BEAUTIFUL BATHROOM DESIGN
Bathrooms are one of the largest investments when building or renovating, but if designed well they will add much more than their equivalent value to your home’s resale value. This design guide steps you through the methodology used by Look Design Group when working with clients to ensure an outcome that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Follow these 5 key steps to create your own designer bathroom and if you get stuck, we would be only too happy to assist you further.
FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION
Equal consideration needs to be given to what you would like your bathroom to do as well as how you would like it to look. A good design outcome must balance aesthetics with functionality.
If starting the process by yourself, writing a checklist of all your functional requirements is the best way to start, as there is always a range of design solutions to consider.
- What do you need to store?
- What grooming appliances do you use?
- How many people are likely to use the bathroom at the same time?
There is no point spending money on a beautiful new bathroom if you still have the same old storage problems, so give some thought to your project’s requirements before moving onto the aesthetics.
Once your functions are clearly defined, begin compiling some good visual references from books and/or magazines to formulate your ideas of what your ideal bathroom would look like. Note any features that you are particularly drawn to and start thinking of how you might be able to incorporate them into your design, however keep it all conceptual at this stage. Start a folder or notebook of ideas that appeal to you.
Overhead cabinets provide ideal storage for bathrooms and can be configured in many ways, like our designs pictured here.
PLAN YOUR LAYOUT
Once you have a checklist of your functional requirements and some conceptual ideas, start planning your layout. Bathrooms need to be well planned, as there is a lot going on in a relatively small footprint. Before you rush out to purchase a freestanding bath that you love, you need to survey available space to determine what will fit (especially if you are considering installing a bath!).
Start by measuring the available space and block it out with the approximate sizes of each item from your checklist. Be sure to include minimum circulation clearances required for each of these elements. It does not matter how pretty your plan it is, but it must be to scale! Too often unscaled mud-maps of dream bathrooms that look good on paper translate to expensive mistakes when construction starts. If you are unsure of how to do this, engage a professional to assist you
Generally if you are building, you have the luxury of greater flexibility in your planning. Providing your builder is aware of your layout prior to construction, your plumbing elements can be located anywhere. With renovations, your budget will most definitely be affected if you relocate plumbing items from their current position, so this may understandably influence the decision to leave them where they are.
However, a word of caution here: do not spend good money on top of bad by skimping on plumbing. Depending on the age of your home, your existing plumbing should also be replaced or at least be inspected to check its future longevity. There is no point ripping out your outdated surface elements but keeping your ‘hidden’ plumbing pipes, as old pipes and drainage can be a liability and will work out far more costly to replace in the future
We always position baths to ensure adequate space around them for cleaning, especially freestanding baths.
PLAN YOUR SERVICES
Planning of your services is a very important part of the design process. If you want your bathroom to be built on time and within budget, early provision is the key factor. Service inclusions are elements such as ventilation, heating, lighting and electrical. The location and specification of these elements must be well documented. Some key points to consider:
Natural & Mechanical Ventilation Ideally your bathroom will have both natural and mechanical ventilation to assist with eliminating moisture build-up. Try to give your bathroom that extra designer touch with a great view for natural ventilation, but keep mechanical ventilation discreet.
Underfloor Heating & Heated Towel Rails Underfloor heating costs today are quite minimal and in addition to being a discreet form of heating, it can also assist with preventing moisture build-up. Although there are upfront costs for good ventilation and heating, they pay for themselves when you consider the detrimental effects on your health and longevity of your bathroom that moisture build-up, water damage and mould growth can create without them. Heated towel rails are very popular in bathrooms today and are normally hard-wired, which requires special provision.
Natural & Artificial Lighting Ideally your bathroom will have ample natural and artificial lighting. Make provision for both task and ambient artificial lighting, as it makes a huge difference on the appearance and mood of your bathroom. Install a skylight if natural lighting is inadequate to make the most of natural light during daylight hours.
Power points Power points in bathrooms should be discreet, located away from water sources and compliant with AS3000 restriction zones.
