It’s safe to say that when you are remodeling your house you are aiming for perfection. Otherwise, why would you venture into renovation land? However, there is a chance to miss design details, especially when we are drawn into the world of endless possibilities that a renovation entails. That is why we’ve diligently crafted this list of top 10 most common bathroom design mistakes and how to avoid them.
1. Not having clear needs and ideas for space
As stupid as it sounds, it is one of the common remodeling design mistakes of a bathroom. Make a list defining exactly the things you would like to include in your bathroom, sorting them by order of priority according to your criteria. You might be surprised by things that appear that you wouldn’t have imagined you actually needed. If your priority is to have more natural light, you might be sacrificing storage space. So this is a basic exercise to determine your must haves.
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2. Not planning proper distribution and layout
Bathroom distribution is crafted around your list of needs and priorities. Each bathroom has its own measurements and characteristics, therefore the list will sort out the best possible distribution and layout so you don’t leave out any essentials. It might sound like a simple job, but bathroom distribution is a constant challenge for architects especially if you don’t have square meters to spare. You will need to devote time to check off all the items on your list. Never assume that your architect or designer will know what is most important to you. They are the experts, but you are the one who knows your priorities. This is very easily overlooked and accounts as a primary cause of mistakes in bathroom design.
3. Prioritizing trends over practical issues
Let’s be clear, I don’t mean that following bathroom trends or fad is wrong. Not at all. Bathroom trends are not for everyone and there are few bathroom trends to avoid. When you decide for a purely aesthetic issue, consider how your daily life will be. For one person a colorful art mural in the bathroom can be a source of never ending inspiration and for others, it can just be a plain disaster.
Also, take the time to consider if you intend to live in your house forever. Of course, the bathroom is a room that should bring you harmony and wellbeing, and to achieve this you must feel comfortable with your choice. But perhaps, you are planning on selling the house in a few years. Will this trend you enjoy now, affect the ability to sell the house later on? Will it be a good investment down the road? We could argue indefinitely on this particular subject, regardless, considering function over trends is a good rule of thumb when trying to avoid bathroom design mistakes.
4. Not choosing the right materials for each zone
The bathroom is a space that has its own idiosyncrasies; it is an area where there will normally be humidity, and also where we use special and stronger cleaning products. This means that not all materials are suitable for this room. Rethink a pretty wallpaper, for example. Nowadays there are many options in type, quality, and price, so there is no point in using products that will give bad results in the short term. Be sure to research the materials’ expected longevity and if there are special instructions on usage so you can avoid fixing this bathroom design faux-pas down the line.
5. Not leaving enough space to comfortably access the shower
This is rookie bathroom design mistake at its best. And it is due to poor planning. Granted that some bathrooms have limited amounts of space, but if this is the case, you should research and find a solution around that, rather than trying to squeeze yourself in the shower every day. You will never forgive yourself if you let this happen because the uncomfortable squeeze will be part of your everyday routine. Pay close attention to this! We’ve seen many bathrooms with this design mistake. Big planning fail.
6. Not leaving enough space between the toilet and the bidet
This is also a common bathroom planning mistake. Sometimes we struggle to include these two pieces even though we lack the space to comfortable fit them both. And sometimes, the problem even persist despite having enough space, because we insist on placing them too close together. The result: it feels cramped and uncomfortable. The expert needs to give you a clear idea on what space really allows. If you insist, make sure you ask if it will be a comfortable fit or a forced one. You can even draft the dimensions in the floor with tape so you can get a real feel of what it will look like.
The centerline of the toilet should be at least 18 inches from the edge of the bidet, according to National Kitchen and Bath Association’s planning guidelines. The centerlines of both fixtures should be at least 18 inches from their respective walls, that is, if they share an enclosure, minimum width will be 62.5 inches. The bidet itself typically occupies 14 inches wide by 24 to 26 inches long, while a round bowl toilet will be around 18×27 inches long, and an elongated bowl toilet will be 18 x 30 inches long.
