Keeping it Real: A Decorating Dilemma

Monday, June 8, 2009

Have you ever had a room that ends up being waaaay more difficult to decorate than every other room in your house? While some rooms just seem to come together (somewhat) effortlessly, that one little stubborn room just keeps putting up a fight? Yes?...Okay good. That makes me feel A LOT better.

I've shown you my kitchen (ad nauseum...sorry) and my living room (and I'll be showing you a few other rooms soon) but for some reason my master bath has decided to be a worthy adversary. In all honesty....it's been kicking my butt. I hate to even admit that, because I feel like I should have all the answers in the decorating universe, but man oh man I've had trouble with that room.

Here's the BEFORE photo (again...sorry that you're seeing it for the umpteenth time)

Here's the KIND OF AFTER photo (way too dark and blah....and I truly apologize for the flat iron and paint cans in the photo).


It's blandness kind of gives you a tummy ache, huh? Sooo, obviously, I'm cooking up a Plan C.

I was looking through my inspiration photos over the weekend, and I was struck by this one from Pottery Barn.

OPTION 1


I hadn't planned on using a color as bright as the blue-green on the vanity, but I really kind of like it. It would give the bathroom a focal point and it would also tie in with my bedroom (I'll be showing you soon). If I did paint and glaze my vanity, I'd probably paint the walls a cream color and use white on the trim. So, that's possibility 1.

For possibility 2, I could paint the walls a very pale gray-blue and paint/glaze the cabinets cream. Kind of like the kitchen below from HPJ185 on Rate My Space.

OPTION 2:


Or...for possibility 3, I could always just paint everything cream and white and call it good (with a few carefully chosen accessories to bring in a bit of color and texture). Keep in mind there's no natural light in the bathroom, though, so I'm not sure how all white would work in there.

OPTION 3:

Photo: Coastal Living

I'm opening the lines American Idol style (...minus the actual phone lines) and letting you cast your vote. Yes...I'm that desperate, but I also trust your fabulous taste and judgment. Besides, sometimes you can become so immersed in a project it's hard to see straight...know what I mean?...so I thought it would be constructive to get some perspective from you.

Thanks so much...and please, please, please keep reading my blog. I promise I DO normally have lots and lots of great decorating ideas to share...or, at least a whole bunch, or gaggle, or something like that :-).

60 Suburbanites Said:

Gretchen said...

I have to say I love Option 1. That "pop" of color is great. Of course, it might just be that it's from Pottery Barn - Love Them!!!!
Good luck =)

Gretchen
gretnel@hotmail.com

Carrie said...

I love the blue-green colour. That's what I would do. I love to see colour in a small room.

kimmcl said...

Okay. First, I feel so unqualified to be giving you decorating advice. So, with that in mind, things I like about the before pic are the color on the wall and the darker countertop. I guess that means, I think you need more color. How about a Robin's Egg Blue on the walls? I think that would be subtle color, but keep it clean and crisp looking.
Kim

Frugal Jen said...

Option #1!

This reminds me how bad my master bath looks too. Why is that the last space we update? I dream of a spa like retreat one day.

Katie Lewis said...

I like color on the vanity. Add in pops of the same color in the VERY cute shelving unit you added above the tub. Change the faucets on the sinks to some with old-fashioned handles to tie in the white tile/sinks.

sheri said...

First of all - LOVE your blog - you have done some great stuff - and i adore your kitchen (and the dog food bin - HOW CUTE IS THAT??)

Anyway, my vote is for rubbed cream cabinets and robin's egg blue walls. It made me think of Tracy's kitchen - the look i think you're going for - check out this URL, and scroll down to date sept 4, 2007. See if that's close to the look you want..

http://acottageindustry.typepad.com/a_cottage_industry/howd_i_do_that/

Miss Mouthy said...

First, I love your blog. When a blogger shares their troubles on their niche topic it makes me feel like if the experts have trouble, maybe there's hope for me. Like kimmcl said, I have no business giving an opinion in decorating, but I really do love option #1.

