How to plan a new bathroom and avoid common design mistakes

It is not cheap to install a new bathroom, so plan your new bathroom before renovation. In addition, you need to make sure that the new bathroom design is well thought out. Striking freestanding bathtubs or tiles can make your heart beat faster. The decor, however, largely determines how well the space is planned. Therefore, here are some common mistakes that are regularly seen by inexperienced people. This can help you avoid such mistakes as creating a new bathroom design that looks great and works wonderfully.

Important things to consider before planning your bathroom

There are a few important things to consider when you want to make a bathroom modern and functional. Proper planning may require more thought than any other space. The kitchen may be the exception, but even here there is always a reassuring presence of a kitchen designer to facilitate the process. With the bathroom, you will often have to handle the plasterer, plumber and floor layer all by yourself, so it can feel a little confusing. Typical bathrooms are small and require smart use of space. This allows you to incorporate all the features you want while keeping the bathroom looking good and comfortable at the same time. Installation can also be deceptively difficult and requires plumbing, intricate spatial design and technical skills.

man installs shelves in the bathroom in modern style

With a variety of inspiring bathroom ideas to choose from, it pays to hire some form of design service, either from an interior designer, a specialized bathroom designer or at least an experienced contractor / plumber with an eye for design. You can get the ball rolling by analyzing how you use your current space and see what works.

a couple would like to plan a new bathroom in the store and choose the right bathroom furniture

So let yourself be inspired by pictures and examples. Make a wish list that takes into account all potential users and their individual needs, and imagine how these may change in the future. For example, a family bathroom usually requires a bathtub, durable and splashproof surfaces. However, a master or en-suite bathroom can be a little more luxurious.

How to plan a bathroom renovation or new design

minimalist bathroom design with free-standing bathtub


Since there are so many ideas for bathroom design, the planning of the new design depends on many factors. These include the function of the bathroom, the size, who uses the bathroom and how often. Start with the design effects that a good bathroom design can create. For example, the view at entry can be an important part of the design and therefore a good starting point for your bathroom design. Therefore, the first thing you should see is the bathtub or sink, and not the toilet. Also select a key item. Be it a free-standing bath, a fantastic vanity unit or a beautiful tiled shower area. Then build the floor plan around it. If the proportions of the room add up to symmetry, it may pay to design a symmetrical floor plan, perhaps matched with an architectural gem as an original sliding window.

shower area designed in yellow with tiles and bench

Also, make sure that there is enough space around each faucet for comfortable use. Pay attention to the swing of the shower doors. If space is tight, choose inward-facing doors or a shower over the bathtub. Seeking specialists helps to look beyond the existing layout. It’s surprising how imaginative even the smallest bathroom can be planned. However, avoid sticking everything to the walls and experiment instead with angles. An offset bathtub, for example, can prove to be more dynamic. You can also build an equally smart shower behind your bathtub by leading the bathtub forward. Here are some common mistakes you should make when planning your bathroom.

Mistake 1: Faucets or basins are too big

dark green walls and antique mirror in the bathroom with white bathtub


Freestanding bathtubs in rooms that are short may just be too big for the room. Washbasins and showers can also be of the wrong scale. So make sure the tub, sink and shower are the right size for your bathroom. If you choose a free-standing tub, make sure there is room around it for cleaning. While these are trending, they are not always the best option, especially in a small bathroom. If this is your only option, a larger built-in bathtub would be a much better use of space. The same goes for sinks. Having an oversized vanity unit that is right next to the shower does not look good and is cumbersome to clean. Instead, choose a smaller vanity and leave some space between the shower or bathtub.

Mistake 2: Poorly planned open space

freestanding bathtub in blue with open door in the bathroom as a trend

Having the bathroom door open to look directly at the toilet is neither stylish nor necessary. It is best to plan the toilet behind the door or place it to the side where it is not completely visible when you open the bathroom door. More importantly, your main bathroom has a separate toilet so your guests do not have to wait for someone to use the shower. With lines forming outside your bathroom each morning, you may want to consider upgrading your storage space so that family members can use it. You can do this by making sure the room has an adequate sink, storage space and mirror.

Error 3: Insufficient storage space

large mirror in bathroom with plant

Focusing too much on aesthetics and too little on function can often result in lack of space. So when planning your bathroom, storage is key. Instead of having a mirror wallpaper on the wall, you can opt for a recessed mirror cabinet that has room for everyday necessities like toothbrushes, razors and makeup. A medicine cabinet above a vanity unit should be the same width as the vanity unit or slightly smaller, but never larger. Adding a medicine cabinet to the wall will also give your bathroom a more compact look.

plan windows in the bathroom and install a double sink

The right length for a vanity top depends on the size of the room. For a family or ensuite bathroom, 90 cm is considered the standard minimum length, but 1.20 m is a little more practical. A double sink requires a countertop that is at least 6 feet long. The ideal depth for a vanity unit is 50 cm, although this depends on the depth of your sink. If you have a semi-recessed sink, you may be able to make your vanity less than 50 cm deep. When specifying your vanity depth, be sure to allow enough space to clean the sink and faucets.

Mistake 4: Planning the lighting incorrectly in the bathroom

plan appropriate lighting in the bathroom

Inexperienced bathroom designers often resort to ceiling spotlights over the sink, shower or toilet instead of incorporating a suitable layered lighting design. As a result, the bathroom is often too bright and lacks atmosphere, making it far from a relaxing place to stay. In addition, the bright overhead lighting creates shadows when you look in the makeup mirror, which interferes with makeup or shaving.

comfortably designed bathroom with bathtub and retro-style carpeted floor

Therefore, a multi-layer design with multiple light sources would be much better. This must have atmospheric lighting. Hidden LED strips are a good option as they do not use much energy and can be left behind to create an understated atmosphere. Place them under vanities and shavers, behind mirrors and in shower enclosures.

Error 5: No separate zones are planned in the bathroom

bathroom design with retro elements in a vintage look in combination with modern panels

When there is a lot of space, there are often dull and empty bathrooms with all the furniture around the room. The creation of zones would have made these bathrooms much more functional and inviting. Therefore, consider dividing a large bathroom into separate zones for bath, shower, sink and toilet. This can be as simple as putting up a partition in the middle of the room. Creating zones will greatly enhance the bathroom experience and make it feel more luxurious.

Error 6: Not considering the location of accessories

create space-saving options in the bathroom and enable better storage

If you do not think enough about the placement of accessories such as towel rails and shower trays, it will affect the function of the entire room. This can mean moving frequently used items out of reach, or wall-mounted accessories getting in the way of drawers or cabinet doors. You should also plan where you want to place the accessory so that you can install enough secure mounting points. After all, no one wants a shaky towel rail or toilet roll holder to fall off the wall. This can happen if you just screw these into drywall.

luxuriously clad walls and floor in bathroom with shower and tub

When planning a bathroom, consider how you want to use and move through the space. Install towel rails within easy reach of shower, bathtub and vanity unit. Place towel rails where they do not prevent vanity drawers and doors from opening. Also, make sure that there are structural supports in place before the walls are finished so that the accessories have something to put on. Consider a recessed tile alcove in the shower instead of a wall-mounted shelf to give the area a more open feel.

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