Cape Town based interior design creative and behavioural specialist – Kim Williams believes that all great bathrooms are instrumental in our ability to self-soothe and that well-planned and thoughtful design can enhance our experience of a space and contribute positively to our mental well-being.
Bathrooms are a quintessential example of a space that, with intuitive and considered design, have the potential to be functional, beautiful and significant in reducing our anxiety. By designing a soothing environment, we can create an oasis for us to retreat to, relax in and revitalise our souls after a long day.
Kim Williams’ Top 5 Tips for a Beautiful Soothing Bathroom Space:
Storage is essential in keeping an uncluttered space for the myriad of practical items like lotions, beauty products, soaps and shampoos you may have. Begin by identifying everything that the shower needs to store, and then implement the ideal sized in-shower storage and avoid annoying bottles falling all over the place. Having a linen cupboard to store dry items like toilet paper and towels, as well as the normal vanity storage, is always a bonus if one can find a nook for it.
Bring nature in…
Plants work so well in bathroom spaces and the naturally occurring ambient humidity from the steam of a shower is perfect for a wide array of tropical and sub-tropical plants including orchids, peace lilies, ferns and even air plants. They add a wonderful connection to nature, soften materials like marble or tile and add a gentle aspect of colour.
Use soft textures
Soft textures underfoot protect feet from surprisingly cold tiles and add a touch of luxury. Every bathroom needs a bathmat but depending on the size of the bathroom, don’t be afraid to use more than one, or explore different shapes like a round carpet in the middle of a bathroom
Many people under-style their bathrooms, leaving them with a stark or incomplete feel. Simple elements like small decorative shelves for face cloths, diffusers and plants can make the world of difference. Decanting oils and salts into pretty bottles can make a unique feature, add a spa-like element, and be arranged around a bath area to be both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
Mix and match
A combination of tiles in a bathroom creates a wonderful pattern even if they are all in one colour, and by using different shapes can create subtle interest. It is also a great way to create a feature area or wall with a smaller budget – one can combine cost-effective and expensive tiles to give a sense of elegance without the expense.
Think about seating
Having either a built-in shower seat, an ottoman or even a little bench to rest a towel on is always a nice touch and adds an element of luxury to a bathroom even in a much smaller space.
2020 brought a design revolution in what we want from our spaces as we all spent more time in our homes. Overall people have a greater desire to be more connected to nature, to warm up their spaces with earthy tones and soft textures and to add pops of energising colour.
Kim Williams’ top insights into bathroom Trends for 2021:
Europe is experiencing a movement away from white sanitaryware in bathrooms in favour of vibrant colours that create an energising atmosphere. However, in South African, we tend to be more conservative in the finishes we select. This is perhaps due to the costs involved in redoing a bathroom and explains why traditionally bathrooms have been kept very classic and monochromatic. Due to our more conservative nature, the trend towards coloured sanitaryware may not be observed as broadly here unless it’s in a fun area like a kid’s bathroom.
Although more people are becoming bolder in their use of darker moodier shades, we expect that 2021 will stick to a more classic take on European boldness and tones of serene blue and green will appear in tiles, patterned wallpaper and paint. Metallics are also set to shine and warm bronze and gold metallic stylings dominate the catalogues.
Bathrooms are a particularly important source of value in any home and a fabulous bathroom can add commercial value to the property. As an investment, it is important to remember to stick to what the owner prefers and not just what the market wants or what the trends are at that point. Contrary to what many believe, buyers of new properties are more likely to buy the unique experience of how a space feels over spaces that are devoid of personality, so infusing the space with personal style will allow all to enjoy it while one has use of it and can help the property to sell eventually.
Rise of the Wet Room
As spaces become increasingly smaller, 2021 is sure to continue to see an increase in the open-plan, wet room style of bathroom layout. The practicality of this layout is particularly useful in longer, smaller spaces, as it allows us to have the vanity, shower, and bath adjacent to one another forming one line.
The way we spend our time in the bathroom is far more than simply to get clean. For many of us, it is a place to focus on self-care, relax and to find a moment of peace after a long day.
It is not surprising then that we are spending more time in our bathrooms. Great bathroom design has the potential to create an environment that allows us to manage our anxiety by self-soothing with touches of nature, the feeling of warm water and the dim light of candles, and ultimately to improve our experience of being.