Old bathrooms have charm. If you live in or are considering buying
an older home, look hard and close before deciding to remodel. Though
some sprucing might be necessary, conserving the gracious look originally
intended when built might be the best way to go.
Keep and capitalize on the room's attractiveness. Play up its vintage
by bringing in antiques or collectibles or that same generation. Select
wall coverings and fabrics appropriate to the room's age. Flea markets
are a great place to find treasures of this kind.
To preserve the look while modernizing the room to better suit a personal
taste, here are some tricks of the trade:
- To visually lower an unpleasantly high ceiling, paint it a darker
color or run a heavily patterned wall covering on it. Anything that
attracts the eye makes the space advance. In other words, it will
look smaller than it really is.
- Aging ceramic tile or vinyl can be covered up with a warm-colored
carpet or area rug. The bathroom will look good to the eye as well
as feel good underfoot.
- Though large windows are sometimes viewed as a problem area in big,
old bathrooms, they can actually be a blessing. Dress the windows
with an appropriately elaborate hand. Fabrics or sheets that coordinate
with the wall covering are a good solution. Use the same material
on shower curtains.
- Consider skirting an old-fashioned sink.
- For a whimsical-looking bath, try painting a mural on one or more
walls. The motifs are easily transferred from greeting cards, puzzles,
wallpaper prints and such. Simply enlarge the design on graph paper,
cut it out, trace onto the wall and paint.
Most outdated bathrooms suffer from lack of storage space, poor lighting,
difficult-to-clean surfaces or worn walls and floors.
- To add storage: Shelves above the commode are a quick, easy and
inexpensive solution. Depending on the decor, select from acrylic,
glass and brass, wood or mica. Another attractive storage idea is
a portable cart. Cosmetics and towels can be close at hand and be
attractively displayed as well.
- To improve lighting: Track lighting is a quick and inexpensive way
to add light. Be sure not to place the light directly overhead or
behind your head when standing at the mirror. This will cast ugly
shadows. Attaching period fixtures to the wall flanking the mirror
adds charm. Use the maximum wattage on the lamps that the manufacturer
- To make easy-to-clean surfaces: Recover the vanity in mica, tile,
marble or Corian. The expense will be justified in time saved cleaning
and it will give you and your family and guests visual pleasure.
- To repair worn walls and floors: The method of repair will depend
on the extent of the damage. Wallpaper does wonders in covering up
the uglies. A liner applied under the paper will help smooth rough
spots. Covering the floor with padding and carpet will help hide unpleasant
tiles, vinyl, terrazzo or wood.
The bathroom is a place we go to refresh and rejuvenate. Take the time
to evaluate your needs before you revamp. The effort will be repaid
many times over.