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Choosing a Bathroom Style

Learn the characteristics that make up today's varied schools of style, along with design tips from Sheila Bridges to ensure you get all the details just right.

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You probably have a general idea of the difference between, say, classic and country designs, but a really pulled-together look depends on how you handle the details. Use the guide below for tips on what makes your favorite style unique.

Classic Bathroom: Formal, with architectural detail. The masculine bathroom favors stone and fine woods like mahogany while in the feminine bathroom woods are light and tiles small-scale. Fixtures are always decorative.

- In classic style, balance is the key. When in doubt, buy a pair.
- Furniture is formal, not fancy, with tight backs and small, rolled arms.
- Keep wood furnishings dark and remember longevity of furniture matters more than following the trends.
- Make use of classic shapes — urns, columns and pineapples
- If you are at odds over choosing a style, decorate to match the architectural style of the room.
- Color can be bold or basic, but patterns take a backseat. Classic style leans towards monochromatic or duo-chromatic color schemes.
- To conceal scratches on mahogany, walnut or oak furniture, paint over them with a small amount of iodine.

Modern Bathroom: Sleek and clutter-free, with liberal use of materials such as glass, chrome and Corian.

- Modern style means clean lines and simple, geometric shapes.
- Modern, mid-century furniture is the way to go.
- Choose sleek materials such as stainless steel, glass and plastic.
- Keep wood pieces detail-free.
- Color schemes are simple and textures have a starring role.
- The number one style trait of Modernists is that they hate clutter.
- Modernism owes its sleek, mass-produced look to advances in manufacturing techniques.
- Another color choice is red, which increases the heart rate, appetite, passion and energy.

Country Bathroom: Casual and cozy, with such features as a wood floor, beadboard paneling or pedestal sink. Accent pieces are painted or distressed.

- Country style furnishings are casual and comfortable — pieces have high, cushioned backs and large, rolled arms.
- Woods are light and grainy, painted or distressed.
- Fabrics are plaid, floral or striped.
- Personal touches bring a country home to life.
- For a country kitchen look, take anything that comes in a bag or a box and place it in a glass jar.
- Tarnished metal is a result of exposure to a source of sulfur in the air.
- In the 18th and 19th centuries, pinewood was considered low quality, which is why it was often painted.
- Shop for vintage accessories and country-style furniture like a pro — bring a Polaroid camera, a pad and a pen and the most crucial item, a tape measure.

Eclectic Bathroom: Uses colors and materials that let the imagination run free

- Mix different styles and periods.
- Design by instinct: If you love it, it will work.
- Shop at flea markets and specialty stores.
- Create cohesion with color and reputation.
- Don't forget the details. Accessories like wall sconces, glassware and linens make a big difference in a room's design.
- Whether you choose solids, stripes or prints, make sure to employ a unifying color.
- Try cutting soft pastel colors with furniture that is very dark.

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