Plum's Guide to Designing the Dream Bathroom

It’s the place to relax and soak all your worries away. Here’s how to make your bathroom your sanctuary.

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Bathtub in Desert Skies, Plum Guide home in Joshua Tree

When it comes to the house, the bathroom is an often overlooked space. It’s just somewhere you rush to get ready in the morning and brush your teeth at night. But the bathroom can be so much more than that. It should be somewhere you can unwind at the end of the day. Whether you’re redesigning your current bathroom or working with a new space, judging from our impressive homes, here at Plum Guide we know a thing or two about what makes a great interior. 

Layout

Like other home projects, planning is key. Otherwise, it’s only a matter of time before everything unravels and you find yourself in front of the DIY SOS cameras, or the sharp end of Kev’s wit on Grand Designs.

So, ask yourself, what do you need from your bathroom? Is it an ensuite for a couple? Perhaps a family bathroom? Each bathroom will have its own needs in terms of space, features and fittings, so it’s good to make clear what you need. It’s important to know how much space you have, which is why drawing up a floor plan is key when designing the dream bathroom for your abode. This will give you an idea where essentials like the toilet and sink should go, and whether you can fit a bathtub in or not (hopefully, that’s a yes). 

Bathroom in Backcountry Living, Plum Guide home in Colorado

Bathroom in Backcountry Living, Plum Guide home in Colorado

Decor

Now that you’ve established a layout, you can get started with the fun part. Take the time to think about what you want your bathroom to look like. Take inspiration from the internet, magazines or from our own collection of homes. There are plenty of ways to create your ideal bathroom. Are you going for a traditional look with a seaside theme? Or perhaps a more minimalistic approach with clean lines and lots of grey and white? Don’t be afraid to get bold with your ideas. Take a look at the bathroom in Gold’n Marble. The decadent marble and gold detailing that lends its name to the house is a great way to show off your personality. 

Bathroom in Gold'n Marble, Plum Guide home in Paris

Bathroom in Gold'n Marble, Plum Guide home in Paris

But decor isn’t just limited to a theme or colour scheme. There are many ways you can add a personal touch to your bathroom, such as paintings or prints on the walls, shelves, rugs and mats, potted plants, candles and toothbrush holders. Think of taps as part of the decor, whether it’s black taps for a chic look against white walls, metallics for a warm look, or chrome and stainless steel for a sparkling clean effect. 

Features

Once you’ve chosen your style and colour scheme, this will help you narrow down the choice of essential fittings like the shower, toilet, washbasin and, most importantly, the bath. This can be the jewel in the crown - the place you dream about relaxing in after a long, hard day.

Bathtub in Crescent Moon, Plum Guide home in Margate, Kent

Bathtub in Crescent Moon, Plum Guide home in Margate, Kent

A freestanding bath can make your bathroom look more luxurious. Whether it’s a traditional bath like the one in Crescent Moon, or a bolder choice like the golden bathtub in In the Canopy, there are plenty of options. For example, the Trent Copper bath from London Encaustic is a luxurious handcrafted bath which looks just as delightful in a seaside cottage as it does in a townhouse.

Bathtub in In the Canopy, Plum Guide home in East Sussex

Bathtub in In the Canopy, Plum Guide home in East Sussex

If you don’t have much room to play around with, you may have opted just for a shower instead. There are plenty of options when it comes to shower designs, including a quadrant shower enclosure to save on space, a ‘shower tower’ for contemporary-style bathrooms, or a body shower to save water. If you have a particularly small space, how about considering turning your bathroom into a wet room? These are basically walk-in shower rooms without the shower screen and tray. It’s the perfect way to create a spa-like experience at home. After all, this is about designing the dream bathroom. A spa every day without leaving the house? Yes.

Flooring 

Flooring is super important when it comes to bathrooms, as it needs to be waterproof and non-slip (you didn’t need us to tell you that one). There are tons of options when it comes to flooring, including high quality vinyl, natural stone flooring, laminate flooring and engineered wood. Think about who’s going to be using the bathroom. For young kids, a rubber floor is more practical and can withstand splashes and are more forgiving of falls. Of course, the most popular choice are tiles. They’re practical and durable, with designs to suit all tastes. Before you choose your tiles, think about the size of your bathroom. Decorative designs can appear too busy for a small space, but they can be a great way to add warmth and appeal to a larger bathroom.

Tiles in the bathroom of Fresh Flight, Plum Guide home in London

Tiles in the bathroom of Fresh Flight, Plum Guide home in London

Lighting

Lighting can often get overlooked when designing a bathroom. If you’re designing an ensuite bathroom, think carefully about what lights to use. You don’t want anything too bright flashing on when you use the bathroom in the middle of the night. A good solution is to have different levels of lighting. What kind of ambience you’re going for will depend on where you decide to install the lights. If you use your bathroom for grooming, you’ll want to place lights above and on either side of your mirror to maximise the light and get rid of any shadows. But lighting doesn’t have to be purely for practical reasons. Accent lighting can highlight a statement piece, like a freestanding bath or a designer radiator. We love these stone wall lights from Tom Dixon, carved from white Morwad marble. 

Storage

Great bathroom storage is essential. Like we mentioned in our article Everything You Need to Make a Perfect Kitchen, it’s important to use your space wisely. There’s nothing worse than a bathroom where every surface is cluttered with bottles, towels and toilet rolls. The best solution is to invest in some storage, whether it’s fitted storage, vanity units, wall-hung cabinets or freestanding furniture. Don’t worry if you’re working with limited space – there are plenty of ways you can install storage while maximising space. Wall shelves, over the toilet storage and decorative ladders are great options which don’t take up much space at all. We love making the most of the space we have, and extra towel racks behind the door, and over the door storage cabinets are a great way to utilise space. Choose a vanity unit that contains a basin and cupboard in one, such as this chic Liv Mango vanity cabinet from Tikamoon.

Once you’ve finished designing the dream bathroom, you may find that you’re quite the expert – perhaps even giving our home critics a run for their money. Need another project? How about giving your living room a little makeover? Just don’t tell your other half about it just yet...

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