From times immemorial, the humble bathroom has had its tryst with history – from queen Cleopatra who apparently bathed in ass’ milk, to nurture her fabled beauty, to the scholar Archimedes who hit upon the principle of displacement while soaking in his bathtub had his Eureka moment and ran naked through ancient Greece! Today, the bathroom is perhaps the first place we make our way to at the day’s beginning, and the last place we visit when we’re done for the day. Apart from being a functional space that’s handy for taking care of your bodily hygiene, the ideal bathroom can also be a private nook for pampering yourself with relaxed showers, scented baths, and some well-earned solitude to contemplate in leisure, and luxury. Considering that we spend around 18 months of our life in them, it makes sense to lavish our bathrooms with sufficient thought and care to add a glamorous feel to their functional value.

Basics of Bathroom Design

Considering that it is one of the smallest but most intensively used spaces in a house, the bathroom has to be optimized for space utilization, storage capacity, and safety. A good bathroom has to also be designed for durability as it is faces continuous exposure to moisture, heat, and cleaning chemicals. Likewise, the materials and fittings used in the bathroom, should be strong enough to weather the constant exposure to the artificial elements, yet be able to retain their sheen and glamour over a period of time. And finally, a well-designed bathroom should also be easy to clean and maintain. The lighting should also be optimized to give a warm look and feel while ensuring that you are able to distinguish features such as teeth and beard in the mirror.

Types of Bathrooms

Depending upon their purpose, bathrooms can be broadly categorized under three heads – master, secondary, and half-bath or powder room. These definitions further decide the size and scale of luxury in terms of fittings and accessories are lavished upon the bathroom.

For example, the master bathroom ranks highest in the pecking order. As the name indicates, it is designed for the specific use of the master bedroom of the house, and is relatively more spacious than the remaining bathrooms in the house. True to its name, the master bathroom is usually fitted with the best of materials and accessories that the owner can buy. The master bedroom is typically spacious, relaxing, glamorous, and luxurious. Apart from the shower, double-sink and mirrors, linen storage, and a semi-detached toilet, it may also boast of luxuries such as steam bath, and a jacuzzi too.

A bit compact in size, the secondary bathrooms are attached to the secondary bedrooms. These are functional bathrooms containing a shower, sink, toilet and vanity. They could also be attached to the children’s rooms and come with child-safe layouts and amenities. You will also find them in places, like offices, restaurants, shopping malls, cinemas and similar places where there are a lot of footfalls.

And, finally, you have the powder room or half-bath. These bathrooms are generally small in size, often tucked away discreetly under a stairway, with focus on functionality rather than style. Fitted with a toilet, mirror, and sink, it is accessible for the family and visitors alike.

In addition, you can always plan your bathrooms for specific user categories such as children, and the physically challenged persons.

Factors in Bathroom Interior Design

Try to position the bathroom to optimize the available natural light and airflows. Wherever possible, the bathroom should be located to on the norther side of the house. In multi-floor buildings, it makes sense to plan the bathroom such that they are stacked one above the other. This arrangement helps in reducing the plumbing costs and maintenance too. Due to the water and moisture content here, it is crucial that the floor remains dry and slip-free.

Equipping the Bathroom

In addition to basic fixtures such as shower and sink, a bathroom should factor storage for personal care products, towels and the laundry. Fitting the bathroom with an assortment of shelves, drawers, and cabinets will solve this problem. Since no bathroom is complete without a mirror, make sure to choose a mirror for placing above the sink to help you brush your teeth better or for perfecting that shave. In addition, you would also have to consider a radiator to maintain the ambient temperature during the cold weather.

Popular Bathroom Interior Styles

From Asian, and Scandinavian to Bohemian-chic, and industrial, bathrooms come in a host of styles. While all of them have their own strong points, it is the contemporary, traditional, transitional, and modern style bathrooms that remain the most popular.

