Bidets. The U.S. is known for a love of being uberclean so it's surprising that we haven't embraced bidets as they offer a cleanliness we can't get with toilet paper. Beyond cleanliness bidets save water because making toilet paper is an incredibly water‐intensive process. And some bidet users increase their shower intervals saving more water still.
Ensure proper drainage. Not only will you guard against damage from standing water but you'll also protect yourself from skidding on wet floors. Angle the shower floor slightly so that water flows toward the drain and think about adding a second drain for doubly effective siphoning. Select surfaces that can stand up to moisture. Even with careful attention to an open shower's design splashes and steam will escape. Outfit your bath with surfaces that hold their own against moisture: porcelain or glass tile metal stone solid surfacing engineered quartz and some woods. Avoid fabrics and other materials that are prone to mildew.
Try a modern take on traditional. "The owner likes traditional claw‐foot tubs but the house called for a more modern fixture" says Randall Mars of Randall Mars Architects. "This tub by Wetstyle has modern lines with that same feeling. In addition it floats nicely in the space and enjoys great views. The pocket shutters offer privacy while flooding the room with light". Think green. "This bathroom was an ecochic project where we used several natural or recycled/reclaimed products" says Kerrie L. Kelly of Kerrie Kelly Design Lab. "The clients fell in love with the hammered‐copper tub when they saw it. Luckily the entire bathroom was demoed so we had the opportunity to take an existing tub/shower and covert the space to accommodate a large shower and separate freestanding tub. It now serves as the centerpiece to the master suite renovation".
Dual‐flush toilets. Toilets consume far more water than any other indoor fixture accounting for 30 percent of most homes' indoor water use. Dual‐flush toilets increasingly common in homes are an easy way to cut water use without compromising effectiveness. A dual‐flush toilet differs from standard models with two flush options: one for liquid waste which uses less than a gallon of water and a second for solid waste.
Use fancy little trays to collect and curate your bath items; place a few bath oils and soaps on one a cluster of votive candles on another. Potted plants are a wonderful way to add mystery and depth. Try ferns orchids or a palm. Mood lighting is key for the spa escape look so look beyond the standard choices for interesting light fixtures. I adore Moroccan hanging lanterns; hung alone or in a cluster they add a big punch of style and cast an amazing glow. Cultivate the feel of a five‐star European hotel with rich materials glossy finishes and a tightly edited black and white palette. Search vintage shops for a small glass‐front cabinet to use for towel storage. Paint it in the glossiest darkest black you can find then fill it with fluffy white towels.
The familiar furnishings accents and surfaces in this space right down to the flowered wallpaper mark it as traditional. But its classic mien wouldn't be out of place in a preppy home either. Contemporary forms (that stacked sink!) and plenty of open space drive the design here. The space feels of the moment and that's what contemporary style is all about. From the subway tile to the vintage‐style fixtures and pedestal sink this bath would fit right in with a cottage interior. Beadboard wainscoting would be another ideal choice. This transitional bath blends classic lines and profiles with streamlined detailing and pared‐down accents. It wouldn't look amiss in a traditional or contemporary home but it has its own distinctive appeal.
Bring in natural light. "A frameless shower gives the illusion of openness. The less metal the less you notice that a wall is dividing the space" says Alison Causer of Alison Causer Design. "In this master bath I really wanted the natural light to reach every corner of the room. Since we used dark natural stone on all four walls we really needed to keep the light moving around the room". Maximize the view. "This home has a sophisticated and subdued palette with walnut casework throughout" says Kerry Ellis of Benning Design Associates. "It also has stunning views which is why we decided to keep the master bath and shower so open".
Stow extra toiletries and supplies under the sink or in bins or a nearby closet reducing visual clutter. Decant frequently used items into pretty containers or at least remove the unattractive outer packaging. Borrow accessories from elsewhere in your home. For instance cake stands dessert plates and teacups all make beautiful organizers. Use a fabric shower curtain not plastic. Remove the standard‐issue mirrored medicine cabinet in favor of a pretty mirror plus sconces.