Black and white are a stunning duo in this classic bathroom renovation.

Dear Debbie;

We live in an older home and enjoy decorating in a traditional style that suits the rooms’ high ceilings and wood floors. The bathroom requires a full renovation and we would like some ideas before we start. Thank you.
— Miranda

Dear Miranda;

When I first saw this chic bathroom, I was taken by its time-honoured elegance. And yet there were elements that fit perfectly with a contemporary theme. Black and white is a combination that never fails. Not surprising that it works so well in a bathroom with a white tub and sink. You have plenty of options for taps and faucets that will complement your design. Wainscoting and furniture-style cabinetry are perfect for your home’s architecture and they suit the high ceilings. There is lots of room to balance out the black and white features. Here the wood floors are painted white. The Art Nouveau inspired Lotus design wallpaper is from Farrow & Ball and they describe the sweeping blooms as bringing a touch of 19th-century elegance to homes both traditional and contemporary. The empty frame positioned over a lotus leaf is a fun, quirky accent.

Consider white marble if you choose a counter or backsplash. The marble’s black and grey veining provides a soft touch, always graceful and refined, and can be accented with thin lines of black glass tiles. You may be tempted to add a splash of colour. Your favourite shades for towels and a patterned floor rug is all you need to make the bathroom personal.

Since you are starting from scratch, think about behind the scenes wiring. A heated floor and towel racks and well-placed lighting beside rather than over the sink are design features that enhance both comfort and safety.

Dear Debbie;

I hardly ever see decorating photos showing stained woodwork. There are a lot of us out here with regular wood trim and it would be an expensive undertaking to paint it all. What colours would complement my poplar trim and doors, which are medium brown with red undertones? Thanks.
— Laurel

Warm greys and beiges lighten up rooms with dark wood trim.

Dear Laurel;

You are right, we don’t often showcase rooms that have natural wood. It is most likely because new home builds don’t have these expensive details and cover up the less costly wood with paint. We also hear from many home owners looking for a solution to brighten up their wood trimmed rooms. However, it is a personal choice and putting aside expense, many people cherish the look of natural wood grain. The colour variations and textures provide interest and warmth. Experiment with wall colours since wood stains vary.

If you are looking for a light contrast, pink will add a rosy hue and should connect well with your wood’s red undertones. Keep your furnishings light as well and be sure to have good ambient light as well as task lights. Tones of grey will create a calm atmosphere that’s modern and sophisticated. Pale grey walls are a good backdrop for artwork

Why not be adventurous and paint the dining room a dark crimson or navy blue – very dramatic alongside the wood. Dress your table with a lacy cloth, some pretty dishes and candlelight and you have set the mood for a wonderful evening.