If you wish a bathroom in your home could be a little larger without adding more square footage, here are a few design tips to make your bath look and feel more spacious.
Freestanding or wall-hung vanity: Replacing wall-to-wall built-in cabinetry that goes down to the floor with a delicate free-standing pedestal, a furniture-style freestanding vanity, or a sleek wall-hung vanity will make the bathroom floor space appear larger (try Furniture Guild). Being able to see the flooring continue underneath the vanity, as well as space around the sides of the vanity, will give the illusion of a larger room, or at least a less cramped one. Remove extra wall shelves and accessories that cut into the space.
Select a fresh color palate: Clean neutrals, fresh whites, and soft “cool” colors can make your bathroom look more spacious. Strong colors on the walls will shrink your space.
Keep it clean: Stick to a clean, minimalist style when choosing fixtures and finishes. Reduce décor in the room; try only one piece of art instead of several small ones. Store toiletries away instead of on tub and sink surrounds and other surfaces.
More light: Adding more lighting to the bathroom, such as recessed cans and wall sconces, will brighten and therefore open up the space.
Glass and mirrors: Glass accent tiles and a large mirror can help pick up light in the room. Better yet, use a mirrored medicine cabinet that’s fully recessed into the wall (try Robern cabinets) for extra storage without taking up extra floor or wall space. Always choose clear glass instead of frosted glass, especially for the shower door, to keep the bathroom more open.
Choose the right tiles: Stick with larger scale tiles instead of busy mosaics. Try rectangular floor tiles like 12” x 24” and run them length-wise down the bathroom so the space appears to continue. White subway tiles on the tub/shower walls provide a clean yet timeless look. Choose grout colors that match the tiles if you are using small tiles, as contrasting grout lines can visually shrink the bathroom’s floor space.
If you are planning a bathroom remodel with a designer or a contractor, you have likely been asked what kind of shower system you want. There are only two basic systems, and chances are you have used both at some point, but the technical plumbing lingo can make it all a bit confusing.
Pressure balance shower system
With a pressure balance valve, you have one lever that is your on/off function and controls only the temperature of the water, not the volume of the water. When the valve is on, it is all the way on (2.0 gallons per minute in California). You cannot decrease the volume of water coming out, but you can always use an adjustable shower head to change the pressure.
Thermostatic shower system
With a thermostatic system, you typically have two levers or controls. One lever controls the temperature of the water (thermostatic valve), and a second lever controls the volume of the water and the on/off function (volume control valve). This system allows you to set the temperature once and for all so that each time you take a shower it’s set the way you want it. You can also adjust the volume of the water coming out, but 2.0 gallons per minute is still the maximum. This valve is more complex and therefore is more expensive than the pressure balance valve.
With either system, you can add a diverter function to the shower. A diverter allows you to have more than one shower head (or a tub/shower combo). In California, you can only have one shower head running at a time, so each shower head needs to be on it's own diverter port that cannot be operated at the same time as another, and the valve cannot have any shared ports. Today, "all-in-one" valves are available that combine the diverter, volume control, and thermostatic valve on one escutcheon plate for more simple look.
So what’s popular?
Our design team usually suggests a pressure balance system in hall, kids, and guest bathrooms, and a thermostatic system with a fixed shower head and a handheld shower head on a diverter function in the master bathroom.