Thursday, August 10, 2006

The prescription for a depressing bathroom...

Okay, so you suspect you have a depressing bathroom. I use the term 'suspect' because one can never be too sure of the outlook of an inanimate object. But you just may be depressing yourself and unsuspecting guests, with a regrettable bathroom.

Decor-wise, bathrooms tend to be ignored, even though they're the most visited room in your house when you entertain. In other rooms, you work extra hard to create an inviting environment where people will happily forget where they are. A bathroom, on the other hand, is a constant, usually jarring, jolt back to reality.

In most cases, bathroom depression can be so severe that displaying baskets of even the nicest soaps from Town Home won't be enough to overcome the problem. But you can:

Fix the Lighting: Flourescent lighting is the sartorial equivalent to assaulting your guests. When one gazes at their reflection while under the greenish-hued glow, the party is over for them. You can completely undermine one's confidence with a single flip of the switch. If you own your home, invest in recessed lighting, taking care not to install canisters directly over one's head (such as the center standing area over the sink). Renters (or the installation-phobic) can use indirect sconce lighting for a similarly flattering effect.

Paint the Walls: While a good, bold color can capture my heart, bathrooms really do look better with a low-key color. The most flattering bathroom color I've seen is a buttercream yellow hue- the golden tones enhance skintone while brightening the room.

Invest in a Better Bathtub: And perhaps a sink. But the bathtub tends to be the pivotal piece in a bathroom. You will endlessly impress others with a well-chosen bathtub, since most are, at best, very dreary utilitarian pieces. And you know what you can do with a lovely looking bathtub (like the Savoy from Waterworks)? Fill it with ice and create a mini-bar. It's a batty idea, but doesn't it seem fun? You wouldn't want to do that with most vinyl/chipped ceramic bathtubs.

But if it's not in your budget, a thorough cleaning, a new shower curtain and new hardware can do a world of good.

The big decor retailers in the city- west elm, Williams-Sonoma, Macy's, Ikea- are a good start for bathroom accessories, though the more serious should head directly to Waterworks (1525 Walnut). Their business focuses on bathrooms, so you'll find a good selection of tubs, sinks and hardware.