While the fun part of designing a bathroom lies in choosing fixtures and finishes, it's important to make big decisions about maximising function and optimising the layout before you start contemplating the finer details.
Successful bathroom design requires working with the constraints of the space. You have to make important decisions about how the room functions and flows. It means thinking about how best to design the shower for maximum comfort and efficiency and placing the bathtub if you have the space and desire for one.
What size and type of vanity you can fit into your particular bathroom. What kind of door works best for privacy and ease of use, or, in the case of a primary suite, whether to install a door at all.
Check out these bathrooms in a range of styles and sizes for ideas to help you design or redesign your bathroom, whether that means building an elegant hotel-style primary suite from scratch, remodelling a guest bathroom, or turning a small studio apartment bathroom into a zen-like oasis that maximises every last square inch of space.
This bold minimalist open plan double shower and bath from interior designer Cathie Hong of Cathie Hong Interiors has pivoting glass doors that can be left open to maximise light and airflow from the wrap-around windows or shut to prevent unwanted shower splashes. Double showerheads are discreetly installed on opposite sides of the self-enclosed washroom, focusing on the tub and the view.
Double Wall-Mounted Sinks
Not every shared bathroom needs a built-in double vanity. This child's shared bathroom from JL Design, matching wall-mounted industrial sinks are hung at kid-friendly height to give siblings their own space.
Covering bathroom walls in floor-to-ceiling stone or tiling has become a widespread design trend that is practical from a cleaning perspective and has the visual advantage of drawing the eye upward to make bathrooms feel more spacious. In this luxury Chicago highrise bathroom from Alexis Bednyak Design and Searl Lamaster Howe Architects, a black stone slab covers the far wall, creating a dramatic focal point. Pale stone shower tiles also run to the ceiling for contrast.
Installing good lighting is an important part of any room design, but bathroom lighting can often be harsh and unflattering in the room where you least want it to be. LED backlighting this bathroom from interior designer Rhianna Jones of Tidal Interiors adds a glamorous touch to a sleek built-in wall-to-wall shower niche.
The ambient light creates a soothing glow for nighttime showers and adds another layer of lighting in a space lacking in natural light. If attempting to add light to a shower, be sure to enlist a professional who can ensure that it's safe and waterproof.
When choosing a bathroom vanity, consider upcycling a vintage or antique wood piece of furniture and adding a sink and waterproof countertop. For example, interior designer Abbie Naber of A. Naber Design upcycled a mid-century modern buffet into a handsome bathroom vanity with character and plenty of storage.
In this light, bright, and elegant bathroom from interior designer Jessica Risko Smith of JRS ID, an all-white mix of finishes is warmed by brass fixtures and glamorous lighting. But the show's real star is a Dutch door leading to the outside whose top half can be slung open to increase natural ventilation and light.
Don't feel obligated to stick to a single style when designing a bathroom. This eclectic bathroom from interior designer Lisa Gilmore of Lisa Gilmore Design features a bold black metal grid glass partition that houses the spacious shower. This industrial design feature contrasts the bathroom's soft, polished decorative finishes, such as patterned tile and floral wallpaper.
Wall Tile Surround
Interior designer Mindy Gayer of Mindy Gayer Design Co. defined this relatively small bathroom's combination shower and soaking tub area with a floor-to-ceiling wrap-around tile backsplash. The showerhead is centred over the tub and hung from the ceiling to reduce visual clutter. A towel hook hangs on one side and built-in nooks on the other, but the designer skipped the shower curtain to preserve a feeling of openness.
In a long and narrow corridor-style bathroom, be sure to leave the central alleyway clear for ease of circulation and to keep sightlines clear. Interior designer Desiree Burns of Desiree Burns Interiors made this pass-through bathroom feel distinct by adding a coat of minty green paint that adds freshness without calling too much attention to itself.
While open-plan bathrooms are trendy, there's something to be said for a shared bathroom with distinct zones that can provide privacy when desired, like this bathroom from interior designer Emily Henderson of Emily Henderson Design.
A shower with access to natural light is a luxury. In this marble tile shower in a California bathroom from Lori Gentile Interior Design, a pair of windows provides plenty of natural light, and a built-in window bench creates a relaxing place to shave your legs or wait for your hair mask to sink in.
