I was recently invited to be a speaker at an event run by Calm Mama’s Club and Ikea in the gorgeous light filled pavilion at the Ikea store in Greenwich. The event was aimed at local mums who were looking to bring a bit of calm back into their lives and as I find the most calm in our family bathroom, which is my favourite room in our home, I decided to focus on that.
I think there is a tendency to see the family bathroom as a very functional and practical room and not focus too much on the aesthetic. However, it’s a room that we go into multiple times a day and if you have young children, it’s likely to be one of the only spaces in your home where you can get a couple of minutes peace, so why not make it as lovely as it can be?
These tips are all small changes that you can make to an existing bathroom, without a huge budget or changing any of the fixtures or fittings. If you aren’t loving your family bathroom right now, I am confident that putting a couple of these into action will make a significant difference to the look and feel of the room.
Start by having a good look around your bathroom and consider what you can …
SWAP : It’s likely that there are certain items in your bathroom that are essential but that you didn’t give much thought to from a design perspective when you brought them into the room.
A great example of this is the plastic toddler step that we had in our bathroom until last week. You know the one, it’s white plastic with green dots on. A bargain for £3, which is no doubt why I bought it in the first place. It does the job but does it spark joy? Far from it. I’m always trying to hide it under the sink unit or behind the bath.
We’ve now swapped it for this lovely birch stool, which I really like and fits in perfectly with the bathroom design. It’s also a bit higher, which means the kids can actually reach the sinks properly now and I can sit on it whilst I’m bathing them. Just this small change has made all the difference.
Other items that you might want to swap, either because they are old and tired looking or not to your taste anymore, are shower curtains, towels or bath mats.
HIDE : First and foremost a bathroom is a functional room. There are plenty of items that need to be in there but are not exactly design choices. I’m thinking plastic bath toys, spare toilet rolls, toothpaste etc. A lot of these items can be hidden away. The more you can hide, the better.
We have all of our bath toys (of which there are many!) and the kids’ toiletries in these baskets under the sink.
I find baskets really handy, as tidying away is so fast when you can just shove everything in a basket. Ikea have some great options.
A wall cabinet or a set of drawer, if you can fit any in, are also great for hiding things. We have all of our medicines and most of our toiletries hidden away in drawers. Less stuff on view makes for a calmer bathroom.
DISPLAY : Once you have hidden as many of the less glamorous bathroom items as you can, consider whether there are better ways to display the items that are left. Towels for example can look great hung on a ladder or rolled up in an open basket, making them a display item as well as a functional item. Cotton wool balls and ear buds can be displayed in trinket bowls or boxes. Toothbrushes could be stored in a ceramic pot or jug to match the style of the bathroom.
ADD : As well as the bathroom essentials, I would really recommend adding items that you might think would be more suitable for other rooms in the house. It will make the room feel more like a living space. Plants are great for this. I have a mix of real plants and faux plants and my bathroom would feel soulless without them.
I also think framed prints are great in a bathroom, either on the wall or on a picture shelf, where you can mix with plants and other ornaments.
If you’re buying new items for the bathroom, don’t just look in the bathroom section of the store. Bringing in a piece of furniture, such as a chest of drawers or a chair, that would usually go elsewhere in the house can be a great way to make the room feel more luxurious.
FOCUS ON : If a lack of space or resource means that most of the changes suggested above are unrealistic or if it all feels overwhelming, think about the area that you look at in your bathroom most often. It might be your view from the shower, the bath or even the loo. Wherever it is that you look when you go into the bathroom to relax, just focus on transforming that small square of space to start with and forget about everything else that will be out of sight in those moments.
FINISH WITH: If your budget allows you to buy yourself a treat or if others buy you the occasional gift, this can be a great way to add finishing touches. A nice box of matches to go next to a candle or a new soap in a stylish bottle can be just the thing to give your bathroom a spa like feel. I personally treat myself to Aesop soap as it looks great in the room and I love the smell and feel after I wash my hands with it.
So those are my 6 tips. If I’ve inspired you to have a bit of a revamp, I’d love to hear how it goes.