: leave your eye to enjoy only the more luxurious elements. In the image above, cubbies are created as a storage detail but brilliantly worked into the feature wood wall.

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