Everyone lusts after a huge shower. But sometimes with a small home there's just no way to make it happen. I promise that showers don't have to be grandiose in size in order to be elegant and hit the style mark. In fact, if you make the best choices, it's possible to create simple perfection in the tiniest of bathrooms. Let's look at how to accomplish this. There are a few basic rules to bear in mind at the start of any project, regardless of the exact size of your space.
First, it is advisable to keep a small bathroom monochromatic. The goal is to not have a visual break so as to keep the flow of the room. Within one color range, you can alter the size of individual design units, such as tile or natural stone, and mix up the materials. For example, you might begin with a floor of porcelain tile that is 16 square inches and light tan in color. That size tile will be too large for the area that slopes toward the drain. So it will be necessary to incorporate a tile that matches/blends and is no larger than a 4 square inches. You might use a mosaic or a 2-by-2-inch increment. The materials don't necessarily have to be the same. You could use a pebble that comes in natural brown tones with a little grey on the shower floor.
Next, to keep the flow of the room, you could use the floor tile all the way up the shower walls or conceive some type of pattern that utilizes a smaller dimension of the basic floor tile. One idea is to turn the floor tile on the diagonal for the shower enclosure. Another is to change the unit to a 12-by-12-inch version of your floor tile. The bottom line is to keep the tonality and overall color the same. Be sure to bring good-size samples home and view them in your home's lighting conditions. Do this at different times of the day, including after dark and when the colors are only visible by artificial light, to gauge how the surfaces will look.
Wet rooms are wildly popular these days. A wet room consists of a bathroom in which all the surfaces that could be sprayed by shower water remain unharmed — including walls and floors — and no shower enclosure is required. Subsequently, the room expands in a unique way. Here we see a sleek Scandinavian example that uses a pre-formed shower pan placed over the large floor tile. In just a 30-by-30-inch corner, a contemporary shower stall is formed without the bulk or expense of a glass enclosure. Note that the tile is run from floor to ceiling, which is another way to trick the eye into perceiving the space as much larger. You will also notice that a splash of color has been added here. The wall tile is a soft neutral tone; the porcelain floor tile is a similar tone that mimics a light wood.
Finally, try to avoid a lot of intricate detail. Keep it simple and clean in order to draw the eye swiftly up the wall. This applies to cabinetry as well. Obviously, not every small bath must be contemporary in style. But it is vital to minimize too much complexity and visual chaos.
Photo Credit: Ceramic Sant'Agostino
Christine Brun, ASID, is a San Diego-based interior designer and author of "Small Space Living." Send questions and comments to her by email at [email protected] To find out more about Christine Brun and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.