Expert Advice: How to Design a Bathroom Oasis
The team at Falken Reynolds share how to create a spa-like retreat (because we all need a little extra R&R these days).
Chad Falkenberg and Kelly Reynolds, the designers behind Vancouver-based firm Falken Reynolds, just finished a partial renovation of their home bathroom—and the pair couldn’t be happier with the results. “We’re exploring minimalism and functionality and pushing things a bit further than we have before,” Falkenberg says. Take their new faucet with its deck mounted lever. “The side angle of the spout makes it more like a water fountain,” Falkenberg explains. Bonus: the positioning also leaves room for a useful storage ledge behind the counter.
This faucet—and the bathroom as a whole—strikes the perfect balance between functionality and aesthetics, which can be hard to do in these sorts of small, utilitarian spaces. Still, there’s no reason why a bathroom can’t be beautiful, and even a retreat of sorts. With the right lighting and linens, “the space can go from the morning-rush-to-get-out-the-door to an oasis of calm to unwind before bed,” Falkenberg notes.
So if you’re seeking a little serenity, read on. Below, the designer shares tips gleaned from years of bathroom overhauls, not to mention his own recent reno.
1. Open Up
Cabinetry conceals your less aesthetically pleasing products, but don’t be afraid to include some open shelving as well. Falkenberg explains these shelves are the perfect place to stow towels since “they help to manage acoustics in a room full of hard surfaces.”
2. Towel Off
White is an obvious choice for towels in any bathroom retreat, but “sometimes it’s nice to mix and match textures and shades.” Falkenberg suggests light gray as an option: “it soften[s] the space without being too powerful.”
3. Play On
“Music is always a nice way to feel a little further removed from the day,” Falkenberg says. Consider built-in speakers, or set up a space to play tunes from your tablet—“a vanity ledge is perfect!”
4. Get Lit
“We love holding back the ceiling against a tub or shower wall to create a light cove,” the designer explains, since the resulting diffusion of light creates a sense of spaciousness and calm. Architecture not on your side? Try pendant lights or LED strips to get a similar effect.
8 Design Lessons from 8 Great Bathrooms
5. Pipe Dream
“Quality plumbing fixtures are critical,” Falkenberg says—and not just because they last longer and break less frequently. “We touch and move them every day. The sensation of moving a solid quality lever gives feelings of satisfaction and confidence.”
6. Finish Strong
Think matte for hard finishings, like your faucet or tile. Falkenberg says that natural stone and brushed or black finishes can help to create that spa-like atmosphere in a bathroom, and opted for Vola’s matte black finishings in his own home.