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.

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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