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Thanks to the Mom 2.0 conference, Dove and many more sponsors I had the pleasure to stay, for the first time, at the Ritz Carlton in Orlando.  I had no idea all that I was missing out on all this time!  The design elements of this hotel are spot on.  But I must confess that our bathroom was one of my favorite places.  There were many bathroom design tips and tricks in there that I use frequently when designing.  I couldn't wait to share them with you so you can get that designer look without the champagne cost.


bathroom design tips and tricks

Bathroom Design Basics FAQs:

What Elements are Most Important in Bathroom Design Basics?

Many times when remodeling or creating a new bathroom we miss out on many, and I mean many, details that can take it from great to amazing. Lighting, mirrors and other items can create a much more functional bathroom as well as one that is aesthetically pleasing. When you're designing a small bathroom, this is even more important.

What Bathroom Design Basics Items do you Recommend?

I always recommend consulting a professional before you do any installation that may require electrical, plumbing or structural expertise.


Let's start with lighting because I feel that it is often overlooked yet possibly the most important part of a bathroom design.

bathroom design tips and tricks

Lighting should be one of your first considerations when designing your bathroom. When selecting lighting for your bathroom I bet you go straight for the wall mount light fixtures.  But let me encourage you to think about recess lighting. No matter your bathroom layout, it can be the perfect way to brighten the space, this is an especially good idea if the room doesn't get natural light and is solely dependent on artificial lighting. In this bathroom design, the only lighting used was the recess centered over the sink about 12 inches away from the wall. Notice in the first picture of the sink the light is cast onto the sink and the faucet, making the white glossy porcelain sink sparkle.  Another reason for only coming out 12″ from the wall is that it throws the ray of light in front of you when you're looking in the mirror instead of on top of your head. This is especially important in the vanity areas of the bathroom. It will illuminate your face better for applying makeup and such.  Great design and easy to accomplish! Plus you don't have a light fixture to keep clean! A small recessed light is also a great idea for a powder room. An added bonus is that cleaning your mirror is now super easy because there is nothing in the way. Which bring us to the mirror.


bathroom design tips and tricks

There are lots of mirror options out there. If you have a smaller bathroom let me encourage you to go large.  In the Ritz-Carlton bathroom, they had mirrors in front of you and on the sides,  all extended almost to the ceiling.  This is brilliant and another trick I learned in college.  Bringing the mirror on the sides allows light to bounce around and gives the illusion of a larger space.  Also, extending almost to the ceiling or to the ceiling doubles the room size.  Believe it or not, in my home my master bathroom is smaller than my daughters, but because I extended the mirror from the counter-top to the ceiling it appears to be larger. You can also hide a medicine cabinet in a side mirror to give you extra bathroom storage.

Oh, maybe you're wondering how they did the trim work around the mirror.  It's a thin piece of wood about 3″ wide by 1/4 thick with 2 1/2″ casing laying on top and all caulked and painted white.  High-end looks without the high-end price.


bathroom design tips and tricks

If you haven't already noticed, check out the extra high back-splash.  This is a very functional element to the design that serves a purpose.  If you have a family that splashes  a lot when washing in the sink then consider a higher back-splash  It will help keep the mirror from discoloring from water. This element was perfect for the Ritz and their busy bathroom.  But this back-splash has a dual function.  It also holds the thick glass shelf which adds more counter space to the bathroom giving you easy access to the items you need. Many small bathrooms lack sufficient storage space. So, if you're struggling with space in your bathroom consider this tip when redecorating or doing a full bathroom remodel.


bathroom design tips and tricks


Now for the shower area. While it's usually the smallest space in the bathroom, it deserves special consideration. Whether you have a large shower or small, there are many tips and tricks in this shower and most people enjoy these features without even noticing them. Let's start with the glass door. If there is one area to splurge then this is it. Go with a heavy glass door for your walk-in shower. Notice that there is not trim around this glass. The clean appearance makes the small shower space seem larger and cleaner. And again, the best part is how easy it is to care for. Glass shower doors are ideal in a small bathroom.

bathroom design tips and tricks


Another feature about this door is the handle. Usually, you find a large vertical handle on these doors.  But why not go larger and horizontal.  Then you have a place to hang your towel while you are showering. It now doubles as a towel rail. No more sitting your towel on the floor or hanging it over the shower door where it gets wet!

