Bathroom Minimalism: Not All Black and White

Minimalist design is one of the most popular interior style trends at the moment, and for good reason. Minimalist spaces always look clean and feel fresh, no matter what time of day it is. They also feel modern, sleek and inviting — all the things one wants a bathroom to achieve.

If you’re working with someone who seeks this interior design style, here’s what you should know about creating a minimalist bathroom.

Minimalist Foundations

Minimalist interior design is more than choosing a mid-century vanity and sleek art pieces. Minimalism is an entire movement with philosophies and principles of its own. As explained by minimalist expert Francine Jay, decluttering is a primary step towards achieving minimalism in any aspect of life. When working toward that direction in the bathroom, Jay suggests removing all moveable items. This includes toiletries and anything that isn’t part of the room’s existing structure.

Reichel Broussard of Copy Cat Chic goes through this process step by step, showing which toiletry items she decided to keep after purging all of the products in the bathroom. To add to the clean and fresh feel of her bathroom, she focused on keeping those items with a minimalist aesthetic. Sleek black products, clean jars without labels, and mirrored organizers all keep the minimal look.

Getting rid of items that aren’t used often can make it easier to assess the space and make more deliberate decor decisions. Design journalist Ada Teicu agrees with this principle, adding that a simple, clutter-free space is key to a minimalist bathroom. She suggests using built-in shelving and cabinets to keep all things tucked away.

It’s clear that clean, clutter-free designs are key to minimalist style, but what elements complicate this look? According to Penelope Herbert, author of The Style Podcast, handmade decor and DIY elements detract from simplicity. This is because minimalism commands a certain level of perfection, with sharp edges and clean, straight lines. The aesthetic can be difficult to achieve with handmade items, which have an imperfect look.

Choosing a Statement Piece

Adding a statement piece is a great way to ensure that a bathroom retains its comfortable and interesting appeal, even when you minimize its decor elements.

In Heliotrope Architects, a freestanding wooden tub makes a big statement in a minimalist bathroom. Since the rest of the room is white and devoid of any rug or art accents, the large wooden tub helps infuse warmth into the space. Another way to incorporate wood into a minimalist bathroom is to opt for wood in the shower. Jennifer Baum Lagdameo at Dwell says adding a bamboo shower seat is both functional and decorative. This works especially well in a minimalist shower with a neutral color palette that needs some warming up.

For a smaller statement piece, floating fixtures can fit the bill. Jennifer Louise Ebert, content editor at Time Inc. UK, suggests a floating sink, as one example. She explains that floating vanities maximize the sense of space, since more of the floor and wall can be seen. Floating fittings also make a place look more polished and sleek. This is a great approach when working working with a small bathroom, especially if a customer asks for ideas to make the space look larger.

Lighting and Mirrors

Bright, natural light is a staple in all minimalist bathrooms. Brightness adds to the sense of cleanliness and freshness in a bathroom, especially when that space is comprised of neutral colors and light-reflecting materials and surfaces. And while we can’t all have a large windows and skylights in our bathroom, there are a few ways to maximize even a minimal amount of light.

A glass shower wall is one way to enhance a sense of space and light in a small bathroom. Interior style site Trendsideas shows how a high-tech shower glass can transform from transparent to translucent at the flick of a switch. This enables privacy when the shower is in use. However, it also helps the classy, minimalist appeal of the all-glass shower remain when guests enter the bathroom.

If it’s a country-style minimalist space your clients want to achieve, the home renovators at the Beginning in the Middle blog used two upcycled mirrors to bring added space and light to their bathroom. The mirrors are placed across from one another where they can reflect the light from the hanging crystal fixtures.

Minimalist Color Palettes

Most people turn to black and white when thinking about minimalist bathroom color design. But this doesn’t always have to be the case, the team Salter Spiral Stair writes.

Off-whites, charcoal blacks and all ranges of the color gray are great alternatives to black and white, which can often look stark. Plus, they add that a small accent pop of solid bright colors, or a simple pattern, work wonders for livening up a small minimalist bathroom.

The blog Better Living adds that neutral color palettes work best in minimal bathrooms because they promote a sense of simplicity. Unlike bold wall colors, which tend to make loud statements, neutral colors maintain a feeling of calm.

Mixing Materials

For something other than wall paint, consider adding metal, wood or other neutral-colored materials to the bathroom walls.

One example of a wall adorned with metal comes from the Mountain Modern Life blog, which shows how corrugated steel can be strategically placed for a sleek industrial touch. Stone can be used to incorporate natural material. Lindsey Mather, home design editor at Architectural Digest, showcases a geometric limestone tub paired with wood-paneled walls. The Japanese soaking tub evokes a feeling of zen and reinforces a minimalist mindset.

Mixing materials can also be achieved with an accent wall. Australian home design company Crespo Design Group recommends including an accent wall to add color, texture and contrast. This is also a great choice for people who want a minimalist style, but aren’t set on a neutral-only look.

For a more extreme minimalist bath and shower design, your clients may wish to consider a Moroccan style called tadelakt. Interior designer Janice Blakeley says that this design leverages a waterproof, limestone-based material that can hold many different shapes. Somewhere between adobe and stucco, this Moroccan plaster is being used for stand up shower walls and sleek bathtubs. This is one example of a handmade material that actually does work well in a minimalist bathroom design.

Images by: skdesign/©123RF Stock Photo, Erika Wittlieb, rilueda/©123RF Stock Photo