Bathroom inspiration: black, white, and wood

Every time I’m reading a design magazine or blog and I see an image of an interior that I love (not infrequently, I assure you), I save it. These days I usually pin it on Pinterest, but back in the dark ages I just saved it to my computer’s hard drive. A bit hoarder-ish? Perhaps. But the upshot of my borderline-OCD tendency is that whenever I feel the need for some inspiration, I can just browse through my very own design catalog–thousands upon thousands of my favorite pretty images. It’s a surefire way to kick the creative side of my brain into gear.

So before I share any more progress updates on our master bathroom makeover, I thought it would be fun to show you some of the inspiration behind the design. For me, black, white, and wood is usually where it’s at. I bring in color through textiles and art and accessories, which I like to change up from time to time–but I never tire of a neutral foundation. So to get some ideas for our bathroom, I pulled some of my favorites images in this color scheme. Let’s dream big, shall we??

via Style Files | Giampaolo Benedini

Richard Powers | Sköna Hem

Karel Balas for Milk Magazine | Inga Powilleit

Aidlin Darling Design | David Duncan Livingston

Katie Quinn Davies | Clare Cousins

Living Inside | Dezeen

Now there’s certainly no way we could afford to recreate any of these amazing bathrooms, but that really isn’t the point. Instead I draw on their neutral color schemes, clean lines, and minimalist aesthetics, and get inspiration for fixtures and materials. I then try to adapt some of my favorite elements to our space and budget limitations.

As I collected inspiration images for this project, I noticed a recurring theme: white tiled walls and black floors.
Sean Slattery for Elizabeth Roberts Design | Horrigan O’Malley Architects

Bolig Magasinet | Stadsem

See that raised rubber floor, above right? Yeah, I’m digging that. And I’m really digging the straight-set rectangular white tile in these two bathrooms:
Hus & Hem | CCS Architecture

So here’s what I’m thinking for our bathroom:

1: US Ceramic 4.25-inch x 10-inch wall tile in Matte White Ice, stacked in a straight-set pattern, which looks a bit more modern than the traditional offset pattern. I would have preferred a shorter, wider tile–2-inches x 8-inches would actually have been perfect–but those were prohibitively expensive. So instead I went with the tile that had the highest length/width ratio I could find that was within my budget.

2: Normann Copenhagen Dropit Wall Hooks for holding bath towels, to bring in a little bit of wood. Plus, these are modern and fun.

3: Vanity light fixtures similar to these General Store porcelain light sockets, but I’m actually cooking up a DIY version in black. I just hope they provide enough light; there’s no ceiling light in the bathroom so the vanity lights will be the primary light source.

4: Yellow Turkish bath towels will be a nice dollop of color. I’ve heard really great things about peshtemals–I hope we like them!

5: Sleek, modern Hansgrohe Focus S sink faucets in chrome for the vanity.

6: A pair of IKEA GODMORGON mirrored medicine cabinets to provide some much needed storage out of reach of curious toddlers.

7: Two black porcelain wall hooks for holding hand towels on either side of the vanity. These will tie in with the black porcelain vanity lights.

8: Black raised rubber flooring. I was looking for a unique material for the bathroom floor–something other than porcelain tile. And after considering cork and VCT tile, I became obsessed with rubber flooring. I priced out the offerings from just about every rubber flooring manufacturer I could find, but thankfully didn’t pull the trigger until I read about Daniel Kanter’s amazingly inexpensive rubber flooring solution. Just $250 for a roll of rubber so big that it would cover our bathroom floor twice! I always love Daniel’s blog, but I’m pretty sure he wrote that particular post especially for me. Well maybe not, but it did come at the perfect time to solve my flooring conundrum.

9: A white step trash can while I dream of splurging on a handsome little Vipp.

10: IKEA GODMORGON/ODENSVIK 48-inch vanity in high gloss white. You can read about the vanity saga here.

So that’s the plan! I’m sure that in the end the completed bathroom will look a bit different than this vision, but that’s typical. It’s just nice to know that when I run into a design issue–like OMIGOSH WHAT COLOR GROUT SHOULD I USE???–I can look back at my inspiration photos for guidance. And then all my obsessive photo-cataloging will have been worth it. Probably.

For the full story of our master bathroom makeover, check out:
Part 1: Tackling the master bathroom
Part 2: Bathroom inspiration
Part 3: Prep work
Part 4: Rubber flooring
Part 5: Wall tile
Part 6: The bathroom is finished!

  • Hi Emily, I’m becoming a huge fan of your blog and naturally I love everything you picked out for your master bath, except the rubber thang. I get it, I do(!) and I’m really curious how everything is going to come out. But it seems to me that the rubber floor is not a very functional and permanent solution, or is it? Can’t wait for the reveal (and to see the Dropit hooks in action!)ReplyCancel

    • Thanks so much for stopping by, Mirela! I know absolutely what you mean about the rubber floor, it’s definitely not for everyone. And many people use rubber as just a temporary rental solution. But I just love the look of the rubber and have seen photos of it done really well in a number of interiors–maybe I’ll share them in a follow-up floor post. From personal experience I can report that it looks great installed in our bathroom, and that thus far it cleans up quite easily, but only time will tell how functional and permanent it is. I’ll be sure to keep you posted!ReplyCancel

  • Well now that I have seen it in Daniel’s kitchen, I definitely can picture it in the bathroom! Can’t wait to see it!!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • These are some amazing ideas. I love the colors, fixtures, floors and just the over all look of these bathrooms. Thank you for post.ReplyCancel

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