Top 5 Designer Bathrooms

Got a decorating plan for 2015? Tempted to tackle a bathroom maybe? Speaking as the slightly gloomy voice of experience, can we gently advise you to delay your supermarket sweep of the showrooms in the sales until after you’ve formed a few ideas in your mind? Working out, at the very least, your likes and dislikes ahead of this sort of shopping trip can make it easier to avoid making rash decisions or worse, having arguments with your loved ones, both easy outcomes when faced with a bargain. Rather than relying on the bathroom suppliers alone to feed you with design ideas, why not have a look at what the most respected interior designers are doing – both for themselves and their clients. Ideas-stealing. Channeling a look. However you want to put it, waste no more time. Here are our Top 5 Designer Bathrooms. Beginning with….

The pattern-clashing bathroom

Arles hotel | India Mahdavi

God bless India Mahdavi for creating the wonderful drinking den that is the Coburg Bar at The Connaught. True, staying for one is almost as pricey as doing up a small bathroom, but the atmosphere is wonderful and somehow the designer applies this magical element to every project she works on. Our choice for best bathroom to copy if you love pattern clashing is her design for the hotel Villa des Alyscamps. Where do tiles end and wallpaper begin? Is that even wallpaper? It doesn’t really matter. Suffice to say you can get the look in a more budgetry fashion using gorgeous patterned, and even laminate tiles (they do exist) for the floor plus some paint effects – eg stripes – or the wallpaper(s) of your choosing. For the latter, don’t forget to add Decorator’s Varnish to seal that room and protect your hard work from damp.

A few more details to note for this look to work: Have a thread of continuity in your prints – here it’s black and red – because without it your pattern clash will look a careless mess. Secondly, nothing says ‘relaxed effortless luxury’ like an occasional table hanging around next to the bath. It’s the perfect spot for a scented candle, a book and a glass of something lovely.

 The dark bathroom that makes us love brown

Abigail Ahern's bathroom | Brown bathroom | The Chromologist

Dark colours enthusiast Abigail Ahern keeps on making us like things we didn’t think we liked. Brown? Not a real favourite historically with this correspondent. And yet the way it covers every surface of this room and is teamed with plants and blue-green vases and objets is brilliantly rich. Complete the look with a statement light – yes, why not one that’s bigger than your bath if you can afford it – and what was that we said about occasional tables?

The easy going country bathroom (with added bamboo chair effects)

Ben Pentreath | Dorset house | The Chromologist

Designer and shop owner Ben Pentreath has worked on a variety of country houses and owns a quirky shop in Bloomsbury, all of which sport his signature Sophisticated English Gent look as seen above. His decorating style is like a contemporary twist on the Bloomsbury set – casually thrown together antiques, clashing fabrics and soft colours. A look that you nestle into easily, but when you start examining it contains things you want a lot. Like that bamboo chair for instance. Here is a bathroom that says ‘I like to take tea and read the papers in here before I have to speak to anyone. Don’t disturb me before 11am’.

The cool black bathroom

Jenna Lyons' old bathroom | The Chromologist

Fashion designer and all-round tastemaker Jenna Lyons’ old bathroom – we believe she has since moved house – is still highly sought after for reasons that are clear, but we’ll outline them anyway. Some of the walls – and even window frame – are black, there’s a gorgeous reclaimed chevron floor, stripped-back polished plaster walls and exposed pipes for the shower, all of which gives the room an effortlessly chic French feel of the sort we’ve all been chasing for years. It’s in Brooklyn so that’s a bit misleading, but who cares?

The bling hideaway-cum-library

Jonathan Adler bathrooms | House Beautiful | The Chromologist

Indelicate as it is to talk of thrones with regards to washrooms, if you will hang a big coat of arms behind your WC – or in fact, a vintage Hermes sign as this apparently is – then that’s what it becomes. Jonathan Adler is famously not colour-shy and not one for doing things quietly so this bathrooms is appropriately bling, but not overly so. Stripping it back, here are the easy ideas to steal: Subway tiles and penny tiles are quite inexpensive, but when mixed together create a nice layered pattern. With black walls and a black ceiling, expensive brass fittings and a fancy shower curtain (shop the look here) they work even harder. This bathroom is about starting simply but layering finer details on top. And if you can hide out and read for hours then why not give your bathroom a small library too?

Jill Macnair


Jill Macnair has worked as an interiors journalist for 13 years, contributing to titles including Elle Decoration, The Sunday Times and The Guardian. She set up cult interiors blog My Friend’s House in 2009 with Ros Anderson and continues to run the forum daily.

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