- Even the dreamiest bathroom has to deal with plumbing drains, water lines, and vent stacks. Bathroom floor plans generally fall into one-, two- or three-wet-wall layouts. A one-wall layout
lines up the sink, toilet, and shower along one wall as in this
bathroom. It's the most cost-effective design, but it's also the most
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- A two-wall layout
gives you more flexibility. The sink and toilet can be plumbed on one
wall and the tub and shower on the other. The three-wall layout is the
most versatile and also the most complicated and expensive. Working with
a certified bathroom designer or architect can help you avoid costly mistakes and make the best use of space.
Choose the Right Sink
- In the world of bathroom sinks,
vessel units win the beauty contests--and with good reason. It's hard
to make a more dramatic style statement than with sculptural sinks
mounted on a furniture-style vanity.
But before you invest in bathroom sinks, think about how often the
sinks will be used and by whom. Remember that every time you wash your
hands, water will drip as you turn off the faucet and reach for the
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- Integral bathroom sinks (one piece with the vanity
counter) and undermount bathroom sinks make it easy to wipe messes from
the counter into the sink. Self-rimming bathroom sinks, on the other
hand, are the most economical and the easiest to install, but the
perimeter lip can collect grime.
Design a Bathroom Lighting Plan
- The most critical area for bathroom
lighting is the mirror. Ideally you should have wall-mount lights at
each side of the mirror at about eye level, with a third light above the
mirror. This arrangement illuminates your face from both sides and
above, eliminating shadows.
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- For general bathroom lighting, use ceiling-mounted fixtures or add style and mood with chandeliers or pendant lights. Enclosed showers
and tubs usually require enclosed vapor-proof down lights. Accent lights
can spotlight a collection or an architectural feature and contribute
sparkle and mood.
Make a Statement with the Tub
- Bathtubs are the natural focal point of a bathroom
and have a powerful impact on the decorating style. Freestanding
bathtubs may rest on claw-and-ball feet or a pedestal base (like this
one) or they may be streamlined and straight-sided like a piece of sculpture.
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- A platform bathtub has an
unfinished exterior and drops into a supporting boxlike structure. The
top or decking is usually a waterproof material such as tile, marble, or
limestone, and the sides may be paneled in wood or covered in tile or stone to match the decking. Whichever type you choose, you can opt for a soaking tub or a whirlpool tub to maximize your relaxation the bath.
Design a Spa Shower
- Luxury showers replicate the spa-resort experience in a dream bathroom.
Plan on a variety of spray heads. Ceiling-mounted rain shower shower heads soak you from above, while body sprays (vertical rows of shower heads) create a crisscross pattern for a water massage. Handheld
showerheads allow you to direct the spray for washing your hair, rinsing
off, or even cleaning out the shower stall. For a custom-made stall,
choose your favorite waterproof material to cover walls, floors, and
ceiling. Frameless glass doors showcase stunning tilework, like in the shower shown here.
Express Your Style with Cabinetry
- The modest single-sink vanity cabinet has given way to a host of options, from double-sink vanities to custom storage hutches and wall-mounted cabinets. Bathroom cabinetry
merges form and function and carries the style statement you want to
make, whether it's contemporary, traditional, vintage, or Old World.
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- As with kitchen cabinets, you can purchase bathroom
cabinets in stock units or with semicustom options, or you can have
them custom-designed and built. Stock cabinets are typically least
expensive and custom the most expensive, with price ranges for each
depending on the material, construction, finish, and accessories.
floors need to be hardworking, impervious to water, and
slip-resistant--but they also need to be attractive. The most luxurious
choices are stone tiles and ceramic tiles, but highly polished stone is slippery when wet. Choose a honed flooring finish for better traction.
More Bathroom Flooring Tips
- Ceramic tiles rated "impervious" are the most waterproof and are ideal for bathroom use. Tiles designed for floors are extremely durable; they resist water, stains,
and wear, and are easy to care for. Select tiles with a slip-resistant
finish and seal all grout, because otherwise it's difficult to clean.
Pamper Yourself with Amenities
- To make your dream bathroom an in-home retreat, include features that take it from utilitarian to pampering.
• A gas-insert fireplace communicates that this is a place to linger.
• In-floor radiant heating takes the chill off of stone or tile floors.
• Television, sound systems, and a beverage center will make your master bathroom so comfortable, you may never want to leave.
Create Mood with Color
- Color has the power to energize
and to soothe, to wake you up and calm you down. Consider the mood you
want to evoke before selecting your palette of materials. As you develop
your bathroom color scheme, remember that color comes from more than wall paint and fabric. The hues in the cabinetry
wood and in the stone or tile you choose for floors and walls play a
major role in creating an overall color personality. Even the sink and
tub contribute to the bathroom color scheme, whether they're made of
white porcelain, dyed concrete, or stone.
Add Softness with Window Treatments
- Bathrooms are mostly hard surfaces, so dressing the windows with fabric allows an opportunity to add softness and absorb sound. The treatments also let you introduce color and pattern. Bathroom window treatments
should resist moisture and humidity, and they usually need to provide
privacy and light control. That's why simple shades, blinds, and
shutters are the most popular bathroom window treatments.
More Bathroom Window Treatment Tips
- Valances, balloon shades, and modified Roman shades also work. Depending on the layout of your bathroom, even draperies can provide a frame for your windows. Consider using the new all-weather acrylic fabrics to make bathroom window treatments.
Designed for outdoor use, they're moisture and mildew-resistant and
come in an expanding range of interior-quality patterns and colors.