The Rule of More

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I chose two different faucets for both of Mom’s bathrooms in the carriage house she built last year.

Because I’m in her house and see them all the time (different from a client’s home) one day I said to her, I like the faucet downstairs so much better than the one in your master. And she said, ‘I agree, I wish they were both the same‘.


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And right that second, ladies and gentleman, I had an epiphany. And that is this:

If you are choosing multiple tiles, faucets, lights, etc for the two or more bathrooms in your house and you find the first one and you totally love it,  And then your selections go downhill from there, in other words, you’re thinking each one should be different, so you keep selecting but really you’re just meh about the rest.

So here’s the rule:  Repeat the same one again. So simple.

I once arrived at a luxurious penthouse apartment for a consultation. There was four bathrooms and they all had identical finishes and fixtures. The same stunning marble, throughout each bathroom. And I thought, ‘What a great idea.’

So, the only thing I changed was the lighting and wall colour in my three dated bathrooms. I’m going to renovate them soon so I’m not touching them except to decorate them.

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When I  finally found a bar light I liked AND would also not stand out as being brand new (vs. old everything else) in my 80s dated bathrooms, I just installed the same light fixure in all three. A four bar light fixture (above) for the two big bathrooms and two bar light in the powder room (below).

Photo by Maria Killam

Most bar lighting for bathrooms is soooooo ugly. I chose this one because I liked that the lights were small and the combination of chrome and satin nickel relates to my 80’s faucets.

By the way, a lot of my readers source lighting from my Pinterest boards so if you are looking, this might help.

Happy Weekend Everyone!

Related posts:

Maria’s Main Bathroom: Before & During

One more Reason you Should Skip Accent Tiles Altogether

The Best Trim for Bathrooms: NOT Cloud White

Download my eBook, How to Choose Paint Colours: It’s All in the Undertones, to get colour to do what you want.

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in, contact me.

To make sure the undertones in your home are right, get some large samples!

If you would like to learn to how choose the right colours for your home or for your clients, become a True Colour Expert.

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  1. Hmmm, I don’t know about this. LOVE those faucets but wouldn’t it be the same as loving wall color? You love the wall color but you wouldn’t put the same color in EVERY or even in two rooms of the house. Wouldn’t a slight variation be a little better design wise? I find it hard to believe that with ALL the gorgeous styles to choose from, you can’t find a handful that you just love 🙂

    • @Donna Frasca – It’s very common to have the same wall color in several rooms of a house. The differences are in the furnishings, accessories – the easier to change things.

      Humans are quick to notice the minor differences, which may be your intended effect, but why would you want them to notice the bathroom faucets unless they are totally over the top steampunk plumbing things?

      From a design POV, having repeated minor elements adds continuity across various spaces and clearly relegates those elements to a supporting role. It’s calming. When nothing matches anything in any other room, it’s like the dreaded “undertones” that don’t match. Something is not quite right, but you don’t know what.

      For the construction and installation aspect, having repeated elements makes the contractor’s life easier. They have bathroom fixtures and bathroom tile. It doesn’t matter which bathroom faucet they grab, it’s going to be the right one.

      It means the client doesn’t risk coming in and seeing the master bath tile installed in the kids bath, and the faucet from the powder room installed in the master bath.

      For an already stressed-out client, minimizing the decisions about minor stuff is a good thing.

      SO and I are planning a house, and one of the earliest design decisions was that all baths would use the same fixtures and tile. We don’t know exactly what the tile and fixtures will be, but there is no compelling reason for them to be different. We’re putting the design effort into the public areas and the way the house “works”.

  2. When we built our repro Victorian, I found a Kohler faucet that fit the style of our house. That faucet and coordinating accessories (towel bars. etc.) were installed in all four bathrooms and the kitchen, along with the same sinks and toilets. The rooms are all different because of the sizes, shapes, wall and floor colors. I love the cohesiveness it gives to the house. And eighteen years later, I still love them!

