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break the ice

From Habitat magazine - issue 33, bathrooms

Guest bathrooms are the ideal space for designs that are sure to spark a discussion.

Awkward dinner parties: we've all been there. Even if the drinks are flowing, unless your guests are close friends – or at least acquaintances – there's bound to be a point in the evening where the small talk runs dry.

A colour blocked bathroom

Walls in Resene Eighth Black White with Mondrian-style grid design in Resene Blackjack with colour blocks of Resene Jalapeno, Resene Aviator and Resene Galliano, timber floor finished in Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash, shelf in Resene Blackjack and duck mat and vase in Resene Black White. Tub, bath filler, vanity and faucet from Plumbing World.

During a dinner, it's inevitable that someone will need to visit the loo. Without descending into 'toilet talk', if you play your design cards right, there is a way that the first foray to the bathroom could become the big topic for the table.

Tucked away behind closed doors, guest bathrooms are the perfect place to get a little creative with your decorating. They're a veritable blank canvas for experimenting with colour and style in a way that doesn't necessarily have to be succinct with the rest of your décor. And, if you really splash out on a 'wow' washroom, it's sure to spur a conversation among even the most uneasy of guests – and likely make everyone at your party want to take a turn checking it out for themselves.

Try one of these imaginative ideas at home for a guest bathroom that's sure to 'break the ice'.

Work of art

The colour blocked work of Dutch painter Piet Mondrian is incredibly distinctive. Characterised by a rigid geometry of squares and rectangles in white, black and a limited palette of primary hues, it's a look that's striking in its simplicity and compositional balance – making it the perfect candidate for a bathroom that wows.

Get the look:

While Resene Eighth Black White might be too stark in a bathroom all on its own, it provides the ideal background to add an eye-catching grid pattern in Resene Blackjack to separate the standout swatches of Resene Jalapeno, Resene Aviator and Resene Galliano. The bold contrast of the design brings enough flair that fixtures and accessories should be kept at a minimum – and you'd be in keeping with Mondrian's signature modernist style by doing so. The mirror itself has been cleverly and seamlessly embedded into the wall design by taking the place of a primary colour while the duck mat and vase have been painted to coordinate in Resene Black White. The floating shelf in Resene Blackjack adds function and form without visual clutter. If you have timber flooring, finish it in Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash to act as a neutral base without losing the beauty and character of the wood's grain.

Give it a twist:

Although it's primary colours that are traditionally reflected in this style, it's easy to look beyond these hues and still maintain the design's essence. Try a combination of a bold orange such as Resene Tango with a forest green like Resene Dingley and a deep marine blue like Resene Navigate as alternative colour companions.

Top tip: Try Resene Kitchen & Bathroom, which combines the benefits of a waterborne enamel with added anti-bacterial silver protection and MoulDefender.

Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash

In full bloom

Love the idea of bringing a bold wallpaper design into your home but feel wary about it making too much of a splash? A bathroom is the ideal place to be a bit brazen. The Resene Wallpaper Collection actually features an entire category of 'conversational' designs that are certain to get people talking – including pods of lobsters, prides of glittering peacocks, schools of fish and a jungle full of wild animals. But be aware – these popular designs move fast, so ask at your local Resene ColorShop to see the latest collections in their wallpaper library.

Resene Wallpaper Collection P035-VD2
Feature wall in Resene Wallpaper Collection 90220 Resene Wallpaper Collection P035-VD2
Leaf design: Resene Wallpaper Collection P035-VD2.  Bathroom: Feature wall in Resene Wallpaper Collection 90220 and left wall and trims in Resene Alabaster. Vanity, mixer, mirror, basin, toilet, loo roll holder and towel bar all from the LeVivi collection from Plumbing World.

While decorating your walls with a pack of dinosaurs from tip to toe will unquestionably catch your guests' attention, the aesthetes among us may prefer a bold floral design or a full wall photographic mural, such as the designs in the Resene Komar Pure Wallpaper Collection.

Get the look:

Resene Wallpaper Collection 90220 puts a favourite flower, the protea, on gorgeous display. Try it with accents in dreamy pink and greyed green like Resene Ebb and Resene Xanadu and timber flooring stained in Resene Colorwood Rock Salt for a bathroom that will wow.

Give it a twist:

If pinks are not your thing, a lush and lavish leafy design like Resene Wallpaper Collection P035-VD2 is a breath of fresh air in a bathroom. Pair it with accessories in soft sage greens like Resene Spanish Green or Resene Half Rivergum and go for bright white bath fixtures with simple, contemporary profiles.

Top tip: New Resene Wallpaper Collections are regularly launched and older collections are usually deleted after two to three years – and sometimes sooner. If you need to patch or replace damaged wallpaper later down the road, your design may no longer be available. It's a good idea to order more than what's required just in case you may need it in the future

Artisanal accents

One way to make your bathroom uniquely yours is with a combination of soft colours, beautiful fixtures and bespoke tiles – that aren't, in fact, tiles at all.

Bespoke handpainted tiles

Walls in Resene Cashmere and a floor in Resene Lynchpin with hand stencilled 'tile' designs in Resene Solitaire, Resene Half Solitaire, Resene Gull Grey, Resene Double Stack, Resene Sour Dough and Resene Longitude make for an unforgettable combination. Pendant lamp and towel rack in Resene Silver Chalice and plant pots in Resene Silver Chalice and Resene Half Silver Chalice. Bath and filler from Plumbing World, Resene Living Palazzo towels from Briscoes.

Stencilling delivers an impressive effect at a budget friendly cost. With the versatility to achieve exactly the look you're after, you're also guaranteed that no one else's bathroom will look quite the same as yours. And rather than stencilling an entire floor or an entire wall, take a band of painted 'tiles' down the wall and across the floor to bring character without overwhelming your space.

Get the look:

Artistic types can try their hand at stencilling directly on the floor and walls of their guest bathroom – or their master ensuite – in a collection of favourite tonal Resene hues for an eye-catching artisanal look. When paired with contemporary fixtures and furnishings, the gentle apricot, grey and blue hues of Resene Solitaire, Resene Half Solitaire, Resene Gull Grey, Resene Double Stack, Resene Sour Dough and Resene Longitude strike an elegant balance between modern and traditional.

Accessories are the finishing touch every room needs, and bathrooms are no exception. Vases, pots and planters in colours that contrast or complement are an easy way to go – especially since many indoor plants enjoy being in a humid environment. Orchids, in particular, thrive in steamy conditions and love humidity, but others that work well are string of pearls, peace lilies, mother-in-law's tongue and asparagus ferns. In this bathroom, leafy monstera plants bring literal life to the look in vases that have been painted in Resene Silver Chalice and Resene Half Silver Chalice.

You can also bring in accent colours through towels in a rich grey like Resene Steel Grey and paler Resene Surrender to add a point of difference. It's details like this that will really seal the look of your standout space.

Give it a twist:

While peach and blue are a perfect match for one another – being that they're contrasting colours from opposite sides of the colour wheel – an achromatic version of this look in Resene blacks and whites would have a completely different energy but be just as striking. Look to the Resene The Range whites & neutrals collection for a wide assortment of beautiful high contrast options from a true white like Resene Half Alabaster to an elegant ebony like Resene All Black – and everything in between.

Did you know... That the Resene Living Palazzo towel range is designed to match long reigning favourite Resene paint colours to delight any bathroom? If you are enjoying the hues from the first collection, keep an eye out for the new collection coming to Briscoes in spring/summer.

styling: Megan Harrison-Turner
images: Bryce Carleton


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