14 Bathroom Design Tips | From A Bathroom Designer

Looking for some bathroom design tips to help make your renovation run smoothly? Is your bathroom long overdue for a facelift but you’re not quite sure where to start? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered!

To help out, I’ve come up with 14 Bathroom Design Tips. Full of information I most often get asked about or I think are the most important things to consider when designing a new bathroom. These tips will not only help your bathroom look great but will also advise and get you to consider the form and functionality of your bathroom.

So, get out your tablet or pen and paper and start taking notes! I’ve got all the design tips, tricks and advice needed to create the bathroom of your dreams and help everything run smoothly.

Let’s go!

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14 Bathroom Design Tips

Even if you can’t spend thousands on a completely new space. That does not mean that you won’t be able to breathe some new life into one of the busiest rooms in your home. Use these bathroom design tips to maximise your return on investment and make the whole process more efficient and (hopefully) enjoyable.

1. Build a Budget

Before you start daydreaming about the perfect bathroom, take a good look at your bank account. How much do you want to invest in the project? Do you want to pay for everything with cash on hand or take out a home improvement loan? Give yourself a hard number now, so that saying no to the walk-in shower finished in marble is easier.

You can do a lot on your own with just £1,000. If this will be a complete gut, expect to spend £5,000 or more.

However, even a small budget can make a big change to that little space, so don’t be disappointed before you begin.

2. Give Yourself Time

Don’t call the bathroom reno guy, yet. You need to have a clear picture in your head of how you want the final project to look. If you pull the trigger too fast, you may be talked into a generic remodel that does nothing to bolster your pride in your home.

Scroll through Pinterest and Instagram for images of the perfect bathroom. What features grab your attention? Which ones make you cringe?

Wander through your home improvement store to verify prices and keep your dreams within budget.

Specialty and custom items can take up to three months to be manufactured and delivered. You will want to plan out the project before demolishing the room to prevent serious inconvenience to you and your family.

3. Design a Layout that Actually Works

Now comes the hard work of bathroom design. How do you fit all the sanitaryware in a small space and make it comfortable, functional, and attractive? You will need a measured drawing to map out where everything goes, and it should be accurate down to the centimetre. There should be elbow room between the toilet and the wall and enough space to turn around without bumping into something.

Take the time to work on your bathroom layout and get it perfect. This may mean talking to a few different bathroom designers and getting plans drawn up.

I say it all the time. The layout is key! Whether that’s a bathroom, kitchen or bedroom. A good, well thought out and functional layout is so important. A bad layout will drive you mad!

Bathroom plans - Bathroom design

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4. Save Money by Reducing Building Work

The fewer walls that you knock down, the less you will pay any builder. If your bathroom works well enough, but you just want it to look better, plan on leaving the position of the basin, toilet, and bath where they are and reduce the costs for extra plumbing and finish work.

As long as the existing layout works, why spend money fixing something that isn’t broken.

5. Will the Door Actually Open?

So, you are changing up the floor plan. Remember that the bathroom door typically swings in, which means you have to measure the arc of its travel path and ensure it won’t hit a vanity, bath, or toilet. Sounds obvious, I know, but you’ll be surprised how often this can be overlooked.

If there is no space for a traditional door, look at a pocket or barn door that slides to the side and still provides privacy and security.

If you are creating an accessible bathroom, especially one for a wheelchair user, you may want the door to open outwards to allow more room inside the bathroom for manoeuvring. You’ll also want to make sure the door itself is wide enough for a wheelchair to get in and out.

6. Where Will You Store Your Towels and Toiletries?

Sometimes we forget to leave enough square footage to help manage the clutter of a busy bathroom. Is there room for a closet? If not, look at using an enclosed vanity and a medicine cabinet behind the mirror.

A stacked towel rack gives everybody in the house somewhere to dry their things. Plan on a shelving unit hung over the toilet.

For the house with all the extra space, a double basin vanity gives you the extra counter space to place your toothbrush, toiletries or any decor items.

It’s easy to get distracted by the main bathroom items such as the bath, shower, toilet and basin and forget about the practicalities of storage.

7. Ditch the Shower Curtain

Yes, shower curtains are inexpensive, easy to care for, and a quick way to freshen up the decor of the bathroom. They can also cheapen the look of a bathroom and scream student digs. (Don’t hate me for saying it)

Your newly refurbished bath will be stunning with a clear shower door or fixed panel. It will help to make the space feel bigger as you can see through everything and take in the room as a whole. Instead of the wall of fabric or bold colour pattern on a shower curtain that can block light and make the room feel smaller.

If a clear shower panel isn’t your thing, look at frosted glass that will give a little more privacy. Unique frosting can even feature patterns and images if you want to create something a little more unique.

