Modern Bathroom Design & Decorating Ideas

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Style Tips

Designs for modern bathrooms can follow a variety of approaches, but in general, you should focus on creating a streamlined and minimalist aesthetic. You don't need a lot of superfluous wall or countertop décor; instead, you should focus on the design of your everyday items including your magazine racks, mirrors and soap dishes. If it's easier to conceptualize, think of your approach in the following way: you don't need a lot of art because everything around you - even the most mundane itemis art.

Designing a modern bathroom:

  • Creates an aesthetically pleasing effect while allowing you to optimize your space.
  • Is ideal for small bathrooms without a lot of space.
  • Will allow you to work with what you have to make the most of the area around you. Use mirrored walls, for example, to create the illusion of a luxurious and spacious feel.
  • Enables you to choose a bathroom theme that will not look dated in a couple of years.

Design Approach

When it comes to selecting everyday fixtures, choose items that are out of the ordinary such as stainless steel cabinets, glass tile mosaics, and stylish toothbrush holders.

Modern Bathroom Interior Modern Grey Bathroom

A modern bathroom theme will help you showcase your personal style. This type of space is all about the creative ways that you perceive everyday and mundane items. With this design approach, every modern bathroom will have its own unique twist.


You can always choose a classic combination of ceramic tiles and paint for your walls, or you can choose more unique options:

Painted brick walls, for example, will add texture and character to a modern bathroom. Have only one brick wall, or use bricks on all four. Choose a neutral shade such as cream or beige, or paint one black or bold-colored accent wall.

Experiment with glass tile mosaics on at least one of your walls. If you are an art-lover, you can create your own abstract artwork. Line part of your wall, or cover your wall - it's entirely up to you! Make sure to use small pieces of glass tile so that the weight is evenly distributed across your wall.

Vanity Styles

Choose rectangular and square shapes for your vanity and mirror. Use your mirror to maximize how light disperses throughout your bathroom. Choose chrome light fixtures to line your vanity mirror. Include a few lights or place multiple lights two to three inches apart from one another.

Modern Minimalism Vanity Modern Vanity

No matter what type of vanity you choose, make sure that you adhere to a minimalist approach. Keep counters clear, and maximize as much space as you possibly can. Further maximize your space by choosing wide mirrors. Incorporate bold colors, and keep the decorations to a minimum.

Color Schemes

A monochrome scheme incorporates black, white, and gray. Other colors to consider include olive green, teal, pink, navy blue, orange, peach, beige, and red. When choosing a color scheme for a modern bathroom, stick to three colors at most.

If you are trying to make the most out of your space, consider painting an accent wall, since four dark-colored walls can make your room look crammed. You can also paint the countertops a bright color like peach or orange while leaving your walls and fixtures a neutral shade such as cream or beige.

Sinks & Faucets

With a modern bathroom, you take a unique and creative twist on the most ordinary items. There are no restrictions as to what shape and material your sink should be: square, circular, oval, ceramic, stainless steel, or even glass. For a contemporary look, choose a bowl-shaped sink that you can place on top of your counter. Faucets with a long-stem will complement this look.

Modern Double Sink Modern Sink

Experiment with lighting and basic decorative elements to enhance the look of your simplistic sink. Stones and blue lighting, for example, create a calm and minimalist effect while adding additional decorative style.

Lighting & Décor

Modern bathrooms do not require large mirrors or natural lighting (although your bathroom will still look incredibly beautiful with these elements).

For overhead lighting, choose recessed lights with adjustable dimness. If you'd like natural overhead lighting, consider skylights.

Choose chrome sconces for additional lighting options. Strategically place them next to your mirror to optimize how light reflects across your bathroom.

Bathtubs & Showers

Free-standing showers fit into the overall design of a modern bathroom. If you would like, you can even forego the tub (or if you would like a tub, make sure that it is very short and close to the ground).

Modern Marble Bath Modern Shower

Use large glass panes for shower doors. Install recessed lighting in your shower, and even consider a glass tile mosaic. If you have a smaller bathroom, consider installing sliding doors to conserve space instead of hinged doors that swing outwards.


While the initial investment in a modern bathroom may be substantial, maintenance costs will be relatively low over the years, since you will be using long-lasting and easy to clean materials. No need to ever invest in superfluous décor, so if you have to save money, only buy the essential items that you need.


With a modern bathroom, remember that minimalism is key. Maximize your counter space, and put items away in hidden cabinets. With simple and elegant designs, everyday items are all that you need for decorating your bathroom.

Last Updated: January 18, 2012
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About Ritika Puri Based in California, Ritika Puri has worn a number of professional hats ranging from blogger to quantitative researcher, martial arts instructor, and cartographer. No matter what she does, she loves to write and specializes in topics related to home improvement, personal finance, and business. She writes regularly for's Financial Edge section, and her work has appeared on SF Gate, Yahoo! Finance, and The Chicago Sun Times Online. She holds a B.A. from Claremont McKenna College and an M.A. in Demographic and Social Analysis from the University of California at Irvine.  

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