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DECORATING ADVICE : How to Sparkle Some Interest in the Bathroom


Question: Enclosed is a pink and white shelled wallpaper sample used on the walls in our bathroom. The fixtures are gray, and there is a light-gray rug on the floor. The mirror is framed in white wicker. I also have two hanging double shelves of white wicker. The ceiling is white.

The towels I use are either light gray, light blue, wine or pink on white. I used to be able to get sets of rugs, along with a seat cover, that had designs on them; they gave the bathroom a lot more flair than solid-color rugs. The rest of our home has a traditional decor, mostly light blue sprinkled with gold and orange-red. Some delft china lamp bases were the basis of our decorating. How can I give my bathroom sparkle and zip?

Laura Corrothers

Answer: The pink with the gray should be very effective. For sparkle, consider using pink and mandarin-orange towels with some Siamese acid green facecloths. For your bath rug, try a black cotton throw rug. Forget about the seat cover and set of rugs.

Q: My family room has natural pine paneling. There are five fairly large windows in the room, so there's always lots of sunshine. Since we live in a very wooded area, I have never covered these windows, but I must do so now, because the room is doubling as a guest room these days.

What kind of window treatment and what type of fabric should I use?

The sofa in the room has an Oriental pattern of bright blue, yellow and green against a deep-melon background. Two wing chairs are covered in a forest green solid, and one long bench has a seat pad covered in a blue and green plaid. I also have several cinnabar ginger-jar lamps in the room, along with one brass standing lamp. Do you have any ideas?


A: I suggest you use the same fabric that is on your sofa, if you are able to find it. You need to bring that deep melon into some other portion of the room. If the Oriental print is no longer available, I suggest you get solid melon cotton/linen draperies, and decorate the outer edges with a forest green and yellow braid.

Q: I like the old-fashion look. Any suggestions for the bathroom?

Frank Sanby

A: It seems that the more technology we have, the more stressful life becomes. Increasingly, my clients are choosing decors that echo a simpler time. Some want hardwood floors with soft throw rugs. Some center their decor around a few sturdy Shaker tables and chairs. And some try to recapture the past in their bathroom.

Remember the bathroom your grandmother had? The one with the footed tub, the pedestal sink, the hoop shower around the tub, and the pull chain attached to the toilet tank? That's what my clients are asking for. They want bleached wooden floors, wood-framed medicine cabinets, dados and picture molding.

Where does one find such artifacts? There are many reproductions of the legged tub and many designs of the free-standing bowl on the market today. Original pieces can be found in demolition stockpiles. There are real treasures to be found here: pedestal sinks and the old-fashioned faucets, for example.

The hunt is half the fun. I often visit buildings and houses ready for demolition, looking for that architectural treasure that can become a planter tub or a plant stand. On a good day, I might even find an old medicine cabinet with a painted frame that can be refinished. If I'm particularly lucky, the chest will have a crystal knob.

However you acquire the hardware for your old-fashioned bathroom, be sure that you decorate it in a similar style. You might try a big Victorian print of red and pink roses. Soap dishes and tissue holders of white china with a rose pattern would also be a nice addition.

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