Practical bathroom design tips
Updated: Sep 12
I enjoy designing bathrooms because this room is such a priority space for every home, on a daily basis. Unfortunately, bathrooms are also costly to replace or repair which merits careful thought and consideration from the start. So, if you are going to invest, I think you should also want to love it. Read on to discover the steps I take when designing a fabulous (and practical) bathroom.
Understand who will be using it - and how often.
Is this a vast space for one person who will be spending time in the space or a smaller room that needs to accommodate multiple family members as they rush out of the house every morning? Do the users only ever shower or do they also use the bath? These are only a few of the questions that need answering when approaching this project. How about storage? Are you charging electric toothbrushes and razors? Addressing these questions will allow you to develop a list of what is required.
Survey the space inside and out
It is essential to know exactly where services are located so that you can plan within the limits of the building. You may want to relocate the loo but a soil pipe is not so easy to relocate. (This is the large waste pipe that outside your home that removes all the water and waste from your home into the main sewer.) Water pipes from the basin/sink/shower can usually be more easily re-routed – but not always. Do you have an external ventilation for the humid air to escape? If not, you need to factor in how to fit an extractor fan to spare your walls from peeling paint and mould developing.
Draw up a floor plan. To scale
I measure up and sketch out a floor plan so that I can experiment with how the suite will fit in the space. It’s essential to have adequate space around each piece so that everything can be accessed comfortably. At this stage, imagine yourself moving through the space: Will opening doors and drawers clash with other elements in the room? Can you bend over the wash basin without bumping into anything else? Will there be space to stand when drying yourself? You can easily find minimum allowances for all of these functions on the internet and via your bathroom supplier. Finally take your plan into the room and mark out on the floor where your furniture will go and experiment in person - allowing for varying heights too. You may be surprised how much room you really need in practise.
Create a mood board
Many think this only applies to a living room or bedroom but I am a huge advocate for a mood board. When you collate your ideas on paper, or screen, it can crystallise your vision allowing you to be more objective about what is pleasing to you and sometimes not so pleasing. Experiment with colours, textures, styles and materials until you are confident with your choices.
Choose qualified, insured professionals to carry out the work
I see so many people hiring people based on price alone. A typical scenario often includes: Someone did a great job of 'ZYX' in my other room and so they must be good at doing my bathroom too and they quoted me a cheaper price than the others. Please stop for a moment and ask the following questions: Do they have other bathrooms that you can visit? What qualifications and insurance do they have? What other skilled tradespeople do they work with and will they comply with safety standards? What is included in their rate and what is the proposed time frame for the work? The answers to these questions should be compared to other quotes before you agree to using anyone.
I have been in this situation before and I can assure you, it is twice as expensive when you have to pay someone else to fix and re-do work. If the average price feels like it’s more than you can afford right now, I would advise you to wait until you can afford it. To set expectations, the national average price to fit a standard bathroom in the UK costs around £6000 – for the work alone and takes roughly 2 weeks to complete. Naturally, there is huge variation between locations and it is dependent of the complexity of the project.
Ideally, I would always suggest using a bathroom planner or an interior design consultant (like me) to ensure you have the best possible experience and achieve the desired outcome. However, if you are planning your own bathroom project, I hope this has been of help. Do reach out with any questions.