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Transforming a Bathroom into a Livingroom

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By Barbara Schmidt

(ARA) - The room that is undergoing the greatest amount of transformation in new construction and remodeling is the bathroom.

The average master bath has tripled in size since the 1930s. The bathroom was once designed as an oversized water closet, but people are now finding respite and sanctuary in multiple room master and guest baths. The weekend spa mentality has developed into a lifestyle that Americans want to experience on a daily basis.

Functional Furniture and Finishing Touches
Along with the larger space comes the question of what to build and design into an updated bathroom. Bringing furniture into the bath is a growing trend because furniture pieces make a bathroom feel cozier and less sterile . . . and they provide added storage.

Many manufacturers now offer fixtures like sinks set in furniture pieces designed specifically for the bathroom. Another option is to retrofit a dresser or armoire.

The Onda Collection from Porcher offers storage totems that blend with tubs and showers for a sophisticated European feel. These totems are an updated storage and display area solid enough to serve as a towel rack and sturdy enough to handle soaps and shampoos in the slide out drawers.

Easy to move around, the totems can be a designer’s dream used either as a single element or in a grouping. The collection is available in wenge wood or a lighter, whitened oak finish.

Mixing and matching furniture finishes to blend with the flooring and trim throughout your home creates a warm bathroom space and connects that bathroom to the rest of the home.

Moments of Relaxation

Look for spaces to rest in the bathroom. Add a stool near the tub or in the shower for a resting point. Simple chairs slipcovered in terry or chenille offer a place to rest and can withstand water. If space permits, add a pair of upholstered chairs with an ottoman for a private spot to read or relax after a hot bath.

Soft Lighting

Dimmers can be installed quickly and easily even with older electrical push-button switches. Candles are another great option because they can also add scent to the room. Designers like to place regular lamps on a vanity or shelf area. These give the bathroom more of a bedroom feel.

Flooring

Tile is a great option if you can warm it up. Look for an unexpected rug to add to the room. Instead of typical bathroom rugs, consider an Oriental, sisal or bound remnant piece. Or, for added warmth, install wood flooring instead of tile. These flooring ideas will bring your room scale and blend the design along with the other rooms in the house.

Wall Covering

No more printed borders! Splicing and dicing wall space makes a room feel smaller and busier to the eye. Wallpaper can work in the bathroom if you’re not steaming up the area all the time. If installed incorrectly, wallpaper will quickly curl in the corners and ruin the look of the room. Think about a softer, soothing painted color, wood panels or laminates for the wall. Adding warmth to the walls will help you feel relaxed when you walk into the room.

Bath Towels

Towels make you feel snuggly if they are soft, clean and fluffy. Relegate old towels to the rag bin and replenish your bath with new towels every year or so. Towels should blend in with bathroom decor and not contrast as the only element with or without color. This keeps your eye on the space and not the towels.

Clean and Clear

Uncluttered space is one of the most relaxing ways to enjoy a room. The bathroom should be clear of lots of small appliances, make-up, plastic plants, etc. The more items sitting around in a bathroom, the more difficult it will be to keep clean. Organizing your daily routine will help determine storage and placement of those things you need most.

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