The Principles of Bathroom Design

Designing the picture-perfect bathroom can be quite a challenge. However, if you design it correctly, no matter what the limitations are (e.g. size, lighting, number of users, etc.), you can turn any bathroom space into a pleasant room to start your mornings off in!

A bathroom has its own personal role for everyone’s lifestyle. It’s up to you to identify this role and plan your new design around the way you will use the bathroom once it’s complete. If you are someone who loves to relax in a bath after a stressful week at work, or use it to escape from the kids and barking dog for a couple hours, build a bathroom that suits those needs. It’s crazy to think how much goes on in one of the smallest rooms in a home, so you really should take your time and use this helpful guide to develop the perfect bathroom design fit for you.

Continue reading to learn about all of the aspects of bathroom design, or if you are interested in one specific area, choose from the sections below!

asess your bathroom needs

Starting With the Basics


There is no better way to start designing a room than beginning with the basics. Here are two important aspects that must come first in your new bathroom design.
  1. Assess your bathroom needs
  2. Decide a bathroom budget

Assess Your Bathroom Needs

Okay, you have one thing down, that is you want to design a new bathroom. But what is it that catches your interest about bathrooms that you like? It is the bright colors? Is it the wall tiles? The large tub? There are a lot of details that make up a beautiful bathroom. A great first place to start is by thinking about who is going to use your newly designed bathroom. If you are looking to redesign your own personal bathroom, then you have a bit more freedom to have fun and choose everything based on what you personally like. No one has to love the functionality of your newly designed bathroom but you!

In most cases, a family bathroom is in order and must accompany all of the people within the household. For instance, a sink with a place to slide a step stool in and out for children would make it easier for them to have full access to the counter top. On the other hand, double sinks would be more beneficial if more than one person will use this bathroom to get ready in the morning. So yes, pick out the colors and textures you love for your new design, but make be sure you include all of the features that will make it a great functioning bathroom for everyone as well!

Tips for a Shared Family Bathroom

Functionality is key. It’s not a stretch to say that a bathroom not built for a large family can quickly become cluttered and messy. However, planning a bathroom design with the family in mind can make a world of a difference. Do your research and figure out what you might need in order to keep your bathroom free from clutter and neatly organized. Integrating features into your design such as under sink cabinets, wall cabinets, and wall hooks can help with keeping your bathroom nicely organized. Foot traffic is another common problem for families sharing a bathroom. You can reduce bumping into your loved one(s) by designing a way to close off the toilet or by installing a double sink. So while designing a bathroom that looks appealing with fun art and great colors is exciting, functionality takes the lead helping to eliminate stepping on each other’s toes and maintaining organization.

Tips for a Master Bathroom

A bathroom all to yourself, nice, isn’t it? The biggest advantage of designing a master bathroom is having the freedom to design a bathroom for one person (okay, maybe two if you’re designing for you and your spouse), you! Although this type of bathroom design is a lot easier to plan for, people tend to get a little carried away on what they would consider a “bathroom necessity.” The process of narrowing down the options can be a bit tricky, as you may feel there is always “just one more thing” you can add.

It is always important to have a goal in mind when designing a new bathroom. Think about what this goal is and stick to it because this will help guide you in the right direction when decision time comes rolling around. Consider your lifestyle and how your bathroom plays a part of it. If you want to use it as a place to wind down, a large bath with a surrounding edge to place candles may be perfect. If you are someone who is constantly short on time, a standing shower would suit your lifestyle better than a large bath. Although your budget might be the biggest limitation you have when designing your master bathroom, determining your overall goal and designing around that will have you loving your new bathroom more than you think!

Everyone has their own ideas in mind when going into a bathroom remodel. While a certain factor may be important to one person, something else completely different may drive the entire direction of the remodel for someone else. A few of the more commons deciding factors when designing the ultimate master bath include:

- Lifestyle
- Functionality
- Low budget
- Design & style
- Relaxation

Tips for a Children’s Bathroom

Like all rooms around the house, designing a children’s bathroom is no different. Always remember, safety is first! When it comes to designing a children’s bathroom, there are some definite must-have features. For older children who are in their teens, knowing right from wrong may come a bit easier and does not need to be considered as much as far as safety is concerned. However, younger kids and toddlers can’t seem to keep their hands off hazardous products or sharp corners.

