Bathrooms... New, Remodeled and Renovated

4 Steps to Remodel a Bathroom

  1. Bathroom Layout
  2. Bathroom Storage
  3. Bathroom Finishes
  4. Bathroom Decor
Bathroom designs have evolved over the years much like kitchens, where instead of the utilitarian approach, designers and homeowners are creating mini oases for master bathrooms—giving homeowners the freedom to dream. Even with a guest bathroom remodel, there are plenty of opportunities to add plenty amenities. Designers often recommend homeowners ‘splurge’ on at least one item for the bathroom design. Even if the budget is constrained, one item won’t break the budget and can make a world of difference to the end result. Homeowners are going to great lengths to create their bathroom dream by adding gas-insert fireplace, in-floor radiant heat, televisions and sound systems, heated towel bars, and even beverage centers. There are no right or wrongs—whatever the dream is for the bathroom design, in most cases can be done.
When it comes to creating a bathroom design, whether for a new custom home, a bathroom remodel or a bathroom renovation, careful planning is essential—from budget to decor, the bathroom design relies upon the building blocks of the design process which are bathroom layout, bathroom storage, bathroom finishes and bathroom decor. Some of the references below may be specific to “master bathrooms or master suites”, but in general every bathroom needs to be planned the same way, whether it is small or large.

Remodeled and Renovated Bathrooms

To the left are pictures of 3 different bathroom renovations. Each renovation used the existing wet wall layout and no new plumbing was needed. The bathrooms were outdated and in need of some updating.

Bathroom Design Plan Notables

  • New floor and wall tile
  • Seamless glass on shower enclosures
  • Used existing wet wall layout
  • Shower enclosures include benches
Bathroom design | Bathroom renovation view from the doorway showing shower enclosure, pedestal sink and toilet. Bathroom renovation and bathroom design - view to walk-in closet Platinum Builders - need 5428 Platinum Builders - need 5428 Bathroom renovation and bathroom dfesign by Platinum Builders - Renovated master bathroom Small bathroom renovation by Platinum Builders

Bathroom Layout

Considerations for Planning the Bathroom Layout

  1. One, two or three wet wall layout?
  2. Toilet placement
  3. Vanity mirror lighting
  4. Sink & vanity height
  5. Sufficient Ventilation
When considering bathroom layout whether for a complete bathroom remodel or bathroom renovation, there are a few rules and guidelines that designers and architects tend to follow. First is whether the bathroom design plan is a one, two or three wet wall layout. This simply refers to whether the plumbing for the sink(s), toilet, shower and bath or plumbed on one, two or three walls. The more walls used in the design, the greater flexibility but also adds to the expense. The second rule is more of a preference and one that most homeowners don’t think about initially. Simply put, it states don’t let the toilet be the first thing to be seen when entering the bathroom. Bathroom designs include walls, half walls or cabinets to be placed in order to discourage the sightline to include the toilet.
Other considerations for the bathroom layout include lighting, sink/vanity height, sink/vanity location and tub size. The most important aspect of bathroom lighting is the mirror. Good lighting that does not cast shadows is essential. This can be accomplished by having wall mounted lighting near eye level on each side of the mirror. Additionally, there should be a fixture above the mirror as well. The sink and vanity height should be considered in the bathroom layout design process. Typically the vanity countertop is 32-34 inches high, but if the bathroom design plan includes a vessel sink, this will need to be considered in the layout phase of the bathroom design plan. For smaller bathrooms, a corner sink and vanity can be a great way to save space and utilize an otherwise dead area. Lastly, many companies are offering smaller sizes for their bathtubs to accommodate smaller spaces. Another idea would be to use a Japanese soaking tub, which are perfect for small spaces and deep relaxation.
Although there is more to consider with bathroom layout, the last to be noted here is ventilation. As a general rule, a bathroom should have at least 2 ways to ventilate, typically a fan and a window—reducing mold and mildew begins with removing the moisture. Make sure the fan is large enough to cover the space and it is recommended to not skimp on the fan—get a good fan, it will pay off in the long run. Also consider using a timer switch with the fan, so it will automatically shut off.

