Following up on my tips for designing bathrooms with dark colors article, here are some inspiration images of primarily dark bathrooms for a project I’m working on in Soho. New Yorkers tend to shy away from primarily dark colors because space is often limited and clients usually want an interior to feel as large and open as possible. If you are nervous about utilizing dark tile, concrete or stone in the gray/ black family, a good place to start is a half bath or a parlor area if either of those options are available. A parlor area can function as an accent adjoining a bedroom to a bathroom, or a hallway to a bathroom. Natural materials such as wood, concrete, marble or limestone can offset the darker colors and bring warmth into the room. The bathroom fixtures can be lighter in color serving as an accent to the darker space.
Choosing stone for your countertop, sink, wall tiles or floor in the your bathroom is a great alternative to tile. Stone tends to be easy to take care of, durable and there is a wide variety of options and finishes. The most widely used finishes are polished (high gloss), honed (smooth with squared edges) and distressed (aged look). The principal (non marble) stone types include limestone, slate, granite, sandstone and soapstone, travertine and onyx. Often the granite choice can depend on a wide variety of factors including which bathroom (is it heavily used or just a half bath?), budget, weight (some residences will require support beneath the bathroom to accommodate a large amount of stone), and the combination of other bathroom design elements. Stone offers a great deal of flexibility mixing and matching with wood, glass and even other types of stone. For flooring high gloss stones such as marble will stain easily and also be slippery.
1. Studio Sofield, 2. Chadbourne & Doss, 3. Vlassa Kverhulst, 4. Armani Hotel
Following up on my earlier post on using dark colors in bathrooms, here are several more inspiration images which incorporate different palettes. The first bathroom utilizes a color palette ranging from dark gray to lighter gray. This gives the bathroom a feel of warmth and balance and the cabinetry surrounding the sinks functions almost as an accent wall. The design feels rustic, clean and could be incorporated into several different styles. The designer was able to add nine cabinets without it feeling too dark or cluttered. It was important to select a neutral color for the floor that was lighter than the cabinets and gorgeous white bath also reflects the incoming light.
The second bathroom features an even mix of grays with the ceiling being slightly darker and the sink lighter. The sliding door is wide so enough to illuminate the space which is almost entirely dark and without a window. A large bright light is necessary to offset the darker colors as well. The 3rd design also has enough natural light to offset the colors, which get progressively darker. The white chair, mirror and sink function as accents.
Bathrooms do not have to always be designed with lighter colors, but having direct natural light or windows big enough is essential to offset darker colors. Bathroom fixtures can be a steel or lighter in color to compliment one or two accent walls. The bathroom fittings can be white or a neutral tone to offest dark colors. Lighting in bathrooms is even more important if you opt for grays or black to keep the room feeling balanced.
Bathrooms have evolved from utilitarian three fixture 5′ x 7′ rooms to much more sophisticated spa type rooms. Today residential homeowners are installing fireplaces, whirlpool baths, hot tubs, spas and saunas in bathrooms. There are designs implementing tvs, sound systems, vanities, and array of other options. Bathrooms are being built larger to accommodate more than basic hygenal needs and also to have the flexibility to accommodate more than one person.
One of the most important considerations for any bathroom is that the doorway should be designed to shield the inside visually if the door is left open when possible. The first decision if space is an issue is often whether to have a tub and shower or only a shower.
For materials I’ve found that limestone, slate, wood, marble and glass tile are some of the more popular choices for surfaces for high end bathrooms. The fittings (faucets, shower heads, lever handles, etc) should be the same finish to create harmony and continuity within the design. Matte nickel, chrome and brass are several of the nicer finishes used.
For lighting combining three types works best. Ambient or background lighting such as downlights, focused spotlighting using wall sconces on a mirror and accent lights such as candles is the ideal combination to illuminate evenly. The spotlights need to be the correct color temperature with a warm tone, to show skin tone most correctly. Dimmers should be installed on all of the lights bathrooms. Here are some of my favorite luxurious bathrooms. Which one is your favorite?