Bathroom Decorating Ideas and Trends

Bathroom decorating ideas run the gamut from fun and whimsical to stark and simple. Regardless of the style, we all want a bathroom that functions well, meets our needs, and looks great. Bathrooms are "big ticket" rooms, and like kitchens, can become rather pricey. However, there are many stylish options available to keep your bathroom budget from breaking the bank.



Budget Renovated Bathroom

Bathrooms have a tendency to show their age fairy quickly. Outdated tile styles and "once-trendy", color coordinated porcelains (remember the pink tub, sink and toilet?), speak of a not-so-favorable, yester-year look. If you have a home built in the 80's you may still have shiny brass faucets and shower door framing. Yes, these finishes and styles had their time and their day, but their day has ended - for now at least.

When it comes to major renovations, like those typical of bathrooms, most people do not want to repeat the project every couple of years to keep up with current trends. If you are spending the bucks, you want a look that lasts. You want to get the most bang for the buck. How do you do this? Choose classic styling with the bathroom decorating ideas below.


Learn more about the above bathroom makeover.

Consider These Design Options and Bathroom Decorating Ideas

  • COLOR:

    When it comes to bathrooms, I tend to lean toward soothing color combinations. You want to achieve a relaxing environment that is not too busy or fussy. Neutral palettes allow for your accessories to speak. Introduce color with your towels. If you go this route, you can easily change your look simply buy purchasing accessories of a new color. Soft grays with white trimwork is a nice, clean scheme. Add in white porcelain facilities with chrome fixtures and you have a sophisticated look. Do the same with soft-hued beige tones or choose a calming green and feel serene. Go contemporary with blues and charcoals combined with dark espresso cabinetry and brushed-nickel fixtures. Add in some white towels to "set it off" and develop a more spa-like feel. Consider painting an accent wall rather than the whole room if you are working with a rather small bathroom. Bathroom decorating ideas are often born from a color direction, so visit your local home improvement paint center and browse their endless available colors.

Bathroom color recommendations for Behr Paint

Behr Premium Paint Available At Home Depot

(available at Home Depot®)


  • TILE:

    Choose tile that is neutral. Neutral doesn't mean boring. You will be amazed at the wonderful tones and textures available that will still coordinate with your bathroom decorating ideas and any color scheme you could dream up. When it comes to tiled walls, shower surrounds and backsplashes, use a bit of control. Mini-mosaic tiled walls, although cool, may develop a dated look. Choose a nice accent tile that matches your flooring. Add in a darker or lighter contrasting color to create a border or pattern if desired. There are many, decorative tile borders available to choose from. If you want a bit of shimmer and dazzle, add some glass tile, but again, don't over do it. If you want to play it safe, choose the ever popular and timeless look of subway tile.

    When it comes to bathroom flooring, tile and stone are the best options in my book. Look for surfaces that have texture and will not become too slippery when wet. Slate provides a wonderful, earthy look for a more organic, warm feel. There are many ceramic tiles that mimic the look of natural stone too. You may also want to consider radiant heat flooring options.


  • TOILET, TUB AND SINK:

    These pieces should match each other unless you are creating a tile shower surround for instance in lieu of a tub, or if you are using a decorative, unique vessel sink. If you want to play it safe, I suggest choosing all white. You won't have to worry about a dated look developing, and any colors you choose to incorporate will work. White naturally has a sterile look that assists in creating a spa-like quality people tend to favor.

    Eco Tip When it comes to toilets, choose one of the many high-efficiency models available to help reduce water consumption.

    If you are dealing with a small space, consider some of these bathroom decorating ideas. Use pedestal sinks to create a more open feel or consider a wall mounted sink. If you want a more unique look, choose a vessel sink. You can buy a complete set that contains the sink and the vanity or try purchasing only the vessel bowl and using your own piece of free-standing furniture as a vanity for a custom look.
    Copper vessel bowls create quite an impact. There are also many sink vanities available in all price ranges that can quickly update your bathroom.





  • FIXTURES AND FAUCETS:

    Fixtures and faucets are where you can really have some fun to show off your style or to make a statement. The abundant designs and finishes available will enable you to find the perfect complement for your bathroom. In fact, something as simple as a sink faucet may help you establish your design direction or give you some preliminary bathroom decorating ideas to pursue.

    Oil-rubbed bronze has grown in popularity over the past few years and is a great choice for traditional and Mediterranean styled bathrooms. Brushed-nickel is still a popular choice for contemporary styled bathrooms. Polished chrome, which lost a bit of gusto during the mass appeal of brushed-nickel, is coming back into vogue. Choose this sleek finish for all design styles. It is the "go-to" finish for modern and minimalist styled bathrooms.

    Besides finishes are mounting options and handles. Do you want a three-handle set for your shower? Do you want a central lever or two separate handles for your sink? These are personal preferences and are dependant on your particular mounting application. For a sleek, modern look, get a wall mounted faucet.





