Top Tips | Bathroom
Top Tips | Bathroom
When we take on a bathroom design project, there are a number of standard details that we think about incorporating right off the bat. These details are important for everyday functionality and aesthetics, and are affordable for most of our clients. Then there are the luxuries. While some of the luxury items get reserved for higher end projects, we are able to add many of them to our mid-budget projects as well. Read on find out about our favorite bathroom details.
1. Heated floors
When it comes down to it, there’s nothing quite like feeling the warmth of a heated floor on your bare feet. Compared to standard bathroom floors, which are often made from cold materials, heated floors can make a huge difference in your overall bathroom experience. They are an efficient way to heat a space, easy to install, and more affordable than most people think.
2. Towel Warmer
Similar to heated floors, when you step out of the shower, a heated towel simply feels great on bare skin. There are two types of towel warmers to choose from: electric and hydronic. One is less costly and uses electricity to heat the rails, while the other which typically is more expensive uses hot water. It’s a good idea to ask you contractor which is better suited for your home.
3. Drawer Space
We all know that storage space in the bathroom is important, so drawers come in extra handy, especially in the vanity. They’re useful for things like makeup, toothpaste, hairdryers, etc. You can even go as far as adding pull-out shelves to the inside of the cabinets with doors. We like to design custom cabinets in bathrooms for ultimate storage functionality.
4. Vanity Lighting
When you’re at the bathroom vanity applying makeup or shaving, lighting is key. The best quality light in this location is at face level because it produces the fewest shadows and lights the face evenly. When we’re incorporating vanity lighting into our bathroom designs, our go-to light fixtures are sconces mounted on either side of a mirror above the sink, like in the photo from House of Jade Interiors. The type of lighting that we avoid at all costs are recessed lights above the vanity. They cast dark shadows over the face which makes it difficult to see while you are in the middle of your beauty regimen, and not to mention are extremely unflattering.
5. Unique Mirrors
There’s nothing more boring in a bathroom than a wall-to-wall frameless mirror. However functional they may appear, there is a lack of character that comes along with them. For most of our bathroom designs, we prefer to include a decorative framed mirror or medicine cabinet over the vanity. The functional aspect remains, but the design is taken to a higher level. We had a pretty, custom oval mirror made for our Spruce Street bathroom that fit the space perfectly and added the extra charm needed to pull the space together.
6. Grout Color Makes a Difference
The grout color you choose for your tile can make a huge difference in the overall look of the space. Selecting a similar grout color to the tile is subtle, while a contrasting grout color is bolder. For example, in the first photo below from Threshold Interiors, the black tile with black grout looks very clean and understated. But in the second photo from Evars + Anderson Interior Design, the light tile paired with a dark grout makes the tile pattern pop. Either route can be appropriate, but depends on the style of the space and the look you want to achieve.”
7. Tile Trim
Whenever there is wall tile that stops and has an exposed edge, such as the shower tile in the photo from Elements of Style, it has to be capped with a finishing piece. Whenever possible, we avoid using metal tile edging and opt to install corresponding tile trim pieces. Although it is budget friendly, metal edging is not very nice on the eyes and can lend a commercial feel to your bathroom, per the example below. Tile trim pieces cap edges seamlessly and elegantly without calling attention to the detail.
8. Shower Bench
Sometimes it’s just nice to take a seat in the shower and enjoy yourself (especially in a steam shower – see number 13). A bench is a great place to prop a foot up for leg shaving, and can act as a shelf. Additionally, those who are getting a little older can benefit greatly, as a bench makes the shower a safer and more comfortable place. A good way to bump up the luxury factor of a shower bench is to add heat so you stay nice and toasty – tiles and stone can be cold on your backside. Here’s a great one from Mandarina Interior Design Studio.
9. Shower Niches
Whenever a shower is built, it’s a smart idea to incorporate niches for shampoo and soap storage, like the one below from Tadelakt London. Niches create a dedicated space for these items and eliminates the need for metal baskets which are unsightly and tend to rust. Just be sure to make them tall enough so that your bottles will fit. Also avoid installing them on exterior walls (especially in cold climates), as it can create a heat sink because there won’t be much, if any, space behind the niche for insulation.
10. Thermostatic Shower Controls
Many of us are used to pressure balance shower controls, but for a better shower experience, thermostatic systems are where it’s at. Whereas a pressure balance valve controls the water temperature and pressure simultaneously (and let’s be honest – you really only get one pressure setting), thermostatic valves control the temperature and pressure separately. That means you get to choose how hot or how cold AND if you want a weaker or stronger stream of water. Thermostatic controls also allow you to set the temperature so that if you have a “favorite” temperature, it will heat exactly to that setting every time you turn on the water.
11. Hand Shower
If there is one type of showerhead that we recommend to our clients every time, it’s the hand shower. Even if they aren’t going the route of multiple water sources (standard showerhead, rain showerhead, the works…), we still suggest a handshower – yes, even if it’s going to be their only showerhead. In many cases we recommend a handshower that’s mounted on a bar because they are flexible, like the one shown in this bathroom designed by Erin Williamson. You can adjust the height for different members of the household, take the showerhead off the hook when needed, and they make cleaning a breeze.
12. Watch the Open Space Above Your Shower Glass or Curtain
Depending on the bathroom and overall design, our rule of thumb is generally to leave approximately 12” of open space above the curtain rod or glass, like in our 70th Street project. In climates like Seattle, where it’s not warm year round, this is especially important. There needs to be enough room for steam to escape, but no one likes to be cold when they’re taking a shower.
13. Steam Shower
Steam showers are a super luxurious option that you can add to your shower that makes it function like your very own personal sauna. Many steam shower units come with bells and whistles like aromatherapy as well. On the contrary to the previous scenario, the shower must be completely closed to keep the steam in – so no space at the top of your shower glass. Although, it’s a nice touch to add a pivoting piece of glass above the door so that you can choose whether or not to let the steam vent when you take a normal shower. Don’t forget, you must tile the shower ceiling as well as the walls in this scenario!