Planning your new bathroom


Planning a bathroom renovation

Download our bathroom planning checklist!


Renovating creates an ideal opportunity to design a beautiful bathroom that makes good use of your available space and flows well.

Set a budget

Whatever your budget, you'll need to have a healthy contingency fund, since issues such as water damage or old pipes are often discovered when renovating a wet area. You can keep your plumbing and consent costs down by designing within the current space, however it may pay to adjust the existing plumbing set up if you’ll get more room or better flow.

Plan the layout

The layout of your bathroom should maximise the usable space, leave room to move around and eliminate dead space and difficult to clean areas. Light colours and reflective surfaces such as mirrors, glass and gloss tiles, will give the illusion of a larger, airier space. Place your vanity where it has wall space for a mirror and cabinets, and won’t interrupt traffic flow.

Who’s going to use it?

Think about who will use your bathroom and how many people will need access at the same time.

  • A family bathroom will ideally have zones that add privacy for multiple users and help reduce morning congestion.
  • While it still needs to be practical, make your ensuite a luxurious sanctuary.
  • In a rental property, choose products based on their durability and reliability.
  • Will the toilet be in the bathroom or separate?
  • Do you need to include a bath? For resale, it’s ideal to have at least one bath in the house, but you don’t need one in every bathroom.
  • Do you need to consider access and safety for seniors or someone with a disability?

Turn on the light

While natural light is fantastic, bathrooms are most often used in the early morning or at night. Plus, if you’re using timber, stone and a dark colour palette to create a dramatic bathroom, it's even more important to get your lighting right.

  • Use overhead lights, including above the bath, toilet and shower, to provide good general light.
  • Add wall mounted task lighting for the vanity and mirror. The light should beam horizontally, towards your face to avoid shadows.
  • A practical solution for night-time visits to the bathroom is some low lighting on a motion sensor.
  • If you love a relaxing bath, strategic use of recessed LED lighting can soften the mood and create a sense of drama.

Heating and ventilation

Ensure you install good ventilation to remove steam and help eliminate mould and mildew from the ceiling, window sills and walls. There are loads of heating options to keep your bathroom warm and dry including:

  • Underfloor heating, which not only warms tiled floors in winter, but also gently heats the room.
  • Most heated towel rails will not only keep your towels toasty warm, but can also provide enough heat for a small to medium sized bathroom.
  • Consider installing thermostat controlled heating, which can be set to come on at certain times of day.

Storage, storage, storage!

As with other rooms in your house, you can never have too much storage! Don’t just consider what you use, but where it will be most convenient to access it. You’ll need space for toilet paper, towels, make up, toiletries, maybe even cleaning products and dirty laundry. Add some recessed cabinets and a shower shelf, making sure to consider the heights of the bottles you use.

Planning a functional, stylish bathroom is quite complex and it may pay to invest in expert advice. A good designer is used to solving problems and will help you maximise space, ensure good access and plan for both your present and future needs.

For design inspiration, make sure to check us out on Pinterest.