Lush, serene, bright, beautiful…. and totally not a trend that’s going to catch on where I live, in the northwest corner of England. Our weather is just too terrible! If you happen to live in an area with a suitable climate, though, outdoor bathrooms are a great idea and can add a decadent and exotic touch to your home.
Depending on your lifestyle and your budget, you could choose to locate your entire bathroom suite outside, or to have two bathroom suites: one indoor, one outdoor. The latter option will obviously grant you greater flexibility. Either way, you may prefer to retain an indoor toilet, for added privacy and for ease of use during the night.
Many of the same decor rules apply outside as in: although your outdoor space will already be pretty light, you can make it appear even more bright and spacious by adding mirrors. Mirrors look fantastic outdoors, as well: beautiful and slightly incongruous, as anyone with a garden mirror will attest. And you can emphasise the exoticism of your outdoor bathroom by adding an otherworldly touch – an oriental flavour in a western design, for example, or echoes of antiquity in a modern space.
In general, it’s wise to maintain a light touch and use lots of natural materials when decorating an outdoor room. Depending on your tastes and the overall style of your home, you could then contrast this naturally and minimally decorated space with an injection of colour – a bright, mosaic shower backsplash, for example – or an infusion of texture. Adding plants and running water to your outdoor bathroom, too, will emphasise its separation from the rest of the home as well as helping to bring a sense of serenity to the space.
When planning an outdoor bathroom, it’s important to think about ensuring your privacy. Tall screening will shield you from prying eyes (and protect you from invasive breezes too) but can dominate a small space – so choose your screening materials wisely. Breaking up your screening could be a good idea – a section of mosaic here, some wooden panels there… And softening the texture of any large expanses of screening is a good idea: try materials like bamboo, or add some climbing plants to your boundary wall.
Think about your roof, too: do you want a detailed, vaulted roof that’s part of your room design or something minimal that doesn’t intrude when you look at the space? Help yourself to feel more in tune with the elements by roofing over just a part of the bathroom and leaving the shower exposed (it’s designed to get wet, so why shield it from the rain which could add a new dimension to your showering experience?); if you prefer a little more separation from nature, a full roof could work better for you.
Finally, a versatile option (especially in a home with room for only one bathroom) is to add large bi-fold doors to an indoor bathroom, perhaps leading onto a balcony or decked area. This way, you can close the doors if the weather’s not great or you’re feeling like being more private and cosy… but the large doors allow in plenty of natural light and you’ve always got the option to let the outside in while you bathe or shower on a sunny day.
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