A well-designed bathroom can have a dramatic effect on your home’s overall value. Besides creating an efficient layout for the necessities – a sink, toilet and tub or shower; small details can elevate your bathroom to a calming and relaxing retreat. Your dream bathroom can be a simple and functional rectangular or a sprawling suite that rivals the size of a small apartment, but regardless of the size there are some design principles that will help you create a bathroom that goes beyond strictly utility and function.
Consider your layout. A bathroom should not be cramped and uncomfortable. Keep it feeling spacious by selecting the number and sizes of fixtures that will fit and still allow for space to stand and turn around. Go for a separate tub and shower only if there’s enough room; otherwise, combine the two. A separate toilet room is ideal, but a half wall between the vanity and toilet or can add a degree of privacy without increasing the overall footprint. Another great option is to separate the toilet and tub/shower from the vanity with a wall and pocket door.
Think about the features that can add a little bit of luxury. Extra counter space alongside the sink bowl or a drawer base for toiletries are great low-cost vanity options to consider. If these options aren’t enough, add a linen tower to keep extra towels close at hand and clutter concealed. If you have the space, a sure-fire way to elevate a vanity is to consider a freestanding, furniture-quality piece. When it comes to bathing, a built-in shower seat or niche are perfect functional and aesthetic upgrades. Hands-free fixtures, interactive LED mirrors, and faucets and showers that can control the water flow and temperature are just some of the smart technology features available for the modern bathroom.
When starting with a blank slate it is important to have a strong aesthetic. Once you have your basic layout mapped out, it is time to start think about finishes. Whether it’s a classic palette such as “black-and-white” or contemporary “rustic-chic” look, choosing a motif is essential. If you’re unsure what style is right for you, think of where you live or how you plan to use your home (comfy family bath, a bath shared by kids, or a spa-like vacation retreat).
Pick a focal point. Bathrooms inherently have a lot of horizontal and vertical planes (floors, walls, counters, lines of tile or glass). It’s important to consider how these elements work together harmoniously, but it’s equally important to create a focal point that will break up or accent these surfaces. A framed mirror, a bold light fixture, sconces, a decorative tile pattern, or a uniquely colored feature – such as a vanity base or countertop are all opportunities to express your unique style.
It’s all about the details. Little things can do a lot to elevate a bathroom and create a sense of luxury without breaking the bank. There are numerous options for your standard accessories (towel bar, towel ring and paper holder); however, these aren’t the only areas that can be upgraded. Uniquely colored or shaped drawer/cabinet pulls are perfect accent pieces. Instead of a standard framed shower door, a frameless or gridded, french-style shower door can coordinate pleasingly with your other accents. Textured glass can further elevate this feature.
Make sure it’s functional. A bathroom should be suitable lit with layers of artificial light and natural light where possible. Task and ambient light should be considered. For example, an overhead light provides excellent general illumination, but a wall mounted fixture above your vanity is essential so that your face is not in shadow when looking into the mirror. Depending on your layout additional spot lighting may be required (such as above a shower) so that there are no dark spots. Good bathroom lighting will also make the space easy to use and clean.