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Bathrooms can be a very important room in your home. Like all well-designed spaces, I begin the process by asking the question, how exactly does this room need to function? If it is the master bath, then one set of criteria exists. For a powder room, another list of requirements emerges. In any bathroom design, whether a renovation or ground-up construction project, the first step is to decide how you want the room to “feel.” Is the design result intended to be a spa-like retreat, an enchanting elegant getaway, or perhaps a high-performance sleek oasis? Identifying both the function and the feel or style at the onset is crucial. Flooring Comes First When designing bathroom spaces, I suggest starting with the largest surfaces, including floors, walls and plumbing fixtures. There is an infinite variety of shapes and forms of porcelain and ceramic tile available today. The more expensive porcelain tiles are sometimes a better option; porcelain clays are denser and less porous than ceramic clays. This makes porcelain tile harder and more impervious to moisture. When using tile or marble, first consider the size of the product. I prefer large 16- to 18-inch squares on the floor. If space is limited, 12- to 13-inch tiles are more fitting. When planning the floor’s design layout, oftentimes, I like to set the tiles on a diagonal. An easy way to test this idea is to temporarily place them on the floor. This will enable you to preview the design before making it permanent. It is also easy to obtain special effects with flooring by using smaller “clips,” which are 2- to 4-inch accent tiles placed in a pattern or on the corners of your larger tiles. Glass tiles with shimmer and sparkle also make lovely “clips”. Tiles for Walls Tile manufacturers have done an amazing job of coordinating the sizes and shapes of their products to help create your dream space. A similar version of the floor tile can be used on bathroom walls with accent tiles, such as listellos, a band of tiles that run horizontally across a wall creating a visual break. Subway tiles are also trendy to achieve chic bathroom walls. They are rectangular in shape and come in a range of colors and finishes. Consider marrying your mix of elements. If you used a tile “clip” on the floor, you can also include the same “clip” as a border on shower walls or a tub area. If your shower area is large and open, make it a focal point by using tile. In one of my design projects, the shower became the focal point with a radiated shimmer glass tile. White Carrere marble was used on the floor and the countertops.

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Noteworthy Countertops Granite is a popular choice for countertops; it is easy to care for and maintain. In many of my design projects, I use honed granite. Honed granite does not have the same shininess and reflective traits as polished granite. Instead, it has a more satin-feel and is smooth and velvety to the touch. It is also scratch-resistant, making it a worthy option for bathroom spaces.

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Alternative countertops include marble and soapstone. If the area is high-performance, granite or soapstone is more appropriate. Marble can be a lovely choice for bathroom countertops as long as you can tolerate a little patina. Luxurious Accents Powder rooms are the jewel box of any home. This small space should be welcoming in a subtle but explicit way. Marble is very appropriate for both the floor and the countertop. Interesting shimmering tiles are also well-suited. This is a room to add a little glam and a lot of luxury. Beautiful wallpapers, faux finishes and subway or decorative tiles are all possible choices for the walls. Antique and customized pieces of furniture can be easily converted into cabinets, creating beautiful, yet functional storage spaces. Vessel sinks, which sit on top of the counter, are wonderful for powder rooms.

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Let your imagination run wild. Since powder rooms are typically quite small, it is fine to lavish the room with luxury items. Scented candles, monogrammed hand towels, antique soap dishes, a beautiful original painting, and even a chandelier are all small items that will make a big impact for your guests to see. In one of my client’s homes, I had a French chair faux finished and retrofitted to surround the existing toilet perfectly. These types of add-ons provide design appeal to what is otherwise considered a utilitarian space.

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About Kimberly Grigg: Myrtle Beach, S.C.-based interior designer Kimberly Grigg is the owner of Knotting Hill Interiors and specializes in designing, renovating and redecorating homes in the South, and beyond. To learn more, visit and