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Home & Design
April 2014

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Design Trends & Tips - The Perfect Guest Bathroom

Create a Perfect Guest Bathroom
Pamper overnighters with a few simple accessories

Think back to times spent at an upscale inn or fabulous spa, when in the bathroom, you felt pampered and serene. Plump towels, great toiletries and fresh, clean smells greeted you.

Experts we found say creating the same ambiance for overnight guests is easy.


Picture above: Resin Bathroom Accessories available at SusanFredmanAtHome.com.

Countertop simplicity

Our experts say it doesn't matter how big your space is or where the bathroom is located. The most important things to remember are the details and accessories.

"Some people think they need to do elaborate things for their guests, but I like to keep things super simple," says Nancy Sublette, owner of Sublette Interiors in Wilmette, Ill. Sublette says placing a single, fresh flower in a beautiful vase on the counter displays a welcoming feeling and also brings an aromatic essence to the air.

For a simple yet attractive spa appearance, she suggests placing river rocks in glass cylinders with candles erected inside. A tray on the deck of the tub with stones and candles can provide a similar spa feeling. Giving the space an organic, zen feeling with just a few items can improve a guest's stress level, Sublette says.

Toiletries galore

When it comes to towels and toiletries, Sublette favors a big stack of them. For that hotel look, she rolls the towels in a bundle and places bath brushes, soaps and other toiletries on top. The towels and toiletries can also be placed in baskets.

"It's always nice to have things in a basket... Make things simple for guests so they don't have to search all over the place for things," she says.

To add a sanitary and easy accessory, homeowners can buy Crate and Barrel's exclusive Himmeli Guest Towels. These absorbent and disposable towels make the perfect bathroom accessory for someone's short stay.

Christine Patin, office manager at Crate and Barrel's Michigan Avenue location, just remodeled her guest bathrooms. Although space is limited, she filled it with colors and toiletries which evoke warmth and tranquility. Patin used many of the products in the store's bath section to help upgrade the room to friendly, not fussy.

I love the fabric shower liners. They make such a big difference," says Patin. The liners are available in an array of colors and textures, making it easy to match the theme of your bathroom.

Mar Jennings, lifestyle expert and author from Connecticut, says one of the biggest bathroom no-no's is to provide recycled soap for a guest. He suggests buying a fragrant soap that is beautiful wrapped. Jennings likes to take hospitality one step further by giving guests the option of taking toiletries home in a Ziploc bag.

If you'd rather forego the traditional bar of soap, Patin recommends the Olive and Lavendar Liquid Soap from Crate and Barrel to give guests a pleasant scent.

According to Jennings, it's okay to give your guests the unopened shampoos, lotions and soaps you've gathered from hotels and spas on your own journeys.

"It's okay. You paid for them in your hotel bill," he says. "They want you to take them with you."

For those of you with just one bathroom, be sure to remove all of your personal toiletries before the guest arrives.

"If you've taken the liberty to invite someone to be your guest, you really want to step it up and be prepared. If you aren't sincere, then don't do it," Jennings says. He suggests placing personal bathroom items in a basket to carry to and from your bedroom.

Apart from the visually enticing toiletries, Jennings says to place special attention to other necessities as well. Always have a plunger under the sink for mishaps, supply bottled water and equip the bathroom with extra toilet paper, air freshener and tissue.

Like Sublette, Jennings also emphasizes on fresh flowers in the bathroom, so his guests know he made a special effort to beautify the space.

Pictured above: Himmeli Guest Towels, Shower Curtains and Olive and Lavendar Liquid Soap pictures provided by Crate and Barrel.

White evokes hospitality

Jennings, who learned helpful bathroom tips from his own misfortunes while journeying to other people's homes, says his biggest tip for creating a hospitable bathroom is using white accessories. Specifically, Jennings prefers fluffy, white, high-quality towels.

"White towels just represent hospitality. When you are trying to make people feel comfortable, white makes you think of a beautiful hotel," Jennings says.

Once the guests leave, wash the towels and store them away for your next overnight guest, Jennings recommends.

One area most hosts overlook is proper lighting. While pure white light is the ideal bathroom lighting, don't forget to supply a dimmer switch. A dimmer switch can also be used as an alternative for a night light, Jennings says.

Pictured above: Atelier bath towels available at Neiman Marcus.

Luxurious touches

A little touch of sumptuousness can make the difference between a good stay and a great stay, is something, Janet Blutter Shiff of Blutter/Shiff Design Associates, located in Chicago's Merchandise Mart, understands through her job and travels. Something as simple as bath robes can make a big difference.

"The people who have the classiest homes and have people staying overnight usually take the time to treat their guests with a great attention to detail. Soft, fluffy robes hanging behind the bathroom door just say you care," says Shiff.

She also likes when homeowners provide sensuous and fresh scents such as Slatkin rocks. They give a modern and luxurious edge to the traditional potpourri, according to Shiff. The scented Egyptian resin rocks shine just like crystals, but waft long-lasting fragrance for months. Shiff specifically enjoys the Elton Rocks Potpourri, part of the Elton John Collection by Slatkin Candles.

"They aren't only beautiful to look at, but they are a safe alternative to candles in the bathroom. When I am not using them, I put them in a bag to keep the fragrance fresh," she says.

And, like our other experts, the number one item on Shiff's list is fresh flowers. "There is no question in my mind that if a homeowner places flowers in your bathroom, you will feel like someone is taking care of you. It is the best feeling," she says.

Pictured above: Bathroom vanity and other bath products available at SusanFredmanAtHome.com.

October 2007

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Our Favorites: The Perfect Guest Bathroom

  • Blutter-Shiff Design Associates Ltd
  • Crate and Barrel
  • Nancy Sublette Interiors
  • Neiman Marcus
  • Susan Fredman at Home - Harbor Country
     


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