The double shower heads in this spacious bathroom from interior designer Jessica Risko Smith of JRS ID are practically invisible thanks to a wall of graphic patterned tile. The tub is tucked beneath the windows, and a transparent wall of glass shower doors practically disappears to control splashing while maximising space to allow for a large soaking tub.
Interior designer Mindy Gayer of Mindy Gayer Design Co. added a built-in ledge that houses plumbing for the large soaking tub. But this practical design decision also provides a styling opportunity for displaying decor and accessories—not to mention a place to rest a wine glass for those who enjoy a bathtime beverage.
Why build in one bathroom niche when you can have two, like this bathroom from Emily Henderson Design contributor Malcolm Simmons that is perfect for sharing or separating everyday products from once-a-week home spa day items.
Creating sightlines and perspectives makes a small space feel more expansive and a larger space more interesting. So interior designer, Rhianna Jones of Tidal Interiors, added a wood-clad, inset nook over the large double vanity in this spacious California bathroom with soft backlighting and is outfitted with a wide mirror reflecting the natural view light from the sliding glass doors opposite.
In this spacious primary bathroom from interior designer Lisa Gilmore of Lisa Gilmore Design, a dedicated vanity wall includes a wood vanity with plenty of storage, a comfortable chair, a pretty gold mirror, and vintage lighting.
Interior designer Rhianna Jones of Tidal Interiors added warmth to a modern black-and-white bathroom by choosing a wood-clad vanity and wood-effect tiling to create a shower accent wall and a focal point.
Interior designer Jenn Bannister of Flourish Interior Design clad the vanity and tall adjacent storage cabinets in dark wood that creates a seamless look and a warm, grounding element in the clean, modern all-white bathroom. A narrow vertical window with opaque glass brings natural light while maintaining privacy.
Wall To Wall Tile
Sometimes the best way to maximise the perception of space in a bathroom is through clever use of design finishes. One way to create an elegantly modern bathroom is by tiling all surfaces in the same hue, like this handsome bathroom design from interior designer Laura Brophy of Laura Brophy Interiors.
Interior designer Sarah Latham of Latham Interiors used simple rectangular mirrors that mimic the windows and sliding glass doors on both sides of the bathroom, creating perspectives, bouncing around natural light, and maximising views.
Interior designer Jenn Bannister of Flourish Interior Design created a wet room that houses the shower and tub positioned against the right-hand wall, a space-saving and efficient design that works well in a railway-style bathroom with enough width.
Jamaica-based interior designer Joelle Smith of If Walls Could Talk created a sense of privacy in this shared bathroom by creating a toilet nook that is blessed with two windows and is partially concealed by a wall.
While sculptural free-standing garden tubs are on-trend, there's nothing wrong with a classic built-in bathtub for a streamlined look that's easy to keep clean. In this primary bathroom, interior designer Desiree Burns of Desiree Burns Interiors created a console on the right-hand wall that creates a place to display art and decor while hiding the plumbing for the bathtub.
In this bathroom from interior designer Sarah Latham of Latham Interiors, the designer created a built-in open and closed storage nook that still leaves room for a roomy shower while adding functionality to the room.
Under The Eaves
In this house designed by NORD for Living Architecture, a black garden tub is tucked under the eaves and lit by a skylight, while white painted shiplap and a farmhouse sink match the English countryside setting. The black and white palette add a tough modern edge that keeps it from looking twee.
If you've got awkward-shaped angles in your bathroom, turn this design bug into a decorative feature like interior designer Sarah Latham of Latham Interiors. She clad the shower in contrasting tile and added clear custom glass shower doors to add a more streamlined look.
This bathroom from Erin Williamson Design has plenty of decorative finishes, from eye-catching cement tile floors to walnut front cabinetry and matte black Brizo plumbing fixtures. But the hexagonal window embedded in the far shower wall and surrounded by simple white tiling is the unique feature that creates a unique design.
In this railroad-style bathroom from interior designer Cathie Hong of Cathie Hong Interiors, the tub is located out of the way at the far end beneath a window. The designer added dark grey tile in a herringbone pattern that adds depth to the long, rectangular room, providing a backsplash that continues onto the floor for a seamless look.
Interior designer Kara Thomas of Studio KT designed the giant walk-in shower in this primary bedroom suite, using the same black and grey palette as the adjacent dressing room to create cohesion and flow between the spaces.
