The contemporary style is one of the newest and hottest design trends on the interior decorating front. Open any interior décor magazine or catalog and you will find pages upon pages of contemporary designs. This fresh and airy look allows your home to feel both comfortable and classy at the same time.

In the world of bathroom décor, the most popular contemporary style is the beach style. While a beach-inspired bathroom can be created using a number of different design trends, the contemporary beach bath is, by far, the most popular. In this quick guide, I will use my intimate knowledge of this style, based on years of home renovations, to help you achieve this look in your space.

If you’ve read our “About Us” page you already know that we aren’t new to the world of interior décor. We’ve spent countless hours studying design trends to renovate and stage many homes over the years. Here is a little bit of what we’ve learned along the way that I think will be very helpful to you as you create your own beach oasis bathroom.

Getting the Contemporary Look

Most of what will create the beach-inspired theme you are looking for will come from minor details and accessories. Before you can begin thinking about those details and accessories, though, you will need to know a few of the basic concepts related to the contemporary style. Let’s first delve into the contemporary style so that you have a solid understanding of exactly what it entails before I show you how to apply that style to your bathroom.

Contemporary Color Palette

The contemporary color palette is, for the most part, rather neutral. For the most part, it plays with variant of white, cream, taupe, grey and brown. What is very interesting about this style and perhaps what makes it feel so comfortable, is that these colors are layered upon each other. When perfectly executed, a contemporary style almost looks like a mishmash of hand-me-down furniture and textiles that, somehow, all seem to work together.

Don’t be afraid to use an assortment of neutral and natural colors in your contemporary space. This is one place where the carpet doesn’t need to match the drapes, as they say. In fact, your furniture pieces shouldn’t even match each other. You should try to find armchairs in different colors and textures than sofas. In your living room, the woodgrain of your television stand doesn’t need to match your nearby dining room table, or even you coffee table, for that matter.

It’s all about experimenting. To be honest, my favorite way to see what may work together is to stand in my local paint shop or by the paint counter in my local hardware store and lay out an assortment of interesting color samples. I then mix them around and hold them together to see which colors work best with which other colors. Sometimes, though, I am forced to do this at home since I take up an incredible amount of valuable workspace at the paint counter.

A Splash of Bright Color

Finding a way to bring a splash of brighter color into this world of muted naturals is an important feature of the contemporary style. I cannot say this for certain, but I am pretty sure that the entire concept of an “accent color” or “accent wall” was born in the contemporary era.

The most popular way to bring in a splash of color is via an accent wall (one wall painted a different color than the rest.) Some people choose to use an oversized piece of artwork or even a large piece of furniture, such as a sofa, for their accent piece. To keep the accent from standing out like an incredibly sore thumb, carefully stage a couple of other, much smaller, accent pieces around the room which incorporate a different shade of that color.

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Layering Textures

Textures are also very important to the contemporary style. More so than any other style, the contemporary style loves to experiment with texture. In creating this type of space, make adequate use of the textures at your disposal, including tile, wood, cotton, wool, canvas, and much more. Don’t be afraid to place a fluffy wool rug on top of a beautifully smooth slate floor. Even hallway runners have made a comeback in the contemporary world.

Using textures in seemingly odd places is also part of this style. Applying wood to walls is one way of doing this. Don’t worry; we aren’t talking about walking backwards in time to the 1960s when walls were covered with stained pine strips of vertical wood. We are actually talking about using a horizontal pattern. Many designers will stick horizontal strips of wood to the walls of their rooms. Unlike the almost-orange stained pine of the 1960s, however, this wood is usually either very dark and rich or whitewashed for a slightly vintage feel.

A Touch of Eclectic Style

Our discussion about whitewashed wood reminds me that I really need to talk with you about bringing in a hint of other design styles – most famously, the vintage, country farmhouse, and modern/modular styles. Remember, though, it should only be a hint of these styles. You can work each of them in through one or two important pieces or multiple accents.

The vintage and country farmhouse styles usually come in through the interesting use of old pieces of furniture or accessories. For example, an old watering can may be painted and used as a plant pot or an old drafting desk may be used as a catchall for your front foyer. The modern or modular style is usually incorporated with one or two pieces of furniture. To bring this style in, try to find a couple pieces of furniture with interesting curved lines.

All On the Level

I believe that this is the perfect time to discuss the importance of straight lines. I know that I literally just told you to bring in some curvy modern-style furniture. My point is, however, that the curvy furniture should only be one piece of furniture (two, at most, if they are small pieces.) Straight lines are very important to the contemporary design. Your furniture should feature straight lines. Your fixtures and hardware should feature straight lines, as well. Even your pictures should be hung at eye level along a straight line.

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Bringing in the Beach with Tile

In this section we will finally begin to look at applying the contemporary style to your bathroom and in such a way as to mimic the ambiance of a relaxing day at the beach.

First and foremost, let’s discuss tile. Tile is a big deal in the contemporary style. It isn’t uncommon to see bathrooms made up almost entirely of tile. Whether you choose to cover every square inch of your bathroom with tile or, simply, your floor and shower, you should try to pick tile with a light neutral tone. This is true whether you are going after a beach theme or not. For a beach theme, however, I would suggest something resembling the color of a white sand beach.

Additionally, you will want to work elegant, classy details into your tilework by adding bands and borders of tile which contrast this light tone. In many contemporary bathrooms these accent tiles will be selected from a brown color palette. In the beach-themed contemporary bathroom, however, they likely come from a blue, green, or teal color palette.

The accent tiles are where many people choose to add their splash of color. Try picking out a bright blue, green, or teal for your bathroom. If you would rather reserve your splash of color for elsewhere in the room, you can always choose a softer version of these colors – something resembling tumbled sea glass.

Contemporary Beach Bath Fixtures

Let me cut straight to the point on this one – you can easily create a beach-themed bathroom without any special sort of fixtures. The one fixture I would suggest for a beach theme, however, is a waterfall-style faucet for your sink, bathtub, or both. Other than that, your fixtures will likely be in keeping with most other contemporary bathroom designs – they will have clean, straight lines and will likely be white. If you select a freestanding bathtub, however, you can feel free to add a little extra class by selecting one with the soft outward curves of a tulip shape.

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Extra Beach Bathroom Tips

If you paint your walls try to find a light, somewhat muted, color which resembles sand or the various colors of tumbled sea glass. Consider covering the lower half of the walls with white wainscoting and/or add a chair rail. To make the beach theme shine through a little further, you can even whitewash the wainscoting.

You do not need to go to the extent of including large pictures of the beach in your bathroom or hanging up beach towels instead of bath towels. Though many people do that for funkier styles, it isn’t really befitting of a contemporary space. Remember, contemporary is all about comfort meets class. To bring in the beach while maintaining a classy vibe, choose small pieces. Place a few seashells and starfish inconspicuously around the room. Fill glass jars with sand and place a votive candle on top. It will be these little touches that make a world of difference to your design.