Top Ten Bathroom Design Mistakes
By Marissa Ponikowski
The bathroom is one of the most used rooms in a home, which means planning a remodel of this vital nook is not a task that should be taken lightly. Whether embarking on a do-it-yourself job or hiring a professional, it pays to put some serious thought into the planning and layout of your new bathroom. To help you avoid common pitfalls and design disasters, we've asked a professional to give us the goods on what not to do
- Don't skimp on counter and storage space. According to Beverley Binns of the Toronto-based company Binns kitchen + bath design, ample counter and storage space are the keys to a well appointed bathroom. So don't leave dead space between counter and wall or choose small storage units because you don't want to crowd the room. The room will seem even more crowded if it's cluttered with stuff or lacks the counter space for more than one person to use the sink and mirror area.
- Don't be a storage bore. "Consider the type of storage you require in a bathroom," advises Binns. "People often plan storage only in the cabinet under the vanity but this leaves many items on the countertop." So be creative with storage space, choosing beautiful under-sink cupboards or free standing storage units if space allows. Use up vertical space in a bathroom, too, choosing tall storage units and medicine cabinets or planning for built-in shelving that allows seldom used items to be stored up high. "Open storage for towels and items used regularly can also be an attractive addition to a bathroom," says Binns.
- Don't forget to make room for two. "If there are two people consistently using the bathroom at the same time, plan for a second basin or your remodel will be a waste," says Binns. There's nothing worse than an overcrowded bathroom, especially on busy mornings. "If space is an issue and a second bowl is required, consider one larger washbasin with two faucets."
- Don't purchase a tub that won't fit in your space. "Larger freestanding tubs are becoming more popular in bathrooms - but make sure you can get the tub into your bathroom," warns Binns. "If the bathroom you're renovating is on the second floor of your home and you have a narrow staircase, you might end up bathing in your family room!" Avoid this bathroom design trap by carefully measuring your space and any hallways and staircases the item must travel through. Always bring these measurements with you when shopping for tubs and other large items that can't be taken apart.
- Don't forget about ventilation. Be sure to work efficient fan and exhaust systems into your bathroom plan. "This is key to a successful renovation because if the room is not properly ventilated it creates an ideal environment for mildew and mold," says Binns.
- Don't put the toilet beside the door. "Nothing feels more awkward in a bathroom than when the toilet is located right beside the door," warns Binns. "If possible, it is always best to plan for the toilet to be furthest away from the door and the basin to be closest to it."
- Don't neglect to plan properly for specialty tubs. "If you are planning to include some kind of whirlpool or air tub in your bathroom, you will need to plan for some kind of access panel for the motor that powers the system," says Binns. "If there is a closet adjacent to the bathroom, consider placing the motor and access panel in there. This will provide easy access to service the unit and also moves the motor further away from the tub - which means a more peaceful tub experience."
- Don't plan for multiple jets if you don't have the pressure capacity. Multiple body jets in a shower are a sumptuous treat – but not if you don't have strong enough water pressure. "It is next to impossible to increase the pressure of water into your bathroom. This means that the amount of water that flows through three body jets is the same as the water flowing through six jets. Which means if you want all six jets on at the same time, the pressure of water will be very weak."
- Don't slip up. "Always use non-slip material for the floor of a shower," says Binns. This doesn't mean purchasing unattractive no-slip stickers and slapping them on. Step up the class level of your new bathroom by investigating in more modern non-slip shower floors, such as those with pebbled or ribbed finishes.
- Don't try to be a DIY hero. If you've never attempted a home renovation before, the bathroom is probably not the best place to start. Those on a budget may think they have no extra money to hire a professional, but a bathroom riddled with design, construction and plumbing mistakes will be a money pit in the long run. Save time and money by doing it right the first time. If that means seeking the help of a professional, make the call.