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How to design a bathroom: the bath planning secrets from International Career School experts

Design
Do you want to plan your own bathroom and sanitary facilities? When you are thinking about your bathroom design, don't overlook some of the details that are not immediately visible and that can ruin everything later on. The ICS team has selected the most important things to take into account when planning your bathroom design.

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Tools for bathroom design

Here are the basic essentials and why they are important.
A linear laser leveller will help identify wall curvature and floor height differences.
A spirit level is useful for checking that walls are vertical, floors are level, doors and windows are correctly installed, and that when bricks and tiles are laid, they are level/vertical.
A laser measure will make things easier for those who do not like to measure distances with a tape measure. Instead of rolling out a tape measure, you point the laser beam at an object from the desired location and the distance appears on the screen. With a laser measure, you can measure with one hand and without a partner.

How to measure and draw up a bathroom plan

1. Draw the layout of the room on paper.
2. Make a note of the width, floor to ceiling height and depth of the room.
3. Indicate on the plan the width of the door opening or, if it is difficult, the width of the door leaf. Mark the distance from the door to the wall on the left and the wall on the right.
4. If there is a window, indicate its dimensions and the distance from the window to the left and right walls, the distance to the ceiling, and the distance from the window to the floor.
5. If there are niches, protrusions, columns, or other structures in the room, mark them on the plan with the dimensions and distance from them to other elements.
6. Indicate on the plan the location of the common house riser with utilities: sewer, water supply. Specify the dimensions of the riser pipe.
7. If the bathroom is separate, indicate in the wall the point of entry for utilities from the bathroom to the toilet.
8. Specify the location of the ventilation riser pipe or ventilation grille. In addition, you can also enter the dimensions of the ventilation grille.

When you have measured the room, you can start with the project. To do this, decide on the bathroom's contents, colour palette, and design.

image: Freepik.com

How to note the pipes in the bathroom in the plan?

Make a note of where the water outlet and the drainage system are located.
If you have decided to replace the pipes in your bathroom, you must draw up a pipe route so that all pipes cross each other as little as possible. Decide whether it will be an open or closed distribution system. Only then can you decide whether the pipes in the bathroom should be hidden in the walls, in the floor screed or in special drywall ducts.
How the virtual planner helps you calculate the materials for your bathroom:
To calculate the quantity of bathroom tiles that will be required, draw up a floor plan on paper, showing to scale the optimum arrangement in each area of a particular type of tile.
Draw the chart for each wall separately. If the wall has niches or a small overhang, the drawing should represent the layout on the plane of all these surfaces. You will also need a separate drawing for the floor.
Another option to help the do-it-yourselfer is computer programs such as SketchUp. In them, you can make a virtual 3D model of the bathroom, specifying the parameters of walls, doorways, niches, and various projections. You then need to identify the tiling areas, specify the parameters of the tiles and determine the laying pattern. The software will help you calculate the estimated quantity of materials and outlay costs, and present a handy design for your bathroom. In our interior design course we explain in detail how to create a 3D Bathroom Plan based on drawings in SketchUp.

How to plan bathroom details

An interior collage is a technique that can be used to visually create a general vector of interior design vision. It helps you to understand the colour, style, and general direction of your future bathroom. The collage reflects the selection of furniture, decorations and finishing materials in order for you to get a feel for the proportions, dimensions, shapes, colours and mood of the interior. The conceptual collage serves as a cheat sheet, with which you can decide on a colour scheme and choose a wall finish. Maintain a given style for the interior and buy furniture and fixtures in that style.
We cover the principles of collage in detail on the course, but here are the general steps to create your ideal bathroom collage. In a nutshell:
  • Collect pictures from magazines or the internet according to "like" and "dislike" criteria. We recommend working with the visual search engine Pinterest.
  • Reflect on the pictures you like. Select the elements which recur frequently, mark the most interesting colours. The free remove.bg service will help you remove what you consider to be unnecessary by cropping the background.
  • Start assembling a collage of no more than 10 pictures. The most convenient free service for this is sampleboard.com.The idea is to see how your favourite images look next to each other. This is where the "fit" or "don't fit" filter works.
  • Eventually, you'll have 3-4 elements of your furnishings that you consider most important. They will define the style and colour scheme of your bathroom.
Remember, a collage is not a shopping cart. These are things that you might not want to put in your home, but similar items, similar in spirit, shape, and colour, are what you need.


