Monday, January 5, 2015


Last time, we looked at the basics of designing an ideal bathroom. This time, we’ll get down to the fine points of fixtures, hardware, and lighting. All of these aspects need to be planned out in detail ahead of time, including the exact placement of bath hardware and lighting fixtures, which many people treat as an afterthought.

If space is at a premium, a cabinet-mounted lavatory sink is preferable to a pedestal sink, since it provides both counter space and storage. Either way, though, each lavatory bowl should have a towel bar or ring for face towels and a GFI-protected electrical outlet within arm’s reach. 

Good lighting places the fixtures to
either side of your face.
The so-called “standard” lavatory sink height of 32 inches dates back to a time when people were much shorter, and nowadays this height is usually too low for comfort. Since this is your bathroom and not Napoleon’s, make the lavatory sink high enough to use without having to stoop. If you’re using a ready-made lavatory cabinet, consider using a base to raise it to a comfortable height.

As for lighting, don’t fall prey to another antiquated standard--having a single lamp centered above the sink--because that’s just about the worst possible location. Instead, provide two separate light sources flanking each lavatory sink, located roughly at the height of your ears, and between two and three feet apart. If there's you're planning a full-width mirror, have it drilled to accommodate this lighting arrangement. Steer clear of recessed lighting fixtures and pendant fixtures that dangle in front of the mirror. Regardless of how trendy they look in the showroom, they’ll do a lousy job of lighting your face. 

On the other hand, this fixture location will cast
harsh shadows on your face. The mirror could have
been drilled to accommodate a better placement.
(Both images courtesy of Progress Lighting).
Don’t forget to find a spot for the toilet paper dispenser (a common oversight), and for heaven’s sake, make it within easy reach. Consider including an additional 8-inch deep cabinet for storing bulky bath sundries (the wall behind the toilet, about three feet above the tank, is often a good spot--it’s much more convenient than storing things under the sink). If space allows, provide yet another cabinet to accommodate underwear as well as a hamper for dirty clothes. Regardless of what moisture-fearing naysayers may tell you, having these things right at hand after a bath or shower is a real luxury.

Don’t even bother to include a separate shower unless you can make it really generous--a stall shower smaller than three by four feet has very little advantage over the typical tub-shower. If you’re lucky enough to have room for a good-sized shower, don’t forget to include a soap dish at a convenient height, a hook or two for washcloths, a niche for holding bath sundries, and a bench or at least a ledge you can put your feet on. Also, arrange the towel bars so you can reach the bath towels without stepping out of the shower.

Lastly, invest in a top quality, ultra-quiet exhaust fan with about twice the capacity recommended for your bathroom. The few bucks you’ll save on a cheap fan simply aren’t worth the earsplitting assault on your senses every morning. If your budget allows, consider a remote-mounted fan, which is even quieter and more powerful than a ceiling-mounted unit. Note that a remote-mounted fan can either be placed on the roof, or be mounted in an accessible spot inside the attic. 

Whether your bathroom is thirty square feet or three hundred, it’s the little conveniences that spell the difference between daily irritation and daily enjoyment. 


  1. Thanks for sharing the info, keep up the good work going.... I really enjoyed exploring your site. good resource...

  2. Very good remark about the light in the bathroom, in my opinion, this is very important. Very useful observations and advice. On my blog I publish similar information too.