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Add Character to Your Bathroom With Well-chosen Accessories

Introducing decorative objects to your otherwise functional washspace is an instant way to boost its personality

Houzz UK editorial staff. I’m an interiors journalist and editor, previously for… More

We often forget to embellish our bathrooms with the sort of decorative flourishes we lavish on the rest of our home, especially living spaces. Let this meanness stop now! Bathrooms deserve your styling love, too. Let these simple ideas help you to make a start.

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Bottle it up
Vintage apothecary bottles can be beautiful to look at and thematically appropriate for a bathroom. Search around car boot sales, junk shops or online and seek out designs that will complement your bathroom. There are clear glass versions, brown glass, as here, and blue or green glass, too. They look great against a window, filtering the light through their glass, but would also double as a stylish vessel for a single flower stem.
If you have a shallow shelf, consider building a sizeable collection – en masse, mono-coloured glass can look really striking.

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Branch out
A few branches of eucalyptus in a bathroom or a wet room not only look chic, but smell wonderful, too. And eucalyptus is just such a calming, goes-with-most-things pale and creamy green.

Display the branches in a vase if you like, or use clear fishing wire or rustic twine, depending on your bathroom style, to suspend them near your shower head. Every time you use the shower, the wonderful scent will be released.

Visit the Houzz shop to browse bathroom accessories you can buy

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Bring in a bloom
A simple vase of flowers – and it doesn’t have to be big – can go a long way in a bathroom, especially when paired with a select display of well-packaged products, such as the hand wash and moisturiser here.

Something scented is a good choice – roses, as here (though some are far more perfumed than others, so research before you shop), or for a less formal look, try fragrant freesias or sweet peas displayed in a jam jar.

For elegance, choose small vessels over large jugs or vases. That way you’ll be able to position it on top of the loo or around your basin. No room even for that? Could you wind wire around the top of a clean glass jar and make a little hanger to suspend from a cupboard doorknob?

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Vie for Venetian
A decorative mirror over your basin is a good opportunity for bathroom embellishment. There are all sorts of options once you start to think about it – from antique wooden-framed designs to metal-framed folding numbers with a gentle utilitarian feel to them.

But if you’re going for a romantic, vintage-style vibe, like in this space, you can’t go wrong with a Venetian mirror. It’s a design that will go a long way to softening a bathroom’s décor. New versions are widely available and in all sorts of shapes and sizes, or go for an original.

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Go large
If you have the space, there’s something wonderfully luxurious about a floor-standing mirror. Choose one with feet, like this, or one that you can (safely) lean against a wall. Antique designs will cost you a pretty penny, so be prepared to invest. Alternatively, there are often high-street shops selling new, reproduction designs with ornate gold frames. In the right context – a classy one – these have the potential to give real rococo glamour to your bathroom.

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Take a seat
Sometimes accessorising and adding character can be so simple. Isn’t it amazing how dramatically that old wooden chair warms up this all-white loft bathroom. Even though the space already has a pretty claw-foot bath and shutters to add interest, that chair is the star. It’s also useful!

A classic antique style like this bentwood will work with so many interior styles, not just a room with a bit of a Victorian theme like this one. It’s worth seeking an original if you want to add character…

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…alternatively, a standout contemporary design will have a different effect on the style of your bathroom. A moulded plastic design like this is also a practical choice for use in a walk-in shower where actually sitting on the chair can be as important as it looking good.

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Cut a rug
Who says you need to step onto a conventional bathmat when you get out of your shower or bath? A rug – preferably a hard-wearing cotton one so it’s easy to wash regularly – can make a real statement or complement the colours you’ve chosen for your tiling or accessories.

Bathmats often have rubberised backs, so if slipping is a worry be sure to get a separate anti-slip mat to place underneath your rug.

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Try a tray table
Limited surfaces for displaying anything at all in your bathroom? Perhaps you’ll have space to introduce a surface in the form of a stylish tray table like this one. There are various designs on the market and you can choose to contrast colourwise or have it blend into the background while making the contents of its tabletop stand out instead.

Style it with a small spray of flowers – perhaps a single green hydrangea bloom (there are some fantastic fake versions out there) – a candle and a nice-looking box in which to put jewellery or perhaps more practical but not gorgeous stuff like dental floss or hairbands.

If storage is limited, and giving over your only flat surface to a smattering of artfully arranged items is not feasible, choose a trolley style design with a lower shelf. You can put folded towels or a nice-looking rattan basket that you can throw general bathroom clutter or bundles of loo rolls in on the shelf, leaving the top free for nothing but your aesthetic pleasure!

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Curate a display
Art in the bathroom isn’t an obvious choice, but it will give your bathing space a visual connection to the rest of your house like nothing else. Ponderous portraits, as here, will quite literally add character, while dreamy abstract landscapes are good to get lost in while you clean your teeth or lie in the bath. Choose artworks in colours that aren’t entirely incongruous to your bathroom’s palette, or take care to choose towels and other accessories that complement rather than clash with them.

Also be sure to protect original artworks from water damage and steam.

Read professional advice on hanging art in your bathroom

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Light up
These family initials are a very cute idea and would work just as well over a row of towel hooks if you don’t happen to have a triple basin…

But the stars of the show, arguably, are the beautiful brass bulkhead lights. Lighting in a bathroom is so often built in to be purely functional. But instead of ceiling spots, or at least as well as ceiling spots, choose some wall-mounted lamps to add character above or either side of a mirror. Bulkhead or other industrial or nautical-style lights are often designed for exterior lighting and so there’s a large choice of IP rated designs that are safe around water.

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Use what you’ve got
If you’re a collector of nice-looking necklaces – don’t hide them away. Not only will you be able to easily see and pick out something at a glance, rather than picking through a tangled clump, but they can look beautiful tacked to a wall.

An alternative way to display them is to create a dead straight line of small hooks or nails in your wall so that, when loaded up with your baubles, they become a geometric feature.

How have you accessorised your washspace? Share your photos or tell us your tips in the Comments section.
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