What bathroom design ideas just make sense?

A bathroom design can be a challenge, even for the more experienced designers. The space was designed a certain way, whether by an architect or a builder, and there are constraints that sometimes limit our choices. Here are the things we always prioritize when coming up with modern bathroom design ideas. From the small bathroom design ideas to the large master bathroom ideas, we have some tips that should help with your new bathroom floor plan.

Toilet Space

How much space do you need for a toilet?

This is where we start our bathroom planning and provide 36″ (18″ o.c.) for the toilet space.

We will priortize this over the vanity unless the bathroom is super tiny, then we use the required space per code of 15″ o.c.

When placing your toilet, also think about the toilet paper holder location to make sure you have a spot for it.

how much space for a toilet?

3D Bathroom Render

Shower and Tub Space

What is the minimum space for a shower or tub?

A standard bathtub is 30″ wide and 60″ long, while this can work for a shower, it is a little smaller than required and needs to be thought through for the freedom to move. If fully enclosed in glass, it can be difficult to help someone else shower. When configuring a 30″ shower, we like to use a glass panel 36″ wide and leave the opening clear. We already know that a 30″ shower is planned in a small bathroom and eliminating the door helps with space management (door swings can be tight!).

A standard small shower is typically 36″x36″. These are good baseline dimensions to grow from.

We like to start our shower planning at 42″x60″ which is a nice comfortable shower size. In a primary bath, if we can increase these dimensions we will.

small bathroom design

Small Bathroom Design with three drawer vanity cabinet and walk in shower with shaving niche.

Vanity Cabinet Design

Go for drawers!

This one has a few steps so lets start with the basic vanity in a small bathroom. A small vanity can be anywhere from 18″ to 36″ and this size can make it challenging for storage. First you need to know your sink size so you can determine how much space you have to work with. In a small vanity, drawer space is key and with a sink there isn’t much left for drawers. We have been loving a 3 drawer vanity with the top drawer u-shape to wrap around the sink, as well as the middle drawer doing the same, but becomes a little larger. Great storage space for hair brushes, tooth brushes, and smaller items. The large bottom drawer is super functional for larger items, towels, toilet paper etc. This is by far the most functional addition of storage in a small bathroom.

In a medium bathroom, we go through the same steps as the small bathroom with the toilet and shower space. Then we determine what is left for linen storage. We will continually balance between the shower and the storage to make sure we get it right.

In a large bathroom, we have the luxury of designing and planning plenty of storage with cabinets, large showers, free-standing tubs and more.  Flow in a large bathroom is key, as well as keeping the space feeling cozy. A large cavernous bathroom doesn’t feel inviting, so be aware of balance and warmth from the cabinets.

Drawer storage space is always our priority.

Shower Niche and shaving niche

Niches have always been popular in the shower and we have recently been adding shaving niches! Such a great idea that takes up a small amount of space. When designing your niche, go for consisten tile throughout, and plan your edge details carefully. We will always opt for a mitered tile edge detail, but not all materials work for this technique. Either a jolly tile or a schluter edge detail also gets planned carefully to ensure it is beautiful and not a disruption to the tile design.

Lighting and Mirrors

Lighting and mirrors are the icing on the cake for your bathroom. They can take a basic bath from boring to fantastic! When planning your mirror and lighting it really comes down to space. Sconce lights need additional space on each side of the mirror, so they don’t always work in small spaces, unless you find a very small footprint light. You can also offset and use one light to help. When planning your lighting choose the beauty and then check the specs. I can’t stress this enough. Lighting in the bathroom is so important. We typically do a vanity light, sconces AND a can light or more above the vanity to be sure that we have sufficient brightness and also that we have the opportunity to create a mood by dimming the lights for a bath or relaxing shower. We like to switch the can lights separately and add a dimmer to the decorative lighting.

double vanity with sconces