Large Scale Art
Floor-to-ceiling windows provide a wide-open view and a natural focal point in this luxurious high rise bathroom from interior designer Ginger Barber of Ginger Barber Interior Design. But the designer installed a large-scale piece of art on the adjacent wall to give the eye another place to rest that adds colour and vibrancy to the contemporary, neutral-toned space.
Interior designer Cathie Hong of Cathie Hong Interiors tiled this spacious bathroom from floor to the vaulted ceiling line to lightly define the space and make it easy to clean. Glass doors create a seamless transition from the tub area to the walk-in shower and allow the light from adjacent windows to brighten the space.
Interior designer Lauren Lerner of Living with Lolo worked around the window in this primary bathroom, installing a countertop that runs the length of the wall and positioning matching sinks, mirrors, and pendant lights right next to one another to maximise the available wall space. The symmetry of the double sinks adds structure to the asymmetrical layout, making it look polished and purposeful.
Wall Of Mirrors
One way to make your bathroom design feel extra custom is to build bespoke decorative touches. In this spacious bathroom from Kendall Wilkinson Design, a wall of mirrors is layered with decorative framed mirrors over each sink and built-in sconces and ceiling lights that add ambient light.
On the left-hand wall, Desiree Burns Interiors added a shallow ledge and built-in nooks that offer additional space for decor and bath items and balance the design.
In this historic California house renovation, interior designer Erin Williamson of Erin Williamson Design added obscured glass on the window and door that preserve privacy while letting the light shine through.
Designing your bathroom around a statement bathtub will turn the space into a showpiece if you've got the budget, space, and inclination. In this luxury bathroom from interior designer Kendall Wilkinson of Kendall Wilkinson Design, a sculptural stone tub floats in front of a bank of floor-to-ceiling windows with a view of the outdoors. At the same time, you can adjust Japanese style sliding screens to add privacy while still allowing the natural light to flow in.
If you're lucky enough to have extra space, turn your bathroom into a restroom by adding seating. In this spacious bathroom from interior designer Desiree Burns of Desiree Burns Interiors, a window seat big enough for two between the double vanities creates an opportunity for extra storage and a place to rest and enjoy the view while giving yourself a pedicure.
Suspended toilets make a bathroom feel contemporary and updated, are easy to clean, and keep the space feeling light and airy. In this spacious bathroom from interior designer Maite Granda, the ledge created by the hidden plumbing behind the toilet creates a decorating opportunity to rotate in art, plants, flowers, or decorative items.
When designing an all-white bathroom, be sure to mix materials to create interest and keep it from feeling too cold and sterile. Interior designer Mindy Gayer of Mindy Gayer Design Co. clad the walls of this Southern California bathroom in vertical shiplap to emphasise the ceiling height. The white wood extends to the half-wall entry to the shower and blends in with the white marble tiling.
If you're lucky enough to be working with a large bathroom footprint, consider distinct zoning areas to maximise functionality. For example, in this bathroom from interior designer Amy Leferink of Interior Impressions, a towel wall in the spacious enclosed shower features a textured wood accent, towel hooks, and a teak bench that feels like an extra room.
Floor to ceiling built-ins give this bathroom from interior designer Nancy Charbonneau of Charbonneau Interiors a tailored feel. A combination of open and closed storage offers a place to store and display stacks of towels, art, and objects, while plenty of cupboard space and drawers hide clutter. A large mirror fitted to the wall between built-ins helps maintain a spacious and airy feel.
So, there you have it – a few different bathroom ideas to get you started on your remodelling project. Remember, it's important to think about what will work best for your and your family's needs. If you need more help deciding on a specific style or design, be sure to consult with a professional contractor who can guide you through the process.
FAQs About Home Builders
In general, you'll have three types to choose from—master, guest and half—but the choices for how you configure and design these are just about infinite.
Main bathrooms are often an extension of a home's main bedroom; they're typically located within or adjacent to the main bedroom. For this reason, you may simplify some design decisions if you want to mirror or at least emulate the bedroom's design.
A bathroom with a sink, toilet, and a bathtub or shower.
A Three-piece bathroom (3-piece bath) is a restroom with three plumbing fixtures: a sink and a toilet, plus one other fixture.
There's no rule that every bathroom in your home has to be the same colour or be decorated in the same style. However, if you like a similar style throughout, it's probably a classic style that will be beautiful in any bathroom.