We’ve talked a lot about master bathrooms, zen spaces, spa-inspired retreats and renovation solutions that are both beautiful and functional. We’ve also featured some dramatic powder rooms and pointed the way to carving a great space out of just a few square feet.

But the hardworking family bath is often neglected, both in homes and in design circles. If you have a secondary bathroom in need of a remake, consider these ideas to raise its status from “barely presentable” to “star of the show.”

Gain Visual Space

Create the illusion of more space without moving walls by lightening the look. Get rid of the old, heavy vanity cabinet, and substitute a “floating” shelf with a simple above-counter vessel. For a really streamlined look, add swing arm towel bars on either side, a wall mounted faucet that doubles as bathroom sculpture, and a lighted vanity mirror rather than a separate light fixture. The look is twice as stylish in a bathroom made for two. 

Shelve It — Literally

If you’re going for a minimalist or European look, you still need some storage. There are options that won’t detract from the open look: Remove the door and revamp an existing linen closet or storage cabinet with large “cubbies.” Contain clutter with boxes and baskets, and fold towels for a colorful display to compliment your decor. Another option: Embrace the spare look with open industrial shelving that reinforces function and at-your-fingertip access to grooming supplies. Or add a note of surprise and maybe a bit of humor with a repurposed antique, perhaps a painted chest, a dental cabinet or a metal school locker.

Return to Period Charm

If you’re a traditionalist at heart, flaunt it. Key your remodeled bathroom style to the things you love from the past. Install a clawfoot tub with elaborate plumbing, along with a pedestal sink. Bring in a genuine or reproduction barrel-top trunk to store towels, bath mats and pampering bath salts and lotions. Hang a floor length mirror on the wall and an ornate chandelier from the ceiling. If you have room, play up the period with an upholstered boudoir chair or fainting couch. Accessorize with old silver or glass apothecary jars on a small side table.

Compartmentalize

Having a sense of privacy can be the tonic that makes a family bathroom more practical. The popularity of “Jack and Jill” bathrooms may have waned since they were introduced decades ago, but it’s still sensible to separate some functions so that two or more people can use the bathroom at the same time. Create zones; add pocket doors or half walls to enclose your tub, shower and toilet. Don’t think that dual vanities have to be lined up next to one another. Think about ways to physically separate the space, particularly if you have children of both genders. It’s possible and it’s practical.

A newly designed bathroom,  can be attractive and “dreamy” in its own way. For additional advice and ideas, contact one of our consultants. We’d love to work with you to make every bathroom in your home a real dream.

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