How your Modern Bathroom Can Work Better, With a Little Design Update


Two weeks ago we posted about how modern plumbing works – using three basic principles – and how those ideas haven’t changed much in the last hundred years or so.  Today we want to discuss how design can make the standard modern bathroom much better.

Note: many of these ideas are geared toward residential bathrooms.  For more on public bathrooms, check out our posts on clean, beautiful and gender neutral public restrooms.

How we can do the standard bathroom one better

The standard “nice” American bathroom has a lot of very standard features that we think everyone would be better off avoiding.  Here are some of moss’ go to bathroom design tools and pet peeves.

When in Doubt: Go Green

We have a whole post on this here: Four Principles of a Clean, Green Bathroom Update.  This boils down to using water saving fixtures, playing up natural light, recycling your existing fixtures and using repurposed materials in the new bathroom and avoiding toxic chemicals, VOCs in paint, off gassing cabinets and nasty plastic fixtures.

modern bathroom_simple fixtures

Simple Forms fight the Filth

Home Depot style fixtures have a disturbing tendency to overuse decorative lips, edges, curves and flutes.  This can create a nice old-fashioned fixture feeling but every extraneous curve is one more place for bathroom grime to accumulate.  Save yourself some cleaning headaches and pick the most simple shapes of sink, tub, faucet etc for your bathroom.

Keep it all off the floor

That same idea applies to our preference for wall mounted sinks, cabinets and toilets.  That edge where a toilet touches the tile floor is inevitably icky.  With wall hung fixtures we can avoid it all together and make it easier to swipe down the bathroom with a few simple strokes.  Read about our unholy love for Toto wall hung toilets and their manifold cleanlinesses here.

Tuck Clutter out of Sight

We are big fans of the medicine cabinet mirror in order to keep bathroom clutter close at hand but out of your eyeline.  However, the standard projecting wood framed mirror unit is a little sad.  A custom cabinet maker and a little design insight can make a vast improvement.  We often use the slight projection of the mirror to hide a little LED strip uplighting for extra ambient light, too.  One or two uninterrupted strips of operable mirror makes for a much sleeker bathroom appearance.

modern bathroom_separate tub

Deep six the Tub/Shower.  Forever.

Nothing messes up a nice shower like, banal pre-molded step-in tub unit. In modern bathroom remodels, we always recommend replacing units like that with a glass doored walk in shower.  Depending on the existing conditions and plumbing hood ups we can sometimes go with a zero step, and sometimes need to build up a small ledge.  In either case, a sleek linear drain helps simplify the surfaces and looks very snappy.

A Modern bathroom might not need a tub at all 

If fact, unless you absolutely live to luxuriate in a soaking tub, nightly, consider skipping a tub altogether.  People tend to put these in because the think someone else wants it, or because they picture themselves using them a lot more than they actually do and they can be pretty expensive.  If you love to bathe, splurge on a really nice sleek modern free standing tub (and the extra bathroom space to hold it) but you could also spend less on several spa weekends a year and save yourself a little extra cleaning.

modern bathroom_soaking tub

So there you have it.  A few simple design principles will keep your modern bathroom sleeker, cleaner and easier to maintain.  What’s not to love about that?