A traditional or transitional space can easily be built up in layers, but a contemporary bathroom design needs to be thought through from the ground up, especially if it adheres to a minimalist aesthetic.
It's distinctly possible to create a striking contemporary bath in a typical "white box" room, but it's certainly easier if you have the advantage of carving out an interesting architectural shell. Interior designers and architects refer to this process as "getting the bones right first."
These two baths testify to the importance of architecture as the structural framework for modern style.
In one, a skylight window floods the space with light, and a dramatically angled wall shelters the tub, creating strong areas of light and dark. In a space like this, sculpturally inspired fixtures and mirrors are icing on the cake.
Minimalist but not chilly, this pristine bath borrows from the Asian aesthetic as well as a very clean-cut contemporary style. The wall-hung sinks are universally accessible, and the uniquely styled tub is nicely in tune with the classic-modern rattan chair in the window.
In the other bath, every specific need of the owners was anticipated and accounted for in advance, with solutions built into the space.
A home spa with attitude, this bath has cubbyholes and cupboards aplenty to make basic bath storage part of the design of the space rather than something that intrudes on it. Deft touches, including a recessed light strip and unusually shaped windows, add to the interest.
If a minimalist aesthetic doesn't suit you, try adding strong color to make your bathroom a vibrantly engaging space. See the next page for ideas on how to integrate bold colors into your bathroom.