10 Designer Secrets For Creating The Perfect Bathroom


Bathrooms combine beauty and function in a way few spaces can. But selecting state-of-the-art materials or making the most of a floor plan is not easy to master. We queried design-industry pros to share their best advice for achieving maximum impact in one of the homes hardest-working rooms. From considerate customizations to statement-making surfaces, their solutions go beyond utility—creating the places everyone wants to be.

Bathtub with black-and-white tile floors and chandelier

A space-maximized Texas bathroom created by designer Veronica Solomon of Casa Vilora Interiors.

Veronica Solomon, Casa Vilora Interiors

Finesse the Floor Plan

“Consider how you’re actually using your bathroom, versus what’s trendy or typical. For example, two sinks are not ideal if that leaves little counter space for makeup and toiletries. In this Texas project, we completely rearranged the layout to make it work for our client. The tub is now located where there were previously two sinks—one of which was rarely used. Moving the shower from one side of the room to the other allowed for a new single sink with ample counter space. The result? An open, airy retreat.”


Bathroom with handmade teal wall tiles and ledge of artworks.

Raili Clasen, Ca Design

Take on Tile

“For us, tile is a design element that can stand on its own. Graphic patterns and bold or colored tile can set the stage for the whole room, so not much else is needed. Cement tiles now come in so many patterns, colors and shapes. We especially love using them for kids’ bathrooms—and occasionally a fun laundry room, too.”


White bathroom with window and two vanity sinks

Angie Hranowsky, Angie Hranowsky

Customize Cabinetry

“We always design custom cabinets for our bathroom projects. Going custom means you can get the exact size you want, with maximum storage for your needs, along with more interesting designs that complement your overall vision for the home. I try to use drawers instead of doors as much as possible in bathroom vanities, which allows for more convenient and efficient storage.”


A sunlit bathroom with a standalone tub and large windows

Sarah Blank, Sarah Blank Design Studio

Focus on Fixtures

“Plumbing fixtures make the room, and I prioritize two things when selecting them: reliable sourcing and durable materials. Always visit a showroom—a reputable plumbing supply house—versus buying online, and seek out materials that have been carefully reviewed to ensure they’ll endure in a damp environment. Nickel has a lovely finish, but stains easily when exposed to water. Alternatively, unlacquered brass develops a beautiful patina over time.”


Neutral bathroom with tub inside a glass shower stall

Keita Turner, Keita Turner Design

Keep it Compact

“We love to enlarge small bathrooms by capturing square footage from neighboring spaces, but there are often limits on how much you can expand the room’s footprint. One solution we’ve used is to enclose a deep soaker tub within a glass-enclosed shower stall. Glass partitions are seamless and take up very little space, plus they can be etched for privacy.”


Bathroom vanity in soft pastels with mirrored cabinet fronts

Julie Massucco Kleiner, Massucco Warner

Strive for Serenity

“We strive to create the cleanest, most serene baths possible, which typically calls for pale shades (think blush, ivory or watery blue). We’re big fans of grasscloth for the walls in light neutral colors, as well as painting the ceiling or cabinetry in a pale shade of blue. These colors are soothing, and we love how they reflect light—especially when paired with reflective surfaces such as polished nickel and antiqued mirror.”


Bathroom clad in dramatic, blue-veined stone

Daun Curry, Daun Curry Design Studio

Experiment with Stone

“Marble and stone always top my list, but it’s so important to consider their durability as much as beauty. We’ve been specifying quartzites—such as Super White and Taj Majal, always in a honed or leathered finish—more and more often. These offer the charm of stone but are incredibly resilient.”


White bathroom with double vanity and open shelving

Philip Mitchel, Philip Mitchell Design Inc.

Add in Accents

“Everyone has something they like to collect—be it paperweights, snow globes, vintage china, silver. A bathroom may seem a strange place to display your favorite collectibles and art, but it should not be overlooked. I believe you should put the things you love in your bathroom—whether paintings, sculpture or, in the case of this Nova Scotia project, the client’s collection of Japanese black-and-white pottery. What better moment to appreciate your favorite things than during a relaxing soak in the tub?”


Bathroom with white tile and floral wallpaper

Sarah Wittenbraker, Sarah Wittenbraker Design

Go for Bold

“Many of our clients like to keep their primary bathroom clean, calm and understated—with focus on beautiful stone and interesting tile. In powder rooms, on the other hand, all bets are off. We push clients to go big for these jewel-box moments with punchy wallpaper or dark, moody colors. No one is doing their daily makeup routine in a powder bath, so we can focus more on drama, rather than impeccable lighting.”


Large bathroom with soaking tub, shower stool and dark wood double vanity

Laila Colvin and Rafaela Simoes, 2id Interiors

Light the Way

“Many people don’t realize the importance of a great lighting distribution plan. When lighting bathrooms, we think in terms of functions: grooming, relaxing and so on. We always used recessed lights on the ceiling, frequently mixing in daylight-colored bulbs behind and to the sides of mirrors (so important for grooming and applying makeup). For the final layer, we create a calming, spa feel by putting everything on dimmers.”