The Bathroom Decor Mistake HGTV's David Bromstad Recommends Avoiding At All Costs

If you've spent any time at a beach-side home, there's a decent chance that you've gone into a bathroom that could've been designed by a "Little Mermaid" superfan. Styles like that can be fun, but one person who isn't too keen on bringing that look into homes is HGTV's David Bromstad. The designer's reasoning? Going all out in the name of a theme is a little tired — and that goes for non-beach-themed bathrooms, too. 

When it comes to bathrooms in beach homes, it's not all that surprising to find a collection of shells, artfully sprinkled sand, lighthouse ornaments, or even fish in a net attached to the ceiling. It can all feel a little gimmicky. Speaking to HGTV a few years ago, Bromstad shared that too many beach accessories can also make a bathroom feel super dated. "Having seashells everywhere, fish netting and every sheet and blanket covered in shells or some type of sea life is old news," he explained. 

That's not to say you can't take cues from the natural environment you're in, though. On the contrary, while Bromstad told HGTV he wasn't a fan of committing to a theme, he was all for tailoring things to physical location — meaning bathrooms that aren't at the beach can get in on this, too. However, he stressed that decorating should always be done in a carefully curated way. All it takes is a bit of creative thinking.

Embrace your location, but don't go overboard

No matter where your home is located, you can always tap into what makes the area unique and bring that into your bathroom (and the rest of the house, for that matter). David Bromstad's tip? Play around with color that feels authentic to the place you're in. 

Sticking with the beach-specific homes, Bromstad suggested using local vegetation as a starting point for the colors you could use. "A more tropical setting may have colors that are a bit bolder and more vibrant because tropical areas have gorgeous flowers and plants that grow naturally in that environment," he pointed out. If you're not in a tropical location, or even anywhere near the beach, you can still apply that same logic to wherever you are. Make use of natural finishes unique to your location. 

That's not to say you need to paint your walls lime green to mimic the rolling hills outside, however. It could mean finishes in particular types of wood, finding art inspired by flowers indigenous to the area, or even tiles that remind you of the shells or pebbles you may find in the area, without feeling like themed decor. As long as we're talking about decorating a bathroom that reflects where you are, you may even want to tailor your handwash to the scent of your state's flower. Alternatively, order a candle inspired by your city to keep on your countertops; for instance, Homesick's city-inspired candles go for $38 on Amazon.

You don't have to paint your walls to make an impact

David Bromstad's approach is all about honing in on small details that create a big impact. For that reason, it's no surprise that when he spoke to Us Weekly several years ago, he shared that repainting the walls tended to be his final step when redesigning bathrooms. Reason being? The other elements are more expensive, so he'd rather start there. 

"When you're buying your bath towels, bath mats, rugs, shower curtains and all your accessories, those are all going to cost more than a gallon of paint, which is your cheapest accessory," he explained to the outlet. Once you have the elements that make you think of the environment you're in, you can start identifying your color scheme. Bromstad even recommended placing everything together next to a paint swatch to see how it all played together. By doing so, you may even end up realizing your existing, neutral walls work perfectly with all the new bits and pieces. 

Granted, Bromstad didn't link that reasoning directly to his aversion to over-the-top, cliche-themed bathrooms, but holding off on painting your bathroom could certainly help prevent you from going overboard with references to your location. Your bathroom can be the perfect room to pay homage to your surroundings without becoming a cringey, overtly-themed space.