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Home / Decor & Design  / BATHROOMS | Our Top 5 Considerations

Bathroom, Powder Room, Lavatory, Rest Room, Wash Room, Ensuite, Loo, John, Ladies/Gents Room, Hothouse, The Throne… a bathroom has collected over the years more synonyms than Jacob Zuma has wives. This multi-tasking, High Achiever of a room conjures up emotions of both need and luxury; usefulness and indulgence . It’s a haven where you’re able to release your worries and stresses, as well as… errrr, well…. other forms of toxicity. But what happens if your home is not blessed with a naturally ostentatious form?

What if your bathroom’s bravado is all avocado??! Well, we here at Wishtank are here to help. Here’s our top tips for creating Beauty out of Beastly:


It is rare you hear me get all heart-attack-serious, but this is one area that’s no joking matter… It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to get the actual design and spatial planning spot-on in this room. Usually, floor space is a limited commodity and, as such, maximum practicality is required. Examine your and/or your partner’s bathroom routines with the closest of attention (Wow. Now there’s a Relationship Test for you); observe all the details of your hygienic habits, right down to the size of your shampoo bottles. Yes. Be THAT specific. If need be, call in an interior architect or designer to get this planning perfect – it is cheaper to consult with a professional than it will be to re-do your bathroom if you get it wrong! For example – picture the scene: You’ve woken up 10 minutes after your spouse. You wander over to the bathroom to relieve your morning bladder. Your other half is leaning over the basin, rinsing out his toothpaste. The toilet and the basin vanities are poorly designed at being only 80cm apart and facing each other. “Oh look. The MOON’s still out this morning!” (I rest my case. Call in the professionals!)


Morning views aside, other reasons to call in people who make designing their livelihood is for that ‘High End’ factor. This includes things like playing around with ceiling and floor finishes to create that perfect focal point, or finding the ideal spot to create a recess for concealed storage, to name but a few.


Start by making a list of all the items currently in your bathroom. Then divide that list into three columns, namely: “Things that look pretty”; “Things that aren’t pretty but that get used daily” and finally “Things that once seen can never be unseen and should therefore be hidden far, far away”.


In category one, we’re talking candles, plants, attractive baskets, stylish handwash and perfume bottles and any other bathroom accessory that would leave you feeling confident and un-blushed should the highly-unlikely-but-always-best-to-be-prepared event ever happen of Zac Effron himself asking to use your bathroom. These decoratives you place on a floating shelf, windowsill, leaning-ladder shelves or any other visually-pleasing storage surface.


In category two, you’ll find the less eyeball-worthy items of deodrant bottles, toothpaste and all other toiletries that are used every day. These you ideally place at eye-level storage – either you have a mirrored wall-hung cabinet or otherwise in top drawers near your bathroom vanity. If it can be avoided, try not to put these daily-use items in a cupboard under the basin – having to open and close that cupboard door 10 times a day can get tiresome and also an open door in a limited-space bathroom can be disruptive if there are more than one of you in said bathroom at the same time.


And lastly, category three is for any embarrassing hygiene products. I don’t know about you, but I still get reduced to a blubbering, humiliated teenager whenever I bump into someone I know in the grocery store and I have a giant, bulk-pack of toilet paper in my trolley. I feel the inexplicable need to defend myself and my bodily functions and accusingly blame some other member of my household for their excessive need for bog roll. (insert: eye roll for dramatic effect – from me; nervous, awkward laugh followed by quick exit excuse – from unsuspecting grocery store friend). Anyway. I digress. But please: to avoid unnecessary awkwardness, just conceal those kind of ‘items’ away at the very far recesses of your cupboards. Nobody needs to picture you doing any of that stuff, so don’t give away any visual triggers. Moving on!


The bathroom is one area where creating the right type of light is a sure way to dazzle your way into spa-like heaven!


First and foremost: task lighting. This is most important around the vanity area, where most would prefer the avoidance of accidentally applying eyebrow pencil to your lips and lipstick to your T-zone. If you’d prefer not to feel the need to kill yourself from (a) frustration at all those horrific shadows on your face and (b) self-loathing at looking two decades older, then do NOT put one overhead light above the vanity mirror. Rather invest in two lights on either side of the mirror, hung at eye level for maximum functionality, flattery and longevity.


And finally, don’t forget ambience and focal lighting… The obvious choice would be a sparkling chandelier above your claw-foot bath; and/or dimmer-switched lights, to control the mood you’re trying to set. But less-used options (but just as effective) are up-lighting in the floor, soft twinkly downlighters in key points or LED strip lighting under the rim of your vanity cabinet, bath or windowsill. You can even install strip lighting into your floor or under the curves of your toilet to illuminate your path during midnight loo visits. Snazzy, eh?


When space is limited, it’s time to think out the box. To create interest and incorporate some contrasting colour, pattern and tactile texture, look to the areas of the space where the most square metres are available for manipulation. In most bathrooms’ cases, it’s either the floors, walls or doors.


A classic tip for bathroom floors is to add in a touch of black or dark grey. Most sanitaryware is white, so the darker hues contrast spectacularly with the white. Lay down a large-format, deep-toned tile for a contemporary bathroom, or else a modern monochromatic messina tile for a more bohemian look. And of course, there are a huge range of geometric-patterned bathmats and vintage-worn area rugs available for an easy update. Please don’t put a bathmat the size of Taylor Swift’s kneecap beneath your grand-scale double vanity. It will be lost and it will look silly. Be conscious of proportions and match accordingly.


If at all possible, avoid tiling wall-to-wall. Naturally, your shower walls need to be tiled, and splashback tiling around your basin area and built-in bath is recommended. But for all other walls, leave them tile-free so that you can experiment with wallpapers, wood cladding or shiplap walls, contrasting paint colours and wall art. It gives you flexibility without the big wallet dent in a few years’ time, when your ADHD kicks in and you need a change. AGAIN. (Or is that just me?)


And finally, don’t forget the design-factor of your bathroom door… The most basic of average doors is 80cm x 198cm – that’s almost 1.6m² of valuable space that usually go completely under-appreciated! So dress that sucker up with paint, art, hearts, signage or even fabric! Nothing like an upholstered, padded door to set your style apart from average!


Your final consideration when dolling up your bathroom is ACCESSORIES. There are a whole host of options available for you, but to make it easy, check out our Bathroom Bliss blogpost here where we hand you some beauts to help you accessorize your ensuite or bathroom.


Also, consider some occasional and multi-functional pieces to inject some personality and functionality into this small space. Think a rustic wooden stool for next to your bath to hold your champagne and magazine (having a bath without either of these items is like driving from Cape Town to Johannesburg without a seatbelt… it’s just negligent behaviour, if you ask me); or a vintage chair. Or get an upholstered, lidded bench with storage inside that you can use as your laundry basket, but also as a seat for anyone who dares to interrupt your champagne-drinking, magazine-flicking bathtime blisstime!

So, there you have it, Wishtankers… our Top 5 Considerations when decking out your bathroom. Which ones are you going to use to show your loo some love?

  • Rose October 10, 2016

    Thank you for all these wonderful ideas and tips for the bathrooms. I like the lighting ideas all very important!!

  • Anni October 11, 2016

    Thank you for the utmost attention to detail, the design and storage ideas are a hit for me. Going to renovate my bathrooms, you have given me alot to think about. What a fun read too, I had a good chuckle.