Whether your bathroom is your own personal spa or a tiny space shared with three roommates, it should be a place of order, freshness and calm.
Take a good, hard look around, says designer Shazalynn Cavin-Winfrey of SCW Interiors in Alexandria. “The perfect look and feel of a bathroom is one that meets the end users’ needs,” she says. “It’s different for everyone, but I think that a space that is functional and flexible is key. And your bathroom should be the cleanest room in your home.”
Cavin-Winfrey says she is amazed at how many things people leave scattered on bathroom vanities, shelves and floors. “I think a bathroom should always be uncluttered. The average human makes so many choices and scans so much information in a given day — your daily rituals at home should be easy to maintain and not require any extra work to find things you need.” She says always keeping the bathroom tidy has its benefits, including being ready for guests at all times. “That can help make entertaining stress-free,” she says.
Whether you have a dedicated powder room for guests or everyone must share the one bathroom in your home, these dos and don’ts might help you clean up your act.
Don’t put a rug in your bathroom. A bathroom is not a place for wall-to-wall carpeting or area rugs. These cannot be properly cleaned in this environment. Think of the germs on a bathroom floor and how a damp rug or mat could be a magnet for mold. Cavin-Winfrey suggests providing a machine-washable bath mat (with or without rubber backing) for use right after a shower or bath. Then let this dry on the side of the tub or shower when not in use. She uses the no-slip CB2 lateral teak bath mat ($40, cb2.com).
Do stock both bar and liquid soap. In a powder room, Cavin-Winfrey prefers a pump bottle so there is no gooey soap bar left in a pool of water by a previous guest. She would choose ElizabethW’s Vetiver hand wash ($22, elizabethw.com). If you have a guest staying the night, it’s a nice welcoming gesture to leave a fresh bar of soap atop a stack of clean towels on the bed. She likes Crabtree & Evelyn goat milk soap ($8, crabtree-evelyn.com).
Don’t think of toilet paper as an accessory. Stacking a Costco-size tower of toilet paper rolls next to the toilet is not necessary or attractive. Why not reduce clutter and store your roll stockpile in a linen closet or in the garage? If you like to keep a roll or two nearby, use a small holder that fits nicely on the tank or discreetly on the floor. So many of her clients needed an attractive TP organizer, Cavin-Winfrey now sells this Matahari woven rattan two-roll model ($72.50, scwinteriors.com). Also, it’s thoughtful to have a box of tissues around so guests won’t have to rip off a piece of toilet paper to blow their nose or adjust makeup. Extra points for a tissue box cover, such as the one in white lacquer from the Container Store ($13, containerstore.com)
Do minimize products. Your shower, bathtub ledges and countertops should not look like you are a tester for a shampoo or beauty company. Eliminate the excess and store items not used daily elsewhere. “I myself am a product junkie but find unique ways to contain clutter with small trays around the tub or the vanity,” Cavin-Winfrey says. “If your shower doesn’t have an integrated niche, consider wire baskets to mount on the tile.” She prefers the WEBI 12½ -inch rectangular stainless-steel wire caddy ($29, amazon.com), which should be fixed to the wall. As for prescription drugs, medications or personal-hygiene products, tuck them inside a cabinet or drawer.
Don’t use plastic bags to line bathroom trash cans. Do you want to take your style tips from motels? Hopefully not, so don’t use your Target bag as a trash liner, Cavin-Winfrey says, or buy rolls of mini trash-can liners. It seems wrong for the planet to be buying small plastic bags to corral trash in your teeny-tiny wastebasket, she says. Instead, buy good-looking metal or recycled plastic wastebaskets that can be easily and frequently wiped out and sanitized. This hammered-nickel wastebasket ($39, potterybarn.com) fits the bill.
Do use hooks for bath towels, not bars. How many people neatly fold their large towels when they hang them up over a bar? Do you really expect guests to do that? Hanging towels on an oversize hook makes them dry faster and looks less messy, Cavin-Winfrey says. She often uses the large Restoration Hardware Spritz hook ($39, restorationhardware.com) in her projects. Using a bar is fine for hand towels, though.