Bring the Elegance of Coco Chanel to Your Bathroom

by Ekta Poddar | February 27, 2024 | 6 mins read

Bring The Elegance Of Coco Chanel To Your Bathroom

What the pioneering fashion icon can teach us about designing elegant bathrooms. Modern bathroom designs go beyond technology and materials.

Coco Chanel, the queen of haute couture and French fashion, famously said that ‘a girl should be two things – classy and fabulous. We hold similar views when it comes to designing bathrooms! Elegant bathrooms are neither the prerogative of the rich and famous, nor should they be found only in big-budget movies or pages of swish magazines. Coco Chanel showed the world that it is possible to do it all – be comfortable yet glamorous, be simple yet fashionable, be luxurious yet accessible and playful. As you design your bathroom to be a plush sanctuary, your private haven of quiet luxury, pause to draw inspiration from the fashion legend. She has afterall given us everything from the ‘little black dress’ to costume jewelry and bell bottoms.

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Moderation, the Key to Effortless Style

A pioneer of effortless style, Chanel advocated that elegance came from moderation and not extravagance and luxury is not the opposite of poverty but of vulgarity. A perfect example of this philosophy is Chanel’s revolutionary ‘little black dress’. It was 1926 when Chanel introduced the dress design, through a cover of Vogue, taking the world by storm. The affordable simplicity of the dress made fashion accessible to the masses while the bold choice of black – a color previously associated with mourning and poverty – changed fashion forever. 

Embracing Chanel’s mantra of effortless elegance, design your bathroom to be uncluttered and minimalist. Keep the lines of cabinets clean and simple, flanking the sink with a pair of them or installing a single twin cabinet under it. Pick wood for their finish if you prefer a warm, rich ambience or opt for a solid color if you want something more contemporary. Further, place two sinks side by side along a long, sweeping countertop to whisper class. 

Less Lighting, More Class

Dispense with dim and yellow bulbs or harsh white tube lights, swapping them for glistening ceiling lights, classy wall sconces that frame the bathroom mirror, even a small countertop lamp for a mid-level layer of lighting. Remember the key rule of ‘less is more’ leading to understated luxury that characterises French design aesthetic.

Beautifully setting off the austere simplicity of the little black dress were Chanel’s signature accessories – lavish belts, stylish hats, layered ropes of oversized pearls. You can similarly turn up the glamour with elegant bathroom accessories. Think of your mirror as a piece of art and turn it into a center of attention with a head-turning frame. Choose a gilded frame or one with an intricate foliated border. If you prefer something more muted yet elegant pick ceramic or wood-finish for your frames. Installing a ritzy sink is yet another way to jazz up your bathroom. Unconventional shapes and designs – bowl-shape, glass or pedestal sinks – can do wonders to dial up the oomph. Have a window that lets in a lot of natural light? Draw attention to your sink by positioning it below a window and the mirror placed on an adjacent wall. Accessorise your cabinets with flourish using statement knobs or pulls.

Modern Bathroom Lights
Modern Elegant Bathroom Lights

Also, check out Bathroom Wall Light Ideas

All that Glitters is Glamour

Chanel’s trademark look was not only cleverly bold, it was also glitzy. Jewelry was an essential component of her style statement, with Chanel introducing costume jewelry nearly a hundred years ago. From flashy gold rimmed bracelets, chunky enameled designs, gold chained bags and ornate brooches, the style legend showed us that all that glitters is glamour. You can similarly reflect your love for all things shiny by introducing sparkly metals, high-polish surfaces and gold flourishes in your bathroom. Out with boring chrome hardware and in with decorative alternatives in shiny gold, burnished brass, pewter, nickel or English bronze. Full mirror panels on your cabinets can further accentuate a metallic sheeny look. All this with the sole purpose of creating elegant bathroom designs.

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Functional, Fuss Free Designs

While designing your bathroom don’t forget to keep it functional and fuss free. The French design their interiors with as much as for functionality as for lifestyle. Building tailored recesses for bathroom products is not only stylish but also gives essentials a much needed home. To create the right ambience, disperse light evenly throughout your space  but prioritise work areas like the sink counter and cabinets. For all their bold declarations of style and fashion, Chanel’s designs worked because they were practical and comfortable. In the 1920s, when she first burst into the scene, women’s fashion was restrictive and uncomfortable with tightly fitted corsets. Chanel liberated women by offering them dresses made from jersey fabric that draped comfortably and with elegance. She went onto introduce the Chanel suit which was inspired by sportswear and comfortable menswear. Her simplicity coupled with functionality allowed women to be stylish yet free. Simple bathroom designs do the same.

Bathroom Ritzy Sink for Elegant Style
Elegant Bathroom Ritzy Sink

Fashion Changes, Style Endures

What set Chanel apart most from her contemporaries is that she did not follow any trends and believed that while fashion can change, style endures. Chanel’s style was distinctly hers – she was a woman who knew herself and her mind well. She was confident in all her choices, be it design, fashion, business or personal. Bring such confidence and your personality to your bathroom design. Completely customise the look by mixing and matching decorative tiles. Choose from glass, stone, ceramic and metallic tiles in various shapes and sizes for some edgy character. Ceramic tiles come in a spectrum of designs and can even be handcrafted to your specifications. If you are on a budget, reserve such bespoke expensive choices for a border or to highlight a mirror. Or introduce them in a seemingly random fashion across your walls for interesting visual variety. 

With that we round up our recommendations for a creating a swish bathroom, French chic, Chanel style. So go ahead and commission a complete re-haul or make strategic modifications to one of the most important spaces in your home. Marble or tiles with character, rich finishes, custom construction, indulgent lighting, stylish sinks and accessories – there is a lot you can choose from to give your bathroom a look of quiet opulence. Chanel proved to the world that one does not need to be affluent or rich to be glamorous. All you need to do is to be unique. Be comfortable, be practical, be glitzy, be effortless.  Make a statement that only you can make. We hope our elegant bathroom designs have stirred up your senses – go out there and be classy glam!

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Ekta Poddar is a content writer at Design Cafe home interiors blog.

Ekta Poddar

Ekta is a freelance writer obsessed with good design and all things pretty. She is travelling, reading and eating her way through various cultures across the globe. Her inspiration comes from the great masters, Michelangelo, Anthony Bourdain, and Terry Pratchett. When not writing, she is crocheting, cooking or buying craft supplies.

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