As an interior designer, I’m constantly thinking of ways to maximize functionality and bring individuality to my clients’ interiors. Bathrooms are no different. It’s where the day starts and ends. The design can set the morning mood or create a calming effect at night. Adding antique and fine furniture pieces that one traditionally finds in other rooms of the home, has always been something I have loved to do to set this space apart. Here are three specific reasons why I incorporate these decorative furnishings into bathroom design:
Add warmth to a cold space
The conventional bathroom features hard tile, metal and porcelain and can result in a room feeling sterile. To combat this cool aesthetic, I add antique furnishings and fabric to increase the warmth and personality of the room. It gives the bathroom depth and authenticity. Antique wood consoles & armoires, vintage lighting, and fine upholstery are some examples of items that can be incorporated into bathroom design.
The client loved blue and white, but we needed a few key pieces to add interest and soften the cool tones. Therefore, I added rustic painted Venetian side chairs and a large vintage scalloped mirror. This, along with the antique sconces, grounds our classic Greenwich, Connecticut, master bath design. Unique antique furnishings add warmth to the clean space and reinforce our modern traditional aesthetic.
Our modern traditional style means a mix of both new and antiques pieces. Repurposing antique furniture to replace typical fixtures is a great way to liven up a bathroom. In a recently completed Preston Hollow Mediterranean home, I used this antique Spanish turned leg library table as a vanity. Paired with the classic giltwood mirror, it adds warmth to this Simply White painted bath. Moreover, one-of-a-kind furnishings create individuality in interiors.
Elevate the space
Bathrooms can have more than fancy medicine cabinets and tissue boxes. They’re also a room that can display personal style and elegance. By adding beautiful furniture, the bath has a similar energy to the rest of the home. For example, luxurious draperies, antique armoires and decorative chandeliers all add sophistication.
I had the good fortune of traveling to France for our interior design project at Le Mas des Poiriers. For that reason, I was able to find inspiration locally in Provence and Paris shops. I love the way our French master bath feels more like a sitting room than a bathroom. An 18th C. Walnut Provençal armoire and giltwood Trumeau Mirror were chosen to anchor the white walls. In addition, tall gingham fabric draperies complete the elegant design. The bathtub is right in the middle of special antiques – très magnifique! If you want to read more about this project, see our Veranda feature.
In our neutral master bath in Litchfield County, Connecticut, I chose fine English antiques to enhance the space. Rather than opting for a generic corner builtin cabinet, I used a Rosewood drop-leaf table and carved wood mirror to highlight the first view into the bath. These rich furniture pieces contrast the playful striped floor. Again, I like the balance of this modern traditional feeling. Lastly, the choice of elegant silk mohair for the antique armchair elevates the bathroom design.
Designing in Dallas, I have an affinity for Spanish style homes. Creating Mediterranean baths by using rich terra cotta pavers and decorative patterned tiles is gratifying. To ensure a consistent design, I added new furnishings carefully. It’s important that they have the same rich feeling to elevate the design. Care was taken to find wall mirrors, lights and accessories that felt old and rustic. Moreover, the distressed folding bench feels antique within the context of this grounded space. Though each material is new, with careful choices, the bath is elegant and authentic.
It’s great to design and remodel a pretty bathroom, but it has to be functional too. The addition of beautiful furniture is an opportunity for style and storage too. Organizing guest towels, cosmetics, and supplies in an antique family heirloom, for example, can work nicely in a bathroom and add unique character.
I love the look of a pedestal bath sink, but it doesn’t offer much storage. I always like to include an alternate storage location when I use a pedestal sink. In this classic Powder Bath, I used a small leather chest. Not only does this allow a pretty place to showcase flowers and hand towels when guests arrive, but it has lots of space for cleaning supplies and other bathroom essentials. It’s great to use fine furniture pieces to hide away supplies. Plus, the extra storage space enhances this bath’s design. To see more of this modern traditional signature style home click here.
In this spacious Mediterranean master bathroom, we added rustic furniture to compliment the builtin vanities. The carved Spanish demilune table was chosen specifically to offer our client a place to display seasonal foliage at the entrance of the bath. The antique Spanish chest and side chair round out the space decoratively, but offer another surface to organize the client’s jewelry and a place to sit and change shoes.
I hope this post has given you a new perspective on bathrooms. Also, that it’s left you with ideas on how to create your own signature style.