Also, I love the two oval mirrors instead of one big ol' slab o' mirror.

Amy@DesigningaLifeILove said...

Well, I feel like most of your other comments! I DEFINITELY vote #1 - there is something of a WOW factor with the bluish-green-gray vanity. The other choices are too close to what you already have, and they aren't doing it for ya... why not take a chance? Worse-case-scenario, you have to repaint the vanity back to cream... but at least you know. I think you'll love it, if you have the guts!

Laura said...

LOVE Option #1, hands down! The color just pops and is a fun change from what you have. I agree with Amy - if you don't like it, you can always paint it back. I also like what Katie said about changing the faucets from the standard ones that came with the house. I think you will love the result. I can't wait to see the finished product. Good luck!

Sarah said...

I know the vote will come in for the color...but I LOVE white, cream bathrooms. You can change them up so easy if you do feel like warmifying for the winter months, or summerizing...with just a small purchase. You'll never have to touch the hard stuff...paint etc...again. But that's just me!

melissa said...

Hi AnNicole! I vote option 1~love the color on the cabinets and think it would a refreshing change. Martha Stewart had a perfect blue green color like that in her old Living line~it was called Atlantic. If you want the formula, I have it in Benjamin Moore. I love the brown-hued botanical prints in the inspiration pic as well. Can't wait to see what you decide~

TRICIA @boutellefamilyzoo said...

I'm going with #1. All options are great. I just think it's worth taking a chance. Besides, PB can't be wrong, can they?! ;)
Good luck! Can't wait to see the results.
*Tricia

Kim said...

Option #1 is beautiful! I'm feeling the same way about my master bedroom, as you feel about your bathroom. Hopefully will both have a "break-thru" real soon!

Elizabeth (blue clear sky) said...

I'm not sure if you want to spend the money, but I think the biggest change would be if you could change out the taps/faucets to something really eye catching.Especially since there are two the impact would be great.
Option #1 would be my choice, love the blue, I used a lighter aqua in my ensuite bath (the walls though.)

Stacey @ The Blessed Nest said...

I'd just paint the walls first, then see if you feel you need to do anything to the vanity at all. I think the walls would be easier to change than the cabinets if you change your mind in a year. Just my opinion!!

TheOldPostRoad said...

I like #1 and #2 - (IF the blue is not too washed out on the walls in option 2) Can I vote for two, like that??!! (Also -the reason 3 is so pretty is because of the materials used - the cute small subway tile, the wooden wall details, and the very nice brushed nickel faucet.)

Jennifer Poppy said...

We have a pale gray in our bathroom and master bedroom & L-O-V-E it! It's a nice neutral, but it gives more oopmh than white. I also L-O-V-E that blue-green vanity.

Sa-Sea Boutique said...

I am a sucker for that blue/green and so I vote for #1. love it!!!

Melissa said...

Just found your blog...Love it, and will definitely keep reading. : )

Painting cabinets is too much work, imo. Since they're white, I'd stick with that. The perfect blue/gray color is Silver Sage from Restoration Hardware. Of course, I'm biased since almost my whole house is painted in it. It is a wonderful, soothing color. I love the Provence art piece, and with crisp white cabinets, and that blue gray clor, the room will really come alive.

Anonymous said...

Love # 1

Erin B said...

Option #1 my dear...I used Cloud Burst by Behr in my bathroom and love it. I think it would be smashing on your vanity. Think of all the fun you could have with that element as a focus. Go for it!!! :)

Victoria@WhimsybyVictoria said...

I love to design, but I too have had that one room or area that just seems to put me in a rut! I call it designer block! lol. I love what you have done, and I do agree it needs a little more to add light and pull it together. I love your #1 that is the way I would go! Add a few details here and there with a little of that color as well...stunning. You could even add glass knobs on the vanity, if youd like. Very classic, serene and elegant. Love it!!

Hugs,
~Victoria~

Rebecca said...

I have to say Option 1. It just seems to fit well with what I've seen (so far) of your style via the blog. Good luck! I'm sure whatever you do will come out lovely.

