how to design the perfect bathroom

The design secrets behind a fabulous bathroom

What is the most important room to my clients? Unexpectedly, the Master Bathroom is often a really critical space that clients feel incredibly passionate about. A beautifully designed bathroom that is spacious and full of thoughtful detailing and designer bathroom accessories gives a wonderful space to start and finish every day. Design briefs often ask for a luxurious ‘Hotel feel’, but with the addition of unique pieces to make it both more special and personal. My first design tip for creating a truly outstanding bathroom has to be to use a really talented joiner. The addition of wall panelling, intricate vanity detailing and a bespoke bath surround will transform your space. For this classic contemporary, large, family home, set within a large, leafy garden, I worked with talented joiner, William Garvey, and his workshop of craftsmen and women, to create a light and airy bathroom, which combined mirror, Thassos Marble and hand-painted woodwork. The final installation was completely seamless and the overall look is the epitome of timeless elegance.

Another favourite design flourish to set a bathroom design apart, is to incorporate a feature wall, often above the bath, although this can work well in the shower too. Here, I worked with Tatiana Tafur to create an incredible verre églomisé panel, with a pretty, scrolling, botanical pattern created from hand-sculpted porcelain flowers above the bath. Specially crafted to be suitable for a bathroom, it creates a striking focal point. I chose a light, soft and feminine colour palette to ensure the overall ‘spa like’ mood of serenity and peace continued. A studio, such as Tatiana Tafur, are wonderful to work with in this way, as they embody the total creativity of vision and use of original materials that I love.

The metal detailing in a bathroom will naturally draw the eye. I specified polished nickel for this bathroom; it has a glamorous warmth that works so well with lighter marbles. I was thrilled to use my all-time-favourite taps from Kallista, the Barbara Barry Tuxedo range, with reeded, lever handles. Combined with beautifully crafted polished nickel and rock crystal wall lights, alongside a central, frosted glass, ‘Emerald’ pendant from Charles Edwards, the absolute best English company for bathrooms and hallways, the overall effect is of rich and intricate detailing, with a glamorous, highly polished, finish.

Nothing sets a bathroom apart like an exquisitely crafted, marble, fireplace. If you have the space, this creates another focal point and adds detail and interest to the room. Here, I worked with fabulous English supplier, Chesneys, on a bespoke version of their Palladian fireplace, centered between the ‘His and Hers’ double vanities; it is a wonderful additional surface to dress simply with fresh flowers and accessories.

My final tip for a fabulous bathroom is to mix in at least two contrasting finishes. I like to keep them tonally similar, so that the overall theme remains consistent, but a change in texture will add interest and richness. For the floor of this bathroom, I selected some superbly crafted Thassos marble and shell floor tiles from Ann Sacks’ “Benton Mosaics” range to add a pretty, understated touch of pattern. Ann Sacks has some exquisite Art Deco inspired designs, which I find work beautifully in both classical and contemporary bathrooms and across our luxury interior design projects.

Sign Up To Our Newsletter

Katharine Pooley's top tips, design, ideas, trends and more...