My, how the bathroom has evolved. Once reserved for the private rituals of grooming and never the subject of polite conversation, you'd hardly recognize its formerly pragmatic self (as recently as 20 years ago) next to today's sparkling, modern versions. Thanks to a trend toward incorporating furniture and even appliances into this busy space, it's finally become a "room" in its own right.
Dos and don'ts
• DO tuck a footstool beneath a built-in or freestanding makeup table to provide compact seating in tight quarters. A bench is also an ideal choice to set beside the tub, gracefully holding towels or toiletries within arm's reach.
• DO provide a stylish setting for an ordinary sink by using a chest of drawers as the vanity. Before purchasing, measure available space, including the depth of any baseboard or chair rail. In some cases, it's possible to decrease the depth of a piece of furniture by removing the back -- as well as the legs -- and installing the unit directly on the wall.
• DO create a tower of storage with an étagère. Its open shelves are ideal for rolled-up towels, baskets, candles and attractive bottles.
• DON'T overlook the impact of architectural salvage. For example, insert a wrought-iron gate to attractively fill an awkward dormer window; or create a dedicated makeup centre by hanging a large stone or plaster capital on the wall, or corbels supporting a small shelf.
• DON'T fret about lack of storage when armoires are so plentiful. Choose a tall version with closed storage; you might even hide a television or stereo system within.
• DON'T shy away from antiques in the bathroom. After all, a piece of furniture like a bergère or end table looks striking -- particularly in a contemporary bath, where it's unexpected. Place a Louis XVI-style gilt chair beside the tub to hold towels, or use a marble-topped guéridon table to display fine toiletries.
Image courtesy of Pottery Barn.