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Featured in D Home’s Definitive Guide to Decorating Every Room in the House

Whether it’s a spacious master bath or Lilliputian powder room, practicality matters most in bathroom design—but that doesn’t mean you can’t add style to this oh-so-functional space. Yes, you need a tub in which to wash away the day, but why not opt for a fetching freestanding version? And, sure, subway tile is a standard choice, but why not incorporate a border or decorative contrasting tile to give it some flair? For a quick makeover—no contractor required—consider adding artwork or wallpaper. Sometimes the smallest details make the biggest impact, and both of these options are easy ways to beautify any bath.

Go Bold in Small Spaces

A fun print by Studio Four NYC adorns this boys’ bathroom of a Park Cities home designed by Tracy Hardenburg.
Why it works:The playful pattern is youthful without being kitschy, allowing versatility. Jan/Feb 2018
Cody Ulrich

The powder bath is the perfect place to play it safe—said no one ever. Small footprints and limited time spent in these spaces make them them an ideal space for fun and experimentation. Whether that means a bold patterned or textured wallpaper, funky fixtures, or wild tile, consider this an invitation to make a statement, even if the rest of your home is timid and tame.

Stephen Karlisch
Aimee Herring
Nathan Schroder
Nathan Schroder

Clockwise from top left:

  1. The homeowner’s father, artist James Blake, sketched the family’s dog, Augustus, which then became wallpaper thanks to a company in California. Why it works: Personalization adds to the fun factor of this bathroom. Jul/Aug 2011
  2. Designer Doniphan Moore embellished this powder bath with Kelly Wearstler wallpaper and custom Waterworks mosaic tile. Why it works: The dark pattern-on-pattern makes for a luxurious space. Mar/Apr 2014
  3. Designer James McInroe chose Veca sconces from the 1970s to play off the Matthew Williamson tiger-print wallpaper. Why it works: The warm tones create a space that can’t be tamed. Jan/Feb 2016
  4. An ebony croc wallcovering from Elitis adds texture to this bath designed by Pulp Design Studios. Why it works: Interesting details don’t have to mean bright colors or busy patterns. Jan/Feb 2016

Where to Shop for Wallpaper:

George Cameron Nash
Holland & Sherry
ID Collection
Lee Jofa — Kravet

Standing Proud

The team at SHM Architects created this marble oasis.
Why it works: The freestanding tub acts as a statement piece that needs no further accoutrements. Jan/Feb 2016
Nathan Schroder

The height of luxury, a freestanding tub reminds you to slow down and soak in the little things. Whether you opt for a classic white structure or an elaborate marble, this choice becomes a showcase feature of one of your most private spaces. So go ahead—pour yourself a glass of wine, turn on some tunes, and get out a good book. You deserve a little self-care.

Cody Ulrich
Nathan Schroder
LEFT Designer Eddie Maestri intentionally put this tub in the middle of the room to give it the feel of an old-fashioned en suite dressing room.
RIGHT In this Mansion apartment, designer Cynthia Collins placed a marble tub from Westside Kitchen and Bath amidst Ann Sacks tile in a Greek key mosaic.

Where to Shop for Tubs:

Expressions Home Gallery
Pierce Hardware
TKO Associates

Subway Tile Doesn’t Have to Be Boring

It’s a classic, safe choice, to be sure, but subway tile can still add interest. Consider different cuts or shapes, patterns, colors, or grouts to add punch to this bathroom staple.

Ann Sacks mosaic tile pairs with a classic subway tile in this master bath by Brittany Cobb.

Why it works: The pairing of patterns makes this tile anything but standard.

Nov/Dec 2016

Designed by MORE Design + Build, Regan Carlile’s daughter’s bathroom boasts a freestanding tub, white subway tile, and a portrait done by husband Zach’s grandmother Mildred Carlile.

Mar/Apr 2011


  • Cody Ulrich
  • Aimee Herring
  • Nathan Schroder
  • Stephen Karlisch

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