Bathroom Design A to Z
Accessories: Accessories include decoration, wall hangings, art and sink essentials such as cups, toothbrush holders and soap dispensers/holders. It’s a good idea to begin with a unifying theme—one that continues to be popular is the beach motif, with either sand-colored paint or shell-print wall paper, murals of shore scenes, seas shells in baskets, etc. Remember not to overdo it, as too much clutter makes a room appear smaller. Be sure to pick out your colors and accessories to match
Clearances: All fixtures should be at least 30 inches apart, center-to-center, and 15 inches from the center to the nearest wall or obstruction. There should be 30" X 48" in front of the sink. Allow 24 inches around the toilet; 45" X 30" in front of the tub; and at least 32 inches for all walking areas, including doorways. Double bowl vanities require 60 to 72 inches of space.
Colors: Bright colors add light to a room, which can be especially useful for rooms without windows. Pastel colors make the room appear larger. Too many colors in a small space can add to the busyness of a bathroom, not to mention stress out users. When in doubt, use white. It goes with everything. Use accessories to add color and create ambience. When you want a new look, just change your accessories!
Countertops: There are many alternatives on the market when choosing countertop finishes. Solid surfacing, such as Corian, Avonite, Nevamar and Wilsonart, gives the convenience of one-piece construction and tends to be low-maintenance. Fritztile is a polyester resin which can be laid like tile, but it is seamless with no grout lines. Formica is still a low-cost alternative.
Flooring: Whatever your choice, whether it’s carpeting, tile, wood or stone, the most important feature of bathroom flooring should be a non-skid surface. Tiling remains the most popular and practical with many styles and designs to choose from, even tiles that look like wood.
Floor plan: A few simple rules apply here. For instance, you should never lay out the bathroom so that the toilet is visible from outside the bathroom, nor should it be the first thing you see when entering the bathroom. Consider how each piece will be used and be sure that your layout will flow well. Make sure doors will have space to open and you will have space to use each item properly.
Lighting: Most bathrooms have inadequate lighting, thanks to their lack of windows. It’s worth looking into installing a skylight or two to brighten up the space. If it’s not feasible, halogen and fiber optic lighting help to brighten up the bathroom. LED lighting is a great energy efficient option that lasts a long time.
Mirrors: Mirrors make any room look bigger. Fell free to use mirrors liberally in a bathroom space. Don’t put more than one per wall, however, as it adds to visual confusion. Mirroring an entire wall makes the bathroom appear twice as large. Add framing that matches your theme.
Paint/paper: Any wall covering used in the bathroom must be water-resistant, but damp-proof as well. Unless applied properly, paint and paper can peel and bubble.
Safety: Protect all electrical outlets with a ground-fault circuit interrupter and place all switches more than 60 inches of water sources. Mount grab bars near toilets and tubs, and inside of shower units, ensuring that they’re installed into studs and not just drywall or tile. Install two grab bars in the shower, one at the entrance and one at the water source. Angle them at 45 degrees.
Showers: Showers have become more elaborate over the years. There are units costing in the tens of thousands of dollars, showers with hydro-massage, waterfalls, multiple shower heads, benches and electronic controls. If you’re installing a shower separate from your tub, it should be at least 32 by 32 inches. The trend is toward larger showers. Install swinging doors so they swing outward to avoid trapping the user. Benches or footrests should be at least 12 inches deep or more.
Sinks: The hottest design in sinks these days are vitreous china pedestal sinks, because of their sleek lines and design details. Many people still prefer the vanity-type sinks, because of their greater storage and surface area. It’s not necessary to have a double-bowl sink unless two people will use it at the same time.
Storage: Many wonderful, inexpensive cabinets, shelving and racks are available. If there’s extra space near the toilet, buy a short cabinet in which to store toilet paper and toiletries. If there’s no space, an over-the-tank shelving unit may be best. Toilet roll holders should be mounted 26 inches off the floor and more to the front of toilet. Measure all storage doors to make sure they swing clear of fixtures. Don’t forget to allow storage space for cleaning materials and linens.
Tubs: There are now more than 400 styles, including whirlpools, Roman tubs, and spa systems. A few standards apply here. Platform-mounted tubs should be no more than one step off the floor. The step should be no more than 7 1/4 inches high and at least 10 inches deep. Faucets should be within reach from outside the tub.
Ventilation: A bathroom without adequate ventilation can contribute to rotten drywall, peeling wall paper and bubbling paint. Installing an inexpensive fan (many come with lights in them) can reduce dampness.
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