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

I am in no way qualified to be giving design advice to someone like you, but I like the pretty "wow" factor in the PB color from Photo #1. It would brighten up the (already fabulous) space. But what do I know? ;)

B said...

Defo option 1, I think it would look great! By the way, I have the same 2 mirrors and lights above in my bathroom ;0)

Simply Dandy said...

I vote for option #1..especially if it ties in with your bedroom.

Kasey said...

I love option 1! It would really transform your bathroom.

FOR THE SAKE OF TIME said...

I vote for #1. WOW - there is really a variety of opinions. I think it is so interesting to read what others say. Good luck with your decision. Let us know and send some pics.

Charla

Megan Lee said...

I love Option #1. I think the bathroom is in need of color. I think it will break up the vanity space that is currently running into the walls and tub. Good luck!

Catherine@Simply Natural said...

Seems like option one is the popular vote. I'm going to throw something else into the mix, just to confuse things. How about a statement making mirror? The biggest you can find to fit the space - with an eye catching frame. You could try looking at thrift shops - even an old frame that originally holds a painting might work. A garish gold frame might like fabulous painted black or a rich chocolate brown.
But if you are not keen on that idea, I would say paint the walls - perhaps in that blue/green colour if it coordinates well with your bedroom.
Also - if funds permit - a skylight could really brighten up the room. I have no windows in my bathroom, but I do have a skylight, and people are always going to 'turn the light off' in there, because it is so bright. Makes a big difference.
Whatever you decide to do, I'm sure it will look gorgeous. Good luck!

jenjen said...

I love the Pottery Barn picture with the blue-green vanity. It is sooooo amazing! Good luck with your decorating dilemma. I'm sure it will be beautiful!

XOOX
Jen

ness lockyer said...

Yep I am with Catherine. A huge mirror frame, maybe in that duck egg blue from the cabinet, would add a pop to a white scheme. You could introduce little splashes like blue and white ginger jars or even some mercury glass, zinc and maybe some botanical prints like the photo you like in frames in a washed out version of the blue. I am sure what ever you go with will look beautiful.
Ness xx

Susan said...

just found your blog--I"m in love! :)

Susan @ www.peanutpetunia.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Hi AnNicole,
I was just looking at the blue-green PB cabinet last night and thinking how pretty it is. I like your white cabinets and I'm not sure if the blue-green would work as well with your countertop though, as it does with the marble countertop. You posted a picture on your mirror makeover post from Rate My Space that belonged to NewSquaredID that looked really nice. If you painted your walls a darker color pulled from your countertops that might do the trick. Then you could add a plant or flowers and accessories and artwork with the blue-green color. Also, I can't tell what kind of hardware you have on your cabinets, but right now they tend to blend in -- so maybe you could switch them out to something in a silver finish. I love what you've done with the rest of your home, so I'm sure you'll come up with a great solution.

Michelle

Catherine Elise said...

I love option #1. I think that blue-green shade is so happy and would probably make me smile everytime I saw it.

Suzann @ Lavender and Roses said...

Okay, I am a PB girl from the word go! I do love the blue-green, there's something very awesome about it. The RMS gal you chose is a fave of mine as well. But, as someone who has lived with color on the "stuff" and as a color loving gal, I will have to vote for option #3. Why? Because if you have a completely neutral room with some wonderful permanent accessories, you can go wild with punches of whatever color strikes your fancy. Feel like hot pink? Go for it! Want an earthy orange? It'll work. Lime Green? Sea Glass? Plum? Peach? They ALL look amazing. So, because I am fickle and love to feature punches of color in my home, I vote for the least popular. Of course, anyway you go, the room will be amazing because they are all GREAT choices. Can't wait to see what you choose. But, now you have another two cents to ponder.

Sarah Arkanoff said...

Option #1- Make it pop!!!

MrsSouthernBelle said...

They all look great! I just wanted to tell you how brave you were to keep painting your bathroom. Bathrooms are the worst!

