7 Design Details to Consider When Planning Bathroom Remodel

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Planning to build or upgrade your master bathroom? The last thing you want is to exceed your budget or end up with a design that falls short of your vision. After you and your designer have optimized your available space, focus on the details that make the bathroom functional and beautiful, all while keeping an eye on costs.

1. Consider Using the Same Color Tiles for the Floor and Walls

Choosing the same color for both floor and wall tiles, even if they are different shapes, can make a small master bath feel much larger. If you can only tile walls up to a certain height, consider painting the plaster above the tiled section the same color as the tiles.

Tip: If you love the look of stone but it’s out of your budget, consider using an affordable ceramic tile that mimics the appearance and texture of stone.

2. Make Windows as Big as You Can

Master bathrooms are often located on the side of the house, allowing for the incorporation of a window into the design. Since the sides of many homes are typically the most private areas, often facing a wall or fence, you might consider installing a glass wall instead of a small window. This can bring a touch of greenery into your bathroom and make a small space feel larger.

Tip: If your bathroom lacks privacy, tinted or frosted glass could be a suitable option. In some cases, a skylight or solar tube might be a better choice. Select whatever fits best for you, but aim to bring natural light into the space.

3. The Power of Good Lighting

Strategically placing lights can make a compact master bathroom feel bigger. Use LED strip lighting to bathe entire walls and floors in soft, diffused light that resembles daylight. Add lighting to the top of a concealed bulkhead or beneath a vanity to create the illusion that the vanity is floating. These methods are highly effective for lighting a small en suite.

Tip: Concealing the light source is a clever trick that can visually extend the space, making your bathroom feel more open and spacious.

4. For a Tiny Space, Choose a Sliding Door

The door you select for your master bathroom can significantly impact both the perceived size of the space and how comfortably you can move around in it. A hinged door that swings inward will take away valuable floor space, which is fine if you have a large en suite, but not ideal for a compact one. In this case, a door that slides into a hidden pocket in the wall is the best option.

Keep in mind that you won’t be able to fix towel racks or other accessories to the back of a pocket door, as you would with a hinged door or one that simply slides across a blank wall.

Tip: If your en suite is dark, consider a glass sliding door to “borrow” light from the adjoining bedroom. Frosted glass can provide a sense of privacy while still allowing light to filter through.

5. Consider Carefully Where to Place Accessories

As with any bathroom design, you’ll need to add several accessories to your en suite to make it functional. For instance, towel racks should be located near the shower and vanity.

If your bathroom has limited wall space, consider placing accessories in other spots, such as the back of the door, above or around the toilet, or on the side of the vanity—ideal for installing a toilet paper holder or hand towel ring.

If you plan to install accessories on the bathroom door, be sure to choose a solid-core door to securely attach the accessories.

Tip: Ensure that your plumbing fixtures and accessories are finished in the same color for a more streamlined look.

6. Add a Shower Ledge or Niche

Shower caddies often fail to meet expectations and can diminish the sophistication of a bathroom. One of the most stylish bathroom remodel ideas is to eliminate the need for a caddy altogether. Installing a shower ledge or niche, particularly with the same tile used throughout the bathroom, creates a subtly impressive and cohesive space. Although  

Tip: There are several options for transitioning between the wall and your niche or ledge. Natural stone is a popular choice for a luxurious and classic look. However, for a more contemporary design, consider mitering the edges at a 45-degree angle. In some cases, metal trim might be the best option if the tile isn’t suitable for mitering.

7. Stylish Shower Drain

Shower drain can be a stunning accent in your bathroom if installed correctly and with a quality finish. However, if poorly done, it can become an eyesore. Depending on your bathroom’s design and layout, you might be able to conceal the drain beneath a floating bench. This design hides the drain, giving the bathroom a much cleaner look (unless you bend down to look under).

Tip:  Most shower drains come with tile finish covers that almost disappear from view. These types come in various trim colors and can be matched to your shower system for a cohesive look.

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