5 ways interior designers use textiles in bathrooms – and why you should too


Over the past decade, many have opted for sleek, easy-to-clean bathrooms. Yet more recently we’ve noticed a trend towards decorative textiles in bathrooms that really embrace decor and layers.

Decorative details used to be reserved for other rooms in the house, but nowadays bathroom wallpapers, fabrics and rugs are gaining in popularity. When considering bathroom ideas during the planning stages of your home project, it’s worth thinking about adding these details to give your project that little bit extra.

For obvious reasons, many are hesitant to add textiles and upholstery to a bathroom, so we asked the experts for their tips on getting it right.

1. Use blinds for privacy and nice details

Todhunter Earle bathroom design with double blinds above a freestanding tub

(Image credit: Todhunter Earle)

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Fabric bathroom window treatments can make your space more inviting.

“We use fabric as much as possible in the bathrooms because it keeps them from getting cold, harsh and resonant by softening the whole thing,” says interior designer Emily Todhunter of Todhunter Earle (opens in a new tab).

Simple soft linen bathroom blind ideas are favorites because they hang beautifully. “They’re basically sheer shades that provide privacy while letting light into the bathroom,” she adds.

They also pair well with plain linen window seats and cushions, which add to the soft textural warmth of her bathroom plans.

2. Use curtains for color and warmth

Decorative bathroom with colored blinds and red slipper chair

(Image credit: Melissa Wyndham)

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“I love making bathrooms look like real rooms and this can be achieved by adding full length bathroom curtains, wallpaper, paintings or prints and if the space permits, an antique table or chair,” says interior designer Vanessa Macdonald of Melissa Wyndham (opens in a new tab).

As long as the bathroom is well ventilated and spacious enough to allow the curtains to hang freely without the risk of constant splashing, then Vanessa opts for “standard” fabrics. If, however, you’re worried about water and vapor damage, outdoor performance fabrics – available from many leading fabric houses – offer water-repellent and durable alternatives.

3. Choose fabric walls for a pleasant texture to the touch

Decorative bathroom by lucy cunningham interiors with marble tub and wall art

(Image credit: Lucy Cunningham Interiors | Harry Crowder)

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Lucy Cunningham, Founder and Creative Director of Interiors by Lucy Cunningham (opens in a new tab)Corfu linen appliqué by Shorter fanny (opens in a new tab) to walls and ceiling in a recent bathroom project.

“We opted for fabric over wallpaper because it’s unexpected in a bathroom and really gives a smaller space its own personality, while adding something wonderfully plush and luxurious to the room,” she explains.

The fabric upholstery was done in the traditional way: thin slats were attached to the wall, wadding attached, then fabric stretched over the slats.

4. Recognize the benefits of an upholstered chair

neutral bathroom with pale curtains and an upholstered chair

(Image credit: Susie Atkinson)

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“I really like having a chair in a bathroom, if it can be squeezed,” says the interior designer Susie Atkinson (opens in a new tab).

“It could be, for example, a straight rattan chair with a nice cushion or, in a larger bathroom, an armchair can be fabulous and useful for throwing clothes, sitting while taking off shoes and helping to the acoustics and atmosphere of the room.’

In a recent project, Susie had a loose taupe terry slipcover made for an armchair. “It can be removed easily for washing and was also relatively cheap to use,” she notes.

smart bathroom design with long yellow curtains and a patterned rug

(Image credit: VSP Interiors)

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“Aesthetics are just as important as practical elements when it comes to creating a comfortable and inviting bathroom,” says interior designer Henriette von Stockhausen of VSP Interiors (opens in a new tab)who says be wary of cold, hard finishes.

“I tend to avoid bathroom floor tiles except in damp rooms or family bathrooms used by young children or teenagers where the floor can get soaked.

“In older homes that have their original floors, my preference is to keep them in place and lay an antique rug over them, which instantly makes the room feel warmer.”

If you’re concerned about water damage to your bathroom rug ideas, you may prefer to opt for a performance rug made from polypropylene or recycled plastic that’s designed to be water-resistant, hard-wearing and durable. easy to clean, like those of Unnatural soil (opens in a new tab)and weaver green (opens in a new tab).


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