His-and-her sinks are increasingly popular. Photo Courtesy of Krista Watterworth
The Experts' Advice
A few tips from the experts:
Go to your local home improvement store and look for knockoffs of more expensive designer products. And keep it simple ~ Krista Watterworth, host of HGTV’s Save My Bath.
Steer clear of dark colors for the walls. Light and airy colors make a more relaxing bath. ~ Megan Poteat, Belvedere Cabinets.
Make sure your bathroom fits your everyday needs. ~ Jamie Goldberg, kitchen and bath designer.
Lots of storage is critical. ~ Bill Hirsch, architect and author.
Integrate safety features like rails and grab bars into the design. Safety features benefit everyone. ~ Diana Schrage, Kohler.
Secrets of Successful Bathroom Design
Industry insiders share tips for designing the ultimate bathroom.
- by Sue Marquette Poremba
Once known as the “necessary,” the modern bathroom has become the showpiece of many homes. Master bathrooms are beginning to mirror the size of the master bedroom. Kids don’t even have to fight for their morning shower time, as individual bedrooms increasingly have a private bath. If you’re interested in upgrading or renovating your bathroom, we’ve got a few expert tips to share.
Planning Your Space
When designing a bathroom space, you need to consider size, usage, and lighting. “The amount of space that modern people need in a bathroom has grown,” says Krista Watterworth, host of HGTV’s Save My Bath. “Modern bathrooms are less like bathrooms and more like a spa getaway.”
You don’t want the space to feel crowded, adds Jamie Goldberg, NBKA-certified independent bath and kitchen designer based in Tampa. If you need to maximize room, install a shower stall rather than a tub or reduce the amount of counter space.
Light is crucial in bathrooms and can’t be overlooked. It needs to be bright enough for grooming, but soft enough to create a relaxing atmosphere. Dimmer switches or additional lighting in areas where brightness is needed help give the room all-day functionality.
Virtually everything in the modern bath is eco-friendly today. Here are a few ways to make any bath in your home more sustainable:
- Dual-flush toilets allow you to choose a light- or strong-flush and come in a myriad of designs to fit into any bathroom decor
- Low-flow showerheads and faucets decrease the amount of water used by up to 30%
- Wood floors or flooring made from recycled materials
- Low-VOC and non-toxic paints
Your Sink, My Sink
Bathrooms have gone from one-size-fits-all to being ultimately customizable. His-and-her sinks are now the norm and the newest trend includes sinks and vanities that come in multiple heights, says Diana Schrage, senior designer with Kohler. You can have a sink at the standard 36-inch height, but many sinks and counters are now available at 42 inches, a more comfortable height for tall members of the family.
Sit-down vanities are also increasingly popular. William Hirsch, architect and author of Designing Your Perfect House: Lessons from an Architect, says vanities are often being designed into bathroom closets, creating a private dressing room area within the bath space. “It’s nice to provide a tiny sink at the makeup vanities so there is a water source,” adds Hirsch.
Tub vs. Shower
Once a must-have, bathtubs are beginning to disappear in many modern bathrooms. In small baths, where space is an issue, homeowners frequently opt for a shower stall only. Even in master baths, couples are often going for a larger shower space instead of a tub. Shower spaces are becoming more open. People don’t want to deal with shower curtains or cleaning glass doors anymore, so showers are now larger and more open, often featuring benches and built-in storage. Another trend in shower design is a digital shower interface that saves each user’s water volume and temperature preferences for a customized bathing experience.
One point that designers agree on is that every home should have at least one bathtub, because you never know when you might need one. A popular tub design gaining popularity is the hydrotherapy soaking tub. Other high-end tub features include light therapy, aromatherapy and vibra-acoustics—all of which work to create a spa-like atmosphere right in your own home.
The hottest looks in bathroom design are based on fluid lines and refinement. Honed white is the new brass. Glass tile for walls, ceramic tile for flooring, and chrome fixtures and hardware are what’s on-trend, says Megan Poteat, an AKBD-certified designer with Belvedere Cabinets. In terms of color, several designers point to Kohler’s new Honed White fixture finish. “It’s a softness that wants to be touched,” says Schrage. Goldberg adds that the finish fits nicely with today’s trend toward softer lines and finishes.