Designing the perfect bathroom takes more architectural knowledge than most rooms in your home. You also need to think about the plumbing, ventilation and creating privacy while still letting in enough light.
Get started on the right foot with these bathroom design tips. These guidelines help you make the right choices for your space, from where to place your sink and bathtub to what to hang on the windows.
The first thing to think about when designing a brand new bathroom is how you want to organize the plumbing. This is also the first significant element in your budget.
There are 3 main ways to organize the plumbing in a room; one-wet-wall, two-wet-wall and three-wet-wall layout. The number of ‘wet walls’ refers to how many walls in the room have running water coming out of them.
In other words, each wall that has a toilet, sink, bathtub or shower placed against it is a ‘wet wall’. Placing the sink, toilet and shower against the same wall creates a one-wet-wall bathroom while placing these plumbing elements against 3 different walls gives you a three-wet-wall bathroom.
A one-wet-wall bathroom is the simplest layout architecturally and so the most affordable while a three-wet-wall bathroom is the most expensive to construct. However, spreading your plumbing over several walls gives you more interior design freedom.
Besides budgeting, the actual space also strongly influences the design possibilities. The size and the shape of the room affect which plumbing elements fit where.
For example, a one-wet-wall bathroom might be the most appropriate layout for a narrow space because this makes movement around the bathroom easier. An L-shaped space might work well for a two-wet-wall bathroom where you have the sink and toilet against one wall and the shower fitted to the nook.
Bathroom design shouldn’t just be beautiful, it should also be functional and suited to the household.
Visualize the biggest elements in the room first, i.e. the toilet, sink and bathtub or shower. What is the best layout for these elements and how can the other design elements complement the functionality of the plumbing?
Don’t try to fit a luxurious clawfoot bathtub into a space that actually only fits a walk-in shower. The opposite is also true, don’t squeeze all the sanitary facilities against one wall when there is plenty of space.
In recent years it’s become more and more common for people to paint spray their old cabinetry or woodwork to give it a new lease of life and keep costs lower. There’s a pretty sizeable range of paint sprayers in the UK, so finding a DIY paint sprayer that’s both suitable for the project and in budget isn’t too difficult if you’re looking to do as much of the work yourself as possible
Bathroom lighting is often forgotten but it is just as important as the lighting in the living room. Natural lighting is always preferable but this is not always possible in every home.
If you do have a window in the bathroom, try not to place anything large in front of it so that you do not block the sunlight. For more privacy, you can use interior window shutters (scroll down for more on privacy).
If there are no windows or only a small high window, compensate for the lack of sunlight with a good artificial lighting layout. Think about overhead lighting, wall lighting and smaller lights near the mirrors.
If at all possible, install a skylight. This is a great way to bring in natural light while still having complete privacy.
There should be at least one bright overhead light supported by wall-mounted lights in a large space. It is smart to place atmospheric lights or dimmable lights on the walls so that you are not shocked by extremely bright lights during late night toilet visits.
The mirror is where you want the most accurate lighting. Look for light bulbs with a good CRI rating so that the lighting does not affect how you see different colors.
The most popular mirror lighting layout is with one lighting fixture above the mirror and 1 or 2 flexible lighting fixtures on the side. The flexible side lamps let you adjust the angle so you can get a closer look at things.
The weather conditions also impact the technical aspects of a bathroom. You need more ventilation in a warm and humid area and you probably want extra heating during cold winter months.
Heat and moisture are a recipe for mold and fungus so be very careful with the heating plan. Central heating is a good idea in cold climates but you can also use a small portable heater if this is not possible in your house.
Also, consider getting floor heating when you are living in an area with cold winters. Floor heating is a very effective way to control room temperatures and it is also more economical in the long run.
In warm climates, you might want extra ventilation for the hottest days because you want to avoid mold and fungus building up in this high moisture room. In tropical areas, you could even consider a (semi-)outdoor bathroom.
Towels, toiletries, beauty products, etc., they all require storage space. Keep the space functional and the rest of your house free of clutter with a good bathroom storage plan.
There are plenty of ready-made options for cabinetry and storage space but the custom design is probably the most space-efficient layout. Maximize the space by combining the sink and bathtub with storage space.
On the other hand, a small bathroom might seem more spacious with a console sink than an integral sink. Again, design with the space in mind.
Not all kinds of wallpaper, paint or tiles are resistant to moisture. Make sure that all the elements, from the wall treatment, flooring to window covers are appropriate in a bathroom.
If you want to use wallpaper, curtains or other fabric, make sure that it can stand high temperatures and moisture. If you are using tiles make sure it is easy to clean and floor tiles are non-slip.