Bathroom or shower system

This is the main question, the answer to which will determine all your basic bathroom fittings.
If you prefer a shower rather than a bath, opt for the shower area.
If you like relaxing in a bubble bath - don't spare any space. If you opt for an acrylic bath, you will need a frame, which takes up more space.
If the room is narrow, it's best not to put the tub along a long wall. It makes sense to place the standard bathtub along the shortest wall in the room. If the wall is less than 63 in. in length, opt for a corner model or a shower cubicle.

Choice of surface materials

Tiles are the most popular and practical choice for bathroom surfaces and will never go out of style. They are resistant to temperature extremes, mechanical damage, and moisture. With proper care, they will last more than 30 years. The ceramic surface can be cleaned with chemicals, which will allow you to keep your bathroom clean at all times.
Moisture resistant paint is the easiest and most convenient way to finish a bathroom. It is used to cover walls entirely or in combination with tiles.

If you wish to create a classically styled bathroom, decorative plaster with a silk effect is the right choice. Note that manufacturers recommend applying moisture protection with a special varnish and wax before installation. Use facade decorative plaster in the case of high humidity.
PVC panels, which imitate natural materials such as : wood and brick. It is a practical and convenient material that is easy to install without the help of professionals and is cheaper than natural surfaces.

One of the best floor coverings for a bathroom is porcelain stoneware. It is hard-wearing and durable, so it is suitable for rooms that are usually very humid. This material has an anti-slip property, which helps to avoid the injuries that are often caused by wet floors.
Bathroom walls can be decorated with mosaics. This will create an optical illusion and will visually enlarge the space, as bathrooms are usually small in size.

Do not cover the entire wall with mosaic because it will be overpowering. It is better to make a bright accent with a small pattern and use paint or tile to finish the rest of the walls.

Bathroom wall design

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An accent wall is a very effective design technique that allows you to bring a space to life with little effort. To do this, choose a focal point in the interior that will dominate your interior and focus all your decorating efforts on it. In the bathroom, this area is usually the wall with the sink or the shower enclosure.
Highlighting it with actively patterned tiles, mosaic wallpaper, bright wallpaper or simply a big wall-mounted painting will immediately attract your attention. Here are a few bathroom design solutions:
  • Tiles with a geometric pattern;
  • Coloured booth tiles. The most common variant of tiles, the boar tile, can look unusual and become an accent in a white bathroom if you choose a contrasting colour;
  • Wallpaper with a floral pattern;
  • Tiles in herringbone pattern;
  • Hexagonal tiles;
  • There are a variety of laying options, such as a mosaic of different colours. This solution will also allow the adjacent wall to be tiled;
  • Scalloped tiles. Even when they're plain white, they look cool and classy, but as an accent wall in the bathroom, you could opt for a coloured version;
  • Patchwork tiles. Such patterns on tiles resemble differently shaped pieces of fabric. A black and white solution looks minimalist;
  • Tiles with Arabic-inspired designs. Another current and trendy tile pattern is a pattern reminiscent of the oriental style. It looks beautiful and makes the bathroom look visually larger;
  • Mirror tiles. With a mirror tile, you can create a stylish décor as well as visually enlarge the room.

Lighting and electrical sockets

Check beforehand whether there will be enough light in the bathroom and mirror area.
LED bulbs are a good idea. Above the bath or shower area, you can install an LED lamp with an IP55 rating and a maximum wattage of 12W. Above a washbasin, you can install an LED up to 24W and an IP45 rating.

Do not point the luminaires perpendicular to reflective surfaces: it is better if they are placed at an angle. A common mistake is to place one spotlight directly over the mirror. The reflection is then likely to be slightly distorted. It is a good idea to place the light fittings on either side of the mirror - or both above and to the side of the mirror. Separate wiring should be used for the various bathroom light fittings to give you the flexibility of turning on just the lights you want.

Only concealed wiring is permissible, and earthing is compulsory. By law, electrical sockets may not be installed:
  • inside the bathtub, wash basin or shower tray;
  • above or below the bathtub, wash basin or shower tray;
  • sockets may not be installed closer than 60 cm from the edge of the bathtub, wash basin, or shower tray.

In the bathroom, a splash-proof socket outlet with a degree of protection of IP44 or higher is suitable. We recommend installing bathroom sockets with a protective cover. A protective cover protects the electrical contacts of the socket from accidental splashes of water. The wall socket should not only be installed away from permanent water sources, but also away from taps and valves so that if the tap or hose comes loose, the jet of water will not strike the socket.