Contemporary style: If you see clutter-free expanses defined by clean-cut lines, with minimum of adornment, rest assured it is a contemporary style bathroom. Simplicity rules with a color palette that is clean and uncomplicated, with an abundance of metal accents and polished hardwood used for effect. Impeccable details such as top-quality door knobs made of brushed metals in muted tones, the use of durable materials such as wood, stone or tile are further confirmation.

Modern style: The profusion of straight lines – in sinks, countertops, shelves, cabinets, and everything else, including the artwork - is the main feature of this style of bathroom. Both, curves and clutter, are barred here. Expect to see the best of materials used – from teak, marble, porcelain and stone – to create that modern, edgy cut to your bathroom.

Traditional style: Functionality, convenience, and comfort come together in this bathroom style. The design setting would contrast with a palette of classic colors, while a plethora of traditional materials such as polished wood, glass, marble, and tile in complementary add to the overall effect.

Transitional style: This bathroom accommodates the best elements of modern and traditional styles. Typically, you can see the extensive use of traditional materials like wood, glass, stone, while artistically designed door knobs and effects in dark-finished metals complete the look.

Transforming your bathroom to a luxury statement, can be a cakewalk if you choose your accessories smartly.

Walk-in shower

A walk-in shower means more showering space and more panache to your bathroom’s look. Its sleek looks and variety of showering options lend a touch of luxury to the whole experience. A walk-in shower will prove a worthy alternative to traditional bathroom fittings that are cumbersome to the look and use.

Heated Bathroom mirrors

Moisture from hot water clouding the bathroom mirrors is an everyday nightmare we all dread. Fortunately, heated bathroom mirrors come to our rescue, and shaving and cleaning up in the bathroom will end up becoming a pleasurable task. The trick is in the mirror getting heated, courtesy the warming pad attached behind, and getting demisted before the mist can get to settle on it.

Underfloor heating

No more cold floors in wet bathrooms. When you resort to underfloor heating, watch the glamour quotient rise in tandem with the comfort of a warm bathroom floor tiles. Installing heaters under the tiles is also a great way to save space consumed by conventional room heaters.

The Standard Bathroom Layout

The Standard Bathroom Layout

It’s a very basic layout in which the shower, sink and toilet units are all positioned alongside one wall of the bathroom. The beauty of this layout is that it is very functional, and cost efficient because the entire plumbing work is concentrated to one side of the bathroom. However, the downside is limited style, and less counter space.

The Opposite Walls Bathroom

The Opposite Walls Bathroom

The plumbing is located on two walls facing each other. Slightly more expensive as the plumbing has to be spread across two walls of the bathroom. The advantages include more space to spare and high on functional value.

The Hotel Bathroom Layout

The Hotel Bathroom Layout

Resembles a typical hotel bathroom with the sink to one side, the shower to one side and the toilet in between against the back wall. Popular with hotels because it offers lots of counter space, but the downside is a toilet that’s visible whenever the door stays ajar.

The Compact Master Bedroom Layout

The Compact Master Bedroom Layout

A layout that comes with the choice of multiple options for window and door placements. This bathroom floor plan is strong on efficiency while retaining flexibility. A double sink nestles in one corner of a wall to one side, and the bath tub is wedged in the corner of the opposite wall. To the side of the bathtub is the shower and beside it the toilet unit is placed in the opposite corner.

Bathroom Design Tips

Go diagonal with the floor tiles: Avoid regimented, grid-patterned tiles if you don’t want your bathroom to look smaller than it is. Instead lay the floor tiles in a diagonal pattern and see your bathroom virtually go large!

Big tiles are a good thing: If you thought laying large tiles on the floor will give your bathroom a shrunken look, think again. On the contrary, big-sized tiles on the floor give small bathrooms a larger than real feel.

Stick to the two color formula: In bathrooms that are small in size, stick to simple palette of two colors – one for the wall and the second one for accessories – to obtain an uncluttered look and a more expansive feel.

Stretch your tiles to the ceiling: Instead of restricting the tiles to the floor, line the walls right up to the ceiling and see your bathroom virtually grow taller!