Bathroom design tips

8. Improve Your Lighting

Yes, your overhead light can be changed out, too. You’ll be surprised at the number of people who don’t think about (or even notice) their bathroom lighting.

Think about how you use the bathroom and if you are ever struggling to see to apply your eyeliner. Maybe your spouse stubs their toe during nocturnal visits. Is the shower full of dark corners?

Select all your new lighting fixtures at the same time so that they all feature the same frosted globe, metallic finish, or shape. Add a ring of lights around the mirror or some wall lights on either side to provide more direct lighting when you need it.

Low-voltage LED strips can be mounted under the vanity and provide just enough glow to serve as a nightlight. They are also available in adjustable colours, so they can complement your decor.

You could even install motion-activated switches that will flip on the lights when you enter and shut them back off when you are done–so you can stop yelling at the kids for wasting energy.

9. Add Heating

When you are finally updating a bathroom in a house that was built two centuries ago, there is a good chance that cold toes and a frigid breeze after your shower is a common experience. Now is your chance to erase that defensive shiver when you shut off the taps.

If there is no heat, bring in a professional to add a radiator or lay some under-floor heating. Already have a radiator? Consider upgrading it to a modern flat-panel and higher output radiator to finally say goodbye to those freezing winter showers.

If that is too expensive, look at a standalone electric heating unit with its own thermostat that can be scheduled to warm up the room before your alarm sounds.

A heated towel rack gives you that lovely warm-towel spa experience. However, they are not designed to heat the room (the clue’s in the name) so don’t rely purely on one for all your bathroom heating. They are a nice addition alongside a proper room heating source such as a radiator or under-floor heating.

10. Eliminate Damp and Mould with Improved Ventilation

Are you always fighting the smell and nasty black spots associated with mould and mildew in your old bathroom? A fresh coat of paint can erase the look and stench, but it will come back if you don’t address the underlying cause.

Make sure to add an extractor fan to your bathroom renovation plans and have it blow directly outside, not into the attic. Add a programmable UV light that kills mould only when the bathroom is empty. Installing even a small window can introduce natural sunlight and ventilation to the space, which will help to prevent the return of the black gunk.

Bathroom fan being installed. Bathroom design tips

11. Add A Touch of Luxury where You will Use it Most

Everybody has a particular ritual that is their personal treat when taking a bath or getting dressed for the day. It can be wallowing in a massive bubble bath, singing in a hot shower, or selecting the perfect shade of lipstick for your mood.

When completing your bathroom design, make sure to include that one thing! Spend a little more on the extra deep tub, a waterproof speaker, or a makeup drawer full of little cubbies.

Do you love gold? Select an accent tile full of metallic specks. Go for the travertine shower enclosure. Feed your tech-savvy soul by installing a voice-command centre.  “Alexa, turn on my shower at 45 C.”

By investing in that luxurious extra, you will be able to enjoy your penny-pinching choices that much more.

12. Proper Paint Prevents Disappointment

A quick layer of cheap paint will erase the painful memory of that horrid rose that was so popular in the 1980s or hide the flaking ceiling. However, you will want to spend a little extra on the paint specifically designed for bathrooms–especially for the ceiling. Check the label for moisture and mildew resistance.

If you select the matte finish in the bargain bin, you will see the paint discolour and start to flake after just a few months.

13. Change the Hardware for a Quick and Cheap Update

Looking for a quick and inexpensive way to freshen up your bathroom? Consider painting your existing vanity and spending a few pounds at the hardware store for some new knobs and handles.

You won’t believe that it is the same cabinet with a new base colour and attachments. After all, if you paid hundreds for a new vanity, you are basically spending on the exterior appearance. Your doors and drawers still work perfectly fine.

14. New Accessories can Change the Whole Feel

When was the last time that you changed up the area rugs and towels that give your neutral bathroom a splash of colour?

By spending a couple of hundred quid at the department store, you can add trending shades and designs to your room. Look for new caddies for your toothbrushes and soap, add some new plants to help create that perfect oasis or hang some new artwork.

If you don’t have the budget for a complete renovation, changing up the accessories can go a long way to creating a fresh new look.

Final Thoughts…

There you have it, 14 bathroom design tips! I hope these bathroom design tips can help you out and get you thinking about your new bathroom a bit more.

Whether you are completely renovating your old bathroom or just looking for a quick freshen-up, these bathroom design tips will help you make the most of your efforts.

I wish you the best of luck with your new bathroom project. Happy designing!


Michael R

Michael is a KBB designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom installations for over eight years now, and before that, he was an electrician and part of a KBB fitting team. He created The Bathroom Blueprint in early 2020.