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Secrets for decorating your bath: It's all about the small stuff

While remodeling an entire bath can be pricey and messy, redecorating is a simple matter of attention to detail.

You may privately want a claw-foot tub, but your left brain decided that it just wasn't worth the cost or the chaos. So where do you go from there to give your bathroom a refreshing new face?

Start small
When you don't need to remove and replace major fixtures, redoing a bath can be wallet-friendly fun. House Beautiful magazine called on well-known designers to help compile a list of little things that can mean a lot when redecorating a bath. Noted interior designer Mary Douglas Drysdale put it succinctly:

"Make your bathroom feel like a spa. Buy fabulous overscale towels in a new color. Add a few small candles and light them at night when you have guests." 

New York designer Ashley Whittaker suggested you first look in the mirror and create some fun:

"Find a great antique mirror for your powder room. The slight mottling of vintage glass seems to make those tiny lines and wrinkles miraculously disappear. And when people know they look great, they have more fun."

Way beyond white
If your bath is white, white, white, Real Simple magazine showed how to change all that with a touch of pink. Not only can you transform the entire space by simply adding a new overhead fixture, but you can also hang a dramatic magenta shower curtain to focus on the most relaxing area of the room. If you don't want to replace light fixtures, you can adopt a small change with a big impact: Replace existing standard switch plates and outlet covers with new ones that feature the theme or colors you want to accentuate.

Designer Mona Ross Berman told House Beautiful that bold colors in a bath make a remarkable statement:

"Powder rooms are places where you can gild the lily ... We used a loud geometric in a bright ocean blue to give it a slightly over-the-top feeling." 

For design consultant Ellen O'Neill, however, there's nothing quite like red and white stripes for achieving drama:

"There's a discipline to stripes ... When I worked at Ralph Lauren, we attended stripe class - awning stripes, regimental stripes, ticking stripes - I love them all."

Towels from her former employer's collection complement the look.

A final thought from Real Simple: If you have room, consider adding an old hutch or antique kitchen cabinet to the bath. Not only will it give character, it will also contribute precious storage space for towels, shampoo, soaps and towels.

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