Article by: Yanic Simard
Ever looked at a beautiful bathroom and wondered what takes its design to the next level? You’re not alone. Many homeowners want to know how some bathrooms get that mysterious designer je ne sais quoi. I’ll let you in on a few secrets. Because the overall material costs are low in a small space like a bathroom, it’s a great place to spurge a little on a few features. But it also helps to know where to spend and where to save. Here are a few of my favorite tricks for getting a nicely finished look for a lower cost.
Use a Smoky Glass
One of the rarer features I love is a smoky glass shower enclosure. It balances an air of privacy and sophistication with visual openness, and doesn’t add much to the cost versus clear glass.
(Also, notice how placing lights in front of the mirror rather than above it virtually doubles the amount of lighting, making the overall effect glowing and warm.)
If you do prefer the most open look, a clear glass panel is still a worthwhile upgrade from a shower curtain for creating a sense of modernity that gives a bathroom that sought-after spa appeal.
Taking tile from floor to ceiling is important in making a traditional or modern space feel high end …
… but that doesn’t mean you have to spend at the high end. Rather than tiling a whole room partway up, consider tiling just one or two walls top to bottom in a statement stone. You’ll still get that finished look without paying to tile the whole space.
Also consider running one type of tile across the floor and a wall for a strong, singular statement. And, of course, leaving the remaining walls white makes the veining the star of the show.
If you’re looking to tile all the walls without breaking the bank, especially if your layout doesn’t leave any walls safe from splashes and splatters, I would recommend classic subway tile over a faux stone. But to create a little drama, choose a dark grout …
… or a modern pattern like this simple stacked layout with a wide tile.
A large mirror has so much power. It cuts down on tile costs by filling much of a wall (while reflecting the material you do invest in) and can virtually double the size of the room, making it feel like a vast personal oasis …
… even if the room is a more modest size. Consider taking a mirror wall to wall. Notice how the wall here feels tiled, even though in fact there are only a few inches of stone backsplash below the mirror.
I designed this bathroom for a recent condo renovation; it has many of my favorite features described above, translated in a small space. You’ll notice that among all the attention-stealing details, there is a humble Ikea vanity, which I have used in multiple renovations. It’s sleek and simple, and the cantilevered style helps the room feel more open. Best of all, it costs about $480.