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How to design a Soho House bathroom at home

To celebrate Soho Home’s first bathroom collection, Soho House Senior Interior Designer, Domhnall Nolan, shares his tips and techniques

Designing a bathroom is unlike shaping any other room in the home, or in our Houses. Whether you favour bright colour combinations or imagine creating an oasis of calm, it's an intimate space, dedicated to the personal rituals and routines we all have. This is what our interior design team keeps in mind when creating our House bathrooms, ensuring that each member has a place just for them.

Crucial to this is the vanity or washstand unit; what we like to think of as the heart of space. This is where you'll spend most of your time, keep your products and prepare for your day. As always, the design of each House reinterprets its locality. So, in Soho House Paris, you'll find elegant antique pieces and traditional hardware, while Soho Farmhouse in the UK nods to the countryside with reclaimed timber and rustic touches and, of course, those outdoor tubs.

To reflect this, we've launched our new bathroom range with single and double vanity units inspired by Soho House Paris, Soho House Holloway in LA and Soho Farmhouse. Each collection also includes complementary lighting, mirrors and accessories to create a relaxing ambience.

Here, Soho House Senior Interior Designer, Domhnall Nolan, shares his experience across designing bathrooms all around the world, with advice on how you can give yours the same treatment. From styling tips to which stone to choose, keep reading for our guide on creating a Soho House bathroom at home.

Look to your surroundings for inspiration

'Every time we design a House, we create a brief that responds to and takes into account the existing architecture, any standout features to honour, and the character of the local area. Use this design principle yourself to assess the space before planning out your colours and materials. For example, is there an original floor that you want to incorporate, or perhaps a large window to highlight? Or, if you're in the countryside, consider going for natural materials or adding wood pannelling to the walls. At Soho Farmhouse, handcrafted, crackled tiles in rough textures and earthy tones nod to the rural surroundings. It's about taking your cue from the personality of the building or where you are.'

Lean into pattern in small spaces

'Bathrooms are unique because we spend very little time in them. While a lot of people imagine this space as relaxing - which it absolutely can be - it's also an opportunity to have fun. If you have a small bathroom, don't feel like you have to use light colours and minimal patterns to make it feel bigger; instead, lean into the smallness of the space and do something radical to make it a feature.

'For me, patterned tiles used across the floor and the ceiling is a really playful way to do this and look especially good in short bursts. Look to Soho House Austin for inspiration, where the designers used monochrome chequerboard tiles across the floor, walls and up to the ceiling for a "wow" effect. You could opt for a similar pattern, or find two tiles you love and alternate them across the whole space. Remember, you don't have to live with it for 24 hours a day, so you can be more free.'

Plan out your vanity area

'The vanity unit is often the most important part of the room, because it's where we get ready for our day. When planning the space, put a lot of focus (and budget) into getting it right. Imagine a large enough surface to keep your products and accessories, a good-sized mirror placed at face height on the wall, and two wall sconces either side of it.

'We use two lights, either side of the mirror, at eye height to create an equal, flattering light source that will allow you to see what you're doing when applying products, grooming and getting ready. Always avoid uplighting, and if you don't have space around your mirror, choose a long or wide wall sconce above it.'

Create a soft, spa-like lighting scheme

'When it comes to choosing your light fittings, opt for a style that filters the light softly for a spa-like glow. We often use glass fixtures with a vintage feel, like the Oregan or Benny wall lights. Choose a textured, mottled or ribbed glass to diffuse the light evenly and flatteringly. The same effect can be achieved with a shaded wall lamp, too. Choose a neutral-coloured shade, preferably in a natural material such as linen or cotton, and my preference is to add a pleat. As always, place at an equal height, either side of the mirror.'

Choose an unexpected stone

'Materials are really important in a bathroom, across the floor, shower area and vanity unit. I prefer to use stone, as it's easy to clean, durable and beautiful. If you want to create a moment of visual interest, it's fun to do something a little unexpected and go for a colourful stone. My personal favourites are Verde Guatemala, which is the rich, green stone you'll see in many of the bathrooms in Soho House Rome. I also like Tra-onyx in honey or coffee hues, or earthy, red travertine. As we often don't spend a long time in the bathroom, it doesn't have to be a neutral space, so you can afford to be bold and lean into colour.'

Use the halfway trick

'One of my favourite hacks is to split the wall space in half and choose a different material for the lower and upper sections. It's a great money saver, because you'll generally want to go for something that's hard and smooth, like tiles, around the floor as it's much easier to clean. But, tiles can be expensive, so you can save money by stopping at the middle point and choosing an interesting paint colour or patterned wallpaper for the rest of the space. Wooden wall panelling also works around the bottom half, painted a darker colour and complemented by a lighter pattern above.'

Mix tile finishes

'In the same way that we mix textures and patterns in our club spaces with upholstery and soft furnishings, contrasting tile finishes can bring depth to a bathroom scheme. Glazed and unfinished textures work well together positioned in checkered or herringbone arrangements, and are a clever way of breaking up a solid colour. For example, a wall of dark blue or burgundy tiles could look heavy, but this technique creates a sense of movement.'

Invest in beautiful hardware

'Taps can be overlooked but, especially at a vanity area, I think this is an opportunity to create a "wow" moment. As they are being constantly used and touched, not only does it make sense to put budget into good quality hardware, but you could also pick something in an unusual shape or style. I think this adds a sophisticated final touch to the space, and makes an impact even on a more subconscious level.'

Remember finishing touches

'You can plan for months and spend a lot on a beautiful bathroom, but don't forget about those finishing touches - especially in a guest bathroom. Scent is an important part of the way people experience the space, so it's important to incorporate home fragrance with light, refreshing notes, such as Soho Home's Bergamot & Mandarin Zest. The same notion applies to hand care, so be sure to add Cowshed Signature Hand Care Duo, which includes the Refresh Hand Wash and Hand Cream. You could even go one better and leave a Soho Skin Discovery Kit for overnight guests, which includes seven travel-size products for a special treat.'

Discover the new Soho Home bathroom collection and recreate our House bathrooms at home for the first time. Soho House members and Soho Friends receive 15% off Soho Home all year round as part of their membership benefits.