Nate Berkus Says To Pay Extra Attention To This Room To Master The High-End Look In Your Home

In the realm of home decor, opulence often takes center stage in well-trodden spaces like the dining room, living room, and kitchen. However, there also exists a hidden gem waiting to be adorned with glamour — the bathroom. Nate Berkus says that this room is often overlooked. "While we love the chandeliers and luxurious touches in the more highly trafficked rooms, there's something about going glam in the bath," he said in an interview with MyDomaine. "It's an excellent reminder that these rooms should never be forgotten when it comes to upping the chic factor in your home." By choosing stylish but functional items, adding the right decorations, using unexpected features, opting for timeless elements, and focusing on the lighting, you can create a luxe bathroom design that impacts your entire home's aesthetic.

We frequently design our bathrooms to be super functional and ultimately a little on the generic side, but Berkus considers this to be a design mistake. In a Facebook post, he says, "Bathrooms and powder rooms can be more than utilitarian; think of them as opportunities to express your style, your favorite colors and textures." He continues, "The key is to go beyond the basic in these smaller spaces that you see every day." Inspired by Berkus' enthusiasm for the glam bathroom, we delve into the often overlooked yet equally deserving realm of bathroom design, exploring how elevating the aesthetic of these intimate spaces can profoundly impact the home. 

1. Form can meet function

It goes without saying that your bathroom needs to be a super functional place, since it's where you take care of daily hygiene tasks and morning routines. Therefore, you need to look for finishes that elevate the vibe of the room without being unnecessarily fussy. Nate Berkus offers these winning words of advice in the caption of the above Instagram post: "The best bathrooms are the ones that are decorated like any other space in your home" instead of only being designed for functional purposes.

One of the best ways you can give your bathroom an instant dose of luxury is by paying attention to the wall treatments. Are they in stark contrast to the walls in other parts of your home? Then it's time to give them a change. Try to select a paint color, visual motif, or textured finish seen elsewhere and bring it into the bathroom. And don't be afraid of color! While all-white bathrooms are popular, you can opt for moodier colors if they make more sense with your home's overall aesthetic. 

You could also consider a glamorous wallpaper pattern like the William Morris design from Spoonflower or the Art Deco option from Graham & Brown. If you think you'd be overwhelmed by too much pattern in a smaller space, consider painting an accent wall or just wrapping your cabinet doors in your wallpaper of choice. Try a peel-and-stick paper for the latter so you don't damage the actual cabinet. 

2. Don't go basic with the decorations

Refreshing your bathroom to maximize the luxe factor doesn't require a ton of elbow grease as long as you think carefully about the decorative finishing touches. Too often, bathrooms are adorned with generic hotel room art or signs that offer reminders about brushing your teeth — pretty much the opposite of glam. To follow Nate Berkus' advice, decorate these spaces as a reflection of yourself while thinking beyond basic design choices. 

A practical way you could do this is by hanging art in the bathroom that you'd hang elsewhere in your home. Consider sourcing art prints from a museum's public domain archive such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. This will give you a wide selection of fine art that doesn't look tacky, and the prints are free to download. Just keep in mind that bathrooms are warm, wet rooms, so either put glass over your artwork or give it a protective coating. Potted plants also add a ton of charm and organic texture to the room. However, make sure that you buy plants that thrive in bathrooms, because just like the artwork, these need to be able to withstand high temperatures and humidity. 

3. Opt for the unexpected

Another way to make your bathroom stand out and feel more luxurious is to make design choices that are a little unexpected. In a photo of Nate Berkus and partner Jeremiah Brent's New York City bathroom on Instagram, they used a checkerboard pattern on their wall, one we'd be more familiar with on a kitchen floor. This adds a delightful twist to the room that still provides the needs of the bathroom space. You could add an unexpected feature to your bathroom by including an interesting tile pattern or wallpaper design, a piece of furniture that would normally go in another room, or a decorative item in a bold color.

Berkus and Brent also often create an unexpected feel by mixing the old with the new, which is a key principle of modern heritage design, and you can do this in the bathroom. While you may opt for a new, funky-shaped mirror or an ultra-sleek chrome faucet, try to balance it out with older, more rustic elements. It might seem counter-intuitive to use aged objects for a glamorous effect, but vintage light sconces, hand towel holders, and shelves show a more nuanced, eclectic eye for design.

4. When it doubt, go timeless

If you spend lots of time scrolling through interior design catalogs or perusing home renovation social media accounts, it can be surprisingly difficult to determine what is simply a passing trend and what you actually like. This can happen to anyone, even Nate Berkus. In an interview with Domino, Berkus describes a slightly-trendy triangle tile that he installed in his shower and reflects on how he regretted it. He then says, "I try to keep bathrooms as timeless as possible, especially when choosing materials and more permanent fixtures." 

Going for materials and design choices that have stayed in style for years is an excellent way to keep bathrooms from looking too trendy, or worse, tacky. Marble is a classic and luxurious choice for bathroom surfaces and one of Berkus' all-time favorites. In the caption of the Instagram post above, he writes, "A classic marble wall and porcelain sink can stand the test of time." Instead of the triangle tile, Berkus admits that he wishes he had gone for marble. Metal fixtures also do nicely in the bathroom on a faucet or sink — brass, copper, and bronze are trending but are also timeless. Further, the best part of using these metals as opposed to sleeker stainless steel or chrome is that their natural patina can add to the uniqueness and beauty of the material.

5. Create a dynamic lightscape

If your bathroom feels a bit dark and claustrophobic, that's probably because you don't have proper lighting. This is common in bathrooms because they often don't have natural lighting, and when they do have windows, these are often covered up with curtains or blinds for privacy reasons. One of the keys to curing a dark room is having multiple light sources that provide different types of light. Nate Berkus says that this is so crucial because it allows you to control the feel of the space, per an Instagram reel. In the bathroom, you probably don't want a floor lamp and cord to trip over, but there are lots of other ways to incorporate multiple light sources for a glam feel. 

For your main overhead light, consider getting dimmer switches. These make it possible to choose a brighter light when you need full visibility and go for something a bit darker when you want to lounge in the bathtub and still be able to reach for the soap. If you want more of a design-oriented lighting choice in the bathroom but don't want to sacrifice the amount of light produced, you cannot go wrong with wall sconces. There is no end of possible options for any aesthetic, be it deco, contemporary, or boho.