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Top Ten Bathroom Design Mistakes to Avoid

Designing a bathroom is a lot more than choosing a new suite and some fancy tiles. There is a lot that can be got wrong. We asked Stuart Irving, a former KBSA Bathroom Designer of the Year, to point out some common bathroom design mistakes, made by both amateurs and professionals alike.

Simple ergonomics

1. Bathrooms are designed for people to use, but many people seem to forget this. Make sure that the design offers scale, balance and proportion. It should not just be an arbitrary arrangement of fittings without any rationalisation or explanation of the logic used to create it. Don’t be tempted buy a bath you see on special offer if, after fitting, you find it’s so big that you’ll struggle to walk around it.

2. Sometimes people forget the basics, like putting things within easy reach. Ensure, for example, that the design allows you to reach the toilet paper from a sitting position. Similarly, site the towel radiator where, after a shower or bath, you can quickly grab a towel without dripping water all over the floor (unlike in the picture below – not one of ours, we hasten to add).


3. Shaving, make-up, contact lenses – they all require the use of a mirror. So site your washbasin where you can fit an illuminated mirror above it – i.e. not under the window. If positioning the basin in the window is unavoidable, see our Mirror Ideas here.

4. Make sure your design includes enough storage. Towels, shampoo and conditioner, toothbrushes and spare loo rolls all need somewhere accessible to live. You don’t want your ‘designer bathroom’ to end up with a window ledge cluttered with toiletries.

Choosing baths


5. When selecting a shower bath, beware of the ‘P’ shaped bath. Opt instead for one that allows you to both bathe and shower in the ‘wide end’. That way you won’t need to sit on the plughole with the taps sticking into your neck.

6. Freestanding baths look amazing, but they can be impractical. Placed away from the walls, you’ll end up having to balance shampoo bottles, spectacles, etc., on the rim, or drop them on the floor. Situated close to the walls, you’ll struggle to clean behind it (as pictured, also note the lack of storage and towel rail!). The ideal solution here is to build a bath deck which closes the gap behind the bath, gives you a handy ledge for toiletries and candles, and stops things falling down the back.

7. Corner baths may seem like a space-saving solution, but they are pretty useless if you are over 5-feet tall and want to lie down for a soak.


8. Ideally, you want to be able to walk straight into the shower without a step up. Plan the shower tray to be a level entry for your safety and comfort – and not with a step up for the speed and convenience of the fitter.

9. Showers are notorious for being a pain to keep clean, so choose an enclosure design that doesn’t have an intricate framework with lots of nooks and crannies. Choose large format tiles too if you want to minimise mould and algae problems and never use cheap grout, but instead pay a bit more for a professional brand like Mapei. Lastly, invest in a powerful centrifugal extractor fan, as lots of cleaning issues stem from poor ventilation.


10. Don’t do it all yourself. There are many aspects of designing and installing your bathroom you can do, but I strongly recommend you leave plumbing and electrics to the professionals. Getting your plumbing right is essential. It can be a costly exercise fixing leaks caused by a DIY plumber who doesn’t understand drainage gradients, angles and pipe connections. As for the electrics, it’s not worth the risk of getting it wrong, so hire an electrician and make sure you get their work certificated under Part P of the Building Regulations.

If you would like your next bathroom designed by an experienced, award-winning bathroom designer, drop us a line on the contact form above, or call us on 01530 814058.

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