Top Tips for Bathroom Design

Getting it right in your bathroom design is important so you create a space that’s functional and feels great.

Mistakes can be expensive to rectify, and so avoiding them is worthwhile! Learn more with these top tips.

Bathrooms can be a really cost-intensive area of any renovation or new build project, so you want to make sure the investment is worthwhile.

Bathrooms are also rooms that need to be functional, easy to clean, plus work for us as the places we visit at the beginning and end of our days.

Over the years, bathrooms have become more and more luxurious. 

And there’s so many ways you can have fun, or express your aesthetic preferences, or create a relaxing haven in your bathroom design.

However, homeowners still get some of the basics wrong, which can be incredibly frustrating when it’s such a permanent room, and such a costly room to fix or refurbish.

So, let me share 5 top tips with you, when it comes to functional bathroom design.

#1 Plan the bathroom for privacy overall

Design the location of the bathroom and the access to it, so it maintains privacy, even with the door open.

This is one of the reasons I always suggest locating the toilet behind the door. That way, even if someone is sitting on it when the door opens, they’re not exposed straight away.

Consider what you’ll see in the bathroom when the door is open. It’s generally possible (based on how you plan the bathroom itself) to pull the door off the hallway, and further into the space.

For the ensuite, avoid being able to see into it from the pillow of your bed. This will help protect privacy, create a more restful master bedroom, and also avoid the light of the ensuite waking whoever is in bed when one of you goes to the loo in the middle of the night.

#2 Position the fixtures you plan to have in your bathroom design

Any bathroom will include large sanitaryware items, such as the toilet, vanity, bath and shower.

However, there’ll also be smaller (but just as necessary) items, such as the towel rails, hand towel rails, toilet roll holder, robe hooks, and mirror.

Think about the location of these items as you’re designing the layout of the bathroom, and then ensure they’re located on drawings so your builder knows where they go.

That way, you’ll avoid assumptions being made on site, and having them ending up in less-than-ideal locations.

A special tip for the toilet roll holder: design the bathroom so it can be positioned beside you (as opposed to behind you) when sitting on the loo.

It’s awkward to have to rotate 180 degrees to grab the toilet paper. Fixing it to a shower screen or on the side of the vanity is not a great solution – so look to have a wall beside the toilet if you can.

#3 Pay attention to door swings and openings in your bathroom design

In any room, the way the door swings open ‘reveals’ what’s in the room. It also takes up space within the room as it swings open.

Review the way your doors access the bathrooms in your home, and consider what will be ‘revealed’ as those doors are opened.

Plus, plan for ease of access, and avoid the door swing clashing with where someone may be standing at the vanity, or the space where a shower door may be opening into as well.

Don’t forget the door stops. They can be located on the floor if you don’t want the door bashing into the toilet (or someone’s knees when sitting on it).

Cavity sliders can be a space-saving solution, however they generally require ‘double-studding’ (adding another thickness of wall framing) so you have a solid wall on which to tile and add fixtures, so consider that with your dimensions.

#4 Details matter in smaller spaces when functionality is required

Bathrooms are an area where detail design helps the space thrive. When it comes to bathrooms, so many of the detailed decisions need to be considered during the design phase, so they’re on your drawings right at the start of construction.

Once the bathroom is lined and waterproofed, it can be costly to make changes and involve re-doing a lot of completed work.

Details you need to think about include floor set-downs so you can have flush floor levels into your bathroom; where powerpoints will be located, your tile setout, and where floor wastes and water supply is positioned.

If you want a wall-hung vanity, decide that before your drawings are complete.

The best way to show these details (plus the positions of everything in the room, including the extent and set out of your tiling) is with interior elevations of your bathroom itself.

#5 Design the lighting in your bathroom: natural and night-time

Bathrooms are one of the spaces that can tolerate being on the western side of your home, because their use means they can tolerate that hotter setting sun, and it enables you to prioritise the location of other spaces in the home that you spend more time in (and getting those spaces to work better for orientation).

However, for bathrooms to work, they need good quality light.

Natural light and ventilation is very useful for a bathroom – not only for functionality, but also for dealing with humidity in those spaces.

For electric lighting, design a solution that gives functionality (for task-based needs such as skin care, putting on makeup etc), and also creates a relaxing mood when needed (a good bath with a book!)

Create flexibility in your lighting situation to achieve this. This can also be lovely for adding a particular design element to your bathroom too (a feature light, for example, that’s not for task lighting, but works for creating that mood).

There’s some tips for you, and I hope you find this helpful.

There can be a lot to consider when it comes to bathroom design, however, so here’s some extra resources for you to help with your bathroom design >>>

Episode 06 [#23] | Bathrooms, ensuites and powder roomsEpisode 11 [#144] | Shopping online for tiles with TileCloudEpisode 13 [#152] | Interior design for your bathroomEpisode 15 [#154] | Choosing your bathroom fixtures with Reece

Inside Interior Design 101, I have a special lesson on bathroom layout, and also walk you through some detailed drawings to highlight what they look like.

And, in Home Design Masterclass, there’s a 45 min video on bathroom design, with example layouts and specific dimensions to consider.

If you’d like to get started on your renovation or new build project, my Get Started Guide is a fantastic resource to help you do just that. 

It will teach you the first steps any project needs to take, whatever your dreams, location or budget, and whoever you’re working with. Learn more about it here >>> GET STARTED GUIDE

And, if you’d especially like to get started on your home design, then the mini-course ‘Happy Home Design’ will help you. You’ll learn more about what decisions really matter in happy home design, and how you can design a home that is functional, fantastic and feel-good >>> HAPPY HOME DESIGN
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