From a pretty, guest-friendly powder room to work-horse family bath to a luxurious retreat, we want our bathrooms to function well and look beautiful.
And whether your style leans to a sleek, spa-inspired space or a traditional design with furniture-look vanity, framed mirror and tile detailing, the steps to achieve that look are the same, says Azucena Saavedra, award-winning designer and project lead with MAC Renovations.
Your floorplan & features
You don’t want to open the door and look at the toilet, or walk past a dark tub and shower to reach your vanity, so you may want to consider moving plumbing to create a more inviting, functional layout.
Looking at the vanity, is a single sink sufficient? If it’s a family bathroom, do you need two sinks, additional counter space and storage? While a powder room can function with less storage and counter space, a family bath or ensuite typically needs more of both.
If your fixtures have always followed the polished chrome path, today brings many options – and don’t think everything needs to match, Saavedra says. From brushed nickel to matte black to gold tones, a bathroom can be the place to try something unique.
“I think some clients are afraid of mixing metals but it’s OK to mix and match – it doesn’t all have to be the same,” Saavedra says.
Saavedra layers bathroom lighting, installing both task and ambient lighting on different switches for optimum flexibility.
For those choosing a floating vanity, this also allows for a motion-activated under-vanity light, for midnight bathroom visits.
Showers are also illuminated today: “I love adding niches and lighting into the showers to create an accent feature,” Saavedra says.
Fixtures have also changed considerably over the years, so it’s a good idea to visit a showroom and try them out. For the shower, Saavedra recommends including both an overhead and handheld showerhead – not only does it offer added flexibility, but makes for easy cleaning!
If you’re living in the home you love and want to age in place, you need a space that works today, and tomorrow. Renovations will incorporate in-wall reinforcements for the later addition of grab bars, for example, and showers that include features like no-step entry and built-in benches instead of traditional tub-shower combinations.
“When we’re trying to create a curb-less shower, we add a slight slope for drainage and a slip-free surface,” Saavedra says. And for those choosing cosy, in-floor radiant heat, Saavedra recommends continuing that into the shower and to any built-in bench seat.
Choosing glass doors instead of shower curtains lets the light shine through a smaller space – especially when choosing a custom door of Starfire glass, whose lower iron content offers a clearer, less “blue-green” tone, she notes. For a clean-lined look, opt for a frameless door, or choose a trim to complement the bathroom’s fixtures.