Crisp White. Dove Gray. Eggshell. Taupe. These and dozens more variations of white, gray, and beige make up the neutral color palettes the National Kitchen & Bath Association says are the most popular for bathrooms this year. But here’s the thing. Popular as they are, neutral interiors can be downright boring if you don’t jazz them up a bit. That’s why we’ve gathered some ideas for transforming a neutral bathroom into a showcase for your personal style. But let’s start with what makes neutrals great.
Because neutrals don’t align with standard color families, they make the perfect foundation for a bathroom’s color palette. Neutrals look good on their own, but they’re also able to prop up bright colors or bold patterns without causing visual friction. Neutral colors work with any architectural style. And they showcase our own taste.
Plus, the experts at Realtor.com point out that when it comes to selling your home, you don’t want to scare away potential buyers by using colors they can imagine getting sick of—such as orange or purple. Instead, Realtor.com advises keeping large surfaces such as walls, floors, and ceilings neutral—so when those prospective buyers walk through the door they can picture their own belongings inside your home.
Still, you don’t want to live your life inside a neutral box with no personality. And with that in mind, here are three easy ideas for boosting the intrigue of a neutral-color bathroom.
- Layer multiple versions of the same neutral. If everything in your bathroom is taupe, you—and everyone else—will get bored. Add depth by teaming up tints and shades of the same gray, white, or beige. This bathroom does just that with dove-gray grass cloth walls and charcoal-gray mosaic floor tiles, which create a subtle contrast to the grey Astoria Modern vanity with its Carrera marble top from Jeffrey Alexander. The botanical painting showcasing a full spectrum of grays to accentuate the theme offers the finishing touch.
- Combine different neutrals in the same room. Add subtle variations by embracing more than one neutral in the same palette. This bathroom shows how its done by teaming Moroccan-pattern wallpaper in shades of taupe with limestone flooring and Jeffrey Alexander’s Carrera-marble-topped Cade Contempo bathroom vanity in warm gray. A pale taupe Roman shade, wicker hamper, and satin-nickel fixtures complete the look. The overall feeling is calming, but delivers a bit of a twist.
- Augment the intrigue with texture. Wood, stone, metal, glass, ceramics, and textiles can inject everything from high-gloss drama to homespun warmth into the mix, even if everything in the bathroom sports the same shade of beige. Choosing Element’s clean-lined Lindley vanity (this one wears a warm espresso finish) instantly adds the romantic texture of louvered doors to any bathroom. Beaded-board wainscoting, plank flooring, and ribbed vases augment the look with a variety of different textures.
In other words, by choosing a stylish and textural bath vanity and accessories—from pendant lighting to faucets—a neutral color palette allows you to express your unique personal style. What’s more, with a neutral backdrop, changing your look when the mood strikes is as easy as changing out the accessories. So think of a neutral bathroom as an investment in your happiness while adding onto your home’s equity and enduring appeal.
More Boosts for Neutral Baths
- Insert pops of color. Keep the eye moving about the room with colorful decorative hardware, lively linens, and moisture-resistant artwork.
Punctuate with black. Add drama with black accents such as cabinetry hardware, tile designs, or a black granite countertop.
- Add a little sparkle. Let metallic decorative hardware, plumbing fixtures, light sconces, and/or accent pieces in glittering gold, polished nickel, or shiny bronze double as jewelry.
- Enlist interesting shapes. Like kitchens, bathrooms feature a lot of hard edges and sharp corners. Faucets, lighting fixtures, and accent pieces with curvaceous silhouettes offer opportunities to capture attention and soften the look.
- Incorporate pattern. Break the monotony of an all-neutral bathroom by adding one or two carefully selected patterns to the mix. Think about using wallpaper, a shower curtain, a rug, ceramic tile, or heavily veined marble to make an impression.
Though some Big Box stores may claim they have a custom line of cabinets, technically this is not true.
Full custom cabinets are completely made from scratch, They are designed to fit your space and built off those designs.
Big Box custom is actually semi-custom. In other words they make an existing set of cabinet sizes fit into your space. The sink base is 36″, not the 35″ your space needs, But 36″. This is why you see “fillers” in these cabinet layouts. Pieces to fill gaps where their pre-sized cabinets don’t fit into your space.
If you want something very unique, well, you won’t be getting it from semi-custom cabinets.
When you see a plan from Lowes, for example, you will see cabinets labeled DB36 for example. This is their pre-sized Drawer Bank that is 36″ wide. But what if you really need a 34.5″ drawer bank in that area? What if you want the top drawer to be 7″ deep and the bottom two drawers to be 10″ deep? Sorry Charlie- Lowes provides 5″ top drawers only.
Custom cabinets offer completely customizable cabinet sizes, styles, accessories, etc. But, they also offer more than this. Fully custom cabinets allow you to be creative- adding elements that fit your unique life style. You have a set of charger plates that are 14″ in Diameter. These won’t fit in a std 12″ deep upper, so make one upper 15″ deep.
