Decorating The Global Bathroom

Floor tile mosaic bathroom
Kristian Septimus Krogh / E+ / Getty Images

Beautiful bathrooms can be found all over the world--and you can let the world inspire your own bathroom for an unexpected, colorful and global experience.

The global bathroom is a bohemian bathroom, filled with curios and colors from everywhere in the world. A South American blanket is at home next to a Buddha statue. A Morrocan tile feels just right next to a vanity carved with exotic figures

The global bathroom is more about the personality of the owner than any trend or fashion.

It expresses your tastes, your travels and your dreams. It's a space where you can sit in the bath and choose your next destination, or enjoy a revitalizing shower with the scent of jasmine and patchouli.

Whatever you put in it, the global bathroom is yours, and nobody else's. It's a space to let go of conventions and decorate with feelings rather than "musts" and "shoulds". 

The Basics: Tile And Color

Planning your global bathroom begins with the foundation: tile and color. Because it is so varied, there are a number of combinations you can use. Mostly, though, I suggest a pale, neutral tile/color, which you can accent with bolder mosaic designs around the bath and sink.

As a main tile, I like this small milky white tile. The varied but subtle sheen, along with the small square look, makes a neutral base on which to build more colorful elements.

As an accent tile, you could easily use something bolder and definitely bohemian, like Morrocan/North African tile designs.

If you can't find ready-made designs, you can always make it yourself by combining a few different colors of tile. (Read more about bathroom tile purchase and maintenance.)

If you've decided to go with paint, use something neutral with a semi-gloss sheen (which is appropriate for a bathroom). Color palettes are easy to find all over the internet, but I particularly like this rosy-neutral palettethese light-retro tones and these gorgeous neutral earthy shades.

When wallpaper is more your style, you have PLENTY of options for bohemian patterns. If the walls are you main interest, then go ahead and choose something bold and colorful; if you plan on using plenty of accessories and would prefer to use the walls as a backdrop, then obviously go with something more subtle.

In any case, consider your walls the background, the backdrop for your style; they are the canvas on which you will paint your bohemian style as you add to your bathroom.

Furniture and bathing

The next step in your search of a global bohemian style is choosing the right furniture and bathing elements. 

Your vanity/cabinet should be something inspired, beautifully carved or distressed. You can use an old low cabinet you find in an antique shop or garage sale, and have a professional (or a skilled DIYer) make the required holes for pipes and sinks.

This collection from Dot & Bo features a few interesting possibilities: the Socoma cabinet and the Benny Buffet seem particularly suited for this use.

Of course, always take measurements and make sure whatever purchase you do make (especially online) will fit your bathroom. Measure twice, cut once!

A rustic freestanding tub like this absolutely gorgeous copper bath will fit right in with the bohemian look you're trying to achieve. After all, there are many places in the world where baths are not made of white porcelain!

If you have a shower in place of a tub, think about adding bohemian details to the hardware or interesting patterns to the glass doors. You can also find many, many different kinds of bohemian-inspired shower curtains, if that's what you need.

But of course, a bathroom isn't just a vanity and a tub. Think about side tables, extra chairs and small benches to hold your books and towels. Think lattice, elaborately carved wood, wicker and leather.

Mirrors, cabinets and wall art

What you put on your walls also influences the style of your bathroom.

There's a lot of great inspiration you can take from all over the world, including exotic patterns and figures, ethnic colors and natural materials.

You can easily find beautiful mirrors with elaborate frames. These will easily fit the style, even more if they have a distressed look. You can also go with something more minimal, especially if you have a strong pattern on the wall through tile or wallpaper.

You wouldn't want to layer too many complex elements all at once.

For cabinets, something vintage, handmade and/or distressed with fit the bill just right. You might want to paint it an interesting color, maybe one of the strongest shades of your chosen color palette (as suggested on the previous page). 

With wall art, you can let your imagination and desires choose for you. For the global bohemian look, I particularly like signs of peace and calm, like Hindu symbols, Om symbols, Zen paintings and calligraphy, and other Eastern-inspired elements. You can also make a strong statement with colorful masks and tapestries, travel posters and whatever art inspires you.

Rugs and mats

You can make a real bohemian statement with a rug in the bathroom. Not only are they fashionable, but they're also practical (no water on the floor!) and they can add an interesting layer on top of your flooring or tile.

If your floor is understated, you can go with something that pops right out: a Safari-inspired pattern, a traditional, distressed-look floral design, or something straight out of the Thousand And One Nights.

On an original, colorful tile floor, you can use something monochromatic and play with textures: shaggy and thick makes for an interesting contrast against a smooth tile.

Who says you need a matching bath mat, either? Play with colors, textures and patterns. The nature of a bohemian style is eclectic and not too matchy-matchy, so have fun!

Accessories and decor

To truly finish the look of your global bohemian bathroom, don't be afraid to add accessories and decor items. It'll change your bathroom from a purely functional space to something you can be proud of.

Put a plant in a nice put on the window ledge. Choose a plan that does good in a bathroom environment--here are some suggestions.

If counter space is scarce, think of adding a shelf or two for extra hand towels and maybe a Buddha figurine to inspire peace and calm. Instead of putting your dirty towels in a plastic hamper, how about a beautiful hand-woven wicker basket?

It has a lot more charm and decor appeal.

Basically, go with your heart and decorate with what makes you feel happy, glad, peaceful; your bathroom should express your tastes and personality!

YOUR global bathroom

In the end, what "global" and "bohemian" mean is entirely up to you. Maybe you like South America, or Africa, or Japan.

Maybe India is your favourite destination. Or maybe you just like the entire planet, and want to reflect your global love on a local scale.

No matter your travel preferences, make this global bohemian bathroom yours!

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