Whenever possible we position windows “ adjacent to mirrored surfaces to ‘reflect’ the available natural light and ‘brighten’ the feel of the space.
MATERIALS & FIXTURE SELECTION
In order for your project to now take shape, it’s time to start selecting your materials and fixtures. For most people, this is the fun part! Go through the visual references you compiled earlier and get shopping at some bathroom showrooms.
When considering how much to invest in your bathroom fixtures, make sure they are of a standard that would be expected by any future purchasers – a cheaper alternative may not be the best long-term investment for your property’s resale value or your bathroom’s longevity. Similarly, make sure that your tiles are good quality, as they will be the most dominant visual element in your bathroom and also serve as a water barrier, so they need to be good-looking and durable. Try to also ensure that your materials and fixtures complement each other.
We only ever select tiles that are of good quality, as they are the most dominant visual element in your bathroom and also serve as a water barrier so they need to be durable.
The final stage is to compile all of your information into the necessary documentation ready for construction. This stage clearly defines how your design actually works when all of the elements are put together and how it is to be constructed. Your final project documentation should include all of the following:
Fixtures, Finishes & Electrical Schedule A description of materials, finishes, fittings and fixtures to be used.
Construction Drawings Describes all of the building works to a scale of 1:25 or 1:20 of your floor plan, all elevations and cross sections. Includes details of lighting, electrical, joinery and tiling layouts.
Building Contract The Home Building Act 1989 and Home Building Regulation 2004 legislates for all contracted building works exceeding $20,000 to be covered with Home Warranty Insurance, so always sign a contract and ask for your Schedule and Drawings to form part of your contract. This may prove very valuable should any disputes arise between yourself and your builder or if you need to make a claim for defective and/or incomplete building work.
Providing good documentation saves you both time and money by eliminating costly errors and could mean the difference between getting what you want rather than simply your builder’s interpretation of your needs. Also, by preparing the first two parts of your project documentation, you can obtain accurate building tenders and not be hit up for any hidden costs.
Below are examples of the types of construction drawings that Look Design Group uses to document bathroom renovations and building works. Please note that these drawings are typically supplied in A3 size format and are a minimum of what you should provide to your builder.
MAY WE HELP YOU FURTHER?
If you found this guide useful we would love to assist you further or hear from you. Look Design Group can offer you a full Bathroom Design Service and can also assist you with other areas of your home, including Council Development Applications, to give you a more holistic approach to your design process. Feel free to contact Natalie McDonald, Design Principle of Look Design Group, directly on 0438 699 949 for an obligation free on-site discussion of your project’s requirements. As a guide, Bathroom Design Service fees are as follows:
COLOUR & DESIGN CONSULTATION
›› $350 + GST
Provide on-site colour and design consultation for two hours to go over your proposed bathroom design and materials, prior to construction.
Package price includes:
- Assessment of functional & aesthetic requirements
- Review of fixtures & fittings
- Material & finishes selection
FULL BATHROOM DESIGN, SELECTION &
CONSTRUCTION DRAWINGS ›› $3,250 + GST
To conduct a design survey of your home to determine the best layout for your new bathroom, based on your spatial requirements. Price also includes assisting with material and plumbing fixture selections for your new bathroom. In addition, price includes providing a full set of detailed Construction Drawings to adequately describe your new bathroom at a scale of 1:25, for tender and construction purposes. Package Price includes:
- On-site measure of existing bathroom including survey of existing services
- 1 x On-site meeting at W.C Bath and Shower plumbing showroom, Chatswood
- 1 x On-site meeting at tiling showroom of your choice
- Provide paint, laminate and other material selections as required in addition to tiles
- 1 x CAD Detailed & Dimensioned Floor Plan to scale 1:25
- 1 x CAD Floor plan showing electrical & lighting to scale 1:25
- 4 x CAD Detailed & Dimensioned Elevations to scale 1:25
- Provide Fixtures & Finishes Schedule on Floor Plan for tender
- Drawings to include tiling layout and any joinery detailing as required