Bathroom Ideas

When considering a bathroom remodel, or prior to construction of a new home, you have the opportunity to incorporate many cool bathroom ideas so long as you plan your design properly.  Take your time during the design phase and consider both the basic and somewhat over the top bathroom ideas below before you start your bathroom remodel project.

Use a Bathroom Design Professional

First and foremost among our bathroom ideas is to hire a bathroom design professional to help you with the design.  For example, as a Design Build Austin General Contractor, we do an initial walk through with our clients to explore the bathroom ideas below.  During the design phase we work closely with our interior designers and trusted vendors to further hone the bathroom design based on our clients preferences.  In parallel we create an initial budget and then adapt those bathroom remodeling costs as the design evolves.  Since we also build out the bathroom remodel, we are already fully aware of the client's needs and our clients know that they can afford what they have decided to build.  Utilizing a design build team is a huge asset in any bathroom remodel.

Walk in Shower, Separate Tub, or Combination Tub and Shower

This is perhaps the biggest decision most homeowners have to make when completing a bathroom remodel.  Luckily most homeowners have a strong preference going in.  For this bathroom idea, you can generally go with your gut as long as you plan to live in the home for a reasonable period of time.  If not, you will want to at least consider the resale value of your decision.  If you live in a family neighborhood, you'll want to have at least one bathroom with a tub for the kiddos (yours, or those of a future owner).  Check out bathroom photos from other homes for sale in your area to see what the norm is for your neighborhood.  Kitchens and bathrooms sell houses, so updating the bathrooms in a home is generally a good idea if you don't make them too taste specific.

Tub Options

As far as tubs go, there are three primary types, drop-in, alcove and free standing.  A drop in tub sits within a tub deck that is either a custom cabinet, or is a box that is constructed and then tiled on the top edges and vertical tub skit wall.  An alcove tub is typically used in a tub/shower combo setting.  The tub and vertical skirt are an integrated unit and the other three open sides of the tub are hidden by or nestled between the 3 shower walls.  A free standing tub is just that.  Think about a claw foot tub for example.  There are now many modern versions of the free standing tub and with the variety of features, shapes and sizes, the design possibilities are endless.  Always sit in a tub before you buy it.  Consider where the drain and overflow valve fall in the tub and if that will be uncomfortable when soaking.  You can also upgrade some tubs to the jetted feature for your own little mini spa experience.

Shower Enclosure and Shower Pan

The shower enclosure is essentially how you keep the water off everything else.  

Frameless glass shower enclosures provide style with minimal visual barrier.  Its similar to the glass enclosures that were popular in the 80's, but without the tacky gold metal trim.  This allows you to showcase unique tile designs in the shower and makes cleaning a snap.  There are a variety of glass options to chose from including clear, rain glass, frosted and many more.  Steam showers are another luxury option to consider if the budget allows for it.  

If you have a tub/shower combo, you can still use the frameless glass option.  The glass will rest on the tub deck and enclose the entire shower with a door, or you can install just a single panel leaving the door area as open space.

Another up and coming bathroom idea is a barn style type sliding glass door.  This is another step up in bathroom remodeling cost from the standard frameless glass shower enclosure, but can solve space problems in some desired bathroom layouts.

You can also forgo the doors and curtains all together by designating a wet area.  This will need to be large enough to contain the water, spray and splash factor and may require the installation of a secondary floor drain.  

If you opt for a separate tub and shower you can enclose both behind a wall of glass, whereby you talk through the shower area to get to the tub.

The budget friendly option is a simple shower curtain and rod (curved or straight) that is mounted to the wall.  Tension rods rely on pressure and often fall down with the weight of the shower curtain so we don't recommend this other than as a stop gap measure until you can afford to install frameless glass.

Shower pans are essentially the foundation of your shower.  Custom shower pans are ideal for tile applications.  We don't prefer prefabricated all in one shower pans that don't require tiling or finish out such as you would see in a big box store.  If you are going to do a walk in shower, a custom shower pan is the way to go.

Frameless glass and custom shower pans will pack a punch to your bathroom remodeling budget, but if you want the remodeling magazine look, these are key elements to incorporate. 

Shower Niche

Among the bathroom ideas included here, this is one that is simply a must have and is often overlooked by homeowners during the bathroom design phase.  A shower niche is simply one or more boxes that are recessed into the shower wall to allow for storing of shower products.  No more bottles of shampoo on the bench, or shower floor.  No more unsightly shelving tension rods, or suction cups that don't stick.  Trust us...this is one of the bathroom ideas that is worth the investment!

