Southwestern Bathroom Design and Decor
Southwestern bathroom design and decor reflects a relaxed, elegant style tied to the centuries-old mix of cultures and natural phenomena that make the American southwest unique. Southwestern style is greatly influenced by the Mexican themes as well as the Spanish colonial roots of the southwestern region.
Fun With Wallpaper
Designer Lisa Flake of Caldwell Flake Interiors has three favorite ways to add color to bathrooms: wallpaper, wallpaper, wallpaper! "I am a wallpaper junkie because baths are often so cold and boring without it," says Flake. By keeping the trim, tub and fixtures in this room neutral, there's room to have fun with bright pink, graphic wallpaper and modern accessories. Design by Lisa Flake
Paint the Vanity
Another way to brighten the bath? Refresh your tired wooden vanity with a few coats of a bright hue, like designer Bryan Patrick Flynn did here. Black and gray geometric wallpaper adds interest without overdoing the color in this small space.
Shades of Blue
Add depth and interest to your bath with shades of the same hue, like designer Camilla Molders did here with these hand-glazed ceramic tiles. "I used five different colorways in the bathroom tile...since one single shade would have been too heavy," says Molders. With a backsplash like this, a simple, modern sink and sleek vanity are all this room needs to look bright and polished.
Pops of Color
Painting inside the drawers of this vanity cabinet with bold citrine adds a dose of the unexpected to this black-and-white bathroom. Design by Gregg De Meza, Jennifer Gustafson and Michelle Nelson of De Meza Architecture + Interiors
Colorful bathrooms don't have to hit you over the head with bright hues. This bathroom's chamomile tea-colored glass tile creates contrast while still maintaining a spa-like feel. Design by Celia Berliner; photo by Becket Logan
Say ciao to this bella powder room, centered around a Mediterranean-inspired vanity. Color-washed, canary yellow walls and hand-painted terra cotta tiles complete this space's Old World, paninated feel. Design by Ashley Astleford
With tiles this bold, a little bit of color goes a long way. The grid pattern of the tiled walls, coupled with modern fixtures and an antique vanity cabinet, creates the ideal mix of old and new pieces. Design by Jaymes Richardson
A powder room, like this one in the 2011 Urban Oasis, is the perfect place to make a statement on the walls. Designer Vern Yip used a subtle color variation in each tile stripe to add dimension and keep the pattern from being too jarring.
Traditional Meets Modern
Bring a traditional bath into the 21st century, no time machine necessary. A coat of pumpkin paint instantly updates this bath's classic woodwork, fixtures and marble vanity, while the modern artwork and whimsical bust-turned-towel bar further bridge the "then and now." Design by Jane Ellison
If you're planning a new bathroom or an update to an existing one, Southwestern design and decor could be a great choice for creating a space that's bright and lively yet relaxed and welcoming.
Color is a hugely important factor in Southwestern design and decor. Many of the color schemes featured in this design style are directly connected to those occurring naturally in the American southwest and surrounding areas. Bright yellows, dusty oranges and rusty reds, cactus greens and neutral desert or earth tones often combine with bold turquoise and blue accents, capturing the vibrant, sun-soaked environment of the Southwest.
Furniture in Southwestern bathroom design often follows the same pattern as color schemes — natural woods are emphasized, with certain types preferred. Knotty pine is widely known for its distinctive, natural appearance; it features prominent knotting in its natural state, making it a great choice for a rustic style. For chairs and benches in Southwestern bathrooms, knotty pine can be left completely natural or lightly stained to protect the surface but preserve the natural color and appearance of the knots. This wood type is often combined with wrought iron hardware, often in dark bronze or black, for a distinctive "Southwestern colonial" look. For chairs and benches, some homeowners opt to include leather seat cushions or chair backs, sometimes featuring distressed areas or wear to further emphasize a casual, lived-in and weathered feel.
Accessories and other decor in Southwestern bathrooms often capture the bright and lively style of the region, as well. Wall art can take the form of desertscapes or typical flora and fauna from the region. Tapestries and other substantial woven fabrics are often featured as wall art as well; in bold colors and striped patterns, these can add great visual interest, especially to a smaller space. Iron or other sturdy metal accents for candleholders, light fixtures and accessories like soap dishes can contribute to the Spanish colonial look, as well.
Last, but certainly not least, tile can be an extremely important feature of a Southwestern bathroom design. Terracotta tile, in particular, is a signature type that's almost universal in the Southwest — it can be seen anywhere from rooftops to kitchens, bathrooms and just about anywhere in homes, since it has a well-earned reputation for staying cool underfoot even in the hottest temperatures. Floors, shower stalls, sink countertops and backsplashes may all feature terracotta tile in Southwestern-style bathrooms. Additionally, some homeowners opt to feature painted tile in their Southwestern bathroom designs, often on walls or countertops. This unique style of tile often features natural elements and intricate designs hand-painted onto the surface of the tile for a bold and visually interesting addition to the bathroom space.
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