Is your bathroom ready for a makeover? There’s no better inspiration than the old-world beauty of Europe, but there are a lot of differences between American and European bathrooms. From luxurious materials to eco-conscious touches, Europeans value quality and attention to detail. Try these four upgrades to turn your American bathroom into an elegant European-style space.

Tile Floor and Walls

One thing you’ll notice about European bathrooms is that they are usually tiled from floor to ceiling. Tile not only looks elegant but also prevents water damage and helps dampen sounds. Go for a monochrome look by using the same tile throughout your bathroom, or use different colors and styles to create separation between the shower, floor and walls. You can even use colorful, hand-painted tiles as accent pieces or make an artistic mosaic from cut pieces of glass tile.

Increase Efficiency

Many Europeans are concerned about the environment, and the cost of utilities like water, natural gas and electricity also tends to be higher in Europe than in the United States. As a result, European bathrooms are focused on efficiency. If you want a true European experience, you may need to give your plumbing an eco-friendly upgrade. Replace water-wasting fixtures with low-flow shower heads, aerated faucets and dual-flush toilets.

Separate the Toilet

Although most American bathrooms pull double duty, Europeans prefer to keep the toilet in a separate room from the tub. This makes the bathtub space more relaxing and prevents awkward moments when other family members need to use the toilet while you’re trying to take a bath. Are you short on space? You don’t need to carve out an extra room. Just install a simple drywall partition or use a folding screen to block off the toilet.

Add a Bidet

One of the most noticeable differences between American and European bathrooms is the bidet. Bidets have grown more popular in the United States over the past few years, but toilet paper is still king. While American bidets are nearly always attached to the toilet, European bidets are usually a separate fixture. The stand-alone bidet is more sanitary, provides a more powerful spray and also doubles as a convenient place to wash your feet after a long day.

When designing your luxury European-style bathroom makeover, the most important principle to keep in mind is that less is more. Minimalism, durability, and old-world charm define the European aesthetic in contrast to the high-tech type of luxury found in American bathrooms.

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