Great bathroom ideas usually come out of necessity.  One that we think you will enjoy, is taking the shower niche application a bit lower to create a foot pedestal, or niche, for shaving your legs.  If you don't have room for a shower bench, then this back saving option is one to consider.

Bathroom Cabinets

Floating cabinets can add style and make cleaning the floors a breeze.

Custom cabinets may sound expensive, but you may be surprised at how much more you can get for a small increase in your bathroom remodel cost.

Another one of the bathroom ideas we love is drawers!  In any bathroom, storage is king.  Drawers will make your bathroom remodel function in ways that sink base cabinets will not.  Custom cabinets can create all sorts of drawer options for maximizing that awkward space around the sink base and plumbing to maximize every possible inch of storage space.

Consider adding a hamper built into a bank of cabinets, or into a tall cabinet with storage for towels and extra toilet paper.  These bathroom ideas are also commonly overlooked during the design phase when homeowners are sharing their bathroom remodel wish list with their general contractor.

If you can't afford to change out the cabinets, consider painting them.  It not a cheap option as a fair amount of labor is involved, but its less expensive than replacement in most cases.

Bathroom Countertops

Countertops come in a variety of materials.  Quartz and Granite are often the go to choices, but consider other designer options and applications.  Wood with a live edge, cast concrete, back painted glass and sinks that encompass the entire countertop space are all unique bathroom ideas that can set your remodel apart from the norm.

The bathroom, particular for smaller bathrooms or a half bath, is a great place to save on countertop material.  Very often you can find remnant pieces at discounted pricing since the amount of material you need may be limited.  

Keep in mind that if you choose a custom countertop rather than a remnant you generally will have to purchase the whole slab even if you only need part of it.  What ever is not used can either be kept by you or resold by the vendor as a remnant but you generally pay the same price either way.

Bathroom Sinks

Drop in sinks are becoming a thing of the past.  As such, one of the must have bathroom ideas is to opt for undermount sinks in most applications to make cleaning a snap.  Vessel sinks can be beautiful and are great for half baths, but many homeowners find them to be somewhat obstructive in main bathrooms where the countertop space is used heavily.  If using a vessel sink you will also typically drop the height of the countertop down to account for the increase in height that the sink provides.

Sink Fixtures

Deck [countertop or sink] mounted fixtures are commonplace, but if you want to add some wow factor, particularly in a modern bathroom remodel, then wall mounted fixtures are the way to go.  This will increase the cost of your bathroom remodel slightly but the look is well worth the cost.  These also make it easier to clean the bathroom sink area. 

Tub Fixtures

Similar to sink fixtures, tub fixtures can come as deck mounted, wall mounted, or even floor mounted.  If you have the space, we love the look of a free standing tub and floor mounted tub filler such as the one used in this whole home interior remodel.  This can be the focal point of your bathroom remodel and provide a luxurious spa experience.

Shower Fixtures

There are many bathroom ideas in the shower fixture category.  From rainheads, to handhelds, to body sprays, today's shower is so much more than a simple fixed shower head.  

Innovative controls are also continuing to evolve.  Many controls have a separate lever that will allow you to set the shower temperature independent of the water control lever.  Diverters can also let you choose between multiple shower heads or in some cases select more than one at the same time.

Handheld fixtures are great for cleaning the shower, cleaning kids or pets, and can also helpful for older individuals. 

Toilets and Urinals

Designer toilets can increase cost significantly over a generic version.  We prefer a separate water closet for the toilet where possible.  This keeps any toilet spray (ewe!) from flushing contained and away from sinks and toothbrushes.  It also maintains privacy while allowing the rest of the bathroom to still be utilized.  You can also hide the toilet behind a wall for privacy without a door as we did in this award winning bathroom remodel.  If you don't have the space to enclose or hide the toilet, then a designer toilet may be a great option.  This is also a fun addition to powder rooms.  There are even wall mounted toilets that are high on style and great for ease of cleaning.

Basic floor mounted toilets come in two heights - standard or comfort height.  The comfort height toilet is approximately two inches higher than the standard toilet and can be great for older people or those with joint issues.  An elongated toilet bowl is also an option that is popular. 

Some fancier toilets now have handsfree features such as auto opening and closing the lid.  That sounds like one less argument ladies!

Urinals are another upscale addition that some gentleman desire.  Fear not ladies - modern urinals have come a long way in terms of design. 

Bidet options range from stand alone units, to kits that can be used to convert an existing toilet.  There is additional plumbing and electrical involved, so these will increase bathroom remodeling costs, but can also bring that great european influence to the United States.

Cabinet Hardware

Cabinet hardware is like the jewelry of your bathroom and the options are endless.  As a remodeling contractor in Austin TX, we utilize a service that brings the knobs and pulls to you.  This best in class service allows you to see what the hardware will look like in your space and on your cabinets.

