These principles are key to creating a terrific bathroom, no matter its size or style
Bathrooms are so varied these days, you could say that anything goes. But behind the differing sizes and styles are some common design principles that point the way to success.
1. Don’t Squeeze In Too Many Pieces
A bathroom is often designed to fit into the smallest space possible, and then people still want a tub, separate shower, twin sinks, and a toilet. Give your space a break! Go for a separate tub and shower only if there’s genuinely enough room; otherwise, combine the two. Remember that the user needs enough room to stand, dry off and turn around. A bathroom should be a place to be calm and relaxed. If it’s chock-full of fixtures, it may feel cramped and uncomfortable.
2. Include Plenty of Storage
The clutter of too many toiletries, no matter how attractive, can undo your good work in creating a calm space. Rather than fight the inevitable, accept the reality, and embrace great bathroom storage.
The key is to think through what you need to store and then design appropriately. Some things are best kept in a drawer, some in a mirrored cabinet and others in a cabinet. Consider how the storage solutions will work as part of the whole room.
3. Think About the Details
Even bathrooms with the most expensive fixtures can end up looking disjointed if the details aren’t carefully considered.
One example successfully avoided in this bathroom would be a glass shower screen that comes too close to the side of a vanity. This might look fine from one angle, but what do you see of the vanity through the glass? Will dirt get between them and be difficult to remove?
Another pet peeve is the tile that stops halfway up a wall, leaving a horizontal ridge that will collect dust. Either tile the whole wall or set the face of the tile flush with the wall above by adding an extra layer of plasterboard above the tile before the skim coat of plaster.
4. Make Sure It’s Functional
Fundamentally, a bathroom must work. That means it should feel natural to use and be easy to clean, and all essentials must be accessible, well-functioning, and suitably lit. Whatever design you adopt, never let style get in the way of function. That said, you shouldn’t have to compromise.
This bathroom accommodates users of varying heights. Installing sinks and mirrors to suit everyone in the household is both smart and cute. The designers also factored in the sloping ceiling when they put the showerhead and adult sink under the highest part and the toilet under the lower part.
5. Play Up Planes
Think about your bathroom as a series of horizontal and vertical planes: floor planes, wall planes, planes of tile, planes of glass (such as shelves or shower screens), planes that enclose plumbing. Then work the planes to their best advantage. The use of rectangular planes in this bathroom helps create a serene, organized feeling.
6. Let In Natural Light
Bathrooms often get the space left over after bedrooms take the best spots and windows. But spare a thought for those relaxed and contemplative times spent in the bathroom. Daylight can be the most wonderful magnifier of space and is particularly important in small bathrooms. The most intense daylight comes from above, so installing skylights is often a great way to flood a room with light while saving the walls for fixtures and furniture.
7. Add Layers of Artificial Light
We’ve already mentioned daylight, but many bathrooms simply don’t have a window and, anyway, we all use bathrooms after dark, so it’s vital also to consider artificial lighting.
As with any room, the solution is a combination of task and ambient lighting — after all, you wouldn’t want to be putting on makeup in your own shadow. This design shows the strategic use of diffused light at face height to provide good illumination just where it’s needed. A concealed light source washing down from beneath the mirror is practical and adds an ambient glow.
8. Provide a Focal Point
Many bathrooms play it safe with white and cream, but if you want to make your space more exciting, you need a focal point. It can be a difficult balance to get right — for every boring bathroom, there’s another so jazzed up that it gives you a headache.
A great way to make it fun without going overboard is to choose a feature that suits the room’s scale. This could be standout mirrors, decorative tile, or a key color.