Make Yours a Shabby Chic Bathroom
Would you like your bathroom to be a perfect sanctuary to relax in? Do you like old-fashioned country style bathrooms but want to add more informality and vintage charm? Why not go shabby chic?
This much-maligned moniker takes its inspiration from traditional bathroom design – and then mixes and matches different design elements to take the bathroom space from being elegantly formal to imperfectly pre-loved. And if you’re wondering, shabby chic bathrooms don’t have to be shabby at all – some can be very polished indeed!
It’s not difficult to achieve a relaxed shabby chic ambience with your own bathroom design, whether you’re planning to have a new bathroom installed or are looking for clever touches to transform an existing space.
Start with a neutral palette – white, off-white, cream or grey is a good starting point. Alternatively, you can add more feminine appeal with soft pastel pinks, powder blues, mint greens or soft yellows. When choosing your colour scheme, bear in mind that you are creating an old, slightly distressed look. Stay away from bright modern hues and shiny finishes and choose chalky, vintage paint finishes and muted colours instead.
Floors and walls
To get the full shabby chic effect, stay with traditional surfaces such as whitewashed wooden floorboards and panelled or painted walls, or use original encaustic tiles, natural stone or vintage flooring if you’re lucky enough to have the opportunity. Why not add a vintage rug to soften the floor, or an oil painting to add interest to the bathroom walls?
Fixtures & Fittings
From bath taps to light pulls; there’s a wide choice of eclectic bathroom bits and pieces to choose from. Ask your bathroom designer or supplier for traditional style fixtures and fittings. Take a trip to your local architectural salvage dealer or antique market to see if you can pick up a few things.
No need to worry about co-ordinating fixtures, fittings and furniture – the mismatched traditional look is a deliberate effort to create and ‘effortlessly thrown together’ ambience. It’s the eclectic mix of different types of traditional materials and once-perfect items that create the charming result.
Bring it all together with a luxurious freestanding bath, ideally with claw feet, and make it a reclaimed or antique tub for extra authenticity. And how about fitting a chintz or lace shower curtain or adding a vintage privacy screen? Also look for Victorian bathroom fixtures, a traditional high-level pull cistern WC and generously sized, traditional washbasins or a washstand. Make sure you stay as far away as possible from modern, minimalist and streamlined designs.
No shabby chic bathroom would be complete without at least one piece of antique or distressed furniture. It could be an heirloom chest of drawers placed near the bath for convenient storage of towels and toiletries. Maybe some whitewashed vintage storage shelves to hold towels and washcloths, or a rustic wicker chair as a useful accessory? If there is enough space, a French armoire or a large antique mirror could look stunning.
Base your bathroom lighting around natural light – big feature windows are a plus – and perhaps a traditional chandelier. You could add an antique oil lamp, a silver candelabra or vintage votive candles to add to the relaxed ambience.
Decorative bathroom accessories that are pretty and delicate will complete the shabby chic look in your bathroom. Think antique glass bottles or apothecary jars arranged on a country dresser. Meadow flowers in an enamel country jug displayed on a rickety coffee table. A wire mesh, or wicker basket holding lavender soaps and bath accessories… Dressing table crystal-ware. Towels draped over antique chairs…
All that remains to do now is to run a luxurious bubble bath and let your troubles float away…
Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer working together with Sussex-based bathroom design specialist The Brighton Bathroom Company, who were consulted over the information in this post.