In the market for a new bathroom? Explore these four design styles to find a look you love that also works for your lifestyle. 

Moody Industrial

Grey granite wall tiles are a versatile choice, creating a look that’s functional and restful yet sleek and sophisticated. If you like urban style, consider a design with an industrial edge that’s still practical for family living. The beauty of this style is its versatility; it has an elegance that suits a range of home styles from a classic villa to a modern new-build. When using dark colours, consider adding fresh accents of white around window frames and with bathroomware to add contrast and lift the scheme. If you’re investing in design statements such as granite tiles and wet rooms, make sure you have the budget to match. A basic bathroom renovation in New Zealand costs $10,000-$20,000, with a more high-end result upwards of $35,000. Although bathrooms are worth investing in (they’re big-ticket items when it comes to resale), be careful not to overcapitalise.

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  • Warm it up. Concrete, granite and tiles can appear cold; add warmth with textured details such as wood grain, botanicals and towels, as well as natural light
  • A double vanity means no fighting over space at peak times!
  • Light it right. Pendant lights look great but create shadows on the face so ensure there is always side task lighting
  • Add a hit of colour to a neutral bathroom with colourful, coordinated accessories
  • Choose fittings that suit the users, like storage, well-lit and well-placed mirrors, and a nice deep bath for kids

Land, sea & sky

If you’re a nature lover, take inspiration from the environment and create your ultimate sanctuary. A combination of seafoam walls and wooden materials creates a relaxing and uncluttered Scandinavian aesthetic with a seaside twist. For an eco-chic look, a rounded bath, stool and mirror can soften modern lines, with simple decor in a natural palette to complement the wood. Go one step further sustainability-wise by adding louvres or a window that can be opened to aid ventilation, and a skylight, if necessary, to maximise natural light; also, use low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint and recycled timber where possible. A the round mirror reflects natural light to brighten the space, and the addition of botanicals brings the outside in.

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  • Group collections of items on exposed shelving for visual effect. Vary the height, shape and colour
  • Choose plants that are easy to maintain and like moist environments
  • Crafted soaps, balms and brushes add a bespoke feel, especially grouped on a tray
  • Echo the environment with natural fibres such as woven baskets, wood and shells

Culture clash

Bathrooms should be functional, but that doesn’t mean they need to be boring. Your bathroom should be a space you love spending time in, so if you have a penchant for prints and patterns, get creative and personalise the space. Bathrooms are designed to be restful and relaxing, though, so be judicious with bold detail as too much colour and pattern may drive you crazy. The trick is to use a striking pattern or motif as a focal point in a single feature area. In this moody, Moroccan-style bathroom, the black ‘Marrakech’ wall mural from Rebel Walls was the starting point for the scheme. Dark wood floors and cabinetry teamed with a white vanity complements the mural in a simple, streamlined way. Touches of leather, felt and towelling add texture and warmth.

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  • Update standard dark wood cabinetry with stylish leather strap handles for a designer look
  • Choose a design statement you love like tiles, and use it to inspire the scheme for the entire room
  • Patterned towels are functional and fun, adding personality to the room
  • Use double duty storage.  Towel ladders, felt storage basket and concealed mirror cabinet are decor details that cleverly add storage space

Lush Oasis

Want to feel like you’re in a day spa every time you step in the shower? Stunning wood grain-effect porcelain wall tiles, tropical ferns and an open column shower create a bathroom that feels like it’s outdoors in a rainforest. Choose a colour that inspires you, and team it with natural tones and touches to make the result inspiring rather than overpowering. Yes, the teal tiles are bright, but adding living greenery, a chunky timber stool and simple grey floor tiles creates a natural calm. Bathrooms work best when they inspire relaxation, so pump up the pamper factor with boutique bath products, plump towels, high-thread-count cotton and a luxurious freestanding bath to soothe the day away.

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  • Up the glam factor! The Kartell stackable cabinet in transparent amber picks up on the black accents and adds a luxe touch
  • Repetition is a powerful design tool. Repeat your accent colour in towels and accessories to add emphasis
  • Open wet rooms instead of shower cubicles are modern and design-savvy, but are not the most practical option for young families
  • Once you’ve settled on your design scheme, create a lighting plan that includes both ambient and task lighting


By Shelley Ferguson. This article originally appeared on