How to Achieve a Timeless Design

So often, bathrooms are left to look flat and sterile. White walls, white fixtures, and just a different floor colour seem to be the standard design for Australian homes and are thought to be the ‘safe’ choice. Even though most beautiful, timeless bathrooms don’t look like this; they have texture, depth, and warmth. Most of the time, this is done with a design technique called ‘layering.’

Layering works by using either similar or different finishes at different points in a space. This draws the eye in and gives the viewer a sense of depth. The technique works best when there are different vertical planes or sections in a space, like dwarf walls, archways, pop outs, or cut outs. However, you can also make it look like there are layers on a flat surface by placing materials in a smart way.

So how do I give my space layers? Think about more than just the floor and walls in your bathroom. Think about how you move through the space and if you can add more depth. Can the half-height wall behind the vanity, toilet, or bath be popped out? Is it possible and practical to use a dwarf wall instead of a full shower screen to define the shower space? If you don’t have a lot of space, you can create layers by giving ‘foreground’ objects brighter, bolder finishes while giving ‘background’ objects more muted finishes.


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To use the layering technique in your bathroom design, choose 3–4 different finishes. If your bathroom is small, 4 finishes might look too busy. These should include at least two or three tile finishes, the finish on your vanity, and any other large surfaces outside of your toilet and sink.

Finishes can be different in colour, texture, or both. For example, you can layer in all white by using different finishes, like large white tiles on the walls, white penny rounds in the middle, and white marble on top.