• Stephanie Hilton Design

Bathroom Design Do's and Don'ts

Bathrooms can be a tricky space to design.

They come in all shapes and sizes, Small bathrooms are usually the hardest to design.

Where do you start with plumbing fixtures? What about tile? Do you do a tub or a shower? How big should your shower be?

There are so many elements in a bathroom, here are some simple tips on what, and what not to do.


ALWAYS go with a skirted toilet. Why? Cleaning. No one likes cleaning around the toilet, and a skirted toilet covers the pipes that collect dirt and germs. If you can, wall mount toilets are a good option for easy cleaning, and opening up floor space to give the illusion of a larger room. There is additional construction and plumbing work involved, and they do cost more than your standard toilet, but they sure do look nice. Be sure to talk to your contractor about whether or not this is a viable option for you.

skirted toilets make for easy cleaning and a nice aesthetic


Floating vanities are a nice solution to open up floor space, and make the room appear larger. You also have the opportunity to install under cabinet lighting, to give a soft glow when they ceiling lighting is turned off. They offer a clean modern look, and you don't have to sacrifice storage with the right design. The right hardware can dress up even the plainest of vanities.

floating vanities open up valuable floor space in a small bathroom


If you are working with a small space, ditch the tub. Tubs take up alot of valuable floor space, and walk in showers can literally be any size or configuration. They can be designed around the space that you do have, big or small. Tubs typically come in standard sizes, are you need to work with existing wall constraints. If you are gutting your entire bathroom, the world is your oyster. Curbless showers are a nice clean choice, but not always feasible without added construction costs. A glass enclosure keeps the space bright and open and allows you to show off your plumbing fixtures and tile work. Keep in mind for resale purposes, its very valuable to have a tub in the house, even if its in the basement. Many homeowners choose to have a walk in shower in the ensuite, and a tub/shower combo in the main bathroom.

a walk in shower allows you to work with existing wall limitations and customise its design


Tile is one of the most overwhelming finishes for a homeowner to select. You have to consider its use and proper application (not all tile can go on the floor), There is ceramic, porcelain, natural stone, glazed, honed, can it go in a wet space, do you use Schluter, if combining tiles on the same plane, do they have the same thickness, what grout should you use? The list goes on. Feature walls add an eye catching focal point to any room, especially in a powder room.

installing a tiled feature wall provides a focal point


Doors should ALWAYS swing into the bathroom, ideally in a corner against a wall to keep the circulation space functional. If you are short on space, you might want to consider a pocket door, or bypass barn door. Barn doors do NOT have to be rustic, they can be any door hung on rustic or modern track. Splurge on your hardware, think of it as jewellery for your doors.

barn doors save space when you don;t have room for a swing door, and they add a design element

We hope you find these tips valuable when planning your next bathroom. Still need help? Please reach out and we would be happy to design your dream bathroom. We offer 3 comprehensive design packages suited for every home and budget.

Stephanie Hilton is a full service Vancouver Interior Designer servicing Vancouver, the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley.

She specialises in Residential Interior Design and is an expert in bathroom design.

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