Equipment to consider when planning your bathroom

  • Equipped with water leak detectors. If such a sensor is installed, you'll instantly receive an SMS alert, and the device will shut off all water immediately. The device can function either as part of a smart home system or as a standalone "tablet" positioned behind the toilet or in the riser pipe. The sensor will only need to be lifted, wiped down, and put back in place when the floor is being cleaned.
  • Water heater. A hot water cut-off is a familiar problem, forcing you to boil a kettle every couple of hours. This can be avoided by getting a water heater. It can easily be disguised behind an access hatch, built into a niche, or even hung on the wall.
  • A quality towel radiator should be hung in the bathroom to provide protection against water hammer. Models with an air vent are the most popular, as they allow air to escape from the pipes and keep the heating power of the radiator at an optimum level.
  • Thermostat. Sudden changes in pressure affect the water temperature, which is particularly noticeable in showers - it becomes variable. A thermostat, which is fitted to all faucets, can remedy this.
  • A top-loading washer, contrary to popular belief, is not the best option for small bathrooms, as it cannot be fitted under a sink, built into furniture, or hidden away in a niche. Narrow, front opening washing machines are best suited to small spaces.
  • An extractor fan with a hygrostat sensor for automatic control of room humidity. The power of the device is calculated by multiplying the volume of the bathroom by 3,8 (this indicates the air change in the room). The best choice is the more powerful model.
Make a list of the plumbing equipment in order of priority, starting with the most essential, find out if there are models available that are the right size for your room;
Draw it all on a pad or cut out pieces of paper to the right scale so you can move them around in the drawing.

How to avoid visual noise in the bathroom while still designing the storage systems


image: Freepik.com

Visual noise in the bathroom is when bath and care products are garishly labelled. Vials and tubes are either standing or lying around. Brightly coloured, mismatched towels. Dirty laundry is out of place, scattered or piled up... To avoid this, make sure you plan ahead for it.
  • A drawer unit with drawers. These drawers make storing cosmetics and bath products really easy. They keep everything in view and make it easier for you to find the jars you need, especially if you use the vertical storage baskets.
  • The niches will make your design more interesting and can hold a lot of your essentials. Stacks of towels, flannels, and cosmetics will be out of sight. Experiment with the material of the shelves as well as the finish of the interior walls - they can either match the general style or be a bright accent.
  • A mirror with a storage system. If open shelves don’t hold everything, consider getting a mirror with a built-in storage system. It's essentially a complete hanging cabinet with a mirrored door. It's perfect for storing the beauty products you use every day.
  • Closed cabinet. A cabinet with lots of shelves can hold your hair dryer, cleaning chemicals, toilet paper, mops, ironing boards, and other small but aesthetic items. For laundry detergent, buy lockable containers and put a measuring spoon in them. This is really handy, and you don't need to reach for the bag or box of detergent every time you use it.
  • Under-the-bath storage systems: In certain cases, you can put a few shelves and even a couple of drawers in there. A bottle rack in the bathroom can be a good way of stashing containers of different sizes, as it is a type of pull-out tray which can be used to store taller and narrower bottles. The front surface of the bathtub can also be used for storage.
  • Dirty laundry storage tubs. These can be placed under a cabinet or in niches.
  • For open shelves, choose towels that match the colour scheme and are in quiet tones without any pictures or lettering. Towels also make a big difference to the bathroom's complete décor. Choose quietly coloured toothbrushes to match the soap dispensers or in a colour scheme with the towels.
  • Also place dispensers with convenient pumps instead of colourful bottles of shampoos and shower gels.

Bathroom engineering

It is extremely important to get the lighting scheme for the bathroom right. We recommend that you learn how to calculate lighting and create electrical circuits in specialised interior design courses .
Also plan the plumbing to facilitate replacement or redesign. It is worth asking a professional for advice.

Conclusion

To create your own bathroom design, you will need to:
  1. Take accurate measurements of the room, taking into account protrusions, niches, doorways, and utilities;
  2. Plan the storage for your toiletries, cosmetics and towels;
  3. Make a conceptual collage to decide on the style and colour scheme;
  4. Make a design project (outline on paper or model in 3D software). In addition to working drawings and realistic perspectives that you can create, you can also create a tile coverage estimate that will easily help you calculate the amount you need for your project.
  5. Create a lighting and socket placement project before you start your renovation;
  6. Plan the plumbing layout of the pipes to facilitate replacement or remodelling if and when required.