Often the site of sterile built-ins and boring bathmats, bathrooms are getting an upgrade this year—thanks to the trend of traditional home furnishings in the bath. Whether it’s a fine rug or a sturdy sideboard, incorporating a thoughtful piece or two can soften the antiseptic tub-and-tile look and connect the bath to rest of a home’s decor. “Ultimately, it can make a bathroom feel more relaxed and spa-like,” says interior designer Colleen Heldt, principal of Littleton-based CC Designs. “It takes some creativity, but it makes an impact.”
Ready to try the trend? Before you do, visit the Colorado Fall Home Show—September 7–9 at the Colorado Convention Center—where professional interior designers, including Heldt, will present tips to help you get the look, like these:
Clear the air. Before bringing traditional furnishings into the bathroom, it’s important to address ventilation, Heldt says. If you’re not confident in your ventilation system’s ability to combat humidity, test out the trend in a powder room, where moisture is less of an issue.
Start at the bottom. Depending on the size of your bathroom, consider covering the chilly tile floor with a fine rug. “Obviously you don’t want to use it as your bath mat,” Heldt says, “but fine rugs are meant to withstand all kinds of stuff.”
Create a connection. When chosen thoughtfully, furnishings in the bathroom will connect the space to the rest of the home. To find the right pieces, “keep in mind what’s already in the house,” Heldt says. Replacing just one built-in storage piece with a dresser in the style of your bedroom furnishings can accomplish quite a bit.
Balance form and function. Many designers love converting dressers or antique sideboards into sink-holding vanities, which looks great—but often sacrifices function. “Keep in mind that bureaus or chests are not designed as deep as a typical vanity, at 21 inches,” Heldt says. “When you convert something, you are losing storage space to plumbing, which might make this a better option for a powder bath, where storage is less important.”
Store more. “I love the idea of freestanding storage in the bathroom,” Heldt says. “Antiques that don’t work in other areas of the home can be put to great use in the bathroom.” Grandma’s highboy dresser might not work with your dining room chairs, for example, but in the bathroom it can become a highly functional statement piece.
Soften the edges. Many new bathrooms have a modern style that might fight with the traditional furnishings in the rest of a home; adding a transitional piece of furniture can help bridge the style gap. “We did this in a Cherry Creek condo by toning down a contemporary bathroom with the addition of an armoire instead of built-in cabinetry,” Heldt says. “It instantly changed the feel of the room—and pulled in the client’s style.”
Learn more about this and other decorating trends at the Colorado Fall Home Show, September 7–9 at the Colorado Convention Center, where more than 250 exhibitors will offer tips, tools, and the latest home-design ideas. Tickets are $8 for seniors, $10 for adults. For more information, visit coloradogardenfoundation.org.