How To Create a Timeless Classic Chic Bathroom

updated May 3, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Diana Paulson)

Whether you rent or own, just want a quick makeover or are in need of a full remodel, you’re closer to a classic, sophisticated bathroom than you might think. Don’t believe me? Consider the beautiful bathroom in Diana Marsh’s Michigan home. At first glance it looks like a super high-end dream bathroom, which it certainly is. But look a little closer and take stock of the actual design details in this small space. You’ll discover the simple formula for how Diana was able to transform this bathroom’s taupe-colored before into a classic, timeless after.

(Image credit: Diana Paulson)

Use a black and white color palette

Black and white have gone together as the perfect color pair for generations. Highly contrasting and full of drama, the great thing about using black and white is it goes with just about everything — existing furniture and architecture, included. Plus, it’s easy and affordable to implement, both for folks who rent and can only make temporary changes, or for anyone looking to remodel their space.

Since many blank bathrooms already feature a lot of white (walls, tiles, etc.), strategically choosing black accessories like towels and a bath mat can be an easy way to achieve the look. If you’re willing to paint, matte black paint on the walls or on existing cabinetry can work wonders. Or you can do what Diana did in her bathroom and find a way to mix black and white in the same element — a black and white shower curtain plays off of a black and white tile shower and floor, which complements a black and white wallpaper. Even the sink vanity is black (cabinets) and white (countertop).

Does your bathroom already come with color? (We’re looking at you, vintage tiles.) Try a black and white color scheme anyway; the power of this potent combo of colors can make even dated spaces look timeless.

(Image credit: Diana Paulson)

Choose classic patterns

Of course, it’s not just restricting the color palette to black and white that makes Diana’s bathroom so elegant. The mix of several different classic patterns adds to the room’s sophistication while also ensuring that the design is vibrant and interesting, as well. An affordable way to start is with a black and white striped shower curtain:

1 / 5
Harbour Stripe Shower Curtain by kate spade new york, $49.99 (Image credit: Macy’s )
(Image credit: As linked)

If you’re in the market to install a new bathroom floor, there are a lot of vintage black and white tile patterns that are affordable.

In Diana’s bathroom, the marvelous “Brooklyn Toile” wallpaper pattern from Flavor Paper adds both elegance and a bit of humor to the space. If $200 a roll is out of your price range, there are budget buys available. This black and white Champagne Toile Wallpaper pattern from Home Depot is under $50 a roll. Another classic pattern is damask, and this black and white version from Graham and Brown isn’t just affordable, it’s even removable.

(Image credit: Diana Paulson)

Go for gold (or brass or copper)

Black and white and elegant patterns will take your bathroom far, but to really cinch the classic feel you’re looking for, add a bit of metallic to the space. Gold or brass additions will give the space a high-end look, and complement the color palette and patterns nicely.

In Diana’s bathroom, faucets and shower fixtures shine with a classy metallic sheen, and upgrading yours is within reach even if you rent. But Diana also went with brass when it came to other details in her space:

(Image credit: Diana Paulson)

Stunning Schoolhouse Electric sconces, a brass pivot mirror and a large and small wall mounted mirror all elevate the space considerably.