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31 things to consider when designing a bathroom

Seriously? 31?

· bathroom design,new house build,renovation,bathroom renovation,modern bathrooms


If you are thinking about renovating or building a new home you will more than likely need a bathroom right?  This reminds me of this book  I would (hesitantly) read to my kids...Everyone Poops.  And since everyone does this..I agree with the need to do this "somewhere special".   

this person really needed to they have lost their pants!

If you thinking of redesigning or renovating your on my friend.  There are only...oh..about 31 things you need to make decisions on before creating the "somewhere special" of your dreams.  31? that seems like a lot me...if you get them right your bathroom will be a joy every time you walk in there.  

should i hire someone to help me design my bathroom?

...or "Should I just leave it up to the contractor to help me make all 31 decisions and hope for the best? That way I can save some money right?"  You could have that contractor that knows all about those 31 design details like a designer would...but then could get the guy that only knows the basics and doesnt even know how and where to use Schluter strips (more on that later).  Or gasp...they may want you to install a vessel sink or bullnose tile.  Please.  Please don't use either of those things.  Thank you.

Hiring a professional to help you design a bathroom is  always a good idea.  Contractors know a lot of things but they dont really understand all the intracacies of designing a super tight powder room or a banging awesome master bath.  Designers can help you get the aesthetic that you want, help you plan the layout in the most efficient manner as well as suggest basic ideas that can save you from overspending or making costly mistakes. And with their broad experence, they will usually know the trends, what's a high maintenance product or will know the standards when it comes to electrical or plumbing issues.  

where to start when designing a bathroom?

It's all about the details and of course functionality.  A bathroom could look bananas gorgeous but if the toilet is too cramped, the mirror is too low or if the shower doesnt have any place to put your fave conditioner...then, if you're anything like me...will aggravate you to no end.

To start, I like to scour the internet for ideas...I love using Pinterest or Houzz but my favorite place to look for ideas is usually Instagram.  Since websites are difficult to update frequently, it's much easier for a designer or a bathroom/kitchen site to reach an Instagram audience.  

You need to become familiar with lighting, plumbing fixtures, different mirrors and oh yeah...tile.  I am a nerd and I love to stalk tile sites...see my faves below:

pics of our powder room...can you tell im obsessed with bold fun tile?

list of considerations for a new bathroom (31 of them!)

  1. Shower - size?  I like to make sure this is as big as possible!
  2. Tile - Floor
  3. Tile - Shower
  4. Tile - Wall
  5. Tile - Niche
  6. Tile - Schluter strips - these are metal strips that are used to make a clean square edge for tile.  They also come in various finishes and profiles.  Get to know them...use them.  Forget about the old "bullnose" edge/end tile that contractors usually ask for.  They look dated and not as sleek IMO.  And don't forget adding a strip for the threshold - to span the tile and the flooring in the room next to the bathroom
  7. Paint - Wall 
  8. Paint - Trim
  9. Mirror - size/type 
  10. Mirror - location.  Make sure the mirror is centered and not too low!  Id recommend creating an elevation or a drawing to be sure the mirror, the lighting and the sink faucet all work together!  
  11. Toilet - I love a "skirted toilet" - the ones that hide the trapway beneath the bowl for a smooth clean look and it's way easier to clean than the traditional toilets.
  12. Toilet Accessories - think towel bars, robe hooks, TP holders...
  13. Toilet Accessories - how many?  
  14. Toilet Accessories - location?  
  15. Sink - always undermount!  Much easier to clean than a "drop in" and much cuter than a vessel sink
  16. Vanity - SIze?  With lots of drawers?  or open underneath?  
  17. Vanity Top - if no backsplash, it needs to have something behind the faucet to catch the water 
  18. Faucet - Widespread?  Single Hole? Or my favorite (and contractors least favorite!) - wall mounted!
  19. Light fixtures - type: Recessed?  Sconces?  Pendants?  bath bars?
  20. Light fixtures - how many?  Bathrooms need to be well lit!
  21. Light fixtures - locations?
  22. Shower Door - swinging or sliding?  
  23. Shower and tub components 
  24. Shower components - Jets or extra shower arm
  25. Soap Niche - size.  Make sure it fits your favorite shampoo!
  26. Soap niche - location - I like to place it on the big wall as it becomes a nice focal point
  27. Baseboard - wood or tile with Schluter Strip?
  28. Exhaust - let's get that bathroom smelling right!
  29. Outlets - make sure its a GFCI and in the right location. 
  30. Switching 
  31. Art / Wallpaper / Accessories - I love good well selected bathroom art or an amazing candle!

 elevation to locate mirrors, sconces, art in the perfect location (credit: Stephanie Gamble Interiors)

how can I make my bathroom feel more luxury?

Splurge on the tile or wood!  Choose something bold but not so much that it feels too “trendy”.  See the limestone one in image below sourced from the Yangtze River!  

If you have the room...definitely a free standing tub.  So many good options!

Go for sconces instead of a simple bath bar

Really fancy lighting...doesn't have to be a chandelier...or maybe it does!  I love a little shine and glam in a bathroom.  

Steam showers or multiple shower jets

Create a spa like atmosphere...think candles, aromatherapy, white towels and rugs (like a hotel)

We have lived in our home close for over two years and I still marvel at how many decisions one has to make to get that bathroom just right.  Now if I can just find a product that will help my boys bathrooms clean.  

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