The 7 Most Popular Bathroom Themes

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If you think traditional decor looks just fine when friends and business associates come to call, but still want to indulge your inner romantic, a themed master bath may be just what you need to feel pampered while leaving the rest of the house appropriate enough for a visit from your boss -- or mother-in-law.

The bathroom can reflect the decor in the rest of the house, or extend playful themes from the game room or man cave. If you think decorating is a big yawn, you've never decorated an imaginative bathroom. The following list represents the most popular themes in bath decor. Some are pretty serious, while others are just for fun:

Romantic - Although it doesn't have to be pink, a romantic bathroom boasts light colors on the walls and sumptuous textures in towels and other textiles. Gold tone accents as well as gauzy window treatments help, and so do indulgent accessory items like towel warmers, bubble bath, fresh cut flowers and potpourri. Common themes for a romantic bath are: roses, lilies, hearts, fleur-de-lis designs, doves and white horses.

Retro - Remember the small bathroom tiles popular in the 1950s, and the bold floral and geometric designs of the 1960s? They epitomize retro style. If you love orange, circles and old reruns of Batman, Bewitched or I Dream of Jeannie, a retro bathroom may be for you.

Cape Cod - A Cape Cod or nautical theme is common for a bathroom and its natural association with water. Although blue and white are classic colors for a Cape Cod bath, rustic reds, beiges and dark browns work too. Beadboard is an excellent wall covering, especially when coupled with pine flooring. Include: buoys, life preservers, lighthouses, shells, boats, hurricane lamps, pelicans, driftwood, ocean glass and mariner's star designs.

Modern - There are a number of ways to achieve a modern look in the bath. Lots of reflective surfaces work well. Some good options are: glass block, tile, stainless steel, mirror and enamel. Opt for a minimalist approach that includes some bold color but makes effective use of open space to create an airy feel. A typical approach uses black, gray or white tile and modern chrome or stainless steel fixtures with a streamlined appearance. Prefer recessed lighting or geometric fixtures.

Country - When planning a country bathroom, think organic. Stone, woven grasses, wood, plants and earth tones all give a country bath a pastoral feel. Add charm with a claw footed bathtub or other antique or heirloom style elements. Copper, brass, aged wood and horn all work beautifully. Prefer "natural" colors like browns, tans, greens and golds. Draw motifs from nature and farm life. They may include: birds, mammals, plants, trees, barns and wagons. Use rustic-look fabrics that provide texture and interest like plaids, corduroy, homespun fabrics and burlap.

Rustic - A rustic bathroom draws elements from the country style bath but adds a weathered mountain vibe. Where a country bathroom can still look plush and elegant, a rustic bath is more likely to appear utilitarian. Think handmade pine and wrought iron accessories and woven mats on textured stone or wide plank wood floors. Aged wood accents and homespun fabrics in woodland colors like rich browns, greys and deep greens are also appropriate. Some effective themes are: fish(trout, salmon), mammals (moose, bear and wolves) and birds (geese, ducks).

French - A French style bathroom is refined and opulent. It makes use of color, pattern and even architecture to create a casual elegance that's Old World but still relevant. Prefer elaborate wall treatments that produce the textured look of stone, or opt for broad stripes in rich, gold and cream wallpaper. Add mirrors with carved, intricate frames. Popular colors are: gold, blue, white, black and pink. This is the time to indulge your inner diva with gold tone fixtures and plush, monogrammed towels. Marble, stone, wall sconces, vessel or pedestal sinks, rose tinted mirrors and elaborate curtain treatments all work to distinguish the French designed bath as one of the most sophisticated and refined bathroom themes around.

Last Updated: April 15, 2013
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About Sara Elliot Sara Elliott is a freelance copywriter and dedicated blogger. Her popular gardening, cooking and crafting blog, The Herb Gardener, was cited by The Wall Street Journal for its fun and frugal tips. Sara has a degree in English, and you can find her health, crafting, and lifestyle pieces on sites like,, and

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