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How to Design Your Dream Bathroom: Tips from an Architect

November 24th, 2023

By Sofia Alonso

4 min read

HillHouse Bath

Have you ever walked into your bathroom and felt it didn't quite match up to the vision in your mind? Perhaps it's the outdated fixtures, the lack of storage, or the lighting that doesn't quite set the right mood. Designing a bathroom that aligns with your dream vision can be daunting. The challenge lies in not just selecting the right components but in understanding how they all come together to create a space that's both functional and a true reflection of your personal style.

At AV Architects + Builders, we specialize in designing and building modern homes in the Northern Virginia area. Our more than 20 years of expertise lies in not just understanding the key components of bathroom design but in knowing how to weave them together to create a space that's more than just a room—it's a personal retreat. Our approach is rooted in creating spaces that enhance wellness and happiness, ensuring every design element supports these goals.

In this article, we'll walk you through the essential components of bathroom design: from the foundational tile selection to the finishing touch of lighting. Designing your dream bathroom is an exciting journey, blending functionality with personal style. Whether you're remodeling or starting from scratch, the key to a successful bathroom design lies in understanding the essential components and the order in which they should be tackled. 


Start with Tile: Setting the Foundation

The tile you choose sets the tone for your entire bathroom. It's not just a background element; it's a statement piece that dictates the bathroom's overall aesthetic. When selecting tile, consider durability, maintenance, and style. Porcelain and ceramic tiles are popular for their versatility and resilience. For a luxurious feel, marble or natural stone can make a striking impact. Think about color, texture, and size – large-format tiles can make a small bathroom feel more spacious, while mosaic tiles add intricate detail. Remember, the tile you choose will influence every subsequent design decision, so select something that resonates with your personal style and the functionality you need.

1Y1A6650AV Architects + Builders, Inside Out Home, Photo by Maxwell Mackenzie

Plumbing Fixtures: The Functional Art

Plumbing fixtures are the workhorses of your bathroom, but they're also an opportunity to inject style. From sleek, modern faucets to classic, ornate fixtures, the choices are vast. Consider the finish – chrome, brushed nickel, matte black, or brass – and ensure it complements your tile and overall design theme. Don't forget about functionality: thermostatic shower valves maintain a consistent temperature, while low-flow toilets and faucets conserve water. Luxurious options like heated tubs keep your bathwater warm, enhancing your bathing experience. Also, consider safety and accessibility; grab bars in showers and near toilets can be both stylish and practical.

MasterBathAV Architects + Builders, Solar House, Photo by Maxwell Mackenzie

Cabinets: Storage with Style

Cabinets are crucial for storage, but they also contribute significantly to the bathroom's look. Whether you prefer a floating vanity for a modern touch or a classic cabinet with intricate woodwork, your choice should harmonize with the bathroom's overall design. Think about storage needs – do you need lots of drawers for small items, or larger cabinets for towels and bulkier products? Material and finish are also important; moisture-resistant materials are a must in the bathroom environment. The right cabinetry can transform your bathroom from a purely functional space into a stylish sanctuary.

20_1Y1A5675-1AV Architects + Builders, Woodlands House, Photo by Tina Krohn

Countertops: The Finishing Touch

Countertops are the icing on the cake. They should complement both your tile and cabinetry while providing durable and practical work surfaces. Granite and quartz are popular for their durability and range of colors, while marble offers unparalleled elegance. Consider the edge profile and thickness – these small details can significantly impact the countertop's overall look. Also, think about maintenance; some materials require more care than others.

Gallery 27AV Architects + Builders, The Architects House, Photo by Maxwell Mackenzie

Finish with Lighting: Setting the Mood

Lighting in a bathroom is about balance – it needs to be functional but also create the right ambiance. LED lighting is energy-efficient and can come in various color temperatures, from warm to cool, affecting the mood of the space. Under-cabinet lighting can add a soft glow and enhance the room's ambiance, while shower and over-tub lighting should be bright enough for safety and functionality. Consider dimmers for overhead lights to adjust the atmosphere for different times of the day. Proper lighting can transform a bathroom from a purely functional space to a relaxing retreat.

Old-Chesterbrook-AV-Architects-Builders-6333-Old-Chesterbrook-Road-06262019_171349-1AV Architects + Builders, Angle House, Photo by Sean O'Rourke

Bathroom Home Design Roadmap

Designing your dream bathroom is a process that combines practical considerations with personal style. By following this roadmap – starting with tile and moving through plumbing fixtures, cabinets, countertops, and lighting – you can create a cohesive and functional space that reflects your unique taste. Remember, a well-designed bathroom is not just about aesthetics; it's a space where function and form coexist harmoniously, providing comfort and relaxation in your daily life. With careful planning and thoughtful choices, your dream bathroom can become a reality.

Remember, the key to a successful bathroom design lies in understanding how each element plays a pivotal role. The tiles set the foundational tone, plumbing fixtures add functional artistry, cabinets offer stylish storage, countertops provide the finishing touch, and lighting creates the perfect mood. At AV Architects + Builders, our expertise in weaving these components together ensures that your bathroom is more than just a room—it's a personal retreat that enhances wellness and happiness.

Your dream bathroom should be a sanctuary where luxury meets practicality. It's important to reinforce that every choice, from the smallest tile to the type of lighting, contributes to the overall harmony of the space. As you make these decisions, consider how they align not only with your aesthetic preferences but also with your functional needs.

Finally, be reassured that designing your dream bathroom, though seemingly daunting, can be an incredibly rewarding process. With over 20 years of experience, AV Architects + Builders is here to guide you through each step, ensuring that your bathroom is not just a vision but a reality. Your dream bathroom, a blend of comfort, functionality, and personal style, is within reach. Let's make it a space where every moment is an experience in wellness and joy.


9903 Georgetown Pike Suite 201
Great Falls, VA 22066
(703) 865-5065