I’ve admitted before that patience isn’t my strong point, so when we recently had a brand new shower installed in the corner of our bathroom it’s perhaps no surprise that I instantly wanted to redecorate the entire room. Our bathroom is roomy and light, but I’ve never been a fan of the biscuit coloured walls and lack of tidy storage. The gleaming new shower just seemed to highlight what I didn’t like about the rest of the room so, like the truly impatient woman that I am, out came the paintbrushes as soon as the plumber packed up his things.
We were on a strict budget, having blown most of it on our lovely new shower enclosure. Luckily my parents had some leftover Slate Grey paint that they used in their own bathroom, along with some Brilliant White tile paint. We bought a big tub of Pure Brilliant White paint from B&Q and a couple of new paintbrushes and a roller. On the weekend I took the girls away to Southampton the (self-proclaimed) Northern Love Machine set to work.
He ran out of time to do the whole thing, so I finished it off during baby nap times and in the evening the following week. As much as I wanted to be able to leave it half done until we had more time, I just couldn’t. Told you, impatient.
Our bathroom has two windows in, which accounts for all the light. Along with the main window there’s a smaller window on the wall opposite the sink. We painted this wall Slate Grey. Only half the wall is actually slate, because the rest of it is covered in white tiles. We couldn’t afford to re-do all the tiles (as much as I love a subway tile) so we kept the originals and painted over the border with white tile paint. The border used to be a mixture of biscuit, brown and cream.
Like every other family I know, our bathroom is full of kids’ toys, half-empty shampoo bottles and random packets of plasters. The lack of tidy storage was one of the things I didn’t like about our bathroom before, so finding an alternative storage arrangement was top of my list of priorities.
We put a floating shelf in high above the main window, to keep storage out of the way of tiny inquisitive fingers and to maximise the space that we have. Far from pulling light out of the room, the shelf actually bounces it back into the space and makes the bathroom feel even bigger. And it means that all the messy bathroom paraphernalia is kept out of sight, hidden away up high in these white baskets. In fact, the only storage we have on the floor is the kids’ bath toys – it means the baby can happily crawl around while I’m in the shower and I don’t need to worry about her getting hold of anything she shouldn’t have.
The white baskets were ones we reused from the old bathroom, but I also bought some new bits to keep the rest of our toiletries tidy. We stuck with a monochrome palette because we wanted the bathroom to contrast with the bright kids’ reading nook on the landing. The black and white feels grown-up, in a house that is full of bright pops of colour everywhere else.
The black and white storage bag is by Ferm Living from Pompoms Make Me Smile. I found this online shop via eBay and also bought one of our monochrome striped laundry baskets from there, by House Doctor. I ended up buying another matching laundry basket later on, which means I’m now able to instantly separate my light and dark washing – a tiny thing that saves me precious seconds when it comes to tackling our never-ending mountain of dirty clothes.
The black wire trays are from Southwood Stores – a place I discovered through Instagram. (Be warned, if you have a penchant for Scandi-inspired interiors you may struggle to stick to just the one purchase.) The numbered monochrome baskets which we’ve hung underneath the window sill are also from Southwood Stores and means our loo roll is no longer piled up pyramid style on the toilet cistern!
The final answer to my storage issues was an under-the-sink cabinet I picked up on eBay for £15. I replaced the door knobs with new monochrome ones I bought from Pushka Knobs on Not On The High Street. By having a cabinet under the sink we were able to make the most of space that was previously unused.
While the storage doubles up as accessories for the bathroom, I also indulged myself with a beautiful round mirror by House Doctor from Southwood Stores. This reflects yet more light back into the room and creates a lovely focal point.
The final bit of pretty comes from a set of floating shelves I picked up on eBay. My mum gave me some beautiful white pebbles she found on the beach at Lyme Regis recently, so I put a few in a Kilner jar and displayed these on one of the shelves alongside an empty juice bottle with a flower cutting from the garden. The glassware keeps the light moving and creates this feeling of calm in the space. I wanted to avoid busy colours but felt the white edges needed softening. These do the job nicely.
Finally, we bought a new cup and soap dispenser from John Lewis. Not something we particularly needed, but seeing as we’ve been using an empty jam jar and a kids’ plastic beaker for the past two years I felt we could splash out a bit!
Of course, nothing stays tidy for long when you have little people around….