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Edition 05

Bathrooms‘Re-birthed’

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Transforming a hollow bath space into a lively atmosphere that’ll brighten your mood calls for one to cost effectively nurture some interior design impulses without letting looks alone be the be-all-end-all deciding factor, writes Oliver ODHIAMBO.

ARE YOU GRAPPLING WITH IDEAS to help you transform your bathroom? Is your desire to change it from a bland space into a unique and lively atmosphere that brightens your mood, day after day? 

Well, you’ve seen it all too much: the white or beige bathroom with the plain tiles. No theme and no energy. It’s just there without a presence beyond what it is – a bathroom. But hold on! This isn’t about an extensive remodeling project. If everything is in working order, it’s not necessary or cost effective to tear apart and reinstall everything.

Pick an easier option

Although remodeling would be nice, the option may not be feasible for everyone considering the realities of these harsh economic times. You can therefore make the most of what you already have with very minimal effort.

Nurture your interior design impulses, and consider giving your bathroom a new colour. Leave everything else untouched, and work with the furniture and décor that you already have. For about Ksh20,000 or less, you can take a weekend to reinvent your bathroom space. This is one task that’s practical. It certainly is a do-it-yourself project.

If you want to invest a little more to give your room an even bigger facelift, you can redesign your floors and tiling to redesign your bathroom’s look and feel. Based on your budget and time, you choose whether to keep it simple or invest a little more. Your options are limited to the materials that you choose to use.

Selecting colours

In general, you should limit yourself to three colours when decorating a small or medium bathroom. Four colours may be appropriate for larger bathrooms. If you work with gradients, try to stick within three or four shades.

It is important to choose one or two bright colours, and select a couple of complementary neutral shades to achieve aesthetic balance. Make sure that your colours work together to create an overall desired effect: try to avoid mixing warm shades with cool shades, and don’t pick colours that clash. Pay attention to the bigger picture while you plan the smaller details.

Paint or wallpaper

Paint and wallpaper are two options that you may be considering. You may find a colour or pattern that you love, and you may feel instantly motivated to move forward with that new design. Be careful – don’t let looks be your be-all-end-all deciding factor.

The bathroom is a moist and humid environment that is perfect for bacteria and mildew to grow. For this reason, surfaces in your bathroom should be easy to clean and to keep clean. Wallpaper is a tough material to maintain. It dries slowly and can become damaged quickly even when coated with a protective vinyl layer.

Durable option

Owing to these characteristics, wallpaper has a relatively short lifespan compared to tile or paint. Ideally, if you must wallpaper your bathroom, you should have a space that is medium to large sized and well ventilated. These types of spaces tend to be dryer and less conducive to mildew growth than small and humid spaces.

For bathroom walls, paint is a durable option and will last for several years. When choosing colours, you have ultimate decision-making authority, regardless of whether you’re interested in choosing a neutral or vibrant shade. You can even mix and match colours to achieve your desired look and feel.

Using tiles

Tiles are smooth surfaces that are easy to wipe down with water, sponges, and soap. Porcelain and ceramic tiles are available in a variety of colours and patterns that you can coordinate to create entirely unique designs. Choose between preconfigured designs, or create your own. Mix neutral tiles with brighter colours for subtle splashes of colour, or choose bold-coloured designs for a more dramatic look.

If you would like a bathroom with an artistic look and feel, design a glass tile mosaic. You can use glass tiles in small pieces to create designs and patterns in a variety of colours. Glass tiles are ideal for countertops, walls, shower walls, and floors. You can make mosaics in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Ideally, you should only tile part of your wall up to a certain height and then paint the remainder. Don’t tile for functionality alone; instead, use tiles to work with the colours that you have by creating a contrast trim or complementary shade.