11 things to consider when planning a bathroom

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Planning a bathroom can be daunting. Bathrooms are no longer simply practical spaces, they have become a place to relax, unwind and refresh. Your bathroom is where you start and finish each day and it should be a room where you can savour the downtime you spend in your home.

Many of us are now renovating our bathrooms with this in mind, creating spaces that are as beautiful and relaxing as they are practical. This can be tricky to get right, particularly when you have compact spaces and the realities of budgets to contend with.

Whatever the reason for installing a new bathroom, it’s a serious undertaking and requires some planning to get right. But don’t worry! We’ve gathered everything you need to consider into this handy 11 point guide:

1. Your needs

This should be the very first thing you consider when planning a bathroom and will inform the choices you make. Think about what you want to get out of the work and determine your primary reason for undertaking the project.

Perhaps your bathroom is old, tired and in need of a refresh? Maybe your children have grown up and you want to create a relaxing haven? Or perhaps you have a growing family and need the extra room?

Whatever the reason, keep this in mind throughout the process and always refer back to it when you’re stuck on a decision. This way, you won’t get distracted by impractical ideas and your finished bathroom will be built around your needs.

2. Layout options

Planning an effective layout is the basis of your design and considering different options will help you narrow down the best choice from the space available. Draw out a scaled floor plan on some graph paper and play around with sketching different layout ideas until you feel happy.

You’ll need to make a note of the current position of doors, windows, plumbing and sockets. Although these things can be changed if absolutely necessary, doing so will be an added cost that you want to avoid, if possible.

When updating an existing bathroom, you have the benefit of knowing what works well and what doesn’t (new homeowners should use their bathroom for a short while to figure this out). And remember – if the layout isn’t broken, don’t fix it! There’s no point trying to rearrange a practical floorplan just for the sake of it.


3. Inspiration

Look at bathroom inspiration and figure out what you like and dislike. This should involve plenty of research, both online and within the houses of friends and family. Looking at bathrooms of every shape, size and style will allow you to decide on your own personal preferences.

Pinterest is also a great place to gather ideas when planning a bathroom and you can find plenty of images to inspire your project. The more research you do, the easier it will be to make choices about your own home when the time comes.

(Are you looking for some bathroom inspiration? Take a look at our gallery for some ideas to get you started.)

4. Budget

Establish your budget at the outset and set clear guidelines. This will allow you to rule out the things you definitely can’t afford early on, as well as planning for anything you’d like to add on, if possible. Working with a bathroom installer who establishes a fixed price at the start of the project means you won’t get stung by additional charges later on should there be complications with the build.

5. Natural light

How much natural light does your bathroom get? Bearing this in mind will help you select the styles that suit your space. For instance, if your bathroom is bright, light and airy you may be able to get away with heavier features and busier patterns. However, if your bathroom is shady or window-less, you may want to opt for sleek features in white tones that will stand up to harsh artificial lighting.


6. Heating and ventilation

This is a practical but important one. Make sure you accommodate space for an extractor fan if there isn’t one already and think about how you’ll be heating the space. Heated towel racks are an absolute must for modern bathrooms as they save space, provide warmth and dry your towels.

Consider placing your radiator or heated towel rack near your sink for convenient usage. Another feature worth planning for (if it’s within budget) is underfloor heating. There’s nothing more comforting than stepping out the shower onto warm tiles on a cold, dreary morning.


7. Bathing

Plan whether your design will need to accommodate a bath as this will use the most space. Think about whether you’ll actually use a bath! For example, if you’re creating an en-suite or a luxury wet room in a flat, you probably won’t need a standalone bath.

Those planning to install a bath should think about the style they need. Does it need to be large and robust to fit all the kids? Do you want to recline in your tub surrounded by candles? Or do you want it to adapt to your needs as you get older? Considering how you’re actually going to use your bath will allow you to choose the right one for your space.

8. Shower styles

Showers have come along massively since they first rose to popularity and now come in hundreds of shapes and sizes. Most shower designs are moving away from large, cumbersome bases and instead feature sleek tiled or polymer bases that remain low to the ground.

One option is a walk-in shower which is a fantastic design feature and hugely practical. Equally, frameless or semi-frameless shower surrounds create a bright, open feel that many homeowners now desire.

The best approach is to look at plenty of styles, decide what you like and talk to your bathroom installer about what’s possible. That way, you can narrow down a shower style that’s right for your space and your budget.

9. Storage

This seems obvious, but take some time to plan where you’d like to keep everyday necessities. After all, you could design the most luxurious bathroom around, only to find it’s littered with plastic bottles, tubes and tubs after one week of use.

Ahead of your re-design, take out everything you currently store in your bathroom and assess how much room it takes up. This should give you an approximate idea of how much storage space you’ll need. While you’re planning, think about ways this storage can be incorporated effectively alongside your sink, units and other surfaces.


10. Vanity and grooming

Bathrooms aren’t just about washing, they are also the place many of us choose to take care of ourselves. Built-in mirrors for applying makeup or shaving are always useful, as are strategically positioned shelves, cabinets and power sockets. If you hope to use your bathroom to pamper and groom, then be sure to make this a priority during the design stages.

11. Tiles, taps and decoration

Once you’ve secured all the practical details like your layout and suite, it’s time to think about furnishings. Selecting the finishing touches like tiles, wall colours, plumbing fittings and soft furnishings is one of the most enjoyable stages of planning a bathroom.

You may be restricted when it comes to selecting your suite, but at least you can get creative with texture, colour and pattern in other areas.

Browse plenty of different styles until you find something that reflects your tastes and don’t be afraid to inject a dash of personality. Just be sure to have firmly decided on your bathroom suite beforehand, so you don’t choose details that clash with the overall style.

Want some further advice? Or perhaps you’d like to arrange a consultation? Get in touch with us on 0800 980 6018 or by emailing and we’d be happy to discuss your requirement.

Latest PDF Guide

We talk you through everything you need to know about planning a bathroom that’s far from simply being functional. We hope you find it useful, inspiring and that it becomes your ‘go-to’ guide for all of your bathroom projects.

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