    • Rhonda, I am with you. I am not a designer but I agree with Maria on this post. I recently installed the same curtain rods throughout the house and I am planning to do the same thing with bathroom and kitchen accessories and other hardware in the house. I believe same finishings would provide a more cohesive feel in the house. And as you said, room sizes and shapes, together with wall and floor colors are there to help create a unique design in each room.

  3. Maria, I totally agree with you. Using the same fixtures throughout a home lends to visual continuity. That continuity contributes to a harmonous appeal that allows people to feel comfortable in your home. Individuality in decor can be used in any number of other applications.

  4. I totally agree. If you love something, why not use it more than once in your house. Why settle for second best in the other bathrooms. Good choice on lighting, Maria. Hinkley has beautiful lighting fixtures and they are a pleasure to work with. I should know since I was the art director on their account for many years! And I also have a few of their fixtures in my home : )

  5. I go back and forth with clients on this topic, Maria.

    While it is true that you should get what you love, it is also a cop-out in some situations to just repeat the style. It’s a “builder’s special” move…buy the fixtures in bulk and snap them in!

    When I am helping clients redo more than one bathroom, I urge them to start with art or a feel for each bath, and then we can either pick new fixtures to echo that, or repeat the style they like.

    As I said: Back and forth!

  6. When I find something I like, I always buy it in multiples. Especially with fabric. I have a hard time finding patterned fabric I like with a finish I like, so when I do find something I love, I buy it in two colourways. When it comes time to renovate my bathrooms, if I only find one faucet I like, I will definitely be buying several of the same one!

  7. Maria, I definitely think this is an epiphany! I live in a home that has five bathrooms, and there are only two Grohe faucet styles in the bathrooms-all in the same finish. The stone countertops are the same. The toilets and two pedestal sinks are the same. It sounds boring, but it leads to a completely harmonious, cohesively designed home. It makes perfect sense.

    On the other hand, I am moving into a home that has five bathrooms, each with completely different sinks, toilets, faucets, fixtures, etc. It desperately needs to be edited and unified.

    In design, I think it is essential that we continually edit ourselves and practice restraint, otherwise we can really go astray with a jumbled, overdesigned mess!

    Once again, great advice, Maria!

  8. Maria, do the lights you used in the baths provide as much light for applying makeup, etc as the ones pointed down? We are updating our Lowcountry Louisiana home while trying to keep its original style.. Thanks so much! PLUS please tell me gray is not on it’s way out!,

  9. I totally agree! I loved the faucets I chose for my master bath so I had them put in the guest powder room, more because I left overwelmed at that point. I also had the same counter top and cabinets put in the powder room and I love it. It is just another way my house flows together. My guest bath with the guest room I chose different hardware and I am not liking it as much because the others are my favorite, should have kept it going.

  10. Duh, wish I’d thought of that when building my house.
    Makes good, practical sense. I so overdid my Master shower with jets,etc. It’s ridiculous. Can’t turn those things on while taking a shower–the water comes out freezing, ugh. Simplify, simplify. Classic is always right.

  11. I often do repeats in our fixer-upper. Both of the bathrooms have the same tile, wainscoting and fixtures (but the wall color is different). I duplicated kitchen faucets, backsplashes and counters too (yeah, we have two kitchens-one is just a summer kitchen). I like the cohesiveness quality it brings to the house-like all the pieces fit together-nothing is jaring/out of place.

  12. Call me pragmatic — but as the household decorator and plumber I make sure all my taps use the same cartridge (one readily available at a local hardware store ;-).

  13. Hi Maria,
    Love the light fixture but its been discontinued, darn! Can you recommend anything similar that I can purchase? Going crazy finding a bathroom fixture!
    Thanks,
    Diane

  14. Looks like the faucet picture above is the one you and your mom didn’t like as much. What faucet did you put in her downstairs bath that you liked better?

    • Oops no that was the one we liked, the other one was a set not an 8″ spread like this one. Thanks for clarifying! Maria