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Make your bathroom an oasis

Instead of hiding them in a cabinet, turn your toiletries into beautiful displays. SHNS photo

Instead of hiding them in a cabinet, turn your toiletries into beautiful displays. SHNS photo

By Mary Carol Garrity

After a long, hard day at work, for me, there is no better therapy than stepping into a steaming-hot bath and letting the stress of life float away. Whether or not your bathroom is the place you go to relax and rejuvenate, make this all-important space lovely and inviting.

From shampoo to mouthwash to bath salts, we all have lots of toiletries to work around when we decorate our bathrooms. Instead of hiding them in a cabinet, why not create displays that make your toiletries so beautiful that they look like something from a decorating magazine? It’s surprisingly easy to do — all you need is an assortment of lovely containers. For instance, put your bubble bath and lotions in pretty decanters, and pour your bath salts into apothecary jars.

Place them atop a silver tray. Then fill in with a few more great accents, like a candelabra or an urn.

Every year, I look over my bath linens to see if they need to be freshened up, especially if they are in my guest bath or downstairs powder room. My favorite bath linens are plush white cotton towels because they look so clean and inviting. Once your linens meet your approval, use them in a display in your bathroom. My friend turned a strange built-in landing in the bathroom of her home into a stage for this jaw-dropping display.

In many bathrooms, the shower curtain is the focal point. So why not make it look sensational? Right now I’m crazy about monograms because they add distinction and style. One of my favorite things to trick up with a monogram is a plain white shower curtain. Have a monogrammed shower curtain custom made out of sensational decorator fabric. Or pick up an inexpensive shower curtain and have it monogrammed.

If space allows, put interesting furniture in the room, finding unique pieces that are as functional as they are decorative. I have a tiny powder room built in under the steps of my home. Even though the space is small, I managed to squeeze in a killer bamboo cabinet to hold accents and provide much-needed storage. To my surprise, guests who have toured my home have commented that this is one of their favorite spots in my house.

I used to have a guest house that I opened up to friends who came to visit. Because this was a guest house, I decided to place a hutch in the bathroom, then decorate it with the items visitors might need, like lovely jars holding small bars of soap and stacks of fresh towels. I’ve done something similar in the guest bath in my home. It’s a tiny space, so I only had room to squeeze in a bookcase between the sink and the wall. I’ve had fun filling shelves with guest necessities, all displayed in a lovely way.

Additionally, I like to use lots of artwork in bathrooms because I think it elevates the look of the room. Plus, it’s so unexpected — it will catch guests off-guard.

I’ve fit in as many pieces of fabulous art as I can in my tiny downstairs powder room.

Take a good look at the mirror in your bathroom. If it’s a little boring, spice it up. If possible, replace it with a new mirror surrounded with a fabulous frame. The bathroom in my friend Rich’s condo features a wall-to-wall mirror that’s cemented to the wall. It wasn’t easy to replace, so Rich added to it, installing wall sconces on top of the mirror. This changed the piece from ho-hum to sensational. Here’s another trick: Hang a framed mirror on top of a large built-in mirror, treating the larger one just like any other wall space. You’ll get a fabulous layered effect.

While you’re at it, take a hard look at the light fixtures. My belief is that the light fixtures in your bath should be as interesting as those in the more public spaces of your home. So if you can, change out that generic builder-grade fixture with something that grabs your heart.

And don’t forget about wallpaper. It doesn’t get much better than the gray-on-gray damask print paper in Rich’s bath. This wall covering fits perfectly with his clean, colorful, edited style, and I love how it infuses the room with personality and energy, but doesn’t take over.

Scripps Howard News Service

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