Installing a round vanity or elongated countertop connected to each opposing wall eliminates the risk of children hurting themselves on sharp corners. Mounting high storage cabinets can help avoid children opening cabinets with cleaning supplies or medicine in them. We suggest incorporating open shelving towards the bottom of the cabinets for towels, so the need to open higher up cabinets is less of a curiosity. Don’t forget! Simple features such as stepping stools, adhesive pads for the bottom of the tub, and toilet clamps come in fun and decorative colors while acting as ways to childproof your bathroom.

Decide Your Bathroom Budget

Before you start selecting your favorite countertops, floor tiles, and all of your must-have features, you must configure a reasonable budget. Since bathrooms are one of the busiest rooms in the house, people can sometimes get carried away. This is why it’s important to limit your purchases by deciding on a reasonable budget and planning for the unexpected. Here are some helpful questions to ensure your dream bathroom stays in line with your budget.  
  1. Are you starting from scratch or remodeling your current bathroom?
  2. What are your needs and what are your wants?
  3. What is the major function of your new bathroom?
  4. How long am I going to live in this house?

If you plan to gut your bathroom and start from scratch, then you should have a bigger budget in mind than someone who plans to simply remodel and redesign. Becoming more aware of your finances not only helps you prioritize your list of needs by setting limits on your spending, but allows you to know what exactly you’re looking for and at what price you’re willing (and able) to pay.

Always expect the unexpected! Don’t forget, no matter how hard you try to plan for any future mishaps, the possibility for something to go wrong is always there. Save a portion of your budget for unwanted surprises that are discovered later on in the process. Problems such as water damage, bad plumbing, or harmful mold growth are commonly encountered because of the high amount of water usage in a bathroom. You don’t want to fix a leaking pipe by sacrificing the expenses towards your new shower. Take your time, plan accordingly, and maintain a reasonable budget for your bathroom.

Most Popular Bathroom Styles


Whether you don’t know where to start or you have a million different ideas running through your head, finding a bathroom style you like is a great place to start. Each bathroom style carries its own vibe and personality to the user. Take a look at three of the most popular styles and read up on tips for how you can accomplish each look by embracing their basic features.
  • Traditional Bathrooms
  • Modern Bathrooms
  • Transitional Bathrooms

A Traditional Bathroom

Traditional Style Bathroom A traditional bathroom brings a sense of class and elegance by taking design trends and décor connected to a specific historical era. It’s a way to visually craft the past with natural materials such as wood, porcelain, or stone. These materials can be integrated into the flooring, countertops, or walls as a way to maintain a historical perspective. If you have the ability to repurpose old furniture or any old treasures you already have or found at an antique store, this is the style for you! Vintage or historical wood pieces are commonly used in a traditional style home for chairs, sinks, cabinets, or as additional storage cabinets.

Traditional bathrooms share a simple and subtle style, with decorative molding and natural stone fixtures. Commonly found features in a traditional style bathroom include:

- Claw-foot bathtubs
- Ample storage space
- Streams of natural light
- Free-standing furniture

Choose a color scheme based on the following colors:

- Browns
- Reds
- Blues
- Greens
- Whites
- Greys

The right color scheme for your bathroom can effectively accomplish the warmth and beauty that lays within a traditional style bathroom.

A Modern Bathroom


Modern Style Bathroom A modern bathroom is a style that brings a sleek look and dramatic feeling of sophistication to any home. The best part of all, this style can be implemented into any sized bathroom. In fact, a modern style bathroom is typically used by designers to maximize the appearance of a smaller bathroom. How you ask? A modern bathroom saves tons of space, both visually and physically, by focusing on a clean and simplistic appearance. When it comes to successfully designing a modern look, the idea of “less is more” couldn’t be more accurate. This means the countertops should be exposed, the number of cabinets should be limited, walls are typically not covered with art work, and floors are bare and very linear (crisp hardwood or clean and solid tiles are perfect for a modern bathroom).

One of the best features of a modern style bathroom is the freedom to choose from a variety of material such as wood, slate, stone, glass, or steel. You can successfully capture a modernized appearance by creating an impressive focal point with tile, or a floating vanity. Modern style bathrooms usually have contrasting colors such as blacks, whites or greys, with eye popping patterns (think geometric and linear) to add visual interest to the room.

A Transitional Bathroom

Let’s just say there is a reason we saved the transitional bathroom style for last. If you are someone who has trouble narrowing down your choices as to which design fits the image of your dream bathroom the best, then a transitional bathroom style is your solution. This option allows you to combine your favorite features from both the traditional and modern style bathrooms and combine them all into one. This style truly allows you to have the best of both worlds!

