Pity the poor bathroom. For much too long it has been the afterthought of home design. The fact that every home must have one doesn’t seem to earn it much respect either. As long as it’s large enough to accommodate a toilet, sink, vanity, and bathtub, everyone’s happy, right?

Wrong. Take note: there’s no need to settle for the same old style.

Bathrooms may be basic in their function, but there’s no reason they should be basic in their form. Quite the contrary, bathrooms should be beautiful and relaxing places. Your bathroom might be small and cramped (most are), but you can still turn it into a spa-like space. Take it from me. One of mine was quite literally a water closet. One renovation later, and it’s now a clean, cozy room. Granted, we can’t just launch into renovations whenever we want. Imagine if that were possible, though!

Enter feng shui.

When you can’t knock out walls or move the pipes, adding elements of feng shui will give your bathroom a spa-like feel. This ancient and traditional Chinese art is all about the movement of qi (pronounced chee). Qi is good energy, and it connects us to each other and the natural environment we inhabit. Feng (wind) shui (water) encourages good energy to flow readily so that it’s always present and powerful in our lives. We can arrange the space in a room to allow that good energy to build up and flow around us. If done correctly, refreshing the bathroom will leave you feeling calm and happy.

Some of the principles of feng shui are just plain old common sense. For instance, don’t block an entranceway with furniture. Originally, the door to my closet-sized bathroom wouldn’t even open all the way because the previous owner had constructed a built-in vanity that was too large for the space. No surprise, it was the first thing to go during the renovation!

the health connection

Tradition suggests that the bathroom, kitchen and bedroom are all connected in a kind of a healthy home trio. It makes sense, doesn’t it? Each of these rooms is vital to our overall health. Designing each one to maximize the flow of good energy is key.

Aromatherapy plays an important role in feng shui, and it’s an easy principle to put into action in a bathroom. Buy a vaporizer that will fill the room with calming aromas of lavender or mint.

Art, too, is vital. Add a beautiful painting or sculpture to the bathroom. Resting your eyes on something beautiful brings tremendous pleasure, which translates to good energy.

control the energy

One of the reasons that the bathroom is reviled in feng shui is because water is an integral part of the belief system, and water is constantly flowing out of a bathroom. It’s as if all that good energy is going down the drain. The goal of feng shui is to stop that qi from flowing away. Make sure the toilet cover is closed and that the sink and tub drains are covered when not in use.

Decluttering will also go a long way in allowing energy to move around freely. Keep the vanity countertop free of all the little things that usually end up accumulating there, like elastic bands, combs or make up. The only object taking up space on the vanity should be a beautiful piece of art or a plant that will help to purify the air.

balancing act

Because feng shui is all about balancing the natural elements, it’s important to include all of them in the décor. Bathrooms are naturally unbalanced spaces. First, there’s all the water that runs down the drains, and then there are mirrors, which symbolize water because they’re reflective.

Create balance and offset all that water by introducing some earth elements. Paint the walls a rich brown; purchase a vanity made from natural wood; hang textured white towels; light the room with a crystal chandelier and soft white candles.

Is feng shui just superstition? Maybe so. But its value is in the beautiful, spa-like space it creates. You don’t even need to renovate! Keep the bathroom neat, clean and colorful, and before long all that good energy will be leaving you relaxed and happy the whole day through.

Over to you: Tell us your stories about how you made your bathroom space more zen-like.

vanities-diyI know so many people, myself included, who choose to renovate their homes instead of move. The reasons for making this decision are many. For me, it’s because I live on a great street with great neighbors. Those two elements are really hard to find. Most of us who make this kind of decision believe that a house can always be renovated. Neighbors, however, can’t be easily changed! Then there’s the fact that there aren’t too many homes for sale that feature steam shower-equipped spa bathrooms.

I’ve written before about managing a bathroom renovation. But, I wanted to focus this time on bathroom vanities. You can always go out and buy a nice vanity for your bathroom, of course. But, have you ever considered diving into a do-it-yourself bathroom project?

Check out these great ideas:

Found Objects

Photo: diynetwork.com

Photo: diynetwork.com

This cow trough might be a little much for your bathroom, but the idea is still a valid one. Sometimes we’re so quick to toss out objects that can be reused. Look around garage sales, or take a close look at what other people are tossing out on garbage day. You might be surprised at what kinds of useful boxes, shelves, or cabinets you might find that would make a great vanity.

Get Crafty

Architectural Justice - diynetwork.com

Architectural Justice – diynetwork.com

You probably have a stash of craft stuff somewhere in your home. Take inspiration from the photo above and create something beautiful and functional. If you’re not quite up to a project like that, there’s always good old paint and mirrors. Have mirror or thick, tinted glass cut to size and glue or screw it onto the panels of the vanity. Then paint the rest of it. In practically no time, and with minimal effort, you’ll have a brand new (and very original!) vanity.

Woodworking Maniac


Photo: addicted2diy.com

There are those among us who really take diy to heart. I think of them as woodworking maniacs. Yes, I’m sometimes one of them. Although, my own creations don’t always turn out looking as beautiful as others’ work. Anyway, if you’d like to try your hand at building your own bathroom vanity from scratch, check out addicted2diy.com for a detailed play-by-play. You’ll be sawing and hammering your way to new bathroom furniture in no time!

What diy bathroom projects have you started (and completed!)?

bathroom kit for students


September has finally landed with all its promise of cooler days and, yes, back to school! By the way, this season is perfect for a relaxing steam shower experience. Relax and get ready for the new routine!

Whether you’re a student heading off to university or a parent helping your university-bound son or daughter prepare for their new life away from home, there’s one important element to add to their packed bags. That’s a little bathroom kit.

Most students will have to share a bathroom with at least one other person. I don’t know about you, but that’s one aspect of university life I was never too keen on. Having your own bathroom kit full of all your favorite soaps, shampoos, and brushes makes the whole experience so much better.

Here are some ideas of what special products a bathroom kit should feature:

  • 3 or 5 quick dry cotton towels
  • anti-slip shower sandals
  • a plastic caddy that will hold all the shower stuff
  • a soft bathrobe
  • shower gel and soap in a favorite scent
  • shampoo

What else is an essential part of a bathroom kit?