How I design the ultimate bathrooms for my clients

how to design the ultimate bathroom

How I design the ultimate bathrooms for my clients

Next to the kitchen, your bathroom is also where you spend a lot of your time, preparing yourself for the day ahead and the outside world. At Marylou Sobel Interior Design, we believe that your bathroom should be functional and beautiful- a place that feels calm and peaceful, where you can really unwind and escape the hustle and bustle of life. So for this week’s blog post, I am sharing with you, how we go about designing fabulous bathrooms for our clients at Marylou Sobel Interior Design.

how to design the ultimate bathroom

Bathroom designed by Marylou Sobel, photographed by Maree Homer

There are a couple of main elements to decide upon before embarking on designing a bathroom, when I first sit down with my client, we establish the following:

1. Budget
2. Design Aesthetic and style
3. Features and what the client’s priorities are, and how they foresee using their new bathroom

Whether you are going for a contemporary, modern bathroom with clean lines or a glamorous bathroom, or a bathroom with a classical aesthetic there are many things to consider and important decisions to make. In the post below, I will share my designer’s tips on bringing your dream bathroom to life!


The first step when working with a new client is to establish a budget for their new bathroom. We always begin your bathroom design process this way, all of your big decisions such as plumbing placement, bathroom fittings, trades and style can all be made with the budget in mind.

how to design the ultimate bathroom

Bathroom designed by Marylou Sobel, Photographed by Simon Kenny

If you are renovating an existing bathroom, it is a cost factor to keep the plumbing and electrical points where they are- this will result in big savings when it comes to trade costs. The higher your budget may be, the more options one has to explore. If the budget allows, a freestanding bath or a floating vanity may be considered- both of these will have a great impact on your bathroom.

When considering budget, there are many creative and clever ways to cut down on costs, especially when it comes to tiling. Tiling can be labor-intensive; I often say to my clients that a bathroom is a ‘room’ to bath and shower in and therefore it does not require floor to ceiling tiles. To save on your spending, you can keep the tiles to wet areas only, that being the shower area, around the bath (a splash back) and a splash back to the vanity. There are still some bathrooms that I believe require floor to ceiling tiles by nature of style or aesthetic reasons. It will come down to design aesthetics and budget, when it comes to choices in tiling, there are endless possibilities.

how to design the ultimate bathroomBathroom designed by Marylou Sobel, photographed by Maree Homer

Design Aesthetics and style

When it comes to designing a bathroom, there are so many options to consider- first of all, what design aesthetic and style will you go with? Whilst choosing the style of the bathroom, at Marylou Sobel Interior Design, we always consider the overall style of the house, so that it blends seamlessly.  Bathrooms can be glamorous, simple, or modern/contemporary and clean lined- once your budget has been established, it is time to decide on what your dream bathroom will look like.

If you are opting for a glamorous style bathroom, consider statement lighting such as sconces and chandeliers and intricate tiling such as mosaics, or even treatments such as wallpaper as shown below. If you are opting for a more contemporary style, make sure you factor in plenty of clean, strong lines and natural elements such as marble and stone, with materials like polished concrete and timber.

accent wallsDesigned by Marylou Sobel, photographed by Maree Homer


After my clients and I have established a budget and the style and design aesthetic for their new bathroom,  it’s time to look at the features that they want this room to offer their family and guests.

Do you have a view to offer? Perhaps a pretty garden, or, if you are lucky, an ocean view? It’s always an advantage to have the bath and shower placed at a window to enjoy the view and natural light. Consider privacy of course, which needs to be factored in, but a beautiful view and natural light will always elevate the experience of taking a bath or shower.

Image source here

When selecting or designing your shower area, you could consider whether it will be large enough for two people, depending on your space. A two-man shower also means two shower heads, but it will give your bathroom a luxury feature. You could also have a shower head that is ceiling mounted, something that is powerful and luxurious, adding to your wall-hung shower head on a rail that could be used as a hand shower too. If you wanted to step it up, you can also add water jets, mounting them to your walls, and in some cases, shower spaces can double as a steam room too.

Bathroom designed by Godrich

I like to design with a lot of glass, showing off the outside world, especially if there is a lot of greenery and nature visible, it is always calming and beautiful. Using mirrors in your bathroom is also a feature, not only for practicality but for reflecting views.

Image source here

When considering the features of your bathroom design, storage is another important factor. An effective way of incorporating more storage into your bathroom is a recessed cupboard above the vanity or cupboards below the vanity. You could also have a separate storage cupboard in your bathroom for linens and other household consumables, making them easily accessible.

To add extra luxurious touches and to make your bathroom look and feel uber glamorous, add a chair- especially an upholstered chair, a rug, or even an open fireplace (can be gas). I also think that adding under-floor heating and a beautiful window treatment, whether it is curtains, blinds or shutters depending on your style, will all contribute to the wow factor.

Designer’s tips

Now that I have given you an overview of considerations when embarking on the bathroom design process, I wanted to share some designer’s tips & insider tricks with you below:

  • Trick the eye with the size of tiles and your proportions. Large tiles give the impression of a larger space. Consider which way you would like the tiles to lay and have your tiler lay these out for you to look at prior to them glueing down your tiles.
  • If you are in doubt when it comes to tile choices, select one feature tile such as a subway or mosaic and have the rest of your tiles more of a neutral finish to compliment the accent/feature tile.
  • When selecting your vanity, the choices are endless; but be sure to consider the materials carefully, making sure they take to water well over more porous materials that will absorb water.

Are you considering a kitchen renovation, or potentially building a new home and are interested in working with an interior designer to help you to maximise your space, but staying within budget?
I would love to hear from you about your vision, and help you bring your dream kitchen to life!
Click here to learn more about working with me, I can’t wait to hear from you. 


  • Rachel Smith
    Posted at 07:41h, 04 December Reply

    Great post and I love the decorative mirror frames. Not all bathroom designs can support such frames, but what you’ve done looks great. I’ve always recommended mirrors to be as big as your vanity, extending it (horizontally and vertically) as far as possible. But, what you’ve achieved here looks awesome.

    • Marylou
      Posted at 07:02h, 06 December Reply

      Thank you so much Rachel, I agree. Glad you enjoyed the post. x

  • Evilyn | One piece toilets
    Posted at 11:37h, 23 December Reply

    Hello, thanks for sharing this awesome Idea about Bathroom Design. It’s an amazing design. I want to decorate my bathroom like this.

  • Louie
    Posted at 20:57h, 19 January Reply

    I love stone paving to apply on my bathroom but when i saw this i’m very excited to do this design on my own!

  • Nancy Lee
    Posted at 15:59h, 18 March Reply

    Much obliged for sharing this great Idea about Bathroom Design. Not all restroom structures can bolster such edges. Be that as it may, what you’ve done looks extraordinary. I’ve generally prescribed mirrors to be as large as your vanity, broadening it on a level plane and vertically beyond what many would consider possible. In any case, what you’ve accomplished here looks magnificent. Much appreciated

  • joshua wienholt
    Posted at 20:29h, 05 June Reply

    Really great designs and concepts you have shared here. Taking renovation to a next level. Truly a work of an artist, the design is a work of art.

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