BATHING BEAUTIES: Once regarded as a purely functional  – and let’s face it, rarely talked about – space, the bathroom has undergone a dramatic transformation in our lives, writes interiors columnist Carol Burns. She takes a look at how you can find coastal inspiration for your bathroom, helping you figure out what you can do with yours.

Beginning life as little more than a pot and a bowl of water, we can’t get enough of bathrooms today. New and revamped homes now often boast more loos than bedrooms.

But not all bathrooms are created equal, so let’s have a look at all the options and what you can do with them.


This is the big one. Open plan bathing has become popular, with at least some of those priceless coastal views given over to enjoy from the comfort of your bath. The bathroom has always been a place of innovation: walk-in showers and the wet room concept has its origins in creating accessible bathing. The double sink, however, was designed for marital harmony.

Colour schemes here should be palatial. Forget the white and griege and add gold mosaic tiling, under cabinet LED lighting and multiple mirrors. Set off darker wall colours with as many tropical plants and candles as you can reasonably fit. Storage is important, but displaying all those designer bubble baths and oils is half the fun of having them. Bin the nautical decorative accessories, unless it’s a porthole mirror or a storm lamp.


A great all-rounder, the family bathroom is the main event. As its name suggests, this room needs to multi-task. Always have a bath (estate agents will tell you, lack of a bath will put off those with small children yet to discover the joys of power showering, not to mention those of us who love a good soak).

If space is an issue a shower head over the bath doesn’t have to look utilitarian, quality bathroom designers can offer something for everyone. Good lighting is important here, and while blue and green remain favourite bathroom colours, go with a darker shade and combine it with good lighting and shuttered windows.


A small add-on luxury for bedrooms where space is a premium, a spot of clever design can go a long way here. Living on the coast means a guest room is rarely unoccupied, so your ensuite might get more traffic. Bring something of the bedroom design into the room through colour, and match the lighting. Don’t get carried away with knick-knacks and keep it (mostly) decorative accessory-free.


This tiny little nook of a room, is a place to have some real fun. Rather than a simple lick of paint and perfunctory tiling, try out some of your wildest and wackiest design ideas. If it doesn’t work, it probably hasn’t cost much, so start again.

Try pick and mix coloured and patterned tiles, ditch the white porcelain in favour of a splash of colour (avocado anyone?)  And go really, really big with wallpaper design. Look out for designer end rolls and you can pick up a stylish bargain.


And a final word: don’t be afraid to add artwork to your bathrooms. Even for art lovers, it often boasts blank walls. Add a smattering of fused glass art, if you are worried about the effects of steam.


Find more articles on finding coastal inspiration for interior design here.