If you’re planning your bathroom and you’re unsure of where to begin, or unsure you have the skillset to design the bathroom of your DREAMS, then buckle up my friend, I’m going to give you the whole process for designing a soothing spa-like sanctuary with complete ease, from concept to completion, and all the steps in between with lots of pro tips along the way. Read on to learn how to design a bathroom today.
STEP 1 - WHERE DO YOU BEGIN?
Find your vision baby! If you think you need to spend your life at design school to master the art of how to design a bathroom, think again.
The easiest way to learn how to design a bathroom? Learn from those that have spent years at design school designing amazing bathrooms.
Good design really can be as simple as taking design inspiration from amazing rooms that you adore, breaking down the elements that you love, and copying and pasting that into your space. Literally Ctrl Alt C (Thank you Suzanne Kasler for inspiring my own bathroom design #EvenThePro’sDoIt).
Start your “creating a spa sanctuary” search on the world wide web, head to Pinterest and pin away, then head to places like architecturaldigest.com and elledecor.com for high-end #inspo.
More often than not, you’re going to have to convey your ideas to someone else. The easiest way to
get your own way share your vision is with images. Even if you haven’t got anyone else to please, you want to find inspiration that makes your heart skip a beat. No palpitations? No pinning!
Don’t listen to the voices either ….. “oh I can’t afford that”.... “my bathroom isn't as big” …. “My house is victorian, and that’s modern”. Stop! If you LOVE it, if it takes your breath away, it stays.
STEP 2 - GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY
It’s not always easy for people to convey in words what they want to achieve, and even if they do, normally the words fail to match the vision.
To convey a vision, you need to see what people attach to the words. At the start of my career, I worked with a client who said she wanted to achieve quite a traditionally designed home with a modern edge (Hello, transitional?), with the odd mid-century piece (bye bye, transitional), but couldn’t fathom out her design style or what she loved.
Back before the day of Pinterest (we’re only talking 2010, people), designing with clients worked a little differently #OldSchool. I asked her to send me all the things she loved, images from magazines, photographs of pages from books, and I’d help her work it all out.
When the images arrived, they were neither transitional nor traditional, but there was a slight mid century vibe….. What she’d failed to spot was an immense amount of repetition, the colour palette was clear, the vibe she wanted to achieve was clear, the style was clear (which had a nordic vibe), materials and finishes, even down to the artwork that gave the space a natural relaxing vibe, I could see the design in an instant.
We often just need to get out of our own way! Really look at what it is that’s drawing you in, really look for similarities, colours, finishes, materials, how it makes you feel, why you love the space. Is it open? Bright? Airy? Does it make you feel relaxed? Calm? Energised?
In HomeEnvy Bootcamp (our club that supports people designing their homes, if you’re new around here) when one of our members struggles identifying their design style, we always ask them to set up a secret board on Pinterest and get pinning. We can tell in an instant what style it is (or style combos), repetitive features/finishes, which colours etc. So do the same
STEP 3 - STEPPING IT UP
First up, it’s time to be your own critic, Sophie Robinson style.
You want to be left with about 10 - 20 images that really convey your vision and what you absolutely love.
If you’re struggling to narrow it down, it’s time for a game of .....Pick One Kick One.
Take two images side by side, you can only choose one, which is it going to be? If one’s not catching your breath and skipping that heartbeat as much as the next image, unpin it.
Now Pinterest is good to a point, but here’s where we step it up a beat. Let’s get designing your bathroom mood board, all the better if it’s digital, I promise you transporting a physical board is no easy task. (If you're unsure how to design a moodboard click here).
The ultimate goal here is to keep working on the vision until the inspiration is etched in your mind. Materials repeat finishes repeat, styles repeat, colours repeat.
You can still have variety on your board, so if you feel the blue bathroom and the green bathroom are kind of in the same arena, you’re good. But if you have contemporary light bright and modern spa sanctuary over here, and deep dark traditionally ornately over there, you’ve got to keep going.
Once you’ve whittled it down, and stepped it up, it’s time to take a step back. What is the mood board telling you? Is there a clear vision?
>> Yes! Crystal clear, lots of cohesion, repetition, total clarity = Jump to step 4.
>> Kind of. A couple of styles, a couple of colours, a few looks = Stay on step 3, keep going. Really decide which one of those looks is going to make you (and your home) feel AMAZING every day.
>> Nope! Colour confusion, design style confusion, no real cohesion = Head back to Step 2. But now ask yourself what are you going to LOVE to live in more? What’s going to make your heart sing? You’ve got to start editing again and try and find the elements that tie your space together.
