Many years ago, when looking for our first home, I was astonished at the multitude of decorating ideas I came across. Some, I’m sorry to say, looking like they’d just come out of a 1960s movie set. (No offence to anyone who is a fan of the shell-shaped green sinks brigade. It just wasn’t my thing!)

When we finally made the deal and bought our first home, a railway cottage, we let rip with the paint brush as we reckoned Salvador Dali himself must have lived there.

We literally whitewashed the whole house – an architect’s dream! We went to great lengths to restore the hall tiles though, and it paid off. Beautiful Victorian tiles in the tiniest of halls made a welcoming entrance before entering the undecorated, oh-so-white house that lay beyond. The only room we got to make our mark on before we sold out a year later was the one and only bathroom.

Myself and my husband had been to Morocco on a cheap package deal and visited the Yves Saint Laurent gardens. His famous use of the most beautiful blue dotted around the gardens was spectacular and left a lasting memory. So, filled with inspiration, we dotted our tiny house with deep electric blue mosaic tiles in our teeny tiny bathroom and, voila, we had our very own slice of Morocco.

My point to this story is that a little surprise in any home is a brilliant addition in my opinion – especially in today’s often preferred neutral home that a lot of us have and love. Your bathroom – and if you’re lucky enough to have a guest loo too – are the perfect places to introduce some contrast. A little surprise if you will, it will scream personality and lets your guests know: “Hello! We live here and yes we do like colour.”

Decorating a bathroom in a dramatic way will make for a welcome distraction to a calm, neutral colour scheme throughout the rest of the house. Think of it as eye candy for your soul. You couldn’t necessarily live in that space all the time, but a quick visit does the trick. On the plus side, as bathrooms are generally small box-like spaces, a minimum spend will get you maximum results. Win-win I say!

There are several ways to achieve this. If you’re of a cautious nature, you don’t have to go too dramatic either.

Panelling out the room and painting the same neutral family tones as the rest of your home but with a slightly deeper tone, will make all the difference. But really, you should consider just going for it. Embrace the dark side. There are some amazing wallpapers and dark shades of paints out there right now, like the wallpaper (picture number 8) by Ann Lowengart Interiors.

But for those who really love white and wouldn’t stand for a shade darker, white on white is always beautiful and fresh too. Add one pop of colour and it will bring it to the next level. Using wall lights either side of a mirror will add a touch of a glamour and different sources of light will bring more atmosphere to a room. Dimmer switches are essential here, I must insist!

And, of course, it’s all about the accessories. These final details will make all the difference and you’ll be forever delighted with your little surprise!

Top tips for bathroom makeovers

  • 1. Think dramatic. Contrast colour from the rest of your home and use one pop of colour within that.
  • 2. Wall art, prints or photos will add an interesting dimension.
  • 3. Guest towels are only to be used on special occasions and whipped out when they come a knocking! CL