10 ideas for blending exposed pipe in with your bath design

pipesIn older homes it’s not uncommon to see exposed piping rearing its ugly head in the bathroom. Sometimes it’s “mostly” hidden under the sink, but in extreme cases pipes can run down the walls and be a real eyesore.

If you don’t want to tear into the walls and re-plumb the entire room, here are 10 clever ideas for concealing exposed pipes.

1. Build around them

If the bulk of the pipes you’d like to cover up are underneath the sink, often times the best solution is to build a custom vanity. Even if you’re not a DIY-er, hiring a carpenter to put a solution together for you will still be a lot cheaper than re-doing the plumbing.

2. Bust out your sewing machine

An inexpensive alternative to a custom cabinet is to install a simple frame and stitch together a skirt to cover the area below the sink. One advantage of this tactic is that the sky’s the limit in terms of patterns and textures available at your local fabric store.

A simpler way to complete this project is to use Velcro or high-quality fabric tape to attach skirting directly to the sink.

3. Paint those pipes

There are two trains of thought when it comes to painting your exposed pipes: blend or accentuate.

The most common tactic is to try and match the pipe color to the color of the wall, but this doesn’t always yield the best results, especially with brick, wallpaper or irregular wall coverings.

Sometimes you’re better off painting pipes with a contrasting color to convert them into an accent as opposed to an eyesore. A popular approach is to purchase metallic paint to give your pipes a retro feel.

4. Wrap them with rope

Wrapping rope around exposed pipes can give your room a nautical flair. Complete the look with other seaworthy accents such as shells and maritime artwork.

5. Tape them

Electrical tape comes in a wide variety of colors these days. Don’t be afraid to mix and match colors for a funky and eclectic look. You can even change up the color scheme to match the holidays.

6. Convert pipes into a faux wreath

Twist pipes with artificial foliage to give your bathroom an au naturale feel. Plastic or silk flowers and leaves are inexpensive and easy to work with. Look for the type with wire stems to easily bend your faux flora around pipes. Artificial ivy is a good choice for this technique.

7. Add style with scarves

Wrapping pipes in fabric or silky scarves is a great way to go shabby-chic!

8. Complement them with ribbons and bows

Instead of trying to wrap every inch of your pipes, simply paint them in a neutral color and then accentuate every foot or two with a decorative bow. Spiral velvety ribbon barber-shop style between bows to complete the effect.

9. Use a cover-up

Depending on the size and location of your pipes it might be possible to build a simple 3-sided wood box to cover up the pipes. Depending on availability in your area, wide chutes of bamboo, cut in half lengthwise and hollowed out, can conceal pipes perfectly and give your bathroom a one-of-a-kind aesthetic.

Purchase additional bamboo accessories to meld the design together. With bamboo you can either go Asian or tropical.

10. Think in partials

Instead of trying to make the pipe disappear completely, cover up where you can and don’t worry about it where you can’t. Hang large art prints in deep boxed frames where pipes lurk at eye level and purchase oversized baskets to make plumbing less conspicuous without stressing over hiding every inch.

With this technique the pipe leads your eyes from feature to feature, highlighting design elements and fading the pipe into the background.

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