It’s not often that interior designers will have the chance to poke their heads in your bathroom, but if they did, they might not like what they see. We’re not talking about gunky toilets or hairy shower drains, but things you actually think make your bathroom look better … but don’t, at least in their professional opinions. Curious which bathroom decor ideas make them cringe? Read on for a list of bathroom features that might seem nice at first glance, but are better avoided.
1. Decorative tile on every surface
Photo by Borchert Kitchen & Bath
Decorative tile is fine in small doses, but covering the entire bathroom in it looks too busy, says Sara Chiarilli, an interior designer with Artful Conceptions in Tampa, FL.
“And please stay away from a horizontal listello band (see in photo above) that runs around the room or shower,” she advises. “It shortens the feeling of the room because it splits your line of vision. And most folks install it too low so you end up looking down at it, which you should never do.”
On the other hand, generic tile can be too safe.
“A lot of flippers and DIYers install plain beige 12-inch tiles thinking they’ll add more bang for the buck, but this isn’t correct—most clients want marble tile or a wood look for their bathrooms,” reports Jenny Gericke, a designer with Gather Home Design.
2. Pedestal sinks
Photo by Echelon Custom Homes
These T-shaped sinks may seem attractive, but they don’t offer a lick of function, says Gericke. “A pedestal sink has no storage so it’s not a great choice, especially in a master bath,” she says.
And trendy vessel sinks (which look like bowls perched on countertops) are fading from the horizon, too.
“Vessels are good for a powder room or a bath that isn’t host to a morning routine where you need space to spread out,” notes Chiarilli.
The winner here? Undermount sinks situated below the countertop, “because they have staying power and are more versatile,” Chiarilli says.
3. Peel-and-stick decals
Photo by Jennifer Ott Design
“Peel-and-stick decals on walls or floors are used by many DIY homeowners to freshen the bathroom, but it often looks cheap,” says Gericke. Plus, “it’s a nightmare to remove and replace for the next owner.”
4. Crazy color
Photo by HKW Designs, Inc.
Bright pops of color aren’t always ideal, say experts.
“Some people think neon yellow or orange is perfect in a small half-bath, but the color can be so intense that it makes the space feel overwhelming and small,” explains Gericke.
Instead, consider an accent wall or bringing in color through accessories, she suggests.
If you do choose a vivid vanity, pick neutral tile, recommends Chiarilli. “Or if your tile is ‘wow,’ then keep cabinetry simple.”
5. Shower stalls, but no tubs
Photo by Joseph Ferraro
If you’re thinking of ripping out your shower-bathtub combo and replacing it with just a shower stall, think again. Young families still want a tub option for kids, points out Gericke.
“At least one bathroom in the house should have a tub or a shower-tub combination setup to help with eventual resale,” she says.
6. Huge spa baths
Photo by Two Hawks Design
Who’s cleaning this enormous room? If you have household help or a weekly cleaning person, then definitely go to town with a palatial bathroom. But if you’re like the rest of us, consider scaling back.
“There’s a fine line between a comfortable, well-appointed bathroom and a luxury spa that you only see on vacation or in the movies,” reports Beverly Solomon, a designer with the eponymous firm.
The same holds for that oversize tub, she adds. “Once you get your body under the warm bubbly water, anything bigger in the tub department is a waste of water, energy, and money.”
7. Fussy curtains
Photo by Atlanta Design Works
Splashes and drips (from all kinds of sources) don’t mix with over-the-top bathroom drapes. If you’re lucky enough to have a window in your bathroom, keep the decor around it on the simple side, say experts.
“Look for plain wood or faux wood blinds or shutters that offer clean lines and a less cluttered look,” suggests Nicola Croughan, an interior designer with Blinds Direct.
8. Wild wallpaper
Photo by House of Ruby Interior Design
The wallpaper trend comes and goes, says Jamie Gold, a certified kitchen designer in San Diego and author of “New Bathroom Idea Book.”
“But I wouldn’t put it up in a bathroom if I were planning to sell in a year or two,” she counsels.
Millennials, however, might decide to use it anyway, says Gericke: “Since this generation didn’t grow up with wallpaper, they tend to think it’s new and unique.”
9. Protruding medicine cabinets
Photo by Christian Gladu Design
It’s time to say buh-bye to this box hanging on the wall. These dated fixtures are definitely falling out of favor, says Gold.
“The recessed style is preferred in traditional baths or upscale ones, since this look has cleaner, simpler lines,” she explains.