Transitional Style Bathroom Without sacrificing your love for style, you can create a sense of comfort and relaxation using a transitional style bathroom. Create this type of timeless style by combining the modernized straight lines and clear concept with the traditional furniture and more decorative fixtures in your bathroom. Much like a modern bathroom style, a transitional bathroom embodies the simplicity and clean appearance into its design. Over accessorizing your bathroom with wall art and other bold decorations aren’t typically found in this style of bathroom.

As for the color scheme, using the colors associated with a traditional style such as browns, tans, whites, and light greys helps combine these two styles into one harmonizing transitional style bathroom. Cabinetry, flooring, and countertops are often chosen in natural stones and natural wood materials. Merging the rustic look of a traditional bathroom with the clean lines of a modern design creates a transitional design worthy of any homeowner.

All the Elements Needed to Build a Bathroom


You can’t have a functioning bathroom without flooring, lighting, walls, and countertops! Discover the methods contractors and designers use to choose the best features for your desired bathroom design.

Choose Your Bathroom Flooring


Types of Flooring There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing the flooring for your bathroom. Now you can keep your own personal preferences in mind as to which style you like the best, but there are also a few other factors to consider. Important features such as slippage, stain-resistance, size of bathroom, variety of colors and installation difficulty are just a few of the factors to keep in mind when selecting your flooring. Here are some of the most popular flooring options for bathrooms, as well as a list of their advantages to help you choose the type of flooring best fit for your needs!

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is an affordable way to go while maintaining its realistic appearance. This easy to install flooring option may be just what you need to maintain a consistent look throughout your home. It comes in a variety of photographic images and is sealed with a protective layer, making it a durable selection for your bathroom. Laminate floors are also easy to clean and waterproof, perfect for any bathroom.  

Hardwood Flooring

The look of hardwood flooring is forever timeless. If you are thinking about selecting hardwood as an option for your bathroom, make sure it is water-resistant and sealed with a few coats of a sealant to make it impermeable to water damage. If you love the warm sensation hardwood flooring currently brings throughout your home, this is a perfect selection to continue the consistent look throughout your entire home. Like many flooring options, hardwood doesn’t come in just one color. If you wish to alter the appearance of your hardwood, you can also paint or stain the flooring to give it your desired look. To put it simply, hardwood flooring is a beautiful natural material that allows you to have a lot of say in what the final product actually looks like.

Tile Flooring

Tile flooring is a popular bathroom flooring option for many reasons other than its impressive appearance. Yes, there are a vast variety of tile types, shapes, colors, and patterns available to match practically any bathroom design. The number of tile styles available seems almost limitless! Not to mention you can choose from a wide selection of grout colors to add more of a unique flare to your flooring. Furthermore, tile flooring can withstand heavy foot traffic for busy households whose bathrooms can’t seem to catch a break. Tile also radiates a cool sensation beneath your feet during the hot summers in Arizona which aids in better ventilation. It is also very easy to clean, making it a must for a room that requires high sanitation.

Tile is extremely versatile. Watch the video below to learn the various methods tile can be applied to different rooms throughout your home.


Natural Stone Flooring

A natural stone floor may seem a bit pricey, but it sure is worth every penny of your investment. Natural stone flooring includes a variety of stone types such as marble, slate, granite and more. These types of stones make for a durable surface to withstand the heaviest of foot traffic. Certain types of natural stone such as slate have a naturally slip resistant surface. Slip-resistant stone makes a great solution for child-friendly bathrooms by helping to prevent easy slippage after bathing. Not to mention these materials are quite easy to clean. By polishing or sealing your natural stone flooring you can prevent staining and keep your flooring looking good as new for years to come.

Choose Your Bathroom Lighting

Bathroom lighting is extremely important to your bathroom. This essential feature helps to not only set the aspired atmosphere in your bathroom, but can also eliminate the risk of slipping on water you may have not noticed was previously there. Consider what your bathroom will be used for most and determine the appropriate lighting source for your needs.

