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You probably know the difference between traditional and modern, but a cohesive look is all in the details. Use these tips to refine your bathroom’s style.

creative floorplan in master bath

Traditional: Generally formal in style with classic architectural details. Heavy use of natural stone, carved or embellished cabinetry and vintage-look fixtures.

– In traditional style, balance is key. When in doubt, buy a pair.
– Marble and granite are best bets for countertops. Other options are concrete, pewter or hammered copper.
– Dark wood finishes are favored; select cabinets with timeless flair.
– Incorporate classic shapes, such as urns, columns, curves and scrolling leaves or flowers.
– A traditional-style bathroom best fits a traditional-style home but, truly, will work in any style home.
– Colors can be bold or subtle with classic patterns in wallpaper, shower curtains and linens adding extra oomph.


creative floorplan in master bath

Modern: Sleek, streamlined and clutter-free, this style makes liberal use of reflective materials such as glass, chrome and solid-surface countertops.

– Clean lines and simple, geometric shapes are key.
– Mid-Century Modern style, a ’50s take on Modern style, continues to grow in popularity.
– Choose sleek materials such as stainless steel and glass tile.
– Keep cabinetry free of fussy details. Popular wood choices are also eco-friendly, such as bamboo and cork.
– Modern style is clutter-free; ample concealed storage for toiletries is a necessity.
– All-white is a popular palette especially when paired with pops of energizing colors such as turquoise, red, orange and yellow.


creative floorplan in master bath

Eclectic: Creative mix of varying design styles with inventive color, pattern and material combinations.

– Mix different styles, periods and looks.
– Design by instinct: If you love it, it will work.
– Shop at flea markets and specialty stores.
– Create cohesion with repetition of color, shape or texture.
– Don’t forget the details: Accessories like wall sconces, glassware and linens make a big difference in a room’s design.
– Create a one-of-a-kind look with bold pattern choices, such as stripes, geometrics or prints.


creative floorplan in master bath

Cottage: Casual, warm and reminiscent of country style, cottage continues to gain popularity.

– Commonly used architectural features are hardwood floors and beadboard or wainscot paneling.
– Cabinets resemble antique furniture and are often painted or distressed.
– Fabric patterns are traditional such as florals, checks, damask, toile or stripes.
– Vintage or hand-me-down accessories are part of the decor and add personality.
– Color choices are often feminine and softer in tone.
– Shop for vintage accessories and cottage-style furniture at estate sales, antique auctions, flea markets and thrift stores.

HGTV. Bathroom Style Guide, [Online]. Web address: (Page consulted on September 13 2011)


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