When people talk about “decor,” they usually mean those finishing touches – big and small – that you use to perfect the look and feel of your living room. Sometimes it comes up in the context of a kitchen or bedroom as well, but more often than not the bathroom is hugely overlooked. Now, that isn’t to say that it’s totally unheard of in a bathroom – far from it – but usually homeowners stick to smaller details – towels, shower curtains, designer mirrors, or the occasional candle holder. But adding full sized accent furniture – not just small designer touches- can really do wonders for your bathroom as well. The best part? Since it’s uncommon, it’ll be eye catching and even more unique.
One of my favorite pieces of accent furniture for the bathroom – and one I’d put in just about any bathroom that has the space to justify it – is the accent chair. That’s right, a chair. Bathrooms are meant to be spaces for lounging and luxury, but almost none of them (outside of fancy hotel powder rooms) have any real space to do it in. Other than the inside of your bathtub, your “throne,” and maybe a seat if you have a custom shower, you’re mostly out of luck for seating. Simply adding a unique looking chair can both make your bath more beautiful and more functional. The Occasional Chair in the bathroom above echoes the gold tones in the clawfoot tub filler, Southport Chandelier, and Framed Artwork, and also carries the creamy color of the porcelain fixtures throughout the rest of the bath.
Here, the fabric of the Slipper Chair picks up the soft sagey green of the Leaf Study Prints and helps make the same color more pronounced in the curtains and emphasizes the green tones in the tiling. While the chair itself is fairly simple, the function it serves is really quite sophisticated – because the material has ever so slightly more blue in it than the other greens in the room, it helps balance out some of the more yellow elements (like the wallpaper) and gives the space an overall balanced green hue. All that said, the little Telephone Table shouldn’t be overlooked either – it’s another uncommon piece for a bathroom, but the wrought iron design adds a touch of Victorian style elegance while also supplying a useable, mobile surface for anyone using that Cast Iron Clawfoot Tub.
On the other end of the spectrum, this chair does exactly the opposite – instead of helping to blend the color, this bright yellow Occasional Chair is like a little exclamation point pf color in a fairly neutral room. It’s the largest lump of color, but the rest of decor – the small Accent Table, the print on top of the Storage Cabinet, and, heck, even the sea sponge and glass of OJ echoes the off-yellow leather. The magic, though, is in the flexibility: buy a new chair, swap out your picture frame and your tiny table, and you’ve got an entirely different look in an entirely different palette without having to do a thing to your baseline design.
Of course, accent furniture can do a lot more than just add color. This bathroom is a mishmash of designs – with country style beadboard paneling and crown molding on an otherwise modern glass shower, decadent travertine tile, simple panel curtains, contemporary textured wallpaper, and a style-neutral Freestanding Soaking Tub. But the Armchair right in the middle of it helps tie all the eclectic design elements together. It helps that white is the dominant color, but because the chair is so boldly modern, it sets the style for the rest of the room, instructing the eye on how to interpret the rest of the decor.
In this bathroom, too, the slightly chaise-style Armchair and matching Gold Framed Mirror are absolutely critical to the overall look and feel of the room. The dresser style vanity begs for an old world parlor-style design, but the chair and the more-than-you-need-to-brush-your-teeth mirror elevate the level of luxury and help cement the bathroom as being something more like a sophisticated sitting area where you can relax, unwind, and indulge than, you know, somewhere you’d go to take a 5 minute shower. The Swarovski Crystal Chandelier, Wall Sconces, and huge area rug don’t hurt either – but sometimes it’s actually the big things that matter.
Whatever type of furniture it is, an accent piece should have at least one outstandingly interesting thing about it (the accent), and that’s the key to their real design potential. Since many major bathroom elements have so little stylistic variety (toilets, for example – or even bathtubs), adding in something with a little extra punch might be exactly what your bathroom is wanting. This bathroom, for example, oozes “rustic” – but except for the weathered Accent Chest, there really isn’t anything all that rustic about it. The Wall Mounted Apron Sink and beadboard paneling are nice and cottage-chic, but it’s the table that makes the room look aged… and the simple Silver Candlesticks and Classic Wall Sconces that keep it looking elegant rather than run down.
Accent furniture can open up a whole world of new design possibilities for your bathroom. While not every space is big enough to house its own arm chair, even a small table can be eye catching and can give your bathroom the inspiration it might be lacking. More than anything, though, it’s important to remember that these pieces either have to be chosen very deliberately or purchased before you design the rest of the bath – all this coordination and accentuating does take a little work, after all! How do you feel about accent furniture in a bathroom? Great design, extra functionality, or waste of space? Let me know in the comments!