Planning your Master Bathroom

Interior designer Lisa Worth teaches us the keys to planning your dream bathroom... what to look for, what to plan for, and what mistakes to avoid.

Watch episode 128 now.

1. Floor/Electrical Plan

Always establish the floor and electrical plan first. Don't just bring in the general contractor and start the demo.  Bathrooms are pricey for a reason - every trade is going to be in here and you want things in writing to clearly see the space and achieve the desired
end product.

When starting the plan, ask yourself - are you a bath or a shower person?  If you don't take baths very often, then a practical, simplistic, less expensive tub is the smarter choice. But if you're a bath lover or in need of a beautiful a focal point, invest in a more luxurious tub.

Once the floor plan is finalized, do an electrical plan.  The bathroom is a task-oriented space (ie. makeup, shaving, etc.) so you want to layer your lighting with Halogen and incandescent sources.  The best lighting for makeup application for a vanity is a surface mount fixture.  Sconces are flattering for powder rooms but don't provide high enough levels of illumination for tasks. Pendants over tubs are always a winner and of course, dimmers on everything.

2. Plumbing Fixtures

Plumbing fixtures can be quite technical.  So it's important to understand the difference between a pressure balance in a shower enclosure and a thermostatic mixing valve or the flushing technology for your toilet.  Visit a supplier or research online.

After your research and plans, you get to do the fun part - choosing the fixtures.  Choose the tub and vanity fixtures first as they set the tone and manner in the space.  Finish is clearly important to, for instance - polished nickel is a 'living finish', chrome is low maintenance, and satin nickel is a bit more contemporary.

Obviously your budget will dictate a lot but make sure to get solid brass, well-made 'rough-in's'.  Don't skimp on quality because rough in's are in the wall and aren't coming out easily! 

3. The Surfaces

Now that the fixtures are decided you move to the hard surfaces like floors, walls, and counter. Budget, aesthetics and practical factors will determine your options.

The floor plan will tell you the square footage and from that you can determine the cost allowance per square foot. This will tell you if you can afford natural stone or porcelain tile. Some natural stone marbles are very popular and quite affordable, like Carrera or Crema Marfil.  When you move to more exotic marbles like Nancy's the cost per square foot can easily double or triple.

The first decision to make is the counter-top surface or 'slab' material,  especially if it's marble or engineered stone. There are lots of tile option for the other surfaces but the slab options for counters tend to be more limited so start from there and build.

The Look:  Walking into a tile showroom can be overwhelming, so start with pulling tear sheets from magazines and flagging books with images of the looks you love.

Practical:  Maintenance of natural stone used on floors and walls can be tricky, especially for the shower floor where moisture and mould can be an issue. If low maintenance is your style, avoid natural stone. Reaghan's bathroom is low maintenance without any natural stone but the look was not sacrificed.