Briefly: We have a main floor full bath that's about 7' by about 9.5' when you include the 60" tub and shower, or about 7' by 7' of floor area with a toilet and 30" vanity. I will post before pictures to give you an idea of what we are starting with. Very old decor with thin ligh blue ceramic tile and thin (unsanded) grout lines that cover the floor and shower enlcosure on the walls and soffitted ceiling over the bath. There's and almond tub and an old oak vanity.
Anyway, in thinking of some new designs and I was looking at pictures on the internet for inspiration. I have included them here so they get me to thinking about what I want. I think, but I am not 100% sure, that I want the wall that you face to be tiled, or at least textured. That would break up the room and give us a chance to express our style in a different way. Right now, everything is slick finish white walls. I was also thinking of something on the ceiling - a wood or possibly bamboo look that would also add some character.
Some of the pictures I have seen that I like and will comment on below the design:
I like the look of the walls and floor here and the tasteful use of chrome. While I am not a big chrome fan, when done correctly, I think it adds a lot of style and character. Problem is, you need to clean it all the time for it to look good. With two pre-teen girls, not a good idea unless you plan on cleaning it all the time. You can have the blue mirror...Don't know what they were thinking there.
I really like the wall with the mirror detail here. In a small bathroom, it might be too busy and I need to play with some graph paper and lay the wall-tile - mirror combo out and "see" how it would look. I also really like the built in tiled vanity and countertop. It ties everything together and doesn't look like you just "mounted a vanity" in the corner of the room and threw a sink in it.
I liked the rustic look of the slate on this wall. It also said "water house" to me and it's not shiny nor would it show spots. A little dark for a smaller room, but big, irregular sandstone (light tones) might work.
Uhhhhh...Hmmmmm. Yeah, I am not sure my wife would allow this. Even though I can appreciate what went into it.
Looking at details, we wanted some additional shelves in the room, and there is a step corner where the toilet sits that gives us a location to mount either shelves over the toilet or possibly corner shelves. If we don't do the tile, we could go with something like wood:
Or, you could stay with the simple elegance of glass or stone:
My biggest issue with a closed cabinet is that you are now limited with what you can do with respect to wall textures and designs. You are pretty much committing to a vanity wall cabinet combo that matches. And while that doesn't bother me, it will not be an expression of artistic ability.
So, what to do?
With respect to the ceiling, wood always looks different and adds warmth to any room. Concern is in a bathroom, will it discolor or otherwise become somethign that I need to address in the next 20 years? But you can't deny the look:
A nice redwood would be easy and fairly water resistant. And redwood is easy to work with and probably would be low maintenance.
Bamboo, on the other hand, would probably require zero maintennace, but it might not be as elegant or maybe a little to "Florida-ish" for a Michigan home.....but you can buy the bamboo strips relatively cheaply and they are simple to install.