Creating a functional bathroom

Whether it's a family bathroom or your renovating for retirement, our checklist takes you through what you need to know.

Natural bathroom design
Article: Mina Phillips

When redesigning your bathroom, it’s important to get it right for your space and needs. The number of residents within your home, as well as the number of usual visitors, should be factored into your bathroom design; especially when considering storage, cleanliness and practical spaces. While aspects such as lighting, ventilation and good water pressure are central to any well functioning bathroom, other bathroom features will vary, depending on your household’s requirements.  

Family bathrooms

Family bathrooms, especially with young children, should provide as much functionality and storage as its size will allow. Well-designed family bathrooms should find a balance between being child-friendly while also creating a space where parents can enjoy what is often a few minutes of alone time - ideally relaxing in a bathtub or under a rain shower! 
Family-friendly bathroom checklist:
- Storage  
Ensure everyone in the home has their own bathroom storage space. This might mean high up cupboards for personal items - especially razors - and lower drawers where towels and bath toys can be easily accessed.
- Wall hung vanity 
Opting for a wall hung vanity will provide you with easy underneath storage, ideal for storing footstools for growing family members, or perhaps a hidden laundry basket.
- Easy-to-clean materials 
Selecting smooth surfaces, such as stone slabs, over tiles will mean far less cleaning and dealing with grout.
- Adjustable shower head 
Make it easy for you and the littlies to have an efficient and comfortable shower by having an adjustable shower head installed. 
- Anti-scald devices 
Anti-scald showerheads contain a valve which prevents shower temperatures from getting too hot, making them a great safety feature in homes where young children are just learning to control the shower temperature.
- Wetroom 
A wetroom is basically a bathroom that is tiled and waterproofed throughout to accommodate an open shower. It can make life so much easier - especially if you have young children who like to splash water everywhere!


A great solution to sharing the main bathroom with your children is to have your own private ensuite - the more luxurious the better! Ensuite bathrooms are a great way to gift yourself with your own private zone to relax, destress and wash away the day. Once you have decided on a budget, think about what styles appeal to you and what your essentials will be.
Ensuite checklist:
- Choose a style 
What bathroom style suits your taste? Contemporary, traditional or Mediterranean? Do some research to see what appeals.
- Modern models 
Modern bathroom models tend to be designed for efficiency, spaciousness and easy cleaning. If it’s within your budget, you could consider a bespoke installation.
- Ventilation 
As ensuite bathrooms are usually smaller in comparison to main bathrooms, it’s essential to have effective ventilation in place. A good extractor fan will prevent mould, as will adding a few windows into your design. 
- Lighting 
Good lighting will completely change the mood of your bathroom. LED lights provide affordable and efficient lighting, while a chandelier will add a whole new level of luxury. To make the most of your natural surroundings, opt for a skylight.
- Customise 
Customisation is key when it comes to creating storage spaces within a small bathroom. Customise your draws, cabinetry and cupboards to ensure your ensuite provides ample space and functionality.   
- Bathtub 
There’s nothing like soaking in a bathtub a few steps away from your bed. Whether it's a luxurious spa bath or a simple shower over bath cubicle, it will make a great addition to your ensuite.  

Retirement Renovations

If preparing for retirement plays a role in your renovation, one of the first rooms you should be looking at is your bathroom. From toilet heights to shower entries, you want to make this space as comfortable and safe as possible. Some important areas to consider for this type of renovation include flooring, storage heights and if needed, support placements.
Future-proofing checklist:
- Walk-in shower 
Floor-level walk-in showers provide a trip-free solution to showering, as you reach your senior years. They also provide easy wheelchair access.
- Grip bars 
Depending on your needs, grip bars car provide useful support within the shower and alongside the toilet.
- Raised toilet 
As mobility decreases, a toilet designed on a higher level than standard toilets can make life a lot easier and more comfortable.
- Non-slip tiles  
Falls occur much more easily within the senior years. Non-slip tiles are essential for long-term bathroom safety.
- Easy- access storage 
In your new design, keep storage at an easy to access height; not too low and not too high. Pull out drawers or shelving that is slightly above waist level are good options.
- Hand-held showerhead 
Especially if you are likely to be sitting down in the shower, a hand-held showerhead is a simple and comfortable bathing option.

