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“White baths are on the fence between traditional and contemporary baths,” Mr. Patrick said. “It depends on how you accessorize the space which direction it goes.”

Ms. Meyer said subway tile in an otherwise sleek shower can be one way to keep a contemporary bath from being too sleek.

“You have to be careful about resale value when you renovate a bath,” Ms. Meyer said. “If everything in a house is traditional and Colonial, then it would be a mistake to put in a supercontemporary bath. You need some level of consistency.”

For the master bath in a Georgetown home recently designed by Ms. Meyer, she matched the soft colors of the bedroom and bath and repeated the Roman-shade window treatments in both spaces.

“The master bath is such a personal space, it should be reflective of the homeowners,” Ms. Meyer said.

Mr. Vanfleet suggested making a hall bath as calming as possible by keeping the types of materials and colors as close as possible in tone and texture to each other.

“No one ever puts as much money into the secondary baths as they do in the master bath or the powder room,” Mr. Vanfleet said. “The overarching need is to make this space inviting without spending a lot of money.

“At one home I’m working on now, we pulled out the tub and replaced it with a glass-enclosed shower because it makes the space lighter,” Mr. Vanfleet said. “Everything is a shade of white or cream. The floors are beautiful porcelain tiles that mimic stone at a fraction of the cost and are more durable, too.”

Mr. Patrick said that because hall baths often are shared by several family members and perhaps guests, this space should be as neutral as possible. He said when designing a connecting bath, homeowners should try to bring in a unifying color that is common to both adjoining bedrooms.

“The size of your house dictates how you handle the design,” Mr. Vanfleet said. “The smaller the house, the more you want to stay in the same range of finished materials because the more your eye stops, the more you feel constricted in a space. For example, in a small house you want the flooring consistent from the front door through the kitchen and into the bath.”