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What is bathroom design?

Far more than simply making a bathroom beautiful, bathroom design also includes the planning of a bathroom to make it as functional and easy to use as possible. Thus, a bathroom designer's job includes focusing on the correct placement of bathtubs, showers, basins, etc; choosing functional and attractive lighting; using the best materials and finishes; working with appropriate colour palettes and patterns; etc.

Bathroom design makes up a crucial portion of bathroom building or –renovating, as it provides the blueprint for the rest of the project to proceed. Once a design has been agreed on, the bathroom designer should have completed:

  • a detailed floor plan,
  • all the relevant elevations,
  • the layout of the ceiling and electrical work,
  • the location of all plumbing,
  • the details of any custom joinery,
  • and a list of all the products to be used in the finished bathroom.

It is undoubtedly an advantage to make use of a professional bathroom designer for a new bathroom, as it is considered one of the most important spaces in a home, especially if you plan on putting it on the market (potential buyers will scope out the kitchens and bathrooms first).  

What constitutes a well-designed bathroom?

In addition to being one of the most practical spaces in any home, a bathroom also functions as both a private and open room, particularly guest bathrooms. This means that a bathroom needs to adhere to various requirements to make it functional/ practical, but also visually pleasing.

Relying on a professional bathroom designer takes a lot of stress off the client, not only in terms of ensuring that the project is completed successfully, but also that no building regulations are broken (particularly when brand-new bathrooms are built/added to existing homes).

For a modern-day bathroom, a bathroom designer will factor in the following:

  • A consistent style or theme that visually ties the entire bathroom together
  • A practical layout
  • Easy accessibility
  • Safety (as in non-slip surfaces)
  • Adequate materials and finishes (including waterproof surfaces)
  • Ergonomics (a bathroom for an office will differ considerably from one designed for a family home, for instance)
  • Appropriate lighting
  • Plumbing and electrical requirements
  • Flexibility for users with special needs (i.e. the mobile impaired)
  • Privacy
  • Efficiency in terms of energy- and water usage.

What do bathroom designers do?

Many bathroom designers start their careers in fields related to bathrooms and/or –designing, such as interior design, tiling or plumbing. This works to their (and their clients') advantage, as it provides them with a good practical understanding of the building process.

The knowledge and skills acquired by a professional bathroom designer can include:

  • An educational background in related trades like Architecture or Interior Design
  • Outstanding written and verbal communication and organisation skills to allow them to work with clients, suppliers and vendors
  • Creativity, diligence, reliability
  • Knowledge of appropriate computer-aided design (CAD) programs.

A lot of bathroom designers are also capable of fulfilling the role of project manager and may even recommend a team of professional contractors and/or arrange special discounts with suppliers/vendors.

What is the process of working with a bathroom designer?

A bathroom designer will first meet with a client to assess their personal taste, their wants and needs, what their current space looks like, and their available budget. From there on, the designer will draw up sketches, designs and/or 3D renderings that meet the client's requirements and reflects his/her creative vision.

What questions can I expect from a bathroom designer?

Different client requirements, spaces and budgets dictate that no two bathroom designs will necessary be the same. Therefore, the bathroom designer will have his/her own list of questions to find out what is expected from them, what the client wants and needs, etc. Although there exists a wealth of questions the professional could ask during your meeting(s), be prepared for the following:

  • Do you want your new bathroom to be functional or luxurious (or both)?
  • What is your family size / How many people will need to access this bathroom simultaneously?
  • Do you require more space or is your existing bathroom big enough?
  • Do you want a tub, shower, or both?
  • What are your requirements in terms of storage?
  • What colours / patterns / textures do you have in mind for minor surfaces, like the tile grout?
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