STEP 4 - PICK 5
Take your five favourite images, and we’re about to create five words or phrases to attach to your design vision. So how would you describe these images? What would you say? Is it cool? Contemporary? Glamorous? Modern? Warm? Rich? Opulent? Romantic? Fun? Friendly? Or even cosy chic? Romantic French?
Really dig deep and get 5 words for what you think and feel about the images, try and attach an emotion.
When you’re shopping for items for your bathroom design, the words are really going to help you explain your ideas to others. Articulating your design vision in words is going to help you get there easier and faster, and not just when you’re in the showroom, further down the whole #Reno process too.
I worked in interiors retail for many years helping people make purchase decisions for their homes. Those with a clear vision, that had done the legwork, that could properly explain what they were looking to achieve, well they made their lives so much easier and ended up getting to their vision easier and faster, I promise you on this!
So... want to see a few examples to get the inspiration started for how to design a bathroom?? Of course you do! Can you see the theme? Similarities? Repeating elements? I'm sure you can also spot things that stand out if you look.
- Black / White
STEP 5 - THE DECISIONS
Now we’ve got your vision, exactly where do you begin?
At the bling! Some of the earliest decisions you need to make in your bathroom redesign, your plumbing and your tiling…. The bling baby and the jewellery of the room that takes it from mediocre to magnificent.
They’re key decisions early on because you need to decide what fittings go where so your plumber/fitter can ensure all plumbing is in exactly the right place.
The Niche. The what?? AKA the place you hide all your stuff.
This is something that is forgotten so often, but you need a niche in your shower if you want to avoid backache and unsightly bottles on the shower floor. It’s a super styling opportunity too and they’re a little limited in bathrooms… If you can, place this on a hidden wall, not the wall directly facing your door. You’ll walk in and your eye will be drawn to the bright bold bottles.
So let's just clear this one up straight away, in one bathroom homes, you need a bath. If you’re lucky enough to have an ensuite bathroom too, if space is a little tight, then just have a shower. In my experience, unless you have children, most people don’t really use a bath that often.
If you need a bath, will it be a built in or freestanding?
Here are some things to consider:
- Free standing baths are cheaper overall as they are delivered and ready to install, built in baths have more costs for installing, more timber, more labour, more tiles. It adds up.
- Free standing baths don’t have the space for all the essentials….beautiful candles and glasses of fizz.
- If you’re looking for a little wow, free standing baths look like an architectural feature, so if we’re going on looks alone, head down the freestanding route.
- If you’re a regular bather and you need your bath to be a little more practical, then maybe think about the fitted bath route.
- If you have the space, a good compromise is to have freestanding and have a stool or table that can help you have a place for your candles and bubbles #Priorities
Try and think high level about exactly how you’ll use your bathroom and you’ll create a functional space that looks amazing.
If you’re heading the free-standing route, you’ve got a little flexibility with taps; floor standing or wall mounted? What’s it going to be?
Taking your shower up a notch. If you want a truly seamless look, all the rage in showers now are large glass shower screens. Most people opt for brackets, you can think about recesses fitting your shower track for a truly seamless statement look and avoid unsightly brackets that are a shower scum magnet.
If you're not a fan of the seamless look and like a little meat on your shower frame bones, then maybe think about metal frame shower doors. They can create a lovely look and can be great for adding in a little interest or creating the feeling of an updated, more modern home.
The Finishing Wow Factors!
If you want to create a beautiful moment in your bathroom, your vanity, tiling, lighting and mirror needs a little more consideration. This is the “decoration”, and where the magic happens! Spend some time really looking at your vision board and really pour over what you love about the space.
- Lighting tips: Think about layering up your lighting to create ambience and drama. Decorative lighting hopefully on a dimmer switch, perhaps a few spot lights in your shower area, and wall lights or sconces framing your focal point are all items that help elevate your bathroom to spa like sanctuary and create the perfect ambience.
- Mirrors Tips: The bigger the better baby!
- Hardware Tips: So if there was ever a place to ignore all advice about mixing metals, it’s in your bathroom! Because bathrooms are often more minimal spaces and there isn’t much going on, you need to think of ways that you can create contrast. When you have all the same metal it can sometimes feel a little flat, mix up those metals and elevate your bathroom design for a confident look.
We’d love to see your designs, so grab your finished vision boards, and head on over to the FREE Facebook Group by clicking here to share your design creations with our wonderful group that can’t wait to celebrate your creations.... And give you a little feedback and help.
I hope you've found this helpful and learnt a few pro tips for how to design a bathroom, keep your eyes peeled for more ultimate guides coming soon.