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Room of the Month - Elegant Relaxing Bathroom

By Sarah Van Arsdale on May 25, 2008

At NYIAD we teach our students a simple Three-Step Method for designing every room they create:

  1. A successful room is functional.
  2. A successful room expresses a mood.
  3. A successful room exhibits a sense of harmony.

This simple Three-Step Method is the secret of every interior ever designed. We teach our interior design students to consider these three steps every time they look at a room. You'll find the great home decorating ideas in our Room of the Month series as well as in the design tips on this site helpful in creating outstanding room designs.

When our students mail in their interior design project for analysis by their instructor, the instructor starts by commenting on these three Guidelines. Of course, the instructor analyzes other elements of the project too – decor, layout, furniture, style etc. But the key to good decor – and the essential element of every great interior design – is adherence to these three NYIAD Guidelines.

How do they work? How can you apply them? It's beyond the scope of this Web site to teach you every nuance, but you will get an inkling from the Room of the Month Analysis that follows.

Room of the Month: relaxing bathroom bathtub

The bath is the room in the house used by everyone, in which we prepare to meet the day each morning and in which we close down for the night each evening. And yet, all too often it's given short shrift when considering a home's makeover, unless the owner is thinking of selling.


There is a common perception among homeowners that a total makeover of bath and kitchen are the places to spend home improvement dollars when preparing to sell. But the caution must always be heeded that first and foremost, the makeover must suit you, the homeowner.

And why not give your bath a fabulous facelift just because the current one is old and weary—even if you have no plans to sell. A bright new bath will lift your spirits several times each day.

Let's look at this bathroom using the NYIAD Guidelines to Interior Design: function, mood, and harmony.

Room of the Month: relaxing bathroom bathtub

First, the function of the bathroom is obvious, at first glance: to take care of one's personal needs. But the bathroom has moved way beyond that in today's home. Now, the bathroom also serves the function of providing a place to prepare yourself to greet the day, whether it's by shaving or putting on make-up and doing your hair.

And often, the bathroom in the early hours is the busiest room in the house. This room serves the function for two at once, with dual sinks and mirrors. There is plenty of counter space for powder, blush, and shaving kit, and for hand towels and wash cloths. There are plenty of drawers to hold all the necessities, readily available at hand.

Beyond the practical, another function the bathroom has come to serve is that of relaxation. This tub is inviting; one can easily imagine slipping in and sinking into a nice, hot bath. There is no shower curtain to get in the way of enjoying the view out the facing window, but note that this also means this tub is only used for a bath, not for a shower.

stainless steel faucet

The mood here is elegant, almost Asian-inspired. The room is simple, which contributes to the feeling of relaxation; the lack of clutter, and lack of clashing decorative items, allows the mind free range to rest. Using a palette of brown and white keeps the color choices simple, and further allows a feeling of calm and clarity.

Let's consider harmony last. Does everything work together in this room? Is there any element that seems out of place, or that doesn't "go"? We think not. Rather, each element seems woven in with the others, from the white tile walls and floor to the white tub and basins. The curved stainless steel faucets match the faucet on the bath, and the simple design of the wooden cabinet goes with the simple lines of the basins and tubs. The brown of the wood is picked up just a bit by the decorative tiling vertical stripes on the wall behind the tub.

The window curtain is equally simple yet elegant, and white is the perfect choice for this, as it allows the vista outside the window to really be seen.

All in all, this bathroom is one any homeowner would be proud to have—whether or not selling is in your future.