A minimal approach to bathroom design can create very sleek, smart spaces, without compromising on comfort or luxury. In her book – ‘Bathrooms’ – expert Vinny Lee shares her tips on how to achieve that minimalist look, and sheds light on how to brighten up windowless spaces.
Bringing light to a windowless room
Many bathrooms in modern apartment blocks are located internally, without windows, while in older houses, an additional bathroom may be installed in an attic or basement, again without any natural light. In an attic bathroom, you could install a regular skylight or a tubular one with a silvered internal surface, which funnels and magnifies the light from outside. In a basement it may be possible to replace part of the paving directly above and adjacent to the basement with glass bricks.
Where it isn’t possible to create any sort of window, you can devise the illusion of one by using a panel of opaque glass in the wall or ceiling and fitting daylight bulbs behind. The clear blue–white light will fill the room, and give the space a more open and inviting appearance.
- Use a porthole instead of a square or rectangular frame for an unusual ‘fake’ window.
- Put semi–opaque glass panels in a door to bring light in from a hallway.
- Mirrors can be angled in order to bounce daylight around corners.
- Use a projector to create a surreal window with a view on a plain white wall.
For the ultimate in minimal design, many interior designers have taken their inspiration from commercial spaces, especially modern five–star hotels. In these busy, much-used environments, the policy is to surround the guests with a feeling of comfort and luxury, yet for the bathing spaces to be efficient and functional. In such schemes the floor plan and layout are a priority; the space allocated for hotel en–suite bathrooms is usually restricted but it should not feel so. The guest must be about to use and move around the space with ease and without a sense of confinement.
The materials used in these bathrooms are hard–wearing but attractive, and convey a sense of richness and quality. Marble, mica-flecked polished granite and satin–smooth sandstone are popular but black or white resins are also used, as well as glass.
The saying ‘less is more’ encapsulates the minimal style – but where fewer elements meet the eye, they have to be of the highest possible calibre; the elements of the minimal bathroom are not disguised among a plethora of colours, fixtures or embellishments.
Against the plain and simple layout of a minimal bathroom, the accessories and fittings become the focus – like a stunning bag or great piece of jewellery against a simple shift dress. Instead of there being a traditional tap, water might run into the bath via a cascade from a shelf, or a beautifully sculpted radiator might take centre stage rather than there being a rather ordinary one that is banished to the sidelines.
The minimal bathroom also requires wall–hung sanitaryware rather than toilets and bidets on pedestals or basins set into cabinets, as these give a feeling of bulk and restrict the flow of light. And finally, minimal bathrooms demand ample storage space so surfaces remain pristine and clutter–free.
All extracts were taken from the book ‘Bathrooms – Creating the Perfect Bathing Experience’ by Vinny Lee.
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