Monday Inspiration: Mad About The Bathroom

It’s a shorter post this week (will anyone notice or mind?) as this weekend has been spent taking the 18yo to his new home at university. I was completely fine about him going until two days before when he texted me and asked me out to lunch. And I had to work. And it really hit me. So this weekend has been more student flat than interiors inspiration. However, since he will be sharing a bathroom with seven strangers for the first time in his life, I thought we would have a look at, and be thankful for, a beautiful bathroom.

marble bathroom with black and white wallpaper by cp hart shot by Paul Craig
marble bathroom with black and white wallpaper by CP Hart shot by Paul Craig

This is by CP Hart, shot by Paul Craig and is such a simple design. The bath is built in, so no expensive roll tops or freestanding taps (often more than the cost of the bath) to pay for. Instead, if you are on a budget, you could spend money on the brass fittings to upgrade the look. Brass has had a strong fashion moment but it is basically a classic so don’t worry about going off it. You might even like it more when you don’t see it everywhere. Black is also a fashionable colour and again, it’s trendy at the moment, but it goes with everything so it will become classic.

But where you can really have fun is the wallpaper. You can spend as much, or as little as you have and go as wild as you like as it’s relatively easy to change. This classic white, marble and brass scheme also means you can add any colour or pattern you like.

bathroom with chandelier and freestanding painted bath shot by Paul Craig
bathroom with chandelier and freestanding painted bath shot by Paul Craig

Next up, another shot by Paul and again it’s a classic background of mostly white but the freestanding bath has been painted in a deep plum colour. And you could change this if you got bored. This bathroom is all about the chandelier and there are rules about that (how to get the bathroom lighting right) because it won’t work for everyone.

But this room would work perfectly well without that if the budget wasn’t there. Both rooms have made use of pretty bottles of soap and shampoo for the styling and yes this one has a fireplace, which we don’t all have, but you could add some tiles or a strong paint colour to the wall to add interest if you felt you space was lacking. Or a vintage cupboard in which to store towels and loo rolls etc. Modern bathrooms love a bit of vintage to add character.

pink bathroom with silver bath at El Fenn, Marrakech
pink bathroom with silver bath at El Fenn, Marrakech

This bathroom, in the El Fenn hotel, in Marrakech,  is full of character but it’s simply done. Yes the silver bath is the big ticket item but it’s the pink tadelakt walls which bring all the wow factor. Tadelakt is a moroccan plastering technique which is expensive but beautiful and so soft and smooth to touch. You can use a limewash paint for a similar effect – try Bauwerk and have a read of Kerry Lockwood’s post on how she used it in her home.

And, once again, the wall is the easiest part to change so you can keep the fairly classic black and white tiled floor and the bath, which will have been expensive and swap the paint. And before anyone comments on having space for an armchair in a bathroom (I wish) this bathroom is in the corner of a bedroom so it’s all open plan and explains the chair.

copper bath and wall panelling in the home of Nicola Broughton
copper bath and wall panelling in the home of Nicola Broughton

From silver baths to copper and this is the newly refurbished bathroom of Nicola Broughton and isn’t it just gorgeous. Again, a classic black and white floor but laid in a more dramatic herringbone pattern and grey panelled walls. Then the basin stands on a vintage table which is easy enough to do (or your plumber) as you just cut a hole for the waste. Nicola has gone for matt black taps here which go with the floor and is the perfect antidote to the shiny copper bath. This feels classic with a modern twist, or perhaps modern with a nod to classicism. Either way, I think it will stand the test of time but, if she wanted to, the wooden panelling would be easy to paint in a different colour to ring the changes as the black, white and copper, will be happy to sit with a variety of other shades.

rug by edit58
rug by edit58

Finally, back to the freestanding bath, the classic Edwardian style basin and the subway tiles in brick formation. here the wooden floor and rug bring all the colour and personality to the space and, once again, you could move that runner to a bedroom or a hall and replace it with something different if you wanted to ring the changes.

So it turns out that this post was about how to decorate a bathroom while keeping your options open for inexpensive changes should you get bored after a couple of years. Fit that into a google headline.

Tags : bathroom designbathroom lightingmonday inspirationroll top bath
Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. Loved this post thanks Kate – European bathrooms are so different to ours in the antipodes, lately all of the bathroom inspiration I see in New Zealand is still very monochrome and hard lined so it’s fabulous to see an antidote to that. I hope your 18yo is surviving in the flat with the shared bathroom (takes me back to my student days and the never ending hot water shortages!) and that you are surviving having him away from home. Thank you for the wonderful September content.

  2. Loving the bathroom by CP Hart. The colours and the placement of all elements is just so neat. The copper bath looks good as well but doesn’t seem too practical for use.


  3. Love the Nicola Broughton Bathroom. Gorgeous green and I love copper. Didn’t know about copper shortage tho .. good to know.

  4. I love the last image….but then you notice that there isn’t any space to store anything (products, electric toothbrush, etc.) near the sink. Seems designed more for looks than practicality.

  5. I love the copper bath-it would pair well with my copper pots, copper flashing, downspouts, and the exposed copper plumbing.

  6. The last image with a period print hanging in the lower right angle to the sink – quite a strange angle I must say, with the print not visible to the person sitting in the bath (what’s the point then?..) nor to the person using the sink (all water splashes straight into the print), don’t you think? Though. aesthetically the whole set looks pleasing but again we are so obsessed with looks that forget about the practicality…a good topic for the next podcast may be?..

  7. Whilst copper might look fantastic in interiors, copper is an increasingly scarce natural resource and is essential for electrical installations. If we use copper as an interiors material it will soon run out and we will have a crisis on our hands. I think in light of this blog’s focus on sustainability it is important people are made aware of this issue!

      1. Hi Kate – I only found out about the issue with copper recently whilst doing a module on sustainability for an interior design qualification. I enjoy your blog very much – keep up the good work raising awareness about the environment! Catherine

        1. Hi Catherine
          Really interesting comment about sustainability of copper. Would you mind sharing what interior design qualification you are doing?
          Many thanks

          1. Hi Vicky. I am doing the KLC Online Certificate in Interior Design. KLC offer a number of options including the same course on-site in London but as I live in Yorkshire the online course was the best option for me. There are lots of interesting courses available with various schools but I decided this was the best one for me as I have always worked in interiors but wanted to get an idea about CAD, rendering and general client presentations which the course covers (amongst other things). There is a Facebook support group for the course which you might want to check out at as it gives lots of info about the course and gives a good idea of the sort of people who are doing it – not all of whom have any interiors experience. Hope this helps! Catherine

        2. Hi Catherine, thank you so much for your reply the KLC. I’m lookimg at enrolling on a course soon as I’m changing careers from PR to interiors (well that’s the dream anyway!)
          I will check out the FB group.
          Best Wishes, Vicky

  8. I’m a bit puzzled about the purpose of the shower head in the first photo, with the bathroom being wallpapered and decorated with paintings – I can assume that the wallpaper might be waterproof, but haven’t heard of waterproof paintings yet.
    The pink bathroom is straight out of my nightmares, reminds me a bit of when we were looking to buy our apartment, one of the listings we visited was a place the owners had started to renovate and decided to sell instead, and for some reason their renovation attempt had begun by painting the bathroom blood red. In theory I’d thing bright pink should look at least a little better, but being so intensive and cool shade somehow it doesn’t.
    But would take the copper bath any day, ideally paired with the fireplace from the second photo.

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