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Update A Bathroom Beginning with Your Design Concept

Dear Cristina,

“It’s time to update the bathrooms in my home. I’ve had some people tell me that I should match the décor of the bathrooms to the adjacent rooms and other people say that it doesn’t matter. I’m confused – which advice is right?”
J. Mansanares

Start a remodel project and you’re sure to encounter surprises and confusing decisions. I don’t mean to add to your confusion – but both opinions you’re hearing are right. To figure out which remodeling advice is right for you though, you’ll need to take a little time to reflect. A good place to start is by determining what I call the design concept. If you’re wondering what a design concept is, and how it relates to your bath remodel, take a few moments to do a short writing exercise.

Begin by thinking of a feeling you wish to enhance when you walk into the room. Examples of feelings that translate into a décor concept may include: serious, fun, happy, peaceful, playful, or sexy. Take a moment to write a sentence that describes the feeling you want to enhance when you enter the bathroom. We’ll call this your concept sentence. Here’s an example from my bathroom remodel “I want this bathroom to be fun and modern and a little artsy.”

Take another few minutes and write a new concept sentence describing the combination of feeling and flow you want. An example of this with my bathroom repaint was: “The master bath is a playful, whimsical bathroom that repeats the interior design style of the bedroom.”

When you have a sense for the feeling you want to express, give some thought to design flow. Interior design flow is the sense of the transition within and between rooms. Either of the opinions you heard might be the right choice depending upon the way the result enhances or accents the flow. I’ll start by explaining the wisdom behind both interior design opinions and then you can decide which advice is right for you.

• If a bathroom is adjacent to a bedroom—such as a master bath and bedroom suite or a bathroom between two bedrooms – decorating the bathrooms in a style that relates to the bedrooms will result in an enhanced feeling of continuity between the spaces. In other words, you’ll get more flow.

• If the bathroom “stands alone” like a powder bath or bathroom in a utility room, you don’t have to be concerned with interior design flow. The bathroom can act as an accent to the home. You can treat this type of bathroom as a unique, fanciful room that may or may not have much to do with the decor in the rest of the house.

Any redecorating or remodeling home project involves making a lot of choices. When you are considering any remodeling or decorating choice such as color, plumbing or lighting fixtures; or surfaces such as tile, stone or laminates, be sure to review your concept sentence and ask yourself which choice best reflects and supports the feeling you’re after. With that in mind, the choices you need to make to support your concept sentence will become obvious.

Many companies are making a variety of products that encourage you to explore you creative options when you decorate. A small bath can be the perfect room to splurge. In the limited space an investment in a beautiful sink or tile surface can yield a large return of style and beauty. Artisan companies cater to the many custom colors and products you may what to use in your bathroom – and white and beige aren’t the only options. Lisa Danneker and Theresa King, the Executive Vice Presidents of Sonoma Tilemakers say, “The rich textures, hand carved designs and fabulous colors of our tile offer a world of design options. The Stellar Collection color palette of 106 colors ranges from soft subtle hues to rich colors in crackle, matte and glossy finishes.”

Trust your intuition when you make your choices and you’ll end up with a unique and creative room. Create a bathroom that you love.

Sources: Tile:

www.sonomatilemakers.comPaint: www.BenjaminMoore.com


Su Casa – Ask Cristina variation of this article was first published in Latina Style. ©Cristina Acosta

Cristina Acosta is a color consultant, artist, home décor designer and writer. She is the author of Paint Happy!(Northlight Books) and contributor to a variety of home décor magazines. Contact Cristina for a color consultation.



  1. In large bathrooms, the personal spa environment can be enhanced with glass tile patterns for visual effect. Many bathrooms are modest or small in size, and splurging on decorative tile can turn these tight rooms into charming oases.its the private place so we must keep it clean..

  2. The thing to rememeber when you are desinging and installing a bathroom is that the room is for you and your enjoyment.

    You are never going to please everyone, so dont try.

    Just look around for inspiration, theres some really good bathrooms on the internet, and budgets to suit every pocket.

    Good luck and enjoy!

  3. A-L says:

    This is something I’m beginning to think about right now. I’d like a zen/spa feeling bathroom (pebble floors, teak bath surround or walls), but the rest of the floor is a 1930s style house (it’s a Craftsman, but the wood’s all painted now, so it feels more like a general historical house than a Craftsman). But it’s the house’s main bathroom, so I don’t know if it will be too different from everything else. Sometimes it truly is difficult to figure some of this stuff out.

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