Accessible Bathroom in West LinnGreat Bathroom Design Balances Comfort, Safety, and Visual AppealYour bathroom can be any style that blends with your home and makes you feel good. Great bathroom design incorporates comfort and safety principles before anything is purchased during the planning stage.

Here are four bathroom design ideas for lighting, showers, tubs, and floors that will guarantee your comfort and safety, so you can really enjoy your new or remodeled bathroom:

BATHROOM LIGHTING:Sleepwalker walking to left

Of course, plumbing is important, but lighting is the most important aspect of your bathroom. Why? Because it’s more than just task lighting for putting on makeup or shaving, taking a shower, bathing, or using the toilet. Great lighting establishes a mood and makes your bathroom safe. It should be adjustable, so you are comfortable at any time:

  • Getting ready for work
  • Preparing for a special occasion
  • Using the toilet in the middle of the night
  • Pampering yourself

There should be light fixtures in the main part of your bathroom and in your toilet area, but not so many to make your ceiling look like “Swiss cheese.” Avoid recessed fixtures in front of your vanity. Lighting the top of your head will accentuate your worst features. Lights on both sides of your mirror will provide the best, most even task light. Special water-resistant light fixtures are needed in your shower and tub areas. The best lighting results are achieved when lighting is controlled by dimmer switches, for maximum flexibility.


Woman in freezing showerRainhead shower heads, waterfall showerheads, and body sprays are very popular, but most designers and plumbers do not think about the placement of the control valves, which can force you to be standing in a stream of cold water when you turn on the shower. You may pay a little more to have the controls installed in a convenient place, where you can reach them to turn the water on and control it while you’re showering. If you have a demand water heater and/or a standard recirculating pump, there will be residual cold water in the pipes — unless you have paid more for a local recirculating pump in the bathroom. The only way to decide what’s best for you is to get comparative estimates for the alternatives before your plans are completed.


Freestanding bathtubA popular trend is also a potentially hazardous feature: the free-standing pedestal tub. While they look wonderful in pictures, getting in and out of them requires bathers to straddle the edge, with one foot on the floor and one foot in the tub. If your dream is to include a free-standing tub in one corner of your bathroom, select one that will allow you to sit on the edge and swing your legs in, and consider installing a floor-mount “convenience bar” to help you stay balanced. Preparing to exit the tub presents another problem because most free-standing tubs on the market come without integral grab bars. After soaking in hot water for several minutes, your muscles will be relaxed, and you may not be able to stand without the assistance of a “convenience bar”.


Wet bathroom floor signWhen you’re selecting products for your “new” bathroom, select flooring that is slip-resistant. The best way to test this is to slide your barefoot across a sample of the material, to see how easily your foot glides on the surface. Remember that your feet will be wet after bathing or taking a shower, and a wet floor can be more slippery than ice. Textured flooring is great, but textured flooring with deep pits and grooves (like travertine and slate) will be hard to clean. Slate “cleaving” is sharp enough to cut your feet, and there is a major difference in thickness unless it is gaged to be the same thickness uniformly. Your contentment and protection are the most important features of your new bathroom, and you shouldn’t have to worry about them IF you have a design professional who knows and uses codes and safety guidelines. Yes, it’s very important for your new bathroom to look the way you want it to. But it’s more important to have the peace of mind that your bathroom has been designed with your comfort and safety as the goal.

“See the Possibilities. Create a Positive Difference.”

 If you are stuck trying to understand how to achieve a safe and beautiful bathroom, I’d love to help you! With over 36 years of education, training, and experience, I offer compassionate creativity that inspires communication. Call me so we can talk about your specific needs!

Diane Plesset, CMKBD, C.A.P.S., NCIDQ is a Homeowner Advocate who specializes in helping homeowners with remodeling and addition projects. She has been the principal of D. P. Design since April 1984. Diane is the author of the award-winning book “THE Survival Guide: Home Remodeling” and many design awards.

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