Last week I talked a little about the basics of French country bathroom design – all the elements that go into making a bathroom that’s historical, sophisticated, and comfortable. But for a design that’s so heavily based on tradition and cultural nuance, sometimes it’s the smallest details that lend the most authenticity, and do the most legwork in terms of updating your bathroom. If you don’t want to install a freestanding bathtub or even get a new bathroom vanity, a good place to start is your hardware.
Country Style Bathroom Faucets
If you’re redecorating rather than doing a large-scale remodel, new paint, new towels, and maybe a new shower curtain are probably at the top of your list – and that’s a great place to start. But if you only have the budget for one other thing, it should be your bathroom faucet. Not only is it something everyone that enters the bathroom will use, your faucet also occupies a central (and visible) location. So while any old faucet will work functionally, opting for a historical-style cross handled faucet, like this Wall Mount Royale Faucet, especially in an antique finish, is an easy way to add character and personality to your bathroom. Bonus? It’s a project you can probably do on your own.
Shop Bathroom Faucets by Herbeau:
But NOT Historically Authentic Faucets
A qualifier: while historically inspired faucets are great, there’s one regard where you DON’T want authenticity. If you live in a historical home, or if you salvaged a great antique pedestal sink, you might be tempted to go with the traditional two-tap faucet, but there’s a reason modern mixers were invented. To save yourself from having scalding hot water on one side and icy cold water on the other, look for something modeled with a historical eye, but a modern mentality. I especially like this Royale Faucet from Herbeau, which has a more-traditional (and visible) mixer connecting the two taps, nicely combining a modern convenience with an eye-catching period style.
Shower Systems And Tub Fillers?
Shop Showers by Rohl:
Installing a new bathroom faucet is a matter of some simple elbow grease. Installing a new tub spout, handles, or even a full shower system can be a little more complicated, but are definitely still worth considering. Just as with the bathroom faucet, there’s a wide array of period-inspired shower sets on the market (I particularly like this Royale Shower System) that will add a beautiful French country flair to your bathroom.
If you’re on a limited budget and you have an opaque shower curtain, this Perrin&Rowe Shower System from Rohl is admittedly maybe not the best place to spend your dollar (unless your existing bath fixtures are very out of date). But choosing a deluxe shower system not only helps round out a French country bathroom design, but also is a great way to easily and (more or less) inexpensively add luxury and functionality to your existing setup. If you really want to do it, but your budget is restricted, be sure to shop around. Good, antique styled shower systems can range anywhere from $600 to $6,000, so keep an eye out for ones like those from Elizabethan Classics, which offer a similar style at a lower price.
Toilet Trip Lever!
This might seem trivial, but remember, the devil’s in the details, and changing out your toilet trip lever is a detail that’s easy to overlook. Swapping to something like this Vintage Lever from American Standard not only adds that little bit of extra charm, but again, because it’s oft-used but rarely decorated placement, it will draw attention and add a real French country flair to your bathroom. This is an especially great option if you aren’t planning on replacing your toilet or doing anything else decorative with/on/around it. It can be done easily and inexpensively, but will make a relatively large impact on your design.
In addition to paying attention to the little details, you also want to be thorough about remodeling them. That means bathroom accessories: everything from your soap dish and toothbrush holder to your towel bar and shower curtain rod. These are the nuts and bolts of good design, and while they cost a mere fraction of what you’d spend on swapping to a clawfoot tub, the right choices here can give the weight of French country design to even a very basic bathroom with a less expensive shower/tub combo. Really, design is about flair as much as furnishings, and choosing the right accessories can significantly dress up and alter your bathroom decor, without any major construction (or even expense!).
Don’t Forget Your Lighting
While on the slightly more expensive and slightly more involved end of the spectrum, changing out the lighting from your existing bathroom is a great way to help transform it into a French country bathroom. There are a million kinds of lighting fixtures out there, but like bathroom faucets, the “automatic” choices for the bathroom (like a bar above the mirror, or the old fashioned dressing table globe lights) aren’t particularly interesting. That’s why choosing a dramatic light with a lot of personality like this Royal Sconce from Crystorama can make such a big difference – it’s eye catching, unexpected, and the antique styling and an aged finish can add an air of tradition and authenticity that make a French country bathroom come alive.
Shop Wall Sconces by Crystorama:
Are you planning on doing a French country renovation to your bathroom? A master bath, bath, or guest bath? Are you planning on doing a full remodel or a more superficial facelift? Let me know in the comments!