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10 Bathroom Design Ideas For Your Comfort

woman enjoying a bath

1. Check bathroom minimum size

Whether it’s the main bathroom or the master ensuite you’ll want to make sure it’s big enough so you can fit in a vanity, a bathtub, a shower and have room for a door and circulation.

In the image below you’ll see minimum dimensions for a standard bathroom. If you are looking for small bathroom designs that have a bath this one might be suitable. It’s compact yet has a shower and a bath.

Popular layout of a bath, vanity and shower in a standard dimension bathroom

If you want a double vanity then you will probably need to design a bigger bathroom or have a smaller bath.

2. Larger shower

The standard shower dimensions are 900mm x 900mm. However if your floor plan allows for room try to design your shower up to 1000mm on one side. Your shower will be much more spacious and that will add value to your bathroom (and your house overall).

3. Tiles on wall up to ceiling

It’s nice to have the tiles on the wall up to ceiling. The bathroom would be more insulated and offers easy maintenance. No need to repaint the wall.

4. Avoid sliding door if you can

Sliding doors are convenient as they don’t take room to open. However they tend to vibrate and don’t insulate very well when closed in comparison to swing doors. If your bathroom has a toilet suit it’s best to plan for a swing door as it will do a better job sequester odours, smells and noise within.

5. Insulating curtains or blinds

With new house construction there will be insulating batts in the walls and ceiling, usually R2.0 batts in walls and R4.0 in ceiling. However windows in bathrooms are big areas with a poor insulating factor.

To keep your bathroom warm in winter I would suggest putting insulating blinds. We’ve installed cellular blinds in our bathrooms and pull them down at night. In the morning during winter the temperature inside the bathroom is still quite livable (between 10 and 15 C without any heating) even if it’s 5 degrees celsius outside. In the house we lived before (EER 1.0) the temperature inside the bathroom in winter could go as low as 2 degrees C.

Keeping the bathroom warm also help reduce heating required when you use it and when you’re not. For instance our kids bedroom is next to the bathroom (as you can see on the above plan). At night the bathroom is not used but because the temperature in their doesn’t go down too much it doesn’t affect the heating in the bedroom.

Less heating required equals saving on your energy bills.

6. Bathroom lighting

In standard house construction you would have a lamp or downlights in the ceiling to brighten up the bathroom. The issue with lamps in ceiling is that they cast shadows and dark areas in your face when you are in front of the mirror. Design lamps above and/or on sides of the mirror will provide proper illumination for your grooming.

Another idea is to design a window or an area filled with glass blocks in the brick wall above the bathroom vanity unit to benefit of natural light during the day.

7. Heating

Size your ceiling heat and fan based on the size of the bathroom. If you live in temperate climate think of having a ceiling heat and fan unit in the WC as well.

8. Have a toilet suite inside the bathroom

We have two little kids and we thought we would design a bathroom big enough to house a toilet suit. It turned out to be one of the best bathroom design ideas we made.

In the previous house our little kids used to dispute when they wanted to use the unique toilet at the same time. Now with a toilets suite in the bathroom and another separate one, no more battles 😉

Bathroom design with a toilet suite. This house plan has three toilet suites in total

9. Back to wall toilet suites

With these toilets you won’t have to worry about cleaning the wall area behind the cistern.

If you do go with back-to-wall toilets don’t forget to tell your builder as the water inlet needs to be located precisely behind the cistern. The plumber may ask you to provide him with the specs so he knows where to install the water hose.

10. Choose toilet suites early and talk to builder

It might sounds hard to believe but selecting the wrong toilet suites can be sources of problems and distress.

Apparently before the concrete slab is poured, the drainer installs all the drains and pipes for the house. By default he would install the toilet pipes with a gap of 140mm between the centre of the pipe and the plaster wall. That means the drain of your toilet suite has to be able to connected to that pipe.

It appears toilets are sold in different configurations with different drain systems. There are S trap, P trap and when put in place not all drains end up at 140mm from the wall!

As you can see the toilet models we bought had a S-trap. The minimum distance required between the wall and the centre of the drain is 170mm. Our pipes were at only 140mm. They had to be moved otherwise we could not use these toilet suites that we hand picked

If you are interested in a particular model of toilets, you will have to let your builder know before your house building process starts and show him the specifications of the toilet suites so he can have the drains properly placed.

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Photo credit: Fotolia


  1. This may be obvious but why not put the shower with the bath to best conserve space.

    • Hi Plumbing,

      Good point, though our design has enough room for a separate shower. We also thought that get in and out of a bath to take showers would not be too convenient.
      But would agree with your comment for a small bathroom design.

  2. Your site is very interesting and helpful. I wonder whether you can advise me if you know the thermal rating of Glass Blocks ? In respect to a shower I was planning to do away with doors and screens relying on a large floor area of the shower and a good sloped floor well to prevent water spill over, along with an efficient fan to extract moist air.

    Thanks, Clive

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