Monday, 10 October 2011

Bathroom or boudoir? Today’s bathroom is all about indulgence

As our lives become more stressful, we inevitably seek out space to relax, to indulge, to just be still and contemplate. Our bathrooms can be that space. The creation of a warm, relaxing retreat within the home is a dream cherished by many. Today’s trends for smoothing hard edges, introducing soft furnishings to the bathroom, and adding texture and warmth all point towards a bathroom that is for pampering rather than mere practicality.

Bedroom and bathroom space is beginning to merge: both are private spaces where you can be alone and relax away from the busy hum of everyday life. We have seen luxury items such as deep, freestanding baths creep into the bedroom; now, as well as spacious, light shower enclosures, big, deep baths and plenty of space to move around, today’s bathroom has more integrated storage than ever before to reduce the appearance of unwanted clutter, and we’re seeing the arrival of soft furnishings in a previously hard space.

Rugs, pictures, decorative items, a cosy armchair or pretty chaise longue – none of these items now seem out of place in a bathroom; rather they inspire us to want similar indulgence in our own homes. Soft edges and warm shades make us feel snug and cosseted;

the ongoing importance of all matters environmental has led many of us to demand eco-friendly materials, and an environmental or natural motif in interior design can be aspirational. Appliances which are ingenious in their use of water, appearing to deliver a luxurious gush while in fact conserving this precious resource, are more in demand than ever. And water itself can be manipulated to delight us: waterfall taps, wider than a typical tap and cut back at the top to expose the beauty of the moving water, are a simple addition that can bring a touch of the spa to your bathroom.

Heat, too, is important in developing that sense of bringing a spa into your own home. Heated towels in which to wrap yourself after a relaxing bath or shower are a simple luxury, and thermostat controlled underfloor heating allows you to control your immediate environment to your own total satisfaction.

Freestanding fittings – a bath in the centre of the room, a walk in shower with a single panel, a washstand with countertop basin – all lend the bathroom an air of flexibility, of decadence, that is hard to beat. Hardworking storage helps to maintain this feeling of space: well placed cupboards, drawers, and shelves allow you to display some items while tucking others out of view – and a capacious washstand, corner tallboy and well placed towel rack would be complemented by a set of wicker or water hyacinth baskets, placed seemingly at random about the room.

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