11 bathroom design errors to avoid

It's surprising how easy it is to overlook things when designing your bathroom, how many of them did you get wrong in the past? Avoid these common errors, and make your next bathroom perfect.


black bathroom basin

It's surprising how easy it is to overlook things when designing your bathroom, how many of them did you get wrong in the past? Avoid these common errors, and make your next bathroom perfect.

With the intended purpose of a bathroom, it can be easy to overlook key design components. We could get bogged down in plumbing and wiring details or concentrate so much on one dream feature that other essential elements such as storage space are forgotten.

If you’re feeling daring, the bathroom offers the ideal opportunity to show off a daring design statement combining bold colours and unusual layouts and patterns. Make it unique and make it yours!

Many people are aware of the need to avoid or fix important bathroom remodel errors, but just as important is correcting design mistakes, so that you can enjoy the feeling of having a spa-like haven inside your home.

Here are some tips to help you craft a bathroom that will draw admiration. Avoiding any missteps in your design is key.

Before beginning a bathroom redesign, think of what type of atmosphere you would like it to have. Whether you are searching for a tranquil spa-like sanctuary or a dynamic hotel-style statement, setting your goals beforehand will ensure that your space has a polished and consistent end result.

1. Wooden Flooring

When it comes to bathroom flooring, installing sanded back wooden floorboards may not be the best option. Wood might be deemed inappropriate, so solid wood should especially be avoided.

When considering floors for a particular environment, solid or reclaimed wood boards may not be the most practical selection. Instead, an engineered floorboard is an ideal choice for bathroom flooring due to its multi-layered composition. This makes it far more resistant to warping in areas of high moisture and temperature changes, therefore reducing the risk of staining, swelling, shrinking, cupping or gapping.

If you’re thinking about underfloor heating, engineered wood flooring is the ideal choice because of its stability. Solid wood is not suitable for use with underfloor heating systems, but engineered wood typically is.

Opt for engineered wood with a water-repelling finish to reduce the accumulation of dirt and moisture. To further strengthen its protection, select a product with a watertight click system which prevents any liquid from penetrating between the planks.

2. Bath or Shower or Both

When a bathroom has limited space, it can be difficult to find room for both a bath and shower. However, with some creative design and clever positioning of fixtures, often an efficient combination of the two can be incorporated into even the most compact of spaces.

The popularity of freestanding baths has seen a significant rise since the beginning of this year, and many individuals are keen to have them included in their bathroom revamps. However, they aren’t necessarily suitable for all scenarios.

When it comes to bathrooms of limited size, you should be realistic about the ‘bath or shower’ dilemma. You most likely won’t be bathing often, so attempting to accommodate a freestanding bathtub and separate shower box would be counterproductive. Not only will your shower end up being too small, but the cramped space will make for an uncomfortable experience.

Solutions are available, such as stylish over-bath showers, especially classic models. You could also opt for a wet-room style design with multiple shower heads for a luxurious feel.

For a large main bedroom, you could install a bath instead. Remember to account for the plumbing and check if the ceiling can take the weight. Alternatively, you could use extra space to expand your bathroom. But don’t cram too much in if the room is small.

3. Floor Tiles are Trending

Not staying up-to-date with the current trends in floor tiles can mean that your home looks outdated and old fashioned. Keeping up with the times is important if you want to give your home a more current, modern look.

Neglecting the bathroom floor is a common design mistake, one that can take away the room’s personality. Instead of using traditional white tiled flooring, why not look into popular bathroom trends and select an eye-catching patterned tile? Characterful tiles can also be used to liven up the walls for an extra visual impact.

Bringing texture to walls with tiles provides tactile appeal and reflects the South African sunlight with its glazes, adding life to any area.

4. Air Circulation and Ventilation

Canoe shape bathtub white

Opening a window is probably inadequate for ventilation in an ensuite bathroom, given the adjoining bedroom. Poor ventilation could result in substantial damage to both décor and health, due to the growth of mildew, mold and rot. The issue can wreak havoc on certain elements such as brassware, grout and furniture; but worse still, it can provoke breathing afflictions or allergic reactions.

Bathrooms and kitchens are especially vulnerable to mold because of the quantity of humidity these particular spaces generate. Simply opening the bathroom door to the house will not do, as this could spread the dampness into other areas that would usually remain unaffected.

The most effective way to tackle this issue is by installing an exhaust-style bathroom fan, which draws in the moisture and vents it outside. Note however, opening a window still remains essential if you have one.

Wall and ceiling fans are the most popular choices and can come with additional features such as lighting, Bluetooth speakers, or even ducting which can pipe air outside. It pays off to invest in quality branded models over cheaper ones due to the potential for needing to repair or replace them down the line. Such tasks bring about their own unique set of issues.

You can easily work out the CM³/h extraction rate of the fan you’ll need depending on the dimensions of your bathroom. Let’s say that it is 2m long, 3m wide, and with a ceiling height of 2.5m. All you have to do is multiply these numbers together, then again by 60 – in this case it would be 90. If there is a lot of ducting, you may require a higher extraction rate; however, taking it too far over the required amount will only result in more noise than you need.

5. Lights and Lighting

Light bathroom theme

Lighting plays an important role in residential spaces. It can be used to create atmosphere and enhance safety. Lighting fixtures should always be taken into consideration when designing a residential space, as they can make all the difference.

One of the most prevalent design flaws in a bathroom is improper lighting. It must serve both the practical purpose of providing visibility and create an ambient atmosphere for relaxation. A single ceiling light will rarely suffice if you are aiming to attain a luxurious bathroom setting. To achieve the desired result, explore varied illumination ideas.

People are becoming more daring when it comes to bathroom design. Lighting that fits in with this type of aesthetic and that moves away from the conventional is something we’re going to be seeing more and more of.

