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  • Gita Jacobson

Design Your Bathroom Like a Pro


A great designer will first focus on functionality, then looks. Here’s 5 functional design details you don’t want to forget.


1. Plan your wall accessories

I’m talking about towel and robe hooks, towel bars and toilet paper holders.


Most of the time people order and install wall accessories after the fact, instead of purposely designing them into the space.


Any time I design a bathroom, I purposely place hooks, bars and a toilet paper holder where they need to go. No one wants walk with wet hands across a bathroom to towel off or reach awkwardly to get toilet paper. If you design around these basic needs you’ll be making sure you never have to drip naked across your bathroom to grab a towel!


Design tip:

Make sure you order your wall accessories with your plumbing order. Almost every product line has matching accessories that will create a much more cohesive and thoughtful bathroom look.


Construction tip:

If you preplan where your wall accessories will go, you can have your contractor back those areas with extra studs or plywood so you’ll never be stuck with a wobbly towel bar, hook or toilet paper holder!


2. Don’t forget the towels

When you begin to select your finishes always think about towels. Towels are always going to be visible and they can be used to infuse color, continue a color palette or help create a spa-like look. Towels are easy to replace and are an easier way to add color. They can also help achieve a look such as using crisp, white towels to give that spa-like feel.


Design tip:

Once you decide on your towel color make sure you buy nice, high quality towels. Cheap towels end up fading and don’t age well.



3. Think through countertop accessories

Just like wall accessories, I always select and plan out countertop accessories before we start construction. I use accessories as a way to continue or coordinate the color palette or metal tones. It’s helpful to know what countertop accessories you’ll want so you can plan out where they will go.


Here’s my typical list of accessories:

  • Soap dispenser(s) - One for each sink

  • Tissue box holder

  • Canister/Container - Usually have one for q-tips, but you can also get another for cotton balls, etc.

  • Tumbler(s) - One for each sink

  • Magnifying mirror

  • Trash can(s) - I like to place 1 in the water closet and one in the main bathroom

  • Toilet bowl brush

Design tip:

Trays are a cute and functional way to organize products on your counters.


4. Bath mats

These are pretty important when it comes to functionality and safety. Make sure you’ve thought out what size mats will fit in each location. For example, in a vanity where sinks are closer together you could get a runner that spans the entire vanity instead of two smaller mats.


Bath mats are especially crucial in front of the shower. I design a lot of curbless showers and clients always ask how they will deal with the bath mat. One simple way is to leave a 5/8” gap under the swinging shower door so you can place a mat without having to move it around. Other times I’ll provide a low hook where the client can hang their mat and place it once they’ve exited the shower.


Beyond functionality you’ll also need to determine the color. I like to match them to the flooring so they don’t stand out too much. You want the focus to be on your tile, not the mat.


Design tip:

Thicker, poofier mats don’t look great after you’ve stepped on them. Try to get low profile mats.


5. Window coverings

I can’t tell you how many clients haven’t thought to order window coverings until their bathrooms are done only to discover the lead times are long and they now have zero privacy in their brand new bathrooms.


Once your contractor installs the window and trim or tile you can place your window covering order.


When I design a bathroom I’m using window coverings in two ways. The first is to make a bold statement. The second is to blend in.


If you’re covering a window outside of the shower you have lots of options for fabrics and designs as well as types of coverings. You can look at roller, solar, or roman shades.


For windows inside the shower I’ve found that solar or roller shades with a “plastic” material work best. They are easy to wipe and clean and don’t wrinkle. They’re not 100% opaque which is nice because you still get some light filtering into your shower. But they do offer privacy.


Here's a Solar Shade by The Shade Store:

Here's a bright patterned Roman Shade:


Happy remodeling!

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