Let’s talk about bathrooms, the oft-overlooked and aesthetically intimating quarter of one’s home. A modern godsend by all accounts, these intimate spaces are ones where we end up spending a fair amount of our time and yet they are seemingly the trickiest to personalize.

Variables like size, architectural and building limitations, and dwelling permanence (shout-out to those fellow renters!), along with a general apprehension about decorating an ultimately utilitarian space, often put bathrooms on the low priority list when it comes to decorating. And, should you be the proud owner of a home with one or more bathrooms, let’s not forget about the prohibitively expensive costs associated with bathroom renovations and redesigns. Whatever your current bathroom-lot-in-life is, you are not alone in your strife.

The wonderful news is this: when it comes to rooms that inevitably present a problem or two (like space constrictions and limited budgets), there are a million and one ways to give that room new life without having to start from scratch. Turns out, the bathroom can actually be one of the most exciting rooms to reinvigorate and decorate, for renters and subletters and homeowners alike; a fresh coat of a moody paint can easily take a tiny powder room from sterile to sexy, and that rattan étagère that no longer works in your dining room is also a simple alternative to a non-existing medicine cabinet. Adding decorative elements to your bathroom space is an incredibly easy way to not only personalize it, but to also make it feel like another gorgeous room in your home. Read on for some high-style hacks to transform your bathroom into a next-level luxury experience.

Put a Rug On It

One of the simplest ways to elevate your bathroom game is to swap out your tired terry cloth bath mat for a Turkish or Persian rug. The intricate craftsmanship and old-world appeal of these area rugs and runners add an immediate sense of warmth and panache to a bathroom’s tiled floors and shiny fixtures. They feel right at home in a maximalist’s space, but they also lend a low-key cool factor to an otherwise spartan bathroom design. And they just look so cool. Opt for a lower-pile rug, as they’re easier to clean, and consider keeping a standard bath mat handy for stepping out of the shower (just air dry and fold away nicely after use).

Get the look: Woven Concepts 1890 Persian Ardabil Wool Rug (2’8″ x 3’1″), Circa 1900 Persian Balusch Bagface (1’6″ x 1’7″) and Late-19th Century Turkish Hand-Knotted Oushak Rug (2’9″ x 6’3″)
On Display

While it’s more sightly to tuck away bathroom accoutrements (cotton balls, toilet paper, etc.), the opposite can be true if your bathroom allows for an opportunity to showcase meaningful, curated objects. And this doesn’t only apply to built-ins, like the full marble one pictured from Jenna Lyons’ dreamy loft; étagères, consoles and even weathered window sills are prime real estate for l’objets d’art. Think of these surfaces as an extension of your mantel or dressing table, and use them as a private shrine of your favorite and most memorable things. Style long feathers à la Lyons in a beloved vessel, or display that beautiful piece of coral you found on the beach during a special vacation. Keeping a consistent color scheme is ideal from a visual standpoint, but if you’re building up a surface using your most beloved items, chances are it’ll come together just right.

Get the look: Holly Hunt Whistler Vase, Early-20th Century Eclectic Lizard Paperweight, AERIN Large Sphere Match Striker, AERIN Tortoise Glass Small Low Bowl, Mid-18th Century Chinese Morning Star Temple Fragments and Circa 1960-1969 Wedgwood Urn
A Portrait of Someone’s Own

Portraits in the bath: it’s a thing! There’s something fresh, cheeky and even a little seditious about the choice to display a perfect stranger’s face in such an intimate area, but the artistry and rich hues of portraits make a statement like no other. Do like John Derian did in his East Village home and try showcasing a portrait (or twelve) in your bathroom; go the extra mile and display it in an unexpected place: in lieu of a mirror above the washbasin, as part of a larger gallery wall or in a spot that will make your guests smirk. We spend a lot of time in our bathrooms, so consider what (and whose face) will bring you joy when you’re taking a soak at the end of a long day. Adding art, in any medium or style, does wonders for bathrooms that are nondescript or lacking in character, and it’s a whole lot easier to swap out than a marble vanity. Finally, be fearless in your artistic ambitions but mindful about moisture. This article provides some foolproof advice about what not to do when displaying art in the bath.

Get the look: Anh Duong Overworked By Dreams (2011), Sarah Perkins Portrait of a Young Boy with Dog (Circa 1800), European Portrait of a Gentleman (19th Century) and Traditional Framed Portrait Of A Woman (Mid-20th Century)
Stun With a Chandelier

Speaking of unexpected, let us make a case for the bathroom chandelier. The timeless lighting style is not just reserved for dining rooms and foyers. Nothing shocks and awes like walking into a modestly sized powder room and being met with a spectacularly sized lighting fixture, proving once again the power of scale-play. If you’d rather incite less visual drama, go a little smaller. Either way, a chandelier in the bathroom is always a good idea, and one of the easiest wow-factor-adding moves you can make with your bathroom design. If you’re renting, swap out that sad, standard lighting mount for something that will give your bath the grandeur it deserves (and then take it with you to the next place). If you own, the sky is really the limit.

Get the look: Mid-20th Century Stilnovo Grand Sputnik, Gabriel Scott Welles Long Chandelier and Mid-Century Modern Style Handblown Waterfall Chandelier

Now that you’re well-versed in the world of water closets, throw on your robe and start shopping for beautiful bathrooms on Sotheby’s Home.

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