Top Tips for Designing a Bathroom Layout

QS Supplies, one of the largest independent wholesalers and retailers of bathrooms in the U.K. provides some excellent ideas below on how to design a bathroom layout:

How To Design A Bathroom Layout

The bathroom is one of the most important rooms in a house, which means you should take great care when designing or redesigning one. It can be tempting to browse through an interior design magazine or website, point at a layout you like, and say, “I want this,” but that’s the last thing you should do.

For starters, the particular design that you like may not fit the existing plumbing – and that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Let’s take a closer look at how to design a bathroom layout that is perfectly suited to your home.

Points To Remember

Whether you have a large or small bathroom, there are a few basic points to ponder throughout the process of designing the layout. Doing so can help you ensure that the result is functional, practical and attractive.

Let the following points guide your design process:

  • The number of people who will use the bathroom daily – one person, a couple, or the family?
  • Will the bathroom be used by more than one person at a time?
  • Is it the main bathroom in the house or is it attached to one of the bedrooms?
  • Will the layout make it easy to keep the bathroom clean and hygienic?
  • Will splashes of water or humidity compromise safety or damage the finishes?

Laying Out A Bathroom

Before you start designing a bathroom layout you should find out how big the space is. You can measure it yourself or you can ask an architect or designer to do it for you. Once you have the measurements, you can create a scale drawing of the space. Be sure to mark the location of water and waste pipes, as well as doors and windows.

Next, make a list of what you would like to include in your new bathroom. Of course, the completed room might not include everything on the initial list, as you may have realized that some of the things you wanted weren’t practical.

A list can include all or some of the following:

  • Basin – pedestal, console, or twin
  • Bath – freestanding, spa, over-bath shower or shower bath
  • Shower
  • Storage – built-in or freestanding
  • Towel rail – heat or not?
  • Toilet

Bathroom Layout Tips

The following tips can help you make the best decisions regarding fixtures and fittings, even if you’re limited by the placement of water and waste pipes. When you’ve made your decisions, you can fit them together in a way that makes the most of the space you have.

Basins: Wall-mounted basins have some exposed pipework, but they add a sense of space to the room. Pedestal basins have visual impact and a neat appearance. Counter-top basins don’t interfere with storage space and they can be attractive features. Basins set into countertops look neat but decrease the amount of storage space below the counter.

Baths: If you want a bath that’s space-efficient, the best design is the standard tub that fits against a wall. A shower-bath also lets you make good use of space. If you have the room for it, a freestanding bath can add a touch of luxury to your bathroom. A spa bath is another way of bringing luxury into the room, but it is a larger option.

Showers: An enclosed shower or a shower-bath is a good choice if more than one person will use the bathroom at a time. When choosing a shower, make sure it’s compatible with your hot water system. For example, if you have a combi-boiler or water heater tank, look at mixer showers. If you’d prefer a system that heats cold water on demand, look at an electric shower.

Decide whether you want the water pipework to be exposed or concealed within the wall. Keep your space needs in mind when choosing between square, rectangular and quadrant shower enclosures. When choosing a door, take into account the dimensions of the room as well as the location of other fittings.

Storage: Bathroom storage should be large enough to hold toiletries, clean towels and spare toilet paper. Fitted cabinets can offer enough storage to keep the room free from clutter and can provide a surface for counter-top or inset basins. Vanity units are an alternative to fitted cupboards, and they provide a surface for a counter-top basin. Wall-hung cabinets offer extra storage space for toiletries and choosing one with a mirrored front will eliminate the need for another mirror.

Toilets: If you simply want to replace a toilet, check that your desired model is the correct size and shape to fit the existing plumbing. Close-coupled toilets are available in standard and contemporary designs. Back-to-wall and wall-mounted toilets can make cleaning easier, as they don’t have a gap behind them.

Small Bathroom Layout Tips

The following advice can help you make the most of the available space when designing a small bathroom.

Unless you have the money to reposition the waste pipe, the layout of your bathroom will be dictated by the position of the toilet. Keep that in mind when planning the room and try to find fittings that have been designed for smaller bathrooms.

Use a shower-bath if you want the option of showering or bathing. Shower-baths can offer better use of space, and they’re better suited to families with small children. If there are people with mobility issues, a traditional shower may be a better option. Consider using a shower curtain, sliding, folding or pivot door on the shower enclosure, as they require less space to open.

Create a sense of space by fitting a wall-mounted basin, toilet and storage cabinets. Try to have as little as possible taking up floorspace. It will not only make the bathroom appear larger; it will give you more space in which to move around.

If you want heating in a smaller bathroom, installing underfloor heating rather than a wall mounted radiator or heater is a great space-saver. If warm towels are a priority, you may want to fit a heated towel rail next to or below a cabinet.

Prevent the bathroom door from bumping into fixtures by fitting it so that it opens outwards. An alternative is to replace the hinged door with a sliding door, as this reduces space requirements both inside and out.

Mistakes To Avoid

Even if a bathroom layout looks good on paper, the design could contain several impracticalities that only become apparent when the work is complete and the room ready for use. Make sure you avoid the following common mistakes upfront:

Measure the room accurately rather than taking rough estimates or assuming dimensions. Ensure there’s enough space to use the bathroom comfortably and that fittings are positioned sensibly. Place the towel rails within easy reach from the bath or shower and allow for at least 24 inches (60cm) between the toilet and anything in front of it.

Don’t forget about privacy. Carefully measure the position of the shower, bath and toilet in relation to the window. If the window is fitted with clear glass, you may want to replace it with frosted glass or install shutters or blinds.

Consider the possibility of repairs. Ensure that plumbers or electricians will have relatively easy access to toilets, water pipes and cables and can carry out work without damaging fittings in the way.

Take the height of those who will use the bathroom into account. Make sure the shower head is high enough to offer the tallest person in the family a proper wash. Similarly, the countertops or other fittings should be low enough for shorter people to use comfortably.

The tips above can make designing a bathroom layout so much easier. Once you’ve thought out the practicalities, you can focus on style and color and add a personal touch to your new room.

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