Towel Bars, Rings and Hooks

The great debate continues about the preferred method for displaying towels and hanging drying towels.  Style and personal preference are the main drivers here with this bathroom idea.  Just make sure you include the products and labor costs in your budget and confirm if you, or your general contractor, will be installing them.  Also don't forget the toilet paper holder.  Bathroom hardware is an often overlooked item by many remodeling contractors and homeowners, but it adds up.

Wall mounted heated towel bars are also a great option if you can fit it into the bathroom remodeling budget.  Not only does this luxury item provide great functionality, they also come in a variety of sizes and styles.  Just make sure you integrate this into your bathroom remodel rather than purchasing a DIY unit.  If you are going to splurge on this item, there is no point in seeing a cord running to a plug.

Mirrors and Medicine Cabinets

The standard medicine cabinet has come a long way.  Each year several new options appear at Design and Construction week.  This is the culmination of the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show and the International Builder's Show, where vendors from around the world show off innovate products.  Review your options with a qualified general contractor to determine what your space can accommodate.  Mirrored medicine cabinets can be recessed into the wall and with all the cool features can add function, storage and style to any bathroom remodel.

If you don't love medicine cabinets or don't have the budget for the designer variety, you can still find many great options for vanity mirrors.  Whether you prefer a large single mirror or two smaller mirrors, there are a variety of framed mirrors, back lighting options, and other designs to to turn your mirror into an accent piece.

Lighting

When it comes to bathroom ideas, lighting is a key feature to consider.  Not only in terms of look but in terms of function.  You need enough general lighting to cover the basic use of the space.  Lighting in the vanity area is also key for shaving, applying makeup and all of the other prep work that goes into getting out the door in the morning.  

Vanity lighting can come from sconces on either side of the mirrors, from wall mounted bar lights above the mirrors, to even pendant lighting or mini can lighting above the vanity.  

Back lighting behind the mirror and other accent lighting (such as to highlight any accent walls in the room) can really set off the space.

Look for LED lighting where possible.  You'll save money in the long run and your LED lighting options have come a long way.  Interesting fact: LEDs do not burn out, but they will eventually dim after many years.  So down the road if you think your eyes are going bad it just may finally be time to change your LED light bulbs.

Add dimmer switches to your bathroom lighting design to further control the mood of the room.  Not all dimmer switches are created equal though so work with your remodeling contractor to ensure your switches will work properly with your lighting fixtures.

All switches should be easily accessible and in a location where you would most likely be when you would first need to utilize that light source.  For example, a vanity mirror switch should generally be near the vanity mirror.  

Ideally a small amount of light should be able to be activated as you first enter the bathroom so that you don't wake up your sleeping partner.

Consider adding a lighted vanity mirror with magnification to assist with the more detailed primping tasks.

Accent Walls

Accent walls can be created in a variety of ways, for various price points.  Paint is the cheapest option and can be very effective.  Other unique options include a cedar wood wall behind a free standing tub as seen in this award winning bathroom remodel, back painted glass, or mosaic tile designs in a shower.  The options are endless.

Accent tile or strips of other material can also be used to wrap a room, or to run down a shower wall, over the shower curb and onto the floor.  Accent material can also be used around the vanity mirror area for even more unique bathroom design ideas.

Tile

As noted under the accent walls discussion above, there are a variety of options for incorporating tile.  Large format tile can be a great option for cost conscious consumers.  Glass mosaics and other tiles that are adhered to mesh sheets can be a great design feature if the budget can accommodate it.  With the huge variation in cost for both the tile itself and the install, its important to work with a quality general contractor who can guide you in the selection and design process.

Flooring

Most bathrooms use tile flooring, but you don't have to be limited to that look.  New products such as cork, tiles that look like wood, as well as wood itself (with some additional preparation) may be great bathroom design ideas in the flooring category that are worth considering.  Stained concrete flooring is also a popular choice here in Austin, particularly in modern homes.  The concrete floor can also be scored to create a tile like appearance.  We know YOU would never do this, but please don't put carpet in a bathroom!

Windows and Window Treatments

Most everyone loves natural light, but production builders just don't seem to understand the need for privacy.  If you have a private courtyard or live on some acreage, having large windows near the tub, or next to the toilet may not be an issue.  If you don't, there is a good chance that you leave the blinds down most of the time which defeats the purpose of the window.  Consider obscured glass, changing the size and placement of the window to sit more at eye level, or install top down bottom up window treatments that allow you to maintain privacy while letting in the some light.  Also, if you don't want to climb into the tub to open and close the blinds a couple of times a day, you can also opt for motorized window treatments that can be controlled remotely.

