Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Reader mail: What to do with a small, windowless bathroom?


Dear Decorno,

How can you design a hip bathroom that is very small and has no windows?

Liz



Liz,

Paint it black. Seriously.

If it's already windowless and tiny, then make it dramatic. Just use it for bathing and having wild sex in the shower. Don't plan on doing your make-up in there. Install candle sconces and lighting on a dimmer and douse the place with perfume and make it a sort of wet romper room for you and the ones you, uh, love.

Get a low dresser for your bedroom, prop a mirror on it, get a cool lacquer tray for your primping essentials and get ready in your room. My get-ready station is actually my office, not my bathroom (because my upstairs bathroom has a toilet in the tub and my downstairs bathroom has no storage for my Jil Sander no. 4, my hairdryer, or my make-up, for that matter.

Enjoy.


Readers - got anything to add to this?

32 comments:

Emily said...

i think you said it perfectly.

House of Slappy said...

Oh my God, you're my new hero. Serously.

Anonymous said...

Uplights on the toilet for a catwalk effect.

'I'm too sexy for my dump'

Susan said...

We lived in a house once that had a mirrored bathroom. I thought it was strange at first--but came to like it----a lot. It did have a window-but what I remember is the mirrored walls.

Decorno said...

"I'm too sexy for my dump" made me laugh out loud.

Anonymous said...

Okay...did the mirrors wrap aound the the whole room? Ummmm, I am really having a hard time getting that vision out of my head.

anon
Sexy is as sexy does.

Robin said...

I have a small windowless half bath and painted it dark chocolate and it was one of the best design decisions I ever made. I love it.

Susan said...

Anon,

Yes, the mirrors wrapped around the entire bathroom (except in the bathtub area which was tiled). It really made for a cheery bathroom--even though it was tiny.

Susan said...

Anon, I should add that the mirrors were sheet mirrors--and stretched from floor to ceiling. The wall sconces were mounted on the mirrors--the mirrors were behind the toilet--everywhere except the tub area.

Lolo said...

Susan, I'll take your word that the all mirrored bathroom worked for you. I think that having to see that much of myself, doing bathroom stuff, would result in some constipation.

Emily said...

fabulous. I have the same problem and that's exactly what I was intending on doing.

Iheartfashion said...

Great advice. Nothing to add.

Anonymous said...

I painted my tiny bathrooms bright white, semi-gloss, and you can't feel the smallness anymore.

Anonymous said...

black is sexy but hairy legs are not.
shaving in a dark room blows.
you will always miss a spot.

moral of the story:
if you opt for black, be sure you have good shower/bath lighting.
then have wild bathroom sex with smooth legs.

Anonymous said...

If you are a print-and-pattern person, you could also consider a dark, sexy, exotic print wallpaper for the same dark, sexy exotic effect. Think bordello / boudoir. And no, of course not practical if there is a lot of splashing going on...

franki durbin said...

Dark paint or paper definitely do the trick. It makes the walls recede and gives the impression of more space. It feels like a ballsy design move -and it is - but bold is better than 'blah.'

Oh...Just be sure the ceiling is bright or you'll feel like you're in a tomb ;)

birdy said...

I painted the tiny, windowless bathroom in an old apartment dark navy blue. It looked fantastic . . . and then I turned the tiny, over-the-sink light on . . . and I couldn't see a damn thing. It was like the dark paint absorbed all of the light.

Hanako66 said...

love this idea decorno.

Susan said...

Mine is a deep red. I have a massive old mirror I found at Goodwill hanging on the main wall. Painted the frame eggwhite. I love that room.

holly said...

It's funny people wear BLACK ALL DAY LONG hence, the little black dress, etc. Why not the little black bathroom. My Mom has a black living room and a black bathroom and it can be warm and cozy or dark and sexy....Sophisticated and always sassy. You must have sASs to paint it black.
LOVE IT!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes dark or super-saturated colors can look kind of amateurish, like the set of a high school play.

Liz B. said...

Decorno and fans:

Thanks for giving me advice on my question!

I share my condo with my boyfriend and we were going back and forth between what I want (modern with color) and want he wants (a gender-neutral sailboat theme-- yeah, right).

I think the all black idea is badass, and I know he is going to think it rocks.

- Liz

Anonymous said...

I have a small (like 4x3 powder room small) bathroom too with freshly removed wallpaper. Wondering what to do with it... do you think black would be too much in such a small space? It does have some cool black and white hex flooring...

TK

Anonymous said...

I once painted my bath navy. While I loved the color the sheen made it look cheap and made me feel seasick. The flatter the sheen the better.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it can look "high school goth girl" in semi-gloss.

mosey said...

I think she could go for deep red also. no?

Ouno Design said...

Absolutely agreed.

You do have to get the lighting right in a black room - a lighting fixture or two with spots that you can angle is great - one spot into the shower, one onto something displayed on the wall (mirror? cool chest? artwork?), and one onto the floor, as if it's a mini-gallery. Anything you hang on a black wall looks amazing.

Kimberly said...

I like the idea of a dark color, but would advise against getting a can of black paint because true black will be pretty lifeless. Instead get a really dark smokey charcoal color that is either cool or warm, depending on your preference.

propriatress said...

I actually have a small bathroom, 2' x 1' x 7.5' tall that is quite windowless. The only reason I know it's a bathroom is because that is where the toilet is. I had to use the braille method. I like the idea to let it be.

Anonymous said...

What about a small half-bath with two door (one to enter the bath and another for a linen closet)? If you left the doors white they might stand out too much. Would you paint them black too?

Melissa said...

did you know that this was linked on House Beautiful?

no lie... http://www.housebeautiful.com/decorating/colors/color-index-2009


Decorno, you're famous dahhhhhhhhhhhhling

Jamie Goldberg, AKBD, CAPS said...

Here are some more additional tips:

Choose a pedestal sink with some counter space. It'll make the room feel less crowded than a cabinet. A sink skirt will add storage below it, if you wish.

Consider vintage hooks for holding robes and towels, possibly behind the door if the bathroom is small enough to reach them from the shower. They'll look great and hold more in a limited space.

A tall, shallow cabinet will provide extra storage in a tight space without making it feel too cluttered.

Keep things unified and simple -- e.g., solid-colored shower curtain rather than patterned. (Here are a few gorgeous choices: http://jgkitchens.blogspot.com/2009/04/style-list-1-150-max-bathroom-edition.html)

Consider building open storage niches at one or both ends of your tub/shower for soaps, shampoos, loofas and the like.