How to Create a Zen Bathroom
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Have you ever been in a bathroom that looks so peaceful it inspires you to just close your eyes and enter a meditative mode? If your daily life is quite hectic, you may need a bathroom like that. You should have a place to pamper yourself a little, to unwind, and to recharge your energy for another frenzied day. A Zen-style bathroom can grant you all that. With this bathroom theme, it's also easy to go in various directions. You may choose to make it look very traditional and oriental-inspired. You may want to keep it simple and contemporary. Or you may prefer a more elegant version with a modern twist. No matter what design you select, always remember these three words: natural, calm and unpretentious. These are the most fundamental characteristics of a Zen bathroom.
To Go Zen or Not?
This Style is Perfect for You If
This Style is NOT Right for You If
You like earthy colors
You prefer splashes of bright colors
You favor airy spaces and minimalism
You love cozy interiors and a "lived-in" look
You have a medium-size or spacious bathroom
Your bathroom is very small
Your bathroom has plenty of natural light
Your bathroom has no windows or receives limited natural light
It is easy for you to keep the bathroom neat and clean
You have very little time to tidy your bathroom and/or have to share the bathroom with little children
Zen Up Your Bathroom with Wood Fixtures
It doesn't matter whether you're into retro décor or modernism, you can go either way with the Zen theme. The important thing is you should incorporate wood into some of your bathroom fixtures. A wood bathtub, whether it is an old clawfoot model or a sleek-looking whirlpool version, can lend the room a natural and unpretentious feel. For those who have a large bathroom and big budget, a wood platform with a sunken bath might be an excellent choice. It can make your bathing area a stunning focal point, and if you decorate it with some live plants and pebbles, it may evoke a calming image of a pond. For those of you who can't afford to remodel your bathtub at the moment, think about more budget-friendly ways to upgrade other bathroom fixtures. For example, you may switch from a boring white sink to a wood model, which usually costs around $100 - $300. If you have a vanity cabinet that has been painted too bright, consider repainting it with a wood tone. You can also install a wood toilet seat; it won't be difficult at all to find one under $30.
Aim for a Streamlined and Minimalistic Look
A Zen bathroom is supposed to be a realm of simple joy and solitude that helps you clear your mind. Think about a Zen rock garden and its minimalism in design. Your bathroom should convey a sense of calmness and harmony through simplicity the same way a rock garden does. The first step you must take is to de-clutter your bathroom. Never overstock your wall shelves and shelving units, rather keep them as organized and airy as possible. If you have a huge collection of towels but not enough cabinet space, you might want to keep some of them outside of the bathroom. Or if you have nowhere else to store them, put them in wicker baskets with lids, and neatly stack the baskets up on one another or on a shelving unit.
As for window coverings, rattan roller shades, bamboo blinds and wood shutters are great options, since they reinforce the streamlined look as well as the earthy color scheme of the room. Lighting fixtures are another important element to consider. Recessed lighting goes perfectly with the minimalistic theme, whereas some simple yet stylish ceiling fixtures (such as the ones in the picture below) may create more visual interest. It is up to you to decide whether you want to hide your lighting fixtures or use them as a decorative element. As long as they don't appear too colorful or showy, they should fit into your Zen bathroom just fine.
Wood-Graining Painting Technique
Choose the Right Color Tones and Materials
The color scheme of your Zen bathroom should contain neutral shades, such as white, beige, tan, brown and gray. You may use more cheerful shades, such as green or pink, as accent colors, but make sure they're not too bright or creating too much contrast with the overall color scheme. When it comes to flooring, wood panelling provides a sense of nature and ease, whereas stone flooring, like marble and granite, is more elegant and can equally enhance the natural theme of the room. Clay tiles, although not as spiffy-looking as wood and stone, also have many plus points, including their durability, slip resistance and rustic appeal. If none of these eco-friendly materials work for your budget, opt for vinyl tiles with faux wood or stone effect instead. These synthetic tiles cost a lot less than natural flooring while imitating the real materials pretty nicely. Keep in mind, though, that they also tend to be less durable and lower in overall quality than the authentic stuff.
Similarly, choose wall covering materials according to your budget and the style of your bathroom. Wood or bamboo panelling is a lovely choice if you're inspired to create a traditional-looking Zen bathroom. It is not cheap but not too expensive, either. Wall tiles can go with any style but are also pretty pricey. Choose ceramic or porcelain tiles if you're looking for something on the lower end of the price spectrum. If you want to give your Zen bathroom a modern and luxurious touch, consider glass or mosaic tiles. These decorative tiles can really spruce up the whole room, yet they cost a fortune and can be pretty high-maintenance. For budget-challenged home owners, wall paints are the cheapest option. If you're confident in your painting skills, you may want to try some challenging techniques, such as marbling or wood graining, to create natural appeal. Last but not least, wallpaper with faux wood or stone texture is another affordable choice. Not all wallpaper is created equal, however. So make sure the one you pick is moisture resistant and appropriate for bathroom use.
Must-Have Items for Zen Bathroom Decor
- Plants - The earthy color scheme of a Zen bathroom may offer a calming effect, yet it could make the space appear boring as well. Green plants and colorful flowers will give the room a touch of warmth and liveliness. Choose live plants if you think you can manage to take care of it. If not, go with artificial ones.
- Rocks or Pebbles - Zen decoration wouldn't be complete without rocks and pebbles, a little token of the ancient Zen landscaping. Fill a sunken floor panel with mixed stones and pebbles along with some potted plants, if you want to create a mini indoor garden. If you don't have such luxury of space, put the stones in glass jars and display them on a shelf, or neatly arrange them on the floor or around the tub.
- Duckboard - A duckboard is definitely a better choice for a Zen bathroom than a bathmat. It's a very humble yet stylish element that can render a spa-like appeal to the room. Plus, you can choose from a variety of wood finishes, sizes and designs. Or you can even make one yourself with bamboo or wooden slats.
- All-Natural Toiletries - To complement the natural theme of the room, load your bathrack with all-natural toiletries, such as beautiful bottles of essential oils, bath salt, loofahs, cotton towels and boar-bristle brushes. These pampering devices are little extra factors that make a minimalistic bathroom look a lot more cozy.