Updated With Color

Creative tile patterns and rich paint shades turn a blah bath into a much brighter space.
Sara Anderson

Here's a thought: Let white be an accent color in your bath instead of the main hue. Have your bright white sink, tub, and a few accessories, but allow a warm color palette to make a statement everywhere else. These Austin homeowners wanted the only bath in their comfy bungalow to be a color-saturated space. On top of that, they also needed it to be packed with smart, practical storage. Their design plan worked; here are the steps to their success.

The Style Star: Tiles
Homeowners Jennie Burger and Bill Fagelson didn't stop at one or two tile colors for their bath; they picked out a palette of greens, red, and tannish-yellow. Just for fun: A pattern that doesn't repeat perfectly was laid on the side of the tub and as a stripe around the top of the shower area. Grayish-green glazed ceramic field tiles run from tub to ceiling. "A lot of people will stop short on tile when putting it on the walls, but I think placing it all the way up to the ceiling extends the space visually," says designer Laura Britt.

 

Fitting in More Storage
One rule to keep in mind when planning storage is to make sure you have a mix. Cabinets (including a pull-out hamper), drawers, open shelves, and cubbies all have their place in this small room. Ribbed glass on one of the cabinets helps conceal toiletry items, and it matches the glass in the window. Built-ins are also a great way to amp up color. Here, they're painted a dark green that pairs well with the wall shade. If you want the wall and cabinet colors to link together more, consider painting walls and cabinet backs one color and cabinet doors and drawer fronts a slightly lighter shade of the same paint color. Even if you don't have a major bath redo in your future, once you get away from all white, a more colorful bath may look brand-new to you.

Savvy Storage Tips
To maximize storage in a bath, use hooks instead of towel bars to conserve wallspace. Carve out cubbies where a wall is hollow to store soaps and shampoos. A shower is a great place for these cubbies, so you don't have to mess with hanging organizers. Just remember to slope the cubby's bottom ledge slightly toward the floor so water won't collect and cause problems down the road.

"Updated with Color" is from the April 2006 issue of Southern Living.