  • THE SPA SHOWER:

    The walk-in shower has grown leaps and bounds with style and technology. The single shower head has been traded-in for multiple body jet sprayers and steam options. Fully tiled walk-ins with all-glass surrounds are just plain cool. Built-in bench seating is another feature to consider. Let your unique tiling details continue into the shower to really make a statement.

    Custom walk-in showers can be pricey but there are ways to achieve some of these luxurious features on a budget. Overhead rain showers add a bit of exotic flair to your bathroom. There are other budget-friendly options too, such as this rain showerhead by Delta. If you're going to the extent of a walk-in shower, consider some of these upgrades. Your body (and mind) will thank you!


  • LIGHTING:

    Lighting is extremely important in a bathroom; especially in the vanity and sink area. This busy spot requires plenty of ample lighting. New lighting is one of the easiest ways to update the look of your bathroom. Three-light vanity fixtures are perfect choices for above-the-mirror applications. Choose a finish appropriate to your style and preferably one that matches the finish of your bath fixtures. Change the globe shape to alter the look of the lighting or to achieve a better suited style. Chrome fixtures with square shades are good for modern and contemporary baths while an oil-rubbed bronze finish with fluted shades speaks more to a traditional style.

    Do you have a double sink vanity with "his and hers" areas? Consider these bathroom decorating ideas. Choose a three-fixture light for each spot or for a classy look, consider wall sconces instead. Place one on each side of the mirrors or use three by placing one each on the far sides of the two mirrors and the third one between the mirrors. Be sure to keep your spacing consistent from mirror edge to sconce in all directions.

    Vintage lighting found at architectural warehouses can provide a unique, custom touch. Outdoor lighting can be used indoors too.




  • Use outdoor lighting (see row above) INDOORS for a cool, industrial vibe. Consider Edison Bulbs for a retro look.


  • MIRRORS:

    What type or style mirror should you choose for your bathroom? Frameless, floating mirrors look nice in minimalist and modern spaces. Use framed mirrors in traditional and contemporary bathrooms while matching the frames to your chosen style. One large mirror looks great over a single sink. When dealing with double sink vanities, opt for two separate mirrors rather than one large one. You could even hang three in a row for a sleek look. Using framed, single mirrors in this manner allows them to feel more like wall art for the room. Use round or oval mirrors for a more relaxed, casual or romantic look. Visit Frugal Interior Design's Mirror Shop to see some of my recommendations. The perfect mirror may help spark your design direction and give you some initial bathroom decorating ideas.



Establish some bathroom decorating ideas from the following:


Dairyland Drive Property


Mosaic Tiled Sink
This built-in vanity had a laminate countertop. Italian tile and mosaic accents replaced the laminate giving it an "Old World" feel. Oil-rubbed bronze hardware and fixtures were the preferred finish to further enhance this style.

Tuscan Styled Bathroom
Italian tile continues onto the floor, replacing old vinyl. A faux marble paint finish was chosen to replicate the look of the alabaster-tone tile and to mask minimal defects from the wallpaper removal.

Bathroom Built-In Shevling
Built-in features, such as shelving, really add character and free-up space in rooms. This opening was originally a doorway to another room. It was closed off and the space created was utilized to run HVAC ductwork to a second level (on the right side) and the remaining space was turned into shelving for towels or other bathroom decor and accessories.

Want to create this look in your bathroom?


Bathroom Decorating Accents and Design Elements

Follow these bathroom decorating ideas to achieve it.

  • Choose an accent color (or colors) and search for similarly colored decor. Use this accent color on a wall to build further cohesion. In this room, a navy blue color was used for the wainscoting, vanity backing and trimwork. Terra cotta colored accent tiles compliment the blue and add interest to the neutral tiling. The terra cotta, being so minimally used became the predominate accent color choice for decor and accessories. The deep rich color is seen in candles, towels and glass pieces.

  • Choose materials and repeat them throughout the space. Nature inspired decor was utilized to create cohesion. Bundles of twigs flank the tub, decorative drapes hang from a tree branch and a hollow tree limb becomes a piece of art. Unique glass lidded jars and bottles are dotted throughout the space as are rusted metal and oil-rubbed bronze pieces.

    Oil-rubbed bronze faucets and fixtures are used in both the sink and tub/shower. Look for pieces that are a matched set. This set is by Moen.

    Take care to match the rest of your finishes appropriately. The towel bar set is in oil-rubbed bronze, as are the outlet and switch plate covers and even the bathroom's door handle. Don't forget the toilet lever too.

    Note: I strongly recommend Moen as they stand behind their products.
    They have sent me replacement parts as needed without hesitation.


  • Add interest with various textures. The rough textures of the branches and twigs are in stark contrast to the velvety finish of the towels and the soft, organic drapery. The chosen tiles create a "rough-look" with their inset veining patterns, mimicked by the faux paint and balanced by the smooth finish of the porcelain sink, toilet and tub. More unique textures are evident in the use of roping and jute twine.

