In previous articles we talked about how you can create stylistic choice in the design of your restroom to produce the desired atmosphere.  Now we’re moving to the capstone of every top restroom: accessorizing.  Some restrooms go really crazy with addons and nice things, but to begin I’d like illustrate how even a very small accessory can help a restroom a great deal.

Here the addition of a small piece of furniture between the toilet and sink helps create a subtle home feel.  These elements (aided by a nice looking tile floor) help to make the room a more interesting and pleasant place.

The nice thing about accessory options is that they tend to be a small investment and in most cases can be easily added to any restroom after the fact.  Here are some examples of common restroom accessories that can help spruce up a room.

Waste Receptacles

When choosing a waste receptacle it’s important to consider whether or not it adds or subtracts from the overall décor of the restroom.  A chintzy looking trash can will stand out like a sore thumb in an otherwise classy restroom.  If you need a large trash can but don’t have a lot of room, consider a wall mounted or recessed trash disposal.

In some cases you might be able to pull off a generic lidless trash can, it essentially depends on the context of your restroom.  If it’s a nicer restroom, you might wish to consider a wicker basket.  If your restroom has countertops, you may wish to consider a countertop waste disposal (cutting a hole in the laminate and putting a trash can inside the counter.

Rubbermaid offers a professional looking and flexible trashcan option called the “landmark series.”  It can look good both inside and outside your restroom and can be specially customized in appearance to fit your style needs.

Hand Lotion

Whereas soap dispensers tend to be in every restroom, having a bottle of aromatic lotion on hand in addition is nice way of scoring bonus points, particularly with women.  Having a clean restroom is one thing, but adding nice smells and physical comfort is how your restroom atmosphere can take it to the next level.

Flowers

Nothing brightens up a room and makes it feel more welcoming than a bouquet of flowers.  Flowers also help a room feel more hospitable, and come at a low cost, especially if you grow them yourself.  Flowers need not be extravagant to have the desired effect.  Fresh Flowers also come with the added benefit of fragrance.  In Linda Wright’s book “Skip to the Loo” she recommends trying the Tuberose flower, describing its aroma as “intense and heavenly.”  If maintaining flowers is too much hassle, an artificial flower such as a Forsythia Silk Flower may be worth considering.

Be sure to choose a vase that suits the décor you are trying to establish.  If your restroom lacks furniture for which to place a vase, you may wish to consider a wall-vase as an alternative.

Potpourri / Scent

On the subject of fragrance, the way a bathroom smells is critical to its perception of cleanliness.  Fragrances should not be used to cover up for poor sanitation, but if used in conjunction with a clean, well-kept restroom, can provide users with an expectedly pleasant bathroom visit experience.

There are many options for fragrance.  You could do a scented candle, potpourri, or even scented paint!  Or you could go with a brand name air freshener dispenser from your local store, just be sure to attend to it, as 70% of air fresheners found in restrooms are non-functional.

For best results, choose a consistent fragrance delivery system (as opposed to one that starts strong and fades away), choose an on-off fragrance that wafts in an out for greater effect, and remember that scents can be negatives- having no fragrance is better than having an obnoxious one.

Furniture

As mentioned at the start of this article, nothing quite adds life to a restroom quite like furniture can.  In the same way that a home doesn’t really feel like home until the furniture is moved in, a bathroom doesn’t really feel like home until the furniture moves in either.  A low cabinet or table not only adds atmosphere, but can be used for placing something atop it, such as a flower vase, a basket of paper towels, a jar of lotion, potpourri, a book, etc.

Even just having an empty surface atop the table or cabinet has value, as it provides a space for the attendee to set down their possessions as they use the restroom.

In a larger, high scale restroom like those found in Nordstroms, having plush chairs, fine tables, lamps, and other such things can add immensely to the sense of luxury.  That said, Nordstroms restrooms already have a layer of security built around them which means they don’t have to worry about people walking out of the restroom with said furniture.  You consider your restroom’s vandalism risk properly when considering furniture options.

Of course, always be sure that your furniture additions are in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Furniture can’t be placed in such a way that might restrict wheelchair access.  If your furniture placement compromised ADA, odds are it would look clunky and wrong.  In most cases, simply relying on common sense should be enough to make this determination.

You may also wish to consider furniture outside the restroom as well.  A bench can be a useful waiting area if heavy usage is anticipated or people tend to arrive at the restroom in groups (i.e. a golf course).

Wall art

There is perhaps no better way of making your restroom unique and attention grabbing than by painting murals on the walls.  The can be beautifying, humorous, theme-based, or just flat out random.

New Paint Job

Wall colors can impact the mood of the room and can help accent the restroom theme (the subject of paints and coloring was covered in significant detail in the previous article) [link].  Neutrals such as white are extremely common in restrooms, but going for an alternate color, such as light blue, can help beautify and distinguish your restroom.

Hardware

Last but certainly not least, adding utility to and convenience to a restroom should never be overlooked.  Coat hooks, purse hooks, grab bars, and wall mounted toilet paper holders are commonly found in quality restrooms and all play a role in creating a sense of convenience for the customer, even if they only realize such convenience when such items are absent.  Grab bars and toilet paper holders come standard with our restrooms.

Resources

If you are looking for further advice and ideas regarding restroom optimization, we strongly recommend Linda Wright’s book “Skip to the Loo.”  Every page is packed with good ideas and insightful information.  We reference her book quite often because it is so helpful.  It’s a relatively short read and well worth your time.