4 Key Bathroom Design Elements

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So, let’s talk about everybody’s favorite room in the house. Some might claim that the kitchen is their favorite spot. That’s not a bad contender for the prize. Some might talk about the bedroom, and there are certainly reasons that room stands up there as well. But we would argue that the bathroom is the best room in the home.

Hear us out on this one. To begin, it’s the room that everybody has and that everybody visits every day. Consistently, you visit your bathroom several times in a day. B) It's the only place in the home that you get some privacy. Parents of the world know this, taking just a few minutes away in their bathroom can make the difference between sanity and lunacy with small kids around. If you have more than one person in the home, it’s guaranteed that the only place you can get privacy is in the bathroom. And thirdly, it’s the place that always gets the most praise for looking good. Nobody ever says, “Wow, you have a nice den.” And no real estate agent ever markets a home saying it’s got a modern and immaculate garage. Bathrooms are what matters to homeowners.

So, it stands to reason that if you have a room that you’re always in, that is just for you and that everyone will be impressed with, it’s worth putting some effort into your bathroom. If you’re like us, you value a high-end bathroom and it’s something that you’ll remember for a long time. If you’ve ever thought about creating your own luxury bathroom, there are no hard and fast rules about what to create. Design and architecture play a part, but no matter what you’re working with, you can create your own well-appointed and deluxe bathroom by paying attention to just a few key elements. They can transform your ”loo” to become luxury, your WC to become WOW, your powder room to become posh, and your lavatory to become lavish.

So let's talk the 4 most important elements when designing your bathroom.





With these four simple different elements, you can let your imagination run wild and liven up that tired bathroom into something worthy of all the time and energy you give it.
Let’s break down what these 4 elements mean and how you can get that same feeling of luxury in a bathroom by playing around with them in any space.

1) Space

Nearly every luxury and high-end bathroom has the feeling of being spacious. Notice there that I didn’t say that the bathroom was spacious itself. It provides a feeling of being spacious. It feels orderly, light, tall, roomy, but even in confined spaces, you can play around with the room to give all those who visit that feeling of spaciousness.

People don’t remember the actual dimensions of the room, but they do remember the feeling that room gives them. That’s what’s important to remember when playing around with the space you have. Use some of these tricks to give it the illusion of spacious and stop people from feeling cluttered and claustrophobic.


The use of mirrors is an underused element in many bathrooms. It’s often a small mirror hung over the sink that is mainly utilitarian, and that’s all the thought that goes into it. But when people can use the mirror to their advantage, they can elevate the feeling of a room and make it feel larger than it actually is. It’s the feeling of space and that illusion that doubles the size of the room in your mind.

Place a large mirror along the wall, or break up the wall with several smaller mirrors. Do what you can with mirrors to avoid those stark 4 walls. That simple act can remove the feeling of being closed in, and it makes your room seem larger and more accommodating than it otherwise might feel.


Architects have long understood the concept of space and how we think about it. They play with positive and negative spaces in designing anything from rooms, to houses, to parks, to entire city blocks. They understand that the space in between is sometimes more important than the actual structure itself.

Negative space is the space between elements like the toilet, the bathtub or the vanity. Random placement of the fixtures in a bathroom creates a lot of negative space. Architects understand one thing about negative space. It’s usually something people want to travel through. They don’t linger in a negative space. It’s uninviting and usually only practical.

Positive space, however, is the purposeful placement of the elements to create a space that is meaningful or practical. While people tend to travel through negative spaces, they dwell in positive spaces. Think of it like the quad at any school. It’s just a space between the buildings, but it’s often where all the students congregate. It’s a positive space that feels open and inviting.

Learn to think of the spaces as well as the elements in your bathroom, and with a little rearranging, you can have a spot that encourages people to dwell and linger, creating positive feelings with a positive empty space.


There’s a growing movement in the real estate industry for people to live in a tiny home. It’s usually no bigger than 400 square feet, and it has everything from the master bedroom to the kitchen sink. And yet, as you tour one of these homes, it never feels like the space is cramped. In fact, even in the confined space, it feels open and inviting.
A large part of that is due to the utility of everything in the room. Each element of the home has more than one purpose, and everything serves multiple purposes to make use of the space. A large bed can fold away to become a couch during the day. A storage space can be mounted on the upper levels to have a freer space down below. Shelves and storage are found in, around, and under every piece of furniture.