You have a beautiful vase you’d like to display that is 17″ tall. Provide a glass upper with adjustable shelving. You are a chef wanna be, you have more spices than chef Ramsey. Design in several spice pullout units in various locations where you would use them most. Tired of bending over to see what’s inside your base cabinets and rummaging around to find that one special bowl? Design in pullouts in your lower cabinets to easily access everything inside.
And corners are the pits, the dark pits. Deep, dark and basically useless storage space.. Not anymore, There are lots of new corner accessories to make that one your new favorite cabinet space.
From double stacking silverware drawers, to pantry solutions, custom accessories can turn just a kitchen into a usable cooks dream space.
Should you choose a decorative molding with an angled profile or a flat crown molding? More and more people are choosing a flat molding. The number one reason is looks.
A flat crown is modern and contemporary-usually used with shaker style cabinets.
But another important reason to use a flat crown is to hide ceiling level issues. Many homes, particularly older homes do not have level ceilings. At one spot your ceiling height may be 98″ tall, at another 97.5″ tall and at yet another 98.25″ tall. These height differences are a mess to deal with if they fall within a run of cabinets.
With conventional crown that has an angled profile this variation will be accentuated. Since the crown must be at the same level on the cabinets it will produce a gap at the ceiling where the ceiling height is taller. If the ceiling dips, the crown must be moved down covering more cabinet frame and the eye will definitely see this difference.
A flat crown, however, can have it’s height adjusted by shaving off a little here or there as needed to meet the ceiling perfectly and this won’t be noticed by your eye.
Consider this when choosing a crown profile.
When considering glazed cabinets, be aware that “Glaze” is a buzz word. Glaze is actually the name of a product and not a technique.
Having said that, there are many interpretations of the term glazed cabinets. Lets look at them:
- Pin-point glaze- a thin even line (usually applied with a glazing gun) that catches in all the profile changes. A modern and contemporary look.
- over-all wipe on glaze – a thin glazing medium is applied over already finished (usually painted) cabinets to antique the color and collect in the recessed areas of the profile. – an old world, antiqued and muddied look.
This is all then clear coated to seal in the glazing medium. Depending on the glaze color and how it is applied, different looks can be achieved.
A common method of this over-all glaze is to cover the entire door front with a glaze using a pad or brush (depending on amount of stroke marks desired), wait till sticky, and then rub off, being careful to follow any grain of the wood. This is time consuming but produces the antique look. It can be varied by how much glaze medium is removed in the wiping process.
Keep in mind that since this is a hand applied process, there will be variations from door to door and streaks and swirls will be present.
It’s a great look, yes, to put an oven inset under your cook-top instead of using a stand-alone slide in unit. But there are things to be aware of before you run out and purchase your appliances.
Not all cook-tops can be installed on top of wall ovens. There are factors to consider.
You look at the specs and see that the new cook-top is 2-3/4″ high, perfect/ your oven is 29″ tall. 29″ +2-3/4″ = 31-1/4″…Plenty of room in a 36″ base cabinet right? Actually NO!
What you really need to look at are the “cutout” specs and actual appliance distentions. These are found in separate spec sheets and installation guides about your appliance. You need to look at both.
If you can’t find these specs on the Home Depot, Lowes, or Sears Sites, that’s no surprise. These are big box stores selling appliances, not appliance stores. Google the appliance model number and find a site that has these specs detailed.
So what does “cutout” dimension mean? This is the hole in the cabinet that must be available for the oven. Lets say your new oven in 30″ wide, it may be a 29″ actual unit with a trim kit in front of 1/2″ on each side that will overlay the face frames of your cabinets on the sides. If it is 20″ high, it may actually be a 27″ high unit with 1-1/2″ trim overlay on the top and 1-1/2″ overhang on the bottom.
Now lets look at the cook-top specs. Chances are it’s actually a 5-6″ deep unit and requires another 1/2″ underneath before it hits anything for cords or gas lines. This spec is usually in the installation guide.
So lets calculate. A base cabinet is 36″ deep, it has a toe kick, lets say 4″, so the cabinet is available space is now 31″. Subtract the 5-1/2″ deep cook-top = 24-1/2″ remaining. So the oven can only be 24-1/2″ tall. Hmm- not likely.
So what do you do?
- Look for a thinner cook-top. There are not a huge selection, but GE and LG do make some that require only 3-4″ below the cook-top space. In general a gas cook-top will be thinner than an electric as well.
- Find an oven that is smaller. Perhaps a 27″ instead of a 30″.
- Consider having a lower toe kick under the stove area to gain a few inches of available height space. Be careful it’s not too low that when you open the oven the handle hits the floor
My last piece of advise- Don’t always trust the appliance store’s recommendation. Do your homework and check out the specs for yourself or you may be in for a sad surprise when the oven is installed.