bathroom design tips and tricks


For several reasons it is very important to have shelving inside a shower. In this case, they used the same marble tiles as their shelves.  This is possible because they can polish the cut edge.  I would only recommend this for natural tiles like marble, granite, travertine and such.  A professional tile layer will know how to do this.  So if this is what you want to do consult with them before you hire them.  It is also good to have one shelf high for shampoos and soap, like these Dove products, and one lower for more bath products. The low one also is useful for propping your foot up while shaving your legs, so make sure it is about 24 inches from the floor. This is so helpful if you have a separate shower so you don't have a bathtub edge. One last thought on this is to add one more shelf. We found that two was not enough. I would recommend adding one more if you have enough space. Especially if this is a family bathroom. It doesn't take up much space and will be so helpful.


bathroom design tips and tricks


Now let's talk about lighting again. If you are lucky enough to have a separate tub and shower then consider what kind of lighting you want over your tub. Here is a great place to jazz up your design and do a semi-flush or drop down light.  If you are a fancy kind of person, a mini chandelier would be super cute over your separate bath. But if you're a less is more person or don't want another thing to clean, then go with recess lighting like they did here.  However, instead of centering the recessed light over the tub from all directions, have it come out 12″ from the wall.  The light will wash the wall higher up and you won't have a spotlight on your head when you are having a spa moment.


So, if you need a grab bar in your tub why not go pretty and shorter?  Grab bars don't need to be unsightly to be useful. If you need a grab bar to get into and out of the you may not need a super long one.  Sometimes a long bar may be necessary or it could be a code requirement, but if you just need a little extra help then go shorter and prettier.

bathroom design tips and tricks


I haven't quite figured out why builders don't put tile around a tub.  Many times I see bathroom paint scarred from water splashing on the sheetrock wall. Tile is an important consideration for a bath design. The other problem with this is when water gets on sheetrock it is a great place for mold and mildew to form. Ceramic tile is a beautiful and practical design choice. So check out the Ritz tile design around this tub. There is nothing fancy about it but it is functional and clean. Another trick about the tile in this bathroom is the wall and floor tile is the same size and color.  This is another important consideration when selecting your bathroom floors. Not breaking things up will make a room feel neater and larger.

Also, consider a zero grout line.  Now you're probably wondering, “What is a zero grout line?”  Well, it is a super thin grout line.  This is another trick that keeps grout mildew down and cleans up so much easier.  If you want to do a zero or knife edge grout line look for tiles that are very straight and all the edges are a sharp 90 degrees.  I have done zero grout line with tiles that have a textured edge and its looks okay, but the straighter the edge the better.


Great interior designs are made up of many details. As you can see, good bathroom design makes all the difference even if you're working with a small space. No matter your bathroom style, it's the details that will take your bathroom from good to great. Your family members will be so impressed and appreciative of the space and design. And you don't have to break the bank to pull off the designer look. I hope each detail we talked about is helpful and please feel free to ask me any questions. Thanks for joining!!


A big thanks go to Dove who was the main sponsor of the Mom 2.0 conference.  They sent us home with lots of wonderful Dove products to try out and I have to say I was a fan of Dove soap before, but now I am an even bigger fan of all Dove products.  And if you haven't stayed in a Ritz-Carlton hotel then give them a try too.  You won't be disappointed.  Not only is their hotel beautiful and clean but the staff treats you with such kindness and care.  Thanks!

Looking for more bathroom design tips? Check out these posts:

Now it is your turn, do you have any bathroom design tips and tricks you can share?


bathroom design tips and tricks

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bathroom design tips and tricks


Monday 29th of May 2017

That bathroom is gorgeous!


Wednesday 14th of June 2017

I agree! It was hard to leave.

Jill nelsOn

Saturday 27th of May 2017

If I'm ever able to remodel my bathrooms, I will try some of these ideas. Zero grout lines and higher than normal back splash are ideas that really make a lot of sense. Great post!


Wednesday 14th of June 2017

Glad you got some ideas from the Ritz!


Friday 26th of May 2017

Love the "less is more" design of this bath.


Friday 26th of May 2017

These are great tips and I love that tub. I just want to soak on it with a cool washcloth over my eyes and a glass of wine in my hand.... Ahhhhhhh