You’re finally designing that luxury spa bath or redoing the powder room.

Your wish list includes an amazing freestanding jacuzzi soaking tub. But have you considered the space it’s going into?

Before you start remodeling, avoid these five common layout mistakes:

1. Scale

Make sure you have enough room for the tub, the vanity and shower you’re looking at. Not only for practicality. You want all your fixtures to harmonize aesthetically with each other in the space. A medicine cabinet above a vanity should always be the same width as the vanity, never smaller. 

Always measure twice before you select fittings and fixtures. A freestanding tub should be about eight inches from the wall with at least a foot of space at both ends to allow for cleaning access.

Account for all the seemingly little things, such as the way a door will swing, how the drawers open, or the space between the toilet and the vanity.

Be sure there’s enough room to walk around all your fixtures and for cleaning. Even more important, be sure your home’s water heater meets the recommended specs for the water pressure you need for all your new fixtures.

2. Exposure

If you have the luxury of choosing its location, avoid having your bathroom door open directly on the toilet. And even better, avoid having a direct view of the powder room from your kitchen, living or dining room.

3. Storage

Think about how you’ll use and move through your space when planning where to position accessories.

Eye-level storage is so important. Instead of a mirror that’s flush with the wall, choose one recessed into the wall with an internal power source and a cabinet with room to store everyday essentials. Or a custom vertical wall-hung cabinet that includes lighting and a towel bar.

Your vanity should include drawers of different depth: shallow ones with dividers for makeup, and deep drawers for towels and standing toiletries.

4. Lighting

Four types of lighting should be factored into your bathroom: task lighting for makeup application or shaving, ambient lighting to enhance the mood, accent lighting to create interest or a focal point, and natural lighting, like a window or skylight.

The goal is to flood the room with various types and intensities of light to create a warm and inviting space.

Don’t simply use down lights over the vanity, shower or toilet. A layered lighting design approach is much more relaxing. Your electrician will be able to wire multiple lighting sources to turn on independently. 

If you frequently soak in the tub to relax, add a fixture there, one that lets you dim the lights for ambiance. Check out our lighting feature for more ideas. 

5. Accessibility

To make your bathroom accessible to everyone, utilize the principles of universal design by adding grab bars, wider doors, non-slip flooring, a shower bench and single-lever or touch-less faucets.

Be sure the position of the toilet, shower and tub are in the right spots.

Their positions should be properly spaced, functional and welcoming.

Consider dividing a large bathroom into separate zones for the bath, shower, vanity and toilet.

Consult your design professionals for the latest in bathroom design and for the solutions that work best for you.

Bathroom storage photo courtesy of