5 Touches to Make Your Bathroom Feel Lux

Photo courtesy of Stacey Van Berkel

Photo courtesy of Stacey Van Berkel

We all love a well-appointed bathroom that feels spacious, opulent and worthy of long sessions in the bath or shower. However from sinks to fixtures to tiles, the shopping list is long and fraught with financial peril when you are equally devoted to vision and budget. But with a bit of creativity and a shorter list of extraordinary products that go a long way, there's a way to navigate style and cost like a pro.

Let's take a look into ways to take your bathroom from okay to opulent, splurging on not everything, but just the right things. Here are five that top our list.

1. A rainshower showerhead that actually has strong water pressure

There are two schools of thought when it comes to showerheads, and sometimes you butt heads on the matter with the delightful person with whom you're sharing a space. School one: The harder the water pressure, the better the shower. Many of these folks believe that rainshower showerheads sacrifice water pressure because you have the same amount of water coming out of so many more holes. So this camp often chooses a traditional wall-mount showerhead with a traditional diameter and strong pressure.

School two: Rainshower showerheads are the best because they feel like they immerse you in, well, a real, natural shower, coming right down from your ceiling. And straight-down gravity seems to add to the water pressure.

But there is a perfect compromise: a rainshower showerhead with two settings—concentrated rinse, or full spray. Also, there are rainshower showerheads designed to channel water through the holes with more velocity, at a respectable gallon per square inch ratio. One example of both is this two-function model that works mounted on the wall or the ceiling.

2. Statement tiles

Tiles, like wallpaper, allow you to go as quietly or exuberantly as you choose. Either way, given today's renewed interest in craftsmanship and the charm of natural imperfections, marble and encaustic tile stand out. Marble, because of the beyond-control "imperfections" in the ribboning that render it, ironically, perfect. Encaustic (or cement) tile is another popular choice because of the craftsmanship that comes with its production. Encaustic also allows you to introduce color and a sense of timeless heritage—the tiles have been produced everywhere from Cuba to Morocco for generations, and they radiate that rich history. Though they are bit harder to find, they can be worth the time and expense (note that if you can't source it locally, shipping can triple the cost, though).

3. Wall-mount faucets

Sink-mount faucets have been the default choice in the residential market for years, and wall-mount models are seen more often in commercial spaces like restaurants and hotels. No longer, however. Perhaps the reason is practical: they are easy to keep clean and dry. Perhaps it's an aesthetic: they channel the cafethe farm, or the urban oasis. Either way, the extra $700 or so goes a long way in the bathroom (and they are great space savers).

4. Heavy-duty light switches

There's a lot of satisfaction that comes from turning on or off a heavy metal light switch that requires a bit of effort and rewards you with a substantial click. Similarly, this small, functional detail on a wall can go toe-to-toe against art as a focal point that conveys opulence and quality. Case in point: Meljac switches. What you invest in these—and they are strong and classic enough to stick around for ages—you can subtract a bit of budget from other less-permanent decorative touches.

5. One antique piece. Just one.

Whether it's a rug, a mirror, a vase or soapdish, a single accessory can give a space—especially a modern one—a sense of gravity, authenticity and express your own personality. An antique rug in the bathroom lends a layer of the Bohemian. Anything old that is gilded in gold or bronze recalls opulence—and Paris. For those who love the industrial, a heavy old faucet can be the bee's knees. Whatever the adornment is: If you love it, it's an expression of you. This is the best accessory any room can be lucky enough to possess.