Natural Lighting

For many homeowners, natural lighting is a perfect way to start off your mornings on the right foot. A bathroom with a bright color scheme is the perfect candidate for natural light as the sunlight that shines in will complement the bright colors in a very natural way. The amount of natural light required to brighten up your bathroom without the need of flicking on a light switch during the day depends on the size of your bathroom, as well as the direction your windows face. Smaller bathrooms may only need one window, while homeowners with larger bathrooms may dedicate an entire wall made of glass to take full advantage of the sunlight. Similarly, windows facing north and south will not see as much natural light as those facing east and west. Bathroom windows are a great escape for stuffy air and keeps your bathroom nicely ventilated. Natural lighting is a common source for smaller bathrooms because it adds depth and space by altering the user’s perception, giving the appearance that the space is larger than it actually is.

Lighting Option for Dark Bathrooms

Just when you think your dark bathroom is a problem when it comes to brightening up the place, we bring forth a perfect solution! We all love a bit of dim lighting in a dark bathroom to help set the mood and relax the atmosphere our body longs for after a hectic week at work. However, how are you supposed to wake up and get ready in the morning when you can hardly see the mirror in front of you? Don’t sacrifice your dark bathroom design just because of its difficult light source. The smart thing to do is make every light source count! Place bright lights in areas where it is really needed, such as around your vanity, over the shower or bathtub, and toilet. In some cases, like around the mirrors, you want to place the light at eye level for a much better use of the light, allowing you to get ready in the morning, even if you’re waking up before the sun rises!

Lighting Options for Bright Bathrooms

A bright bathroom can seem a bit much after dark and can be hard to relax in after a long day. Although this is not a common problem with homeowners, there are ways to adjust your lighting to set a more relaxed atmosphere. An easy solution to lowering the light source for bright bathrooms after the sun goes down is by installing a dimmer to your existing lights. A dimmer allows you to adjust the brightness of your bathroom with a simple switch. Other ways homeowners turned their bright bathrooms into a soothing spa is by simply adding a place for lit candles or nightlights that plug into the wall.

Bathroom Wall Options

Two bathroom wall options Your bathroom walls can have a major effect on the room’s size. Just because a bathroom may be one of the smallest rooms in your house, doesn’t mean it should be neglected from colorful paint or creative tile. Take a look at two easy ways to add some much needed style to any empty bathroom walls.

Bathroom Wall Tiles

Wall tiles are an easy way to keep your walls clean and free from stains. Just like tile flooring, you can choose from numerous tile styles, patterns, and colors. Unlike paint, wall tiles seem to never fade or lose their color even when exposed to the sun for a long period of time. This makes wall tiles a long lasting solution if you see yourself living in your house for a long period of time. Wall tile is also water resistant, odor resistant, and does not absorb odors it comes in contact with which is ideal for both bathrooms and kitchens.

Bathroom Paint

There are limitless color options for paint to go along with whatever bathroom design you have chosen. The best part? There is no installation or tearing down of walls needed in order to achieve the perfectly painted bathroom. Keeping your design style in mind, choosing a color may be the hardest part about painting your bathroom walls. Your bathroom is subjected to a lot of moisture after a steamy shower or long hot bath, so it is important for it to hold up in these moist conditions. As experts, we recommend satin and semi-gloss paint because of their high tolerance for most bathroom conditions. Not to mention their ability to be washed without fading. You can also buy mildew-resistant paints which is a perk when painting a room that encounters humid conditions.

Choose Your Bathroom Countertop


Bathroom countertops Be sure to research your countertop options while keeping your bathroom design in mind. Your countertops are one of the biggest investments you will make in your new bathroom. If you are looking for a countertop that is distinct and durable, your choices may include granite, concrete, or marble. These countertops deliver all the needs of a bathroom surface without the risk of cracking or chipping over time. If you don’t need the durability of stone but would rather have a stylish low-budget alternative, there are a few options to consider. Countertop options such as laminate or tile are a perfect solution. Each one of these countertop types has a wide variety of shapes, styles, patterns, and colors to choose from. This makes it easier than ever to pick the exact countertop you are looking for to fit your bathroom design.

Don’t forget about your sink! This small feature tends to be forgotten, but plays an important role in your bathroom’s functionality and design.

Imperial Has Everything You Need to Design Your Bathroom


You now have everything you need to start your early mornings in a bathroom you are sure to love. Not only does your newly designed bathroom reflect your personal sense of style, but it will now also accommodate all of its users. Not only can you trust the professionals here at Imperial, but you can get your bathroom flooring, wall tiles, countertops, and sinks all at an affordable price as well! If you can’t seem to get enough of what we have to say about designing your bathroom, here are 7 simple bathroom updates you can do to make the most of your space!