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How to Transform Your Bathroom into a Living Space


Once the most overlooked space in a home or business, the bathroom is now at the forefront of interior designers’ minds. It’s no longer just a “washroom” with boring white tile and an outdated shower curtain. Today’s bathrooms are designed as places to relax, to pamper, to groom and to show off. Here’s how to make the change in your home.

Bathrooms are functional and practical, but that doesn’t mean they need to be sterile. There’s a fine line between pristine and clinical, minimalistic and austere. Be brave and choose bold colors, a large mosaic, or unique wall art. Pop-art wallpaper draws the eye and bring another dimension to the room. Bathrooms are the perfect place to experiment with ideas you may not want to try in a larger room in your home. 

“Powder rooms are usually where I really go all out, break all the rules and use materials that might look over the top in larger spaces,” says interior designer Melissa Miranda. 

Lighting is incredibly important in a bathroom, so why not make it enjoyable, too? Beautiful light fixtures bring immediate luxury to a space, no matter what size the room. Take away harsh light bulbs and replace them with the soft touch of a pair of sconces framing your mirror, or choose an ornate chandelier in the center of the room to shimmer light onto your walls. Lighting options are plentiful; from modern and contemporary to classic and timeless, you can easily set the stage of your bathroom with your choice of fixtures. 

Living spaces are largely defined by furniture. To bring a bit of comfort to your bathroom, add a plush chair and ottoman if there’s room. For a unique take on a vanity, refurbish an antique dresser. Looking for creative storage ideas? Use a farmhouse hutch as a medicine cabinet or a place to store your towels and additional accessories. A simple piece of distinctive furniture can quickly enhance a room to create warmth and intrigue. “Every room needs a touch of black, just as it needs at least one antique piece,” says interior designer Jan Showers. 

Nothing says relaxation quite like a spa, so steal some tips from the pros and optimize your space with open shelving. Display your rolled towels, stash your makeup brushes in a jar filled with decorative stones, or line up a row of coffee table books. Putting your belongings on display helps to create an open environment and keeps your room looking tidy. Open shelving is more commitment when cleaning, but it’s a simple and beautiful way to make your bathroom look cozier. 

The sink and bathtub are two of the main centerpieces of a bathroom, so make them count. Install a classic wall-mounted sink in a unique material, like roughly cut stone or metal. To include a vanity, mount your sink on a piece of rustic wood and let that be the focal point of the room. For a more original bathtub, choose a freestanding clawfoot or circular version. Many come in eye-catching materials such as copper, cast iron and brushed stainless steel. Create an experience with a tub or sink and decorate your bathroom around those statement pieces. 

It’s all in the details: Don’t forget to include personal pieces you love, like an assortment of your favorite novels, pieces of artwork you treasure, or lavish curtains that add a touch of opulence. Bring in moisture-loving plants for an outdoor spa vibe, and embrace organic materials (straw baskets, linen curtains etc.) to give softness and warmth to ceramic and tile finishes. Make sure your newly acquired pieces are water resistant or tolerant to high humidity. 

There’s room for creativity and comfort in every bathroom, so bring the mindset of living room design. “Your home should tell a story of who you are and be a collection of what you love,” says Nate Berkus. 

That story shouldn’t stop at your bathroom door.