6 Lessons From Bathrooms in Scale

6 Lessons From Bathrooms in Scale

How we mix objects of different dimensions, masses, proportions and patterns — in other words, how we work with scale — is still a big part of good design. Architects and designers use scale to make balance and interest, and taking it into account leads to good design in the tiniest rooms of a home. To find out what I mean, take a look at the lessons in scale out of those six baths.

Dick Clark + Associates

1. Use comparable shapes in different sizes. Using similar shapes — rectangles and squares or circles and hexagons, such as — in different sizes can add interest and subtly draw the eye around the space.

Unlike most baths, where rectangular and square tiles have an important presence, this bath has round elements — hexagonal tiles, round mirrors and round floor mats — which make an environment that is both fun and minimalist.

The white hexagonal tiles on the walls, floors and bathroom vanity create the space feel large and bright.


2. Play with one main material. Selecting one main material on your toilet’s palette will help harmonize the elements, creating a visual flow that is easy on the eyes.

Here is a clear example of how using one main material generates a calm feeling. The large 12-by-24 tile lessens the amount of grout lines, adding to the toilet’s expansive feel. Along with the simplicity of one substance makes it possible for the art in the area — the silver steer head — to have an actual presence.


3. Vary shapes and the sizes of furnishings and materials. Transitioning between dimensions of furniture and materials connects various areas of the space in another way.

There are lots of good examples of scale in this timeless toilet. There’s a wonderful transition from scale from floor to ceiling, with the little basket weave tiles onto the floor, the medium subway tiles for the wainscoting and the massive drywall that leads to the ceiling.

The leaded window design relates in pattern and proportion to the basket weave floor tile. And because the ceilings are quite high, I really like this tall wooden chest next to the cast iron tub. It helps connect the space from floor to ceiling.

Copper Brook

4. Create collections. Using grouped objects at precisely the same scale adds variety and rhythm to layouts. Do not overlook the connection between wall sconces and the vanity in the bathroom.

Because this vanity’s mirror is as broad as the vanity, the lighting over the mirror needed to span the same width. Instead of adding one large flat light fixture, this designer utilized a collection of three sconces over the mirror, creating a wonderful rhythm and tapping into the power of three.

Northworks Architects and Planners

5. When working with one substance, use it in different sizes. The floor and window-wall planks in this wonderful barn bathroom are one size, the vanity-wall planks are thinner, as well as the ceiling planks between the rafters are nevertheless another size.

Employing the same substance in a variety of sizes — one way of working with scale — made this toilet simply beautiful.

Alair Homes Forest Hill

6. Use varying shapes. On occasion the use of the same shape can create harmony in a place, and sometimes the usage of different shapes can create a comparison is effective.

In this creative bathroom, little white floor tiles contrast well with 4-by-4 glistening black ceramic wall tiles. The black and white palette allows the wall mural to create its announcement.

Are you playing with scale recently? We would really like to find out what you’ve done.

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