Television

American's love their television.  Whether its the news as you get ready in the morning, or a romantic love story as you unwind in a hot bath, there are several ways to incorporate a television into the bathroom.  Some bathroom mirrors even can now serve double duty with a built in television display!  

Fireplace

A true luxury is to have a fireplace in the master bathroom.  This install is typical visible from a spa tub and will sometimes be a two sided fireplace unit so that it can be shared with the master bedroom.  If you have the space and budget, this certainly adds some wow factor to your bathroom remodel.

Bathroom Storage Considerations

Think about creative storage solutions including hidden or pop-up electrical outlets, as well as storage for hairstyling appliances, electric toothbrushes and electric shavers.  Custom cabinets give you the freedom to get creative and meet the functional needs you have for your bathroom remodel without sacrificing style.

From tissues, to q-tips, to dental floss, there are little bits of trash that accumulate in our bathrooms, but that we never seem to plan around.  Consider your options for hiding the trash and toilet paper towel roll recycling within a cabinet.  This also keeps helps keep Fido from unwrapping any presents he finds in the trash.

Consider if you'd like to store reading materials near the tub and/or toilet and work that into your storage solutions.  Some custom cabinets for drop in tubs can include storage for magazines or towels in the dead space between the tub and the framing. 

We've already covered bench seating inside the shower, now lets talk about outside the shower.  If you have small children it may be helpful to have space for bench seating near the tub, or close by the closet for ease in dressing.  The seating itself would typically be a furniture piece, but its an important consideration with space planning.

There are many items that are helpful to have handy in the vicinity of the toilet.  Incorporate storage here for feminine products, extra toilet paper, and wet wipes.

Take an inventory of what you have, or want to have, in your cabinet drawers and make sure there is sufficient height in the drawers to house like things that you'd prefer to keep together.

Display Shelving and Adjustable Shelving

Consider what items you may want to display that will lend to the decor of the space.  Locate open shelving where you will be able to see and appreciate those items on a regular basis.  Consider having a clear glass door on a cabinet to allow for storage of these items with limited need to clean and dust them.

Where possible, keep your shelving adjustable so that it can grow and change with the needs of you and your family.

Grab Bars

Historically these have not been a sexy addition to a bathroom remodel, but with the increase of the Aging in Place movement, this bathroom design trend is evolving.  New sleeker options are now available and various strategies can be applied to make these blend more with the surrounding bathroom remodel.

Doors and Insulation

Ok lets face it...the bathroom is where some pretty private and possibly embarrassing things can happen.  Ensure that you maintain privacy by adding sound insulation and using a solid core door for the bathroom and/or water closet.  A vent fan and an operable window are also bathroom ideas worth incorporating.

Consider locking pocket doors to help improve traffic flow.  Just remember that a pocket door cannot pocket into a wall that contains electrical or plumbing in the space that would receive the door.  There also needs to be sufficient wall space to accept the pocket door.  Finally no nails or other items should penetrate the wall that the door will pocket into, otherwise it may not operate or the nails may scratch the door. 

Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Products

There are many bathroom ideas and products that can support sustainable design.  Low flow toilets and shower heads are a great place to start.  As also mentioned above, cork flooring and LED lighting are other great products to consider.  Go green with your consumable products as well by purchasing eco-friendly toilet paper, cleaning supplies and toiletries.

Other Layout Considerations

The relationship of the master bathroom to the master closet and master bedroom is another important design consideration.  You can have both the closet and master bathroom independently accessible from the master bedroom, or you can walk through the closet to get to the master bathroom, or you can walk through the master bathroom to get to the closet.  Ensuite master bathrooms are expected in many neighborhoods and walk in closets are also very popular.  Consider how you prepare for your day and how you unwind at night to select the layout that works best for you.

To close out this round of bathroom ideas, we wanted to leave you with one final layout tip.  For full and 3/4 bathrooms that independent rooms (meaning they are not ensuite or jack and jill bathrooms), please consider the pathway between the bathroom and the bedrooms that would utilize it.  Where possible, leverage door positioning and hallway layout to maintain privacy for the walkway between the bathroom and nearby bedroom(s).  You want to minimize direct view from the main living spaces when someone is passing from the bathroom to a bedroom after a taking a shower.  Additionally for a half bath, try orient it so that it is not accessible from or visible from the kitchen or dining room if possible.

We hope you have enjoyed these bathroom ideas!  Remember if you are looking at construction companies in Austin TX, make sure to check out the rest of our website for more bathroom remodeling ideas and make sure to view our bathroom remodeling before and after photos in our Lookbooks!