7. Disregarding lighting and ventilation as minor issues
Bathroom lighting is a complex issue. We tend to regard it as the final touches to a room and save it for later. But in the bathroom, as it is in the kitchen, lighting is fundamental because of the tasks you perform within these spaces. It does not matter if you can boast a makeup masters from MAC, if the lighting in your bathroom is off, you will never get it right. If you place lighting above the mirror, you will most likely get shadows over your face. Recessed lighting above the sink can also cause these unwanted shadows. So you need to think this through before you’re ready to bring in your new towel set. It is also advisable that you strengthen the general light in the bathroom when you do not have natural light coming inside, or when the bathroom is quite big, or when it has different areas separated by partitions. Avoid this bathroom design mistake by doing more reading on bathroom lighting here.
As for ventilation, it also gets disregarded as a secondary priority, when its effects will snowball into a bathroom problem in no time. Natural ventilation is always recommended because it keeps excess moisture at bay. If you can’t place your bathroom near a window, then pay close attention to artificial ventilation, performance, and online reviews, so you don’t have to address this issue later on. Your newly painted bathroom could have to be repainted and your wooden vanity may suffer.
8. Not defining enough storage space
There’s a mantra for bathrooms and kitchens most people find it to be true: there is no such thing as too much storage. The first thing you need to consider is: on a scale of one to ten, how orderly are you? If you’re not an eleven, my friend, your new obsession should be smart storage solutions.
The second thing to consider is how many people are going to use the bathroom? There might be enough storage for one person, but perhaps it won’t be enough for two. A word from the wise, people don’t really like to share food, and they don’t really like to share storage space. So plan accordingly. The thing is, if you don’t consider this from the beginning you’ll end up buying every storage solution from Ikea, cramming the space with extra furniture and ultimately damaging the harmony and aesthetics of the room.
Try making a list of the items that will need to be stored. Have a teenage girl? (In this case, maybe you’ll need another bathroom.) Also, consider if other things will be added down the road. For example, your fourteen-year-old girl will need more storage space. Will the storage you’ve selected be able to grow and adapt with her? Or will you be faced with this bathroom design mistake a few years from now? Plan ahead. Depending on that list, try to allocate in a small plan the necessary storage pieces to meet the demand for space. Once you have planned the distribution, it will not be necessary to buy everything at once; you will buy according to your current needs, but with the “joker” of having foreseen what will be needed in the future.
9. Focusing on a specific price
Adapting your material choices to your budget is obviously a must. But there is a common practice that might be hurting your overall perception, and thus increasing the chances of bathroom remodel design mistakes. Focusing on individual prices, for example: obsessing over the price by square feet, regardless of the total surface or amount of decoration you actually need. The result being: you end up with very limited choices and end up placing products and finishes that don’t satisfy you. In quality or appearance.
What you should do is to get a quote for the entire work, with the specific measurements of the bathroom. Based on this quote, choose the products that you like, and analyze how much you would actually spend in the end. You might be surprised to find out that it doesn’t exceed the initial budget. In case that it does, consider the amount and determine the things you can change for similar options. This way you respect your budget while covering all your exigencies as well. Logically, this involves a little more effort, but the result is much more satisfying.
May we suggest you prepare this plan A, plan B before you contact a professional so that you have the other option ready and you don’t have to go back and research and keep people pressuring you. We always say that the home renovation road will always be as smooth as your preparation for it.
10. Not trusting the work of professionals
Last, but surely not least, this point is of utmost importance. In any work of construction or renovation, you need to surround yourself with good and qualified professionals (architects, decorators, general contractors, electricians, plumbers…) which can help you execute the work in the best way, avoiding as many design mistakes as possible.
Please do some research on your prospects, but you can start by following these three tips:
- Study thoroughly all proposals, without simply opting for the cheaper price and without addressing all the details.
- Ask for references from several clients who have used their products or services.
- Do your online research on chosen professionals.
We’re not saying this is easy, but avoiding these bathroom design mistakes is achievable by doing your homework. It takes time, but look at it as an investment. The more you plan and research, the greater satisfaction you’ll enjoy.
MORE: Floor Plans From an Architect to Design Perfect Bathroom Layouts.