The DEPARTURES Guide to Bathroom Design

Designing the bath that fits your style.

Christine Bauer / Living Inside
OF 17

The Decorated Bath

Cavernous, colonnaded, and adorned with frescoes, the Roman bath was the height of chic in the second century, the place where citizens gathered to lounge, eat, and converse. In 2016, the bath exists in a more private way and can emphasize personal style with café tables, art, and personal effects. Chandeliers and other dominating decor are now the norm with an eye-catching tub positioned as the room’s central focus. Decorator Jeffrey Bilhuber’s mantra, “Commit to the entire room,” is inspired by the tub-centric library scheme that late designer David Hicks created for Britwell House. Drummonds’s Tyburn tub (from $13,550), for example, does the trick. It’s a twist on a Victorian form that’s contemporized with an asymmetrical interior outfitted with two different ends—one upright for reading and the opposite sloped for reclining. Not to be ignored, textiles such as curtains, rugs, and upholstered seating—in cotton and linen so they’ll dry—add a soft flourish when juxtaposed with all the hard surfaces. Restoration Hardware’s Newbury Aged Brass étagère (from $350) has multiple glass shelves for storage. But Bilhuber prefers to stow odds and ends in covered boxes placed on a small table or in drawers of a compact chest that sits under the sink for a room devoid of a medicine cabinet. “Domesticate the bathroom,” he says. “Let personality shine through.”