I want to design a new bathroom... where do I start?

Many say that the kitchen is the heart of the house. If this is true, then the bathroom is definitely the soul. A good bathroom should be a place of solitude where we go to re-energise in the morning with a refreshing shower or wind down in the evening with a long soak in the bath.

Redesigning a new bathroom is an exciting task that poses many questions, so you might be wondering where to begin. There’s a lot to take into account; from making the most of the size of the space, to thinking about who is going to be using the bathroom on a daily basis, and finally, what the overall design is going to be.

Size it up

Crafting your dream bathroom suite to absolute perfection is very important, as you will want to ensure it is built to last for many years to come. The first thing you need to take into account is the size of your bathroom. Using a tape measure to accurately measure the dimensions of the room will help you decide which path you want to go down in creating your future masterpiece. 

Choose your layout

The majority of bathroom floor plans tend to fit into one of three categories; one, two or three wet-wall layouts. A wet-wall refers to the way your fittings (bath, shower, toilet, basin etc.) are plumbed into the bathroom. This determines where to run plumbing lines and pipes to the fittings themselves.

A one-wet-wall layout has the toilet; sink and shower fitted along the same wall in the bathroom, and tends to be relatively cost effective due to the uncomplicated plumbing required. The down side of a one-wet-wall layout is that you have much less choice when it comes to selecting your ideal bathroom suite.

With a two-wet-wall layout, you can have your shower plumbed in on one wall and your toilet and sink in another, which instantly reduces the limitations.

As you may have guessed, a three-wet-wall layout enables you to plumb the toilet, sink and shower onto three different walls. This can be an expensive option, but it does give you the luxury of choice.

In the majority of cases, it’s worth taking into account your existing plumbing, as moving the plumbing and pipes around can be a complex and long process that bumps up the cost. The simplest approach is to keep fittings where they are, but your plumber will be able to advise you if you’re considering moving fittings around.


Don’t forget to factor lighting into your design. Where you choose to position the lights will depend on the kind of ambience you are going for and what existing lights you have. If your bathroom mirror will be used predominantly for grooming, you may choose to have lights on either side and above it, to minimise shadow and maximise illumination.

For more useful tips and advice on bathroom lighting, check out our dedicated ‘Bathroom lighting buyer’s guide’!


A relatively pokey bathroom which features a shower, bath, sink and toilet could be ripped out and transformed into a sparse and modern suite with a simple walk-in shower.  

Most bathrooms in the UK aren’t generously sized; many people prefer having the option to have a bath or shower but are limited on space. That’s why shower baths have proved to be a popular and flexible solution, giving the convenience of a shower with the option of a bath for those who enjoy the occasional soak.

Alternatively, quadrant shower enclosures make a stylish and space-saving addition if you decide a shower room is the way to go. If you are making drastic changes to your bathroom suite and your budget allows for it, you might want to seek professional advice from an architect to really make the most of your space.


The most important thing about your bathroom floor is that it’s waterproof and non-slip. There are some fantastic vinyl and laminate options available nowadays, so even if you’ve got a tight budget to stick to, you don’t have to compromise on style.

The most popular choice, of course, is tiles, as these are the most durable when confronted with moisture and steam. There are a range of colours, styles and finishes to choose from. Tiles will more than likely stand the test of time, more so than other types of flooring.

Style it out

Creating the right kind of look in your brand new bathroom goes a long way to achieving your ideal ambient space for relaxing in. Do you have a traditional, old fashioned feel in mind with ocean blue tiling and seashell displays, or do you want to go with a fuss-free, minimalistic look with whites, greys and chrome?

Whether you’re working on a budget or blowing your savings, there are plenty of options to achieve a fresh, modern style to transform your bathroom. Perhaps you’ve always fancied a modern and trendy freestanding bathtub, or want to go all out and create your own piece of paradise with a spa-like wet room.

Fit for purpose

It’s easy to get carried away whilst planning your ideal bathroom suite, but practicality has to come into the mix somewhere. If you are planning on starting a family or already have a young brood, then a bath is a must to allow for endless hours of splash time fun and rubber ducks.

Perhaps you are retired and the kids have long flown the nest, in which case you may want to be a little more indulgent and have a luxury whirlpool installed, which is sure to prove popular with the grandkids! You may have to take into account a family member with restricted mobility, so you might be considering moving the bathroom downstairs or installing more accessible bathroom fittings.

If you’re modernizing your property in order to sell it on, have a think about the kind of people that will be attracted to your area and property. A sleek new bathroom with all the mod cons can add value to your property and be a real selling point with potential buyers. A bathroom with a decent tub will appeal to parents or buyers who are on the hunt for their first family home.

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