Victoria said...

I like the idea of some color behind the mirrors to make them stand out so I would probably go with #2. :)

I like #1 though too. AAAAH! Not much help, huh?

~Kristen~ said...

I am totally town between Option 1 and Option 2. I am afraid I am no help...I can't choose...I love them both!

Anonymous said...

Love option 1, but I also like all the white you have. What about just painting the cabinet over the tub that blue/green, and then blue/green accessories?

Darby said...

I like Option 2. It seems to fit in with the other pictures that you've shown of your house. You can change your accessories more easily to fit the changing seasons or just a change in your mood.

Leave a Trail... said...

I vote for #1!!! Pretty inspirational piece!

wofficerswife08 said...

I vote for option #1, I love your blog I read every day! Thanks for giving me so much inspiration! I'm picking up The Home Book by house beautiful from the library today!

Anonymous said...

Add a soothing blue/green color to the walls and a rug on the floor in the same tone and put a floral arrangement (tall) with colorful birds of paradise or orchids to add a spa feeling. Then put some striped towels on front edge of sink (very casually) and some white framed pics of shells on linen texture. I think that will give you the soothing feeling you want.

Megan said...

I love Option 1 as well, especially if you did some dark hardware to make the color really pop. However, if you are going to re-sell the place anytime, I would go with just painting the walls in Option 2. I don't think that you should go with Option 3 since it is very similar to what you already have.

Love all the picks regardless!

www.thesouthernnest.blogspot.com

Rebekah said...

I'm not going anywhere! I love your blog. :)

My vote is for painting the vanity that incredible blue-green. LOVE that color. Then you could add in pops of that same color elsewhere- an old bottle or two on the shelves, some hand towels, or something. How do you feel about ribbons? A wide ribbon running up to the ceiling from your mirrors might be pretty and add some interest to that area. (I don't think I described that very well- but I know you know what I'm talking about.)

The Tiny Homestead said...

#1, no question for me. It's a gut reaction and my gut just told me to tell you to paint your vanity!

stephanie said...

I like it white -- but I'll change the faucets out. That's the part that sticks out to me in the picture.

Annie said...

I like Option Numero Uno! :0) I think with all the softness of the whites, the subtle blue/green on the lower half of the room would be soooo gorgeous! And you can incoprorate so many other elements of the spa look with that color scheme.

So excited to see what you do with all these great ideas!!!

Ashley@AshleysBusy said...

I like one and two...I just painted my front door a very pretty sky blue and I'm in LOVE!!

Here's my post with to color info:
http://ashleysbusy.com/2009/06/04/my-favorite-paint-color/

Whatever you do, you've already improved the bathroom so much. Love your blog :)

Mollie said...

I really hope you go with option #1... I love that picture as well and would totally do that if I owned my own home! I'd love to live vicariously through you. ;)

bukovan said...

They are all great, but I think #2 would look fabulous! can't wait to see what you decide on.

Miss(es) Canadian Pie said...

I'm casting my ballot for Danny Gokey...oh wait....wrong competition. I'm choosing option 1. But to tell you the truth, you've done some amazing things thus far in your bathroom.

Della said...

I love the blue vanity! It's something different, and if it ties in with your bedroom, go for it!

Brittany said...

I am definitely loving option one!

Rona's Home Page said...

I love the Coastal Living option.

Becki said...

We used blue green on our bathroom vanity which was formerly an old dresser. http://creatingcomfort.blogspot.com/2008/10/diy-bathroom-vanity.html We used a melamine paint to repel the water and it has held up really well (5 years now). It adds just that little splash of needed colour. It looks really dark in this picture but it is actually more like the colour of your inspiration photo. Good luck! Becki

Bellamere Cottage said...

As usual, I'm a day late and a dollar short....I'd have chosen the blue as well. I LOVE your bathroom though....it's going to be sooo wonderful! I can't wait to see it finished.

Blessings,
Spencer

Ross said...

These are fantastic! It’s time to do makeover of your bathroom with the help of modern bathroom vanity