The Fifth Dimension
The ceiling can be a focal point in washroom design, writes Arti B Rau
Being, quite literally, a ‘fifth wall’ in the washroom, ceilings are a great place to add texture, colour and pattern to the look of the space. Archana Baid, Principal Designer, And Design Co says “The design of the ceiling adds to the ambience of the room. It could also be a feature wall for the room depending on the material used, hence adding character to the room.”
A plain ceiling is like an empty canvas for design ideas to give individuality, character and visual aesthetics to the space. Of course, certain aspects have to be kept in mind, and Baid outlines these.
“Various factors play an important role while deciding the design of the ceiling. Most importantly, the size of the washroom and the room height of the same. The finishing is ascertained depending on the style of the house and the look to be achieved. A modern washroom ceiling could be clad with metallic tiles, tin sheets, etc, whilst a ceiling for a classic washroom could be clad with a rococo mosaic, plaster boards with artistic gold foil work to view while taking a relaxed bath after a long day. Wooden panels could also be used to accent the ceiling of a tropical washroom,” she says.
“The design, colour, shape and material would depend on the size and the ambience of the room. There could be wall-papered ceilings or ceilings with mosaic or maybe even tiled ceilings, depending totally on the style of the rooms,” she adds.
And Design Co
“You may come across a sloped ceiling in case you are converting an attic into a washroom. It could also be used to give a rustic, tropical look to the washroom, where either wooden panels or wooden joists could be used to accent the space.”
False ceilings lend a modern and chic feel to the washroom. Also, being resistant to mildew, mould and bacteria, they can be used in areas where high humidity is present, such as the washroom. They are not only moisture resistant but also light in weight. A suspended ceiling with multi-level lighting can convert a plain-looking washroom to a contemporary-looking one.
“The design of the false ceiling mainly depends upon the theme of the washroom, colours, functionality and the amount of sunlight emerging in the washroom. In public places like hotels and resorts, there are no overhead showers and less maintenance is required. So the false ceiling can be designed accordingly. In residential washrooms, the space is divided into three different parts –the wash basin, WC and shower area. Taking into consideration the type of the shower and the boiler, the design, type and finish of the false ceiling is decided,” says Sanjay Newaskar, Partner, Sanjay Newaskar Designs LLP.
The benefits of false ceilings can also be seen in the plumbing of the washroom. A suspended ceiling conceals the muddle of ducts, plumbing, wiring, and cables, yet allows them to be accessible for repairs. These ceilings also offer acoustic properties better than drywall ceilings, allowing for better absorption of sound, so the adjacent rooms are quieter.
“Suspended ceilings are primarily used to conceal lights and allow indirect illumination depending on the design of the ceiling. The LED lights could be hidden behind cornices to add to the décor of the room. Suspended ceilings uplift dull rooms and also add the glamour quotient to the room,” says Baid.
Partner, Sanjay Newaskar Designs LLP
“Depending upon the material used for walls and flooring, the colour scheme of the ceiling is decided. A light colour scheme is used when there is less availability of natural light, as it makes the space look much brighter and larger.”
Though many view skylights as a luxurious addition, they are particularly effective in washrooms as they let natural light enter the space, giving it a brighter and more spacious appearance. Skylights come as venting units, which open up, or as fixed units, which don’t. They come in a variety of designs and materials like laminated or tempered glass, flat or domed styles. Not only the smaller ones, but even larger washrooms with big windows look noticeably better with the addition of skylights. “Skylights allow plenty of natural light to come in giving the room an airy ambience, making it appear larger than it is. And if the skylight is openable it permits ventilation too,” says Baid.
Just as in a bedroom, sloping ceilings in a washroom make the space look visually smaller. A washroom with a sloping ceiling has walls that are inclined and may create a claustrophobic atmosphere.
But there are remedies. The design fraternity believes that painting the sloping walls of the washroom the same colour as the ceiling will give the impression that the inclined wall is actually part of the ceiling. This is a design technique by which the washroom looks larger than if the walls and ceiling were in different colours.
The choice of colours could be white or pale pastel shades like mint and sky blue, or neutral colours like beige, as light colours add more visual inches to the space, giving the viewer the impression that the room is larger. For the same reason, dark colours should be avoided. “You may come across a sloped ceiling in case you are converting an attic into a washroom. It could also be used to give a rustic, tropical look to the washroom, where either wooden panels or wooden joists could be used to accent the space,” says Baid.
The design fraternity avers that as ceilings have a tendency to look darker than walls, they should be painted a couple of shades lighter to give the washroom a spacious feel. Though white is a classic and safe choice and makes ceilings appear higher and brighter than they actually are, there is a wide array of colours to choose from. When the decision on which one to use arises, various aspects come into play.
“A few factors play an important role while deciding the colour of the washroom like the amount of light filtering into the room, the size of the washroom and the kind of ambience to be created. If it’s a small space, lighter colours are preferable to open up the space and give a larger feel. And for larger washrooms, darker colours could be used to create a cosy feel, but we prefer to avoid them unless required,” says Baid
Newaskar agrees. “Depending upon the material used for walls and flooring, the colour scheme of the ceiling is decided. A light colour scheme is used when there is less availability of natural light, as it makes the space look much brighter and larger,” he says.
Contemporary washroom ceiling design has done away with the belief that the space of a washroom is a limit to creativity. Baid says, “The ceiling is the fifth dimension to the room and equally important as the walls, hence making it an important design element of the room.”
Ceilings can contribute a striking visual effect to the washroom’s design, making it a prominent focal point in the washroom.