Lighting is a crucial aspect of interior design and can completely alter the atmosphere of a room. Utilising multiple light sources and layers will make your space more configurable. Add a touch of drama with pieces boasting unique shapes, notable textures, or coloured glass – even when the lights are off!

It is important to plan your bathroom lighting correctly, so as not to make a common mistake. It is essential to comply with the zones and use suitable IP-rated lighting, as failure to do so can have dangerous consequences.

6. Selecting hard to clean surfaces and finishes

small bathroom ideas

Selecting finishes that are difficult to maintain in a bathroom is not advisable. These materials can be more time consuming and difficult to keep up with daily cleaning.

It may look fantastic in the showroom, but certain features and finishes could become problematic long-term; they require a good deal of attention to maintain their lustre.

Bathroom tiles can be a challenge. Mosaic tiles may seem appealing but cleaning grout takes time and can easily become discoloured due to mildew and mold buildup. Natural stones like limestone, and marble are undoubtedly attractive, but they can easily be stained by products such as shampoos or conditioners. Plus, if not treated appropriately, they can be prone to water damage.

When it comes to bathroom furniture and fixtures, take care in your selection. The sleek black basin may appear fashionable, but is it liable to show water marks? Copper wash basins and faucets are notorious for being prone to staining, whereas brushed steel is highly resistant to fingerprints.

7. Making Emotional choices

gold basin

One of the most common missteps in bathroom design is making it a dull and characterless space. Instead, bring in your own flair to unite the interior of your home – adding a dash of personality won’t just lift up the look of your bathroom, but the whole house.

Introducing textures or colours from other areas of your house is a great way for a smooth, effortless finish. If you’re after small bathroom ideas, add some flair by staying away from bright whites and opting for dramatic, dark hues or interesting designs. This can act as an excellent conversation piece that will wow your visitors. For small spaces, vibrant schemes are optimal as they can really emphasise the dramatic nature of the room.

Adding personality to your space can be achieved through the inclusion of functional items that have a beautiful appearance. Shaving kits and brushes, for example, are not only practical for their use but also add a sense of elegance. Bulky bathroom appliances and makeup should be stored away in clever storage solutions.

8. Modern Retro

futuristic chrome tap

Chrome is a popular finish for bathroom fixtures, but it’s not the only option out there. You may prefer black for its bold style, or white for a more modern vibe. Gold is a luxurious choice that can work wonders within existing set-ups.

When using a space, your decision of the design should reflect who will be using it and if it needs to be only practical or if you want to spend a lot of time in it. Recent trends in classic looks combine classical elements with modern finishes. Different plated finishes of brassware ranges offer choices, but these can vary.

Moreover, think about adding a unique texture to your bathrooms with one of the many different finishes available for sink basins. For instance, opt for a Rose Gold wash basin for a stylish touch.

Stainless Steel Basin Rose Gold


Rose Basin Round - Black


9. Wooden Panelling

Bathroom wood panels

Wood panelling and cladding has been a favourite choice for bathrooms, especially traditional designs. This is an excellent way to counter the sleek minimalism of wall-to-wall tiling, although it should be approached with caution.

Bathroom panelling should be made of moisture resistant MDF and primed before painting to prevent any water damage. This type of material is not suitable for use in a shower area, since it cannot tolerate direct contact with the shower’s spray; it will quickly become warped and the paint will start to peel off.

If you’re looking for something different from MDF panels, porcelain tiles with a wood finish are worth considering. Thanks to modern manufacturing, they look incredibly realistic and offer a great option for bathrooms compared to wooden flooring.

Accessorising is an important aspect of fashion, so it’s essential not to overlook it. If you forget about this part of your ensemble, it can be dooming for your look.

The bathroom is a great place to make your own. Accessorising with both functional and decorative pieces will leave you feeling like you just stepped out of your favourite spa!

A spa-like environment in the bathroom is achieved by bringing in soft and nurturing textures. Soft towels draped over a towel bar, or rolled into baskets or neatly stacked on shelves creates this ambience.

It’s essential that your towels are both incredibly soft and extremely absorbent, while also being long-lasting. Colours can brighten up any room, whether you opt for a vibrant red or a subtler blue.

10. Impatient Tile Choices

black bathroom design

Tiles can make an aesthetic statement, completely changing the look of any room. They are truly unique works of art.

Careful consideration of the size, colour, and material of your tiles can make or break a bathroom. It pays to take your time to choose the right ones, as the grout colour you select may alter the overall effect of them. Devote some extra time into planning your tiling decisions for best results.

If you’re a fan of colour, make a statement with your tile selection. Introduce vivid tiles to certain parts of the space, such as around the shower. You can also create an eye-catching wall with small format tiles for added dimension. Pairing 60x60mm floor tiles with smaller wall tiles for further texture and depth gives a unique look.

11. MIrror Mirror on the Wall

T1600 Oak Vanity

When it comes to mirrors, sometimes less is more. Minimalist looks are all the rage these days and they provide an opportunity to stretch creativity when decorating. Choosing basic designs can prove to be quite stylish and yield great results.

Many people spend ample time in front of the bathroom mirror. Its use is not only for its practicality, but also its aesthetic value. Mirrors can drastically alter the look and feel of a room, even making a space appear bigger or smaller. Interior designers appreciate their versatility and often use them as an effective design tool.

You should be open to creative ideas when it comes to your bathroom mirror. It should both enrich the look of the area and be sizable enough to easily see your reflection. To ensure you have proper lighting for make-up application or shaving, make sure there is adequate illumination around the mirror.

Mirrors of every shape and size can range from Huge wall-like mirrors to LED and Crystal mirrors. Not only are these mirrors great conversation starters, but they can also help create a larger illusion within the room by reflecting a large amount of light back at you.