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Zillow Real Estate

Get this look: Furnishing the bathroom

The bathroom is one of the humblest and undoubtedly hardworking rooms in the house. But just because the space is utilitarian, doesn’t mean it should be lacking in style. More and more, homeowners are furnishing the bath, doing more than just buying towels and a shower curtain. The result is a stylish space more like the living room than bathroom.

Update the vanity

An old chest gets new life as a vanity.

An old chest gets new life as a vanity.

“The epicenter of the bath is the vanity,” said Marc Thee, founder and principal desinger at Marc-Michaels Interior Design. “There’s two things you’re trying to accomplish: the aesthetic and the function. I’m a firm believer that when those two collide, really good design happens.”

There’s many ways to acheive a good marriage of design and function in the vanity — and it often doesn’t involve picking up a standard, built-in piece from a local hardware store.

“Try a repurposed furniture piece, a former hall chest, a vessel sink mounted on a chest of drawers,” said Thee. “You cannot convince me that a wooden top is not practical because there’s so many marine finishes you can apply.”

Storage is always paramount, but if you go with a traditional vanity, it doesn’t mean you need to stick with the usual storage options.

“Big, built-in vanities are full of storage, but they just look like big boxes. I prefer a separate wall-on cabinet to keep everything at your fingertips,” said Thee.

marc michaels

A silver tray holds accessories in this bath by Marc-Michaels Interior Design.

For the little stuff, try a decorative tray on the counter. Everything you use, from deodorant to lotion, can sit in the tray and, when paired with a few attractive pieces such as a plant or little sculpture, create a balanced arrangement.

Splurge on the backsplash


A decorative backsplash updates this bathroom.

The area above your sink is a small piece of real estate in terms of the entire bathroom, so it’s a place where even the most expensive tile can become affordable.

“Try a glass tile, a sculptural tile there,” said Thee. “Your bathroom floor tile or shower tile can be cheaper.”

Accessorize right
Hang towel bars low so you can put art work above them, advises Thee. And when thinking about paint color, think about a color that will look good in different lighting at all hours.

“Choose something a little more saturated, something more flattering to the skin,” he said. “Any shade of green will make you look sick, so think about the paint color and how it will make you look.”

When accessorizing the bath, go for items that will soften the room.

“The bathroom is all hard surfaces,” explained Thee. “The more softness, the better. I believe in white towels; they’ll give any bathroom that spa lift. The more towels, the softer the bathroom.”

white towels

White towels are an easy and affordable bath accessory.

A soft, tufted stool or a basket holding decorative items can add to a room. A plant — even if it’s dried or silk — can bring a sense of life to the bathroom.


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