Adding value

If the purpose of your renovation is to add value to your property, the bathroom is a room of the house that could be the “make or break” for potential tenants. It’s a great idea to seek the advice of a real estate agent or renovation specialist before entering into this type of project so that you can get the best return possible. That being said, there are a few key features that tend to appeal to the majority of home seekers. 
Rental renovation checklist:
- Stick to a basic palette 
As tempting as it might be to add a personal touch to the style of your bathroom: don’t. Sticking to natural, base colours like white, black and woods provides potential tenants with an opportunity to imagine how they can add their own life and style to the bathroom.
- Lighting  
Overhead lighting above vanity mirrors is helpful, while natural lighting provided through skylights or surrounding windows help to make bathrooms feel more open and peaceful.
- Make it as spacious as possible 
When planning a new layout; ensure your shower, toilet, bathtub and vanity provide a natural and spacious transition between each other. No one likes a cramped bathroom.
- Storage 
Functional storage can be the difference between a bathroom feeling cluttered or zen. Consider the size of the home, around how many people are likely to live there, and aim to give them one drawer of storage each. Don’t forget additional rails and cupboards for towels and shower products. 
- Updated fixtures 
Especially if you don’t have a large budget to work with, small changes can make a big difference. If any of your bathroom fixtures are looking like they’ve done there time, upgrade. 
- Luxury is a bonus 
To make your bathroom truly memorable to potential tenants, add a touch of luxury. This might be through a stand-alone bathtub, a walk-in shower or a bespoke vanity.  

Holiday homes

Generally, holiday homes mean a lot of foot traffic, which usually comes with a decent amount of sand or dirt. For this type of renovation; durability, cleanliness, spaciousness and style are all important to prioritise. Think about the number of people that will typically be coming through your holiday home, whether it be family and friends or paying guests. What will they, and you, want most in this bathroom?
Holiday home checklist:
- Easy to clean  
With many people making use of the bathroom, potentially after days of outdoor adventures, you will want it to be easy to clean. Avoid exposed grout as much as possible and instead opt for smooth flooring and surfaces such as vinyl, stone or porcelain.  
- Matches surroundings  
Especially if you are trying to make a profit from your holiday home, style your bathroom to match the home and outdoor surroundings. For example, if your holiday home is on the beach, a coastal themed bathroom will work well.  
- Wetroom 
Spaciousness and cleanliness doesn’t get easier than opting for a wetroom style bathroom, especially if you also have a hand held shower head at your disposal. Ensure your bathroom is waterproofed from floor to ceiling and that there is efficient drainage, and you’ll be well on your way to an easy-to-maintain bathroom. 
- Bathtub 
It wouldn’t quite be a holiday without a tub to soak the evenings away in - and it’s something that many guests will be attracted to when seeking out a relaxing retreat. This may be a spa bath, freestanding tub or just a simple alcove.  
- Views are highlighted  
If your bathroom has the potential to look out over a gorgeous view, make the most of it! Have a large window installed - ideally above shoulder level if there are likely to be outdoor passers-by. 

Apartments/small bathrooms

If you are trying to create more functionality within a small bathroom space, there are a few ways that you can achieve this. Focus on making as much use of the walls as possible, and really focus on quality over quantity. Hidden storage is also a must in small spaces such as these. 
Small bathroom checklist:
- Efficient storage  
Hidden wall-to-ceiling storage cabinets can go a long way in making your small bathroom appear neat and tidy. All of your towels and bathroom appliances will be within reach behind fold-out doors. Built-in shower nooks also provide simple shower product storage. 
- Spacious layout 
A well-designed layout makes all the difference within small spaces. Try to make as much use of the walls as possible. Wall-hung vanities, wall-hung toilets and corner showers will remove a lot of clutter from your small bathroom. Wet-room style bathrooms are another way to keep spaces open and de-cluttered. 
- Light colour pallet 
Stay away from dark colours, they tend to make spaces feel smaller. Light colours will help to make your bathroom feel spacious and airy.
- Good quality extractor fan 
Steam builds up quickly in small bathrooms, not to mention smells. Extractor fans are essential in preventing mould and keeping the room smelling fresh. 
- Get innovative 
Wherever possible, look at creating built-in wall storage, high up shelving for less-used items and wall-hooks for towels and any other hanging items.

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