5 Elements of an Inviting Bath

Splish Splash!

Bathroom design deserves far more attention than we often give to it. Whether you have a large space, or just enough to turn around in, give it some love.  If you are going to put your best foot forward each morning, you should have a place that allows you to get ready and feel good doing it.  When you need to wind down after a long day with a warm soak this is where it will happen.  So while the bedroom may be where you start and end each day, the bathroom is where you prepare for it.  It should also be a personal oasis; private and relaxing.  That being said, having an inviting space is going to require a little more than a toilet and tub.

Here are five things that I look at when designing or revamping this space in a home.

1. Lighting

It’s not a secret that we all want good lighting, and if we could walk around with a filter on our face, I think some of us would do just that.  Having the proper lighting is key for so many reasons, including giving you a good idea of how your face will look in broad daylight, and at the same time, allowing you to slowly wake up and face the mirror.  With that in mind, if you have the option for multiple light features, go for it.  And don’t forget to include a dimmer switch if you have the option.  This is not only handy in a family home so that you can keep the light on for little ones, but you can also start the day (often in the dark) with low lighting to ease on into it.

Elegant lighting | 5 elements of an inviting bathroom by Ty Pennington
don’t be afraid to go with non-traditional lighting elements

2. Organization

If you can’t find it, you can’t use it.  And with all of the products and items we need to bathe and get ready in the morning, bathrooms need to pack a punch when it comes to storage options.  Unfortunately, most of them do not have the space needed to do so.  So here is where you get creative.  If your space is exposed, consider glass canisters and jars to store your items so that you can see them.  Keep a few towels out and needly folded, and rotate them in and out as you do laundry – if you need to store overflow elsewhere, do it.  I like to use hooks for both storage and functionality in my bathroom – no one likes a wet towel on the floor.  If you’re limited on space, think outside of the box.  An over the door shoe holder works great inside of a linen closet to hold hair dryers, toiletries, and any other item that you’d like!

Mix of storage space | 5 elements of an inviting bathroom by Ty Pennington
get creative with empty space – every inch counts

3. Architectural Elements

Say what?  Yes, adding the smallest detail can really up the design aesthetic of these (often) small spaces.  This is the room where all white can work.  I love the look of the wood ceiling because it adds color and style without creating clutter.  Do you like all of the graphic wall papers that you often see, but are afraid to use them?  This is where you can go for it.  Going bold in a small space is a way of not only expressing yourself, but also giving you a chance to show a side of your style that you might not want throughout the house.

High bathroom ceilings | 5 elements of an inviting bathroom by Ty Pennington
bold design elements like this wood ceiling have a big impact in small spaces


Waiscoting and molding | 5 elements of an inviting bathroom by Ty Pennington
you can budget for big purchases like a marble floor since you will not need as much in these rooms that tend to be smaller

4. Textiles

There’s a reason why hotels and spas are stocked with fluffy, white towels and robes. Soft and welcoming touches like this around your bathroom will invite that calming vibe that you want. You can do this with towels, comfy rugs, draperies, or even textile wall hangings.

Soft and welcoming touches like this piles of towels, comfy rugs, draperies, etc. around your bathroom will evoke a calming feeling | 5 elements of an inviting bathroom by Ty Pennington
textiles can be incorporated in a variety of ways – from shower to window curtains

5. Color

The color that you choose for your space emits a feeling the minute that you step into a room.  If you are fortunate to have multiple bathrooms to design, you can choose differently for each one.  An all white palette with natural woods and plants is going to feel spa-like, whereas a bold patterned graphic or colored wall will show your personality in a guest bath.

Rich, warm color | 5 elements of an inviting bathroom by Ty Pennington

Looking for more bathroom inspiration?  Check out my Pinterest board!

Have a design dilemma you want me to tackle? Leave it in the comments. 


Photo Sources: Sand Creek Post & Beam, Hart Wright ArchitectsCarpenter & MacNeille, Historical Concepts, TIDG, Leivars, Details and Design, T. Rosak

Ty Pennington

Ty Pennington is best known as the Emmy-award winning host of "Extreme Makeover Home Edition" and as the co-host of ABC Daytime's "The Revolution." He has been recognized as a home design expert, carpenter and leader in the field of volunteerism. is a space to share his inspiration, design tips, daily musings and more. Ty can currently be seen on TLC's Trading Spaces.