All of this multipurpose space creates the illusion of openness and a welcoming home to live in. If you feel like your bathroom is cramped and confined, it could be because you haven’t maximized the utility of the space. Can you store items like extra linen up high or underneath? Can you double the bath and shower? Can you create space for your entire bathroom fixtures like the hair dryer, makeup, toothbrushes in designated spots put away and out of sight?

Of course, the other concept of tiny homes that appeals to so many is the feeling of minimalism. This doesn’t mean giving everything up, but rather practicing a little mindfulness when it comes to what you keep in the bathroom, and what you don’t. You can always gain inspiration and tips from looking up tiny homes and how they use the space they have.

2) Materials

As you think about a high-end bathroom, do you imagine tired old sinks, faded tiles, and stained shiplap? No. High-end bathrooms are defined by the modern and well-appointed materials they use. This goes from the vanity to the toilet to the tub, the shower and even the glass. They all contribute to the look and feel of a luxury bathroom.
Natural materials are the best selection as they create a feeling of luxury without costing a luxury price. Materials like bamboo, river rock, marble, quartz, or hard woods can be used to create a luxury feeling in any style home.

Think about the vanity, as an example. You may have storage underneath it and a countertop with some of your accessories and necessities. With a simple overlay on the countertop and some refined wooden storage spaces, your vanity can become a high-end item over the course of a weekend.

Try laying down river rocks in the shower or on the floor. It can be patterned or simply freeform. It feels great underfoot and it also looks exotic and fun.
Bamboo or hard wood panels can make the bathroom feel like a cozy and exclusive spa. Dark teak or maple wooden boards along the wall can take a space from “meh” to magnificent. The use of materials like this can hide the utilitarian feel of a bathroom and make it feel more like a luxury than a necessity in your home.

The quality of the materials is important as well so make sure you choose a quality brand when making a purchase. You can't go wrong with brands like Barclay Products, Kingston Brass, A&E which are the titans in the bathroom decor industry. 

3) Light

This is absolutely one of the key elements that can make one of the biggest differences to any space. The number one cause of feeling like a room is under-decorated and underappreciated is the light in the room. Dark rooms aren’t associated with rooms we want to spend time in. The rooms we love are light, cheery, and feel open to the outside, not closed in.

Some claim that their bathrooms are internal and don’t have an external wall to make use of natural light. That’s just not an excuse anymore. Solar tubes can take the sun from the roof and transport into any room in your home. It’s like a skylight for anywhere. But if natural light is hard to come by, that doesn’t mean the bathroom is doomed to be dark and depressing. Good lighting and excellent lighting fixtures can make the world of difference.
One of the first things you should do to your bathroom is to install heat lights. They act like down lights in the room, but they put off an extensive amount of heat. On those cold winter days, a heat light is a welcome addition that makes you appreciate your bathroom. It’s a tiny touch that makes a massive difference.

Use sconce lighting to bring attention to details in the room, like an accent wall or a hardwood paneling. Use down lights to every area, including the shower, to eliminate those dark corners that make it feel small and dirty. A light, clean area is exactly the feeling you want to achieve.

4) Features

Of course, in every bathroom, you have to have a feature element. It could be something simple in a small space like a painted wall or a particular tile on the floor. But if you truly want to experience a high-end bathroom, I always say it’s better to go big. And there’s rarely something in the bathroom that shouts “luxury” more than a freestanding tub. A freestanding tub isn’t a purchase you may have made in the past so you may want to check out the post we made about different   styles, materials, and forms of the freestanding tubs. 

Here are our two personal favorite freestanding bathtubs.

Morgan - 70" Acrylic Double Slipper Bathtub
With its elegant design, contemporary look & superior heat retention, we consider this bathtub to be a shark of modern freestanding tubs.


Lorenzo - 60" Acrylic Slipper Bathtub

Sleek contemporary design is constructed of two acrylic sheets which provide insulation to help retain warmth for a very long time.


For many people, a high-end bathroom is about calm, peace, and beauty where they can relax and recharge. It truly doesn’t take much to transform a quiet and dreary room into a piece of art that you get to privately enjoy every day.

No matter what style of home, or the space you’re working with, or the budget you can accommodate, you can play around with these four elements; Space, Materials, Light, and Features. You can design a space that you will treasure for the rest of your time in the home.

Happy bathroom designing!

by Scott Marshall