Remodeling a Traditional Bathroom for Family and Guests

Are you planning to remodel a bathroom that’s used daily by your family and occasionally by guests? To achieve the multi-use function you need, and the traditional appearance you desire, plan carefully and choose durable products that are easy to clean. Daily maintenance will be easy, and you won’t have to toil for hours to make the bathroom guest-ready.


♦ COLOR SCHEME. Select a neutral color palette that complements the colors and textures used in the adjacent hallway. Consider how people feel as they move from one room to another; the transition, especially in a traditional home, should be smooth and non-jarring to the occupants. It’s best to err on the conservative side for permanent features like plumbing, tile, countertops, and cabinets. Conservative doesn’t have to be boring! Painted walls can be any color you choose, although it’s wise to stay away from jewel tones and highly-saturated colors like burnt orange, daffodil yellow, or kelly green. Consider how easy (or difficult) it will be to coordinate the paint color with decorative tiles and accessories. Paint can be easily changed, but tiles cannot. If you have a favorite painting or framed poster that you want to display in the bathroom, select colors from it to help you create the scheme.

♦ WALL TILE. Ceramic or porcelain “subway” tiles look great in traditional bathrooms, especially if they also wrap around the room as a wainscot (usually 36″ – 42″ high) with a detailed cap. Although subway tiles are available in small sizes, select larger ones for fewer grout joints — 3″x6″ up to 12″x24″. There are many possibilities for layout and installation of square and/or rectangular wall tiles:

  • Install a coordinating or contrasting feature stripe, often 4-5′ above the floor.
  • Insert random coordinating or contrasting 2 – 3″ square tiles (these can be straight, or diagonal).
  • Mix “same” tiles of different shapes and sizes together with a border, to create a specific focal point.
  • Use a tile mural for a focal point.
  • Install rectangular subway tiles in a “running bond” (brick pattern), or combined with the same tile in a “herringbone” pattern for visual interest.

♦ COUNTERTOP. The material you choose should blend with the wall tile and the cabinets. It can successfully merge the all of the major surface colors, including the walls. It’s a blessing (and a curse) to have such a broad selection of materials, colors, and patterns.

♦ CABINETS. Natural maple, birch, and cherry are still popular. White cabinets are also fashionable, but the finish can be less forgiving of daily-use dings, scratches, and stains than natural wood. Square raised-panel doors and drawers that have inside- and outside-edge details look best in a traditional bathroom. A multi-user bathroom should have ample towel storage, and a place for guests to put their personal-care items.

♦ MIRRORS. Large expanses of mirror have been replaced with individual framed mirrors that match the cabinet finish, blend with the metal accessories, or contrast for emphasis. Framed mirrors are a great focal point in traditional bathrooms, especially if you have inherited an antique or discovered a flea market treasure.

♦ LIGHTING. Sidelights enhance the appearance of framed mirrors, and they’re the best source for task lighting, because they light our faces evenly, without artificial shadows that create premature aging. It’s all right to use recessed lighting in a traditional bathroom, especially in the tub/shower area and over the toilet. Aimable fixtures are great to enhance artwork — best to use two rather than one, aimed at the center of the picture, to avoid glare and harsh shadows.

♦ METAL ACCESSORIES. Cabinet knobs/pulls, towel bars, tissue dispensers, and robe hooks are like jewelry for your bathroom. Like jewelry, they can be very expensive. This is one area where price shopping can reap major benefits.

♦ ARTWORK AND ACCESSORIES. A long wall, opposite the toilet and cabinets, is the perfect place for a beautifully-framed picture centered above towel bars. Keep multiple sets of towels, for everyday use and for guests. Before guests arrive, add a vase of tastefully-arranged silk flowers, a colorful paperweight or small picture, and a beautiful hand towel — always in groups of three. Follow these suggestions, and your family will appreciate the results every day. Your guests will think that this bathroom is dedicated for their use.

“See the Possibilities. Create a Positive Difference.”

Are you thinking about remodeling a bathroom, to improve function, safety, and appearance? D. P. Design can help you! To get more information, please send an e-mail or call  Diane at 503-632-8801.

© Copyright 2015 D. P. Design “See the Possibilities. Create a Positive Difference.”