  • Repeat a pattern or design motif. Straight lines and angles are seen in the placement of the tile patterns to the shape of the built-in vanity. Three pieces of rectangular wall art emphasize the line and balance which is again repeated in the stripes of the wainscoting. Pillars and columns, seen as wall art subject matter, are repeated as candle holders.

  • Add a special touch by displaying hand-made soaps. The rustic bowl above was found in a storage unit and was the perfect compliment to the tile. The sink's soap dish is actually a candle pillar base. Consider "repurposing" items you find if they fit your decor. These bathroom decorating ideas cost less than $20.00.
These bathroom decorating ideas were born from one thing, the Italian tile. See how you can develop an entire, cohesive look from an inspiration piece?


Furnace Road Property


Vintage Styled Bathroom

A 19th century log home gets a bathroom renovation with a vintage vibe. A unique, green color "paints" the newly installed wainscoting which replaced wall laminate. Wonderful, earthy, rust and beige toned tiles set-off the space with a unique, diamond inset "rug" bordered by an amber stone and mosaic cabochon tile.

Rustic charm is enhanced further as this homeowner "repurposed" an old utilitarian style shelf for towel storage and added an old stool as a small table.

Frugal TipThese frugal bathroom decorating ideas were achieved at little cost and provide some unique character and charm. Look for similar, old pieces at yard sales, estate sales and flea markets.


Vintage Bathroom With Clawfoot Tub
A new sink, tub and toilet provide a clean, sharp look. The white pieces provide a nice contrast against the flooring and green, accent wall color.

Note: Greens are "HOT" right now.
Try adding green to one of your rooms.


Clawfoot Tub
A replica clawfoot tub introduces some authentic,
period-appropriate details that were missing from the home. A chrome hand shower adds a nice, vintage touch.


Hickory Hill Property


Traditional Styled Bathroom
These smart homeowners developed their bathroom decorating ideas around key features that were already present in the space. Rather than replacing the existing toilet and tub/shower enclosure, both in good condition, they decided to work with what they had. A coordinating gold color was chosen for the accent paint and a nice, chocolate brown provides some rich contrast.

Traditional Bathroom Cabinetry
The traditional detailed vanity got a hip face-lift with the use of the new accent colors. A decorative tile accent above the backsplash, creates a nice border of interest; giving the sink and vanity area an updated, contemporary look. Oil-rubbed bronze fixtures were chosen and work especially well with this bathroom's color story.

Tile Flooring Decorative Inset
Old, vinyl flooring was replaced with a swirly, chocolate-brown tile and accented with a decorative, inset border that matches that of the vanity backsplash.

Share your personal, bathroom decorating ideas and photos
in the Frugal Design Workshop.


Bathroom Decorating Ideas For Theme

It's pretty easy to pull together a coordinated look in a bathroom. Just walk to the bed and bath section of any department store and you have entire "themed" ensembles that remove the guess work. However, many of these coordinated sets look a bit too " matchy, matchy". Pick a few key elements you want to include, such as the shower curtain for instance, but purchase your own ensemble of towels in solid colors that match the curtain instead. Throw in some complementing color hand towels or a few that go with the set for interest and cohesion. Check below for more bathroom decorating ideas.

The beach theme is one of my favorites for bathrooms. The soothing colors naturally develop a spa-like retreat. It's easy to find decor and artwork to match, or to create your own with bags of seashells, available in most craft stores and departments. Place some shells in clear glass jars or bowls and create a small vignette. Choose soft, muted, blues and sandy beiges. Add natural, solid-color fabrics in towels and drapery, such as shower curtains. Use actual rope to tie back curtains and introduce a unique texture.

The nautical theme, could be very much related to the beach theme above. You could choose deeper blues and whites with hints of red. Think of lighthouses. Add in unique, reclaimed pieces such as old oars for decor. Gray, blue and white work well with this theme too. Use natural rope with this theme as well.

Go Zen with a bright green wall, white accents and lots of natural wood tones. Bamboo floor mats add texture and a frameless mirror keep things balanced and simple.

For a traditional bathroom, introduce some rich color to your walls; a deep red for instance. Consider faux finished painting for a more romantic approach.

Botanical themes are easy to pull off. Look for a shower curtain you really like. Pull a few of the lesser used colors from the curtain to develop a color for an accent wall and colors for your towels and accessories. Create some custom artwork from the fabric of a second shower curtain. Cut out pieces that depict a botanical image or a section of the print you favor and frame them.

Consider flat sheets for other bathroom decorating ideas. Create custom drapes and outer, decorative shower curtains, as well as artwork from sheets. Don't allow your ideas to be inhibited by a small selection of shower curtains. Make your own. Look at other suitable fabrics as well to develop more ideas.

These bathroom decorating images may help inspire your color direction and style. More bathroom decorating ideas may come to you from viewing these bathrooms.


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