Hola amigos! It’s Nicole here, reporting from sunny Mexico. I can’t believe that I’ve been here for almost 2 months now - in some ways it feels like I’ve been here forever but, at the same time, I feel like I just arrived yesterday.
Since getting here I’ve swam with whale sharks, watched Lucha Libre, visited countless ruins and eaten far more tacos than I’d ever like to admit! One of the most striking things I’ve noticed about Mexico, however, is the ever-changing blend of landscapes and cultures. I’m leaving in just over a week and I wish I could bottle up all the views and vibes and take them home with me - but my bulging backpack says that’s probably not possible! Instead, I’m going to show you how you can add a little bit of Mexico to your bathroom with some of my simple Mexican inspired design tips.
The bathroom isn’t always the most exciting room in the house to decorate, so I hope these tips help you to make yours feel extra special. When you flick through home interior magazines, it’s difficult to find anything that isn’t white, cream or aqua, and unless you’re installing a rainforest shower or a vintage standalone bathtub, making your bathroom feel unique isn’t the easiest task. So, to make your bathroom feel completely like your own, keep reading for all my top tips!
Colour Scheme: Blue Agave
When you think about tequila, what comes to mind? Bad decisions and ruined Sundays? Join the club! What you might not realise about tequila is that the plant it comes from, the blue agave, can make any landscape look amazing. Plus, its interesting colour will have you running for the Dulux colour chart!
If you’re wanting to find a less typical shade of blue for your bathroom, blue agave will look contemporary and unique. It’s slightly cooler than duck egg blue and much less common than turquoise. Plus, it contrasts beautifully with Earthy tones like green, and looks crisp against white and grey. It’s the grown-up shade that will completely transform the aesthetic of your home.
Accessories: Chrome Skulls
The Day of the Dead is one of Mexico’s most important feast days and also their most internationally acclaimed festival. Many of us are familiar with the sugar skulls which have had a huge presence in our own popular culture - especially at Halloween!
Head to any handcraft market or souvenir shop throughout the country and you’ll be sure to see lots of these colourful skulls. Mexico is huge on colour so if you love bright things, you’ll be completely spoiled here.
For the sake of our blue agave bathroom, though, I propose sticking to a more neutral palette. Chrome always looks fantastic in bathrooms and pairing your blue agave walls with some chrome metal ware will give the room a cool, modern look. Why not compliment your fixtures with a couple of chrome skulls and give your bathroom a bit of Mexican flavour!
One of the things that has struck me most about Mexico is how varied the landscape is. I’ve seen green rolling hills that remind me of Scotland, clear turquoise Caribbean waters and even petrified waterfalls. However, the image of Mexico that most of us are familiar with from popular culture is that of the dusty desert and cacti. And in case you’re wondering, yes, wherever you go here cacti are very popular!
As a homage to Mexico’s favourite plant, why not add it to your bathroom? Plants make any room feel calm, relaxing and grounded. Plus, despite its thorns, the earthiness of a cactus will add a touch of softness to your cool, modern bathroom. You can choose a big one or a small one - there’s a huge variety of cacti to choose from. Just be careful not to hurt yourself in the process!
Wall Décor: Get Creative with a Mural
I’ve visited a few cities in Mexico now; Guanajuato and Oaxaca were definite favourites, and a constant theme throughout has been murals lining the streets. I would go as far to say that Mexico has as big a street art scene as the likes of Berlin - something that really surprised me!
A tasteful mural is the perfect way to add an extra special touch to your bathroom. It doesn’t need to be big or particularly colourful or detailed. Just remember that the look we are going for here is cool, modern and minimalist. Why not try some simple geometric shapes or a line drawing of a leaf as a homage to nature? If you’re not so steady handed, stencils are easy to find and will help you jazz up your bathroom - no artiness required!
Wall Décor: Patterned Tiles
If you recall back to my last article about Cuba, you’ll remember that I mentioned how Cubans loved using intricately painted tiles to decorate their homes. This is something which is exactly the same in Mexico, but I’ve noticed that they’re more popular here in bathrooms rather than kitchens. Most times that I’ve seen them, they’ve been used to frame mirrors.
When it comes to wall features, one piece of advice I would give is not to go too crazy. I would decide between intricate tiles or a mural to avoid having one outshine the other. If you are going to use tiles, maybe go for a block shade, rather than intricately painted ones. Again, I think that chrome would be a very safe bet.
Choose the feature wall that you love and let it be a focal point in your Mexican inspired bathroom!
Storage: Woven Baskets
Did you know that Mexican women have been making their own woven products since pre-Hispanic times? Woven products, often made from banana leaves, have always been a huge feature in Mexican homes and in some Mexican states, you’ll see women sitting at the side of the road making them.
As for me, I don’t know if I would have the skill (or more importantly, the patience) to make one myself, but luckily there are plenty of imitations available on the high street. Woven baskets come in handy for a multitude of things in the bathroom - storing towels, toiletries and even dirty washing. Plus, they’re cheap, versatile and resilient!
Extra Tip: Make Use of Upcycled Materials
If I were to tell you one thing about bathrooms in Mexico, it’s that they’re remarkably similar to what we’re used to at home! You sometimes think that other countries are going to be completely different, but in truth, many things are very much the same - globalisation is a real thing!
One interesting thing I have noticed is that many design focused businesses are joining the upcycling craze which has recently gained worldwide popularity. You can upcycle a variety of products when decorating your home but I thought this scrap metal sink (pictured above) was particularly clever.
So, before you go ordering expensive fixtures for your bathroom, see what you have lying about the house that could be upcycled. Even if it’s just an empty can of beans as a plant pot for your cactus, every little counts!
I hope that these Mexican inspired design tips will help you create the cool, unique, contemporary bathroom that you’ll love. My next port of call is Guatemala which is a huge destination for visiting Mayan ruins. I’m going to be talking you through how interiors have developed since pre-Hispanic times and what we could learn from the Mayans when decorating our own homes. Happy decorating and see you next month!
Writer - Nicole Arnott - Wee Gypsy Girl