Bathroom Storage

Considerations and Options for Bathroom Storage

  1. Functional vanity
  2. Consider wall cabinets and hutches
  3. Open shelving is trending
Bathroom storage is sometimes the forgotten aspect of the bathroom remodel. The vanity should not only meet the style and vibe of the bathroom design, but also needs to be functional. Additionally the size of the vanity is crucial—too big and it may mess up the flow, too small and there may not be enough counter space or storage. The standard has alway been to have a vanity and linen closet, whereas bathroom design trends are getting a little more risky by incorporating wall cabinetry, hutches and open shelving. Whichever style is used for the bathroom remodel or renovation, make sure there will be enough storage whether it be in the form of vanity, cabinets or linen closet.

Bathrooms of a New Construction Home in Downers Grove

The pictures on the right are of a new construction home with a master bath, two full baths and a half bath. The bathrooms all follow the "Bathroom Design Plan", but is more apparent in the master bathroom.

Bathroom Design Plan Notables

  • Lighting above mirrors
  • Seamless glass on shower enclosure
  • Separate tub and shower in master bath
  • Toilet Placement
  • Windows for additional light
  • Vanities with storage
Custom Home master bathroom design - Large tub, glass shower, tiled shower walls - by Platinum Builders Custom Home master bathroom design - view of double vanity, shower with glass doors and tiled shower walls - by Platinum Builders Custom Home - bathroom toilet and sink - by Platinum Builders Custom home bathroom design - master bathroom view from angle to capture full view of vanity, bathtub and shower - by Platinum Builders Custom home full bath - second full bathroom with vanity, toilet and bathtub/shower combo. Shower walls have white subway tiles installed. Custom Home - third full bathroom vanity - Platinum Builders

Bathroom Finishes

Picking Out Finishes for Your New Bathroom

  1. Have a color palette set
  2. Natural focal point is the bathtub
  3. Seamless glass shower enclosures are trending
  4. Choose appropriate floor and wall tile
Making a statement and setting the mood with bathroom finishes can make or break a bathroom remodel or renovation. There are so many details to finishes in a bathroom, only a few will be written about here. The natural focal point of any bathroom is the bathtub which can set the style for the bathroom. The bathtubs on the market today evoke style—from clawfoot or pedestal base tubs to streamlined and straight-sided tubs—the bathroom design style can be set by the bathtub alone. In a similar way, showers, whether separate or shower-bath combo, can make a dramatic statement too, with the trend toward seamless glass enclosures and full wall tile, they have come a long way since the preformed units of the past.
The next consideration for bathroom finishes is tile, both floor and wall tile. Floor tiles need to be durable, water resistant and slip resistant. Polished tiles tend to be slippery so it is recommended to choose a honed finish for better traction. The trend of using wall tile within bathrooms has skyrocketed in the past few years. Subway tile is a classic that is still very popular but homeowners and designers are also using larger tiles for walls and surrounds. Wall tile isn't just for the shower area anymore either—whole walls are being tiled as a “showcase” wall.
The last aspect of bathroom finishes to be mentioned here is the bathroom design color palette. In addition to paint color, the color palette includes the vanity, vanity top, floor tile, wall tile, fixtures and basically everything else in the bathroom. Color choices can be energizing or relaxing and they can be trendy or timeless. With all the color choices available, it can be overwhelming, but by narrowing down to a few colors, then selecting a complimentary color and a neutral color, it may be easier to pick the final color palette.

Bathroom Decor

Bring It All Toghether With Bathroom Decor

  1. Window dressings will add a softness
  2. Colorful towels as accent and decoration
  3. Use pictures and mirrors to add character
  4. Open shelves for display and function
Bathroom Decor is the last piece to the bathroom design plan. The bathroom decor will add character and feel to the bathroom remodel or renovation. One thing that a lot of homeowners don’t consider in their bathroom design are window dressings. Bathrooms are mostly hard surfaces—tile, tub, more tile, vanity/sink, etc.—and are relatively small spaces. To soften up the feel in a bathroom, dressing the windows will add a softness that most bathrooms desperately need. Additionally, towels will soften up the space as well. Use small hand towels rolled up and placed in a basket, or stacked on a shelf. Use colorful towels that are part or compliment the color palette.
Open shelves are often used for decor in bathroom design. Use the shelves to display candles, towels, motifs, flowers, shells, etc., to contribute to the design. Pictures and mirrors are another great way to enhance the aesthetics of the bathroom. Again, there is no right or wrong with bathroom decor, it is whatever someone thinks will help create their in-home retreat.
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