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How to Design a Bathroom

A bathroom, whether you're building a brand new master bathroom or updating a small guest space, is an intimate place where you spend time both starting and ending your day. Your master bathroom, in particular, is an area where you get ready in the morning, before a night out, and if you love to soak in the tub, relax after your work is done and on weekends.

Planning the perfect bathroom can ensure you have the dream space you've always desired, even if you have limited square footage. Use this guide from Pottery Barn to help you plan whether you are building, remodeling or even updating your bathroom in style.

Vanities and Sinks

The vanity you choose for your bathroom is perhaps the single most important piece you'll install. In most bathrooms, it's the first thing you see when you walk in the door and the focal point of the room.

There's no hard and fast rule for choosing a bathroom vanity size, but there are some common sizes that work in most spaces. For a powder room, look for a single sink vanity or a pedestal sink style. 24" to a maximum of 36" is ideal in most powder rooms.

For a guest bathroom or a teenager's bathroom, a single sink vanity that's 36" to 60" is generally appropriate. Larger spaces can benefit from 72" vanities.

In the master bathroom, a double sink vanity measuring 60" to 84" is ideal if you have the space. Single sink options also work if you've got a smaller space.

If you're not replacing your current vanity, look to update your bathroom hardware. Hardware has a huge visual impact in a small space like the bathroom.

Storage Options

For small spaces, under-sink storage is a must, especially if that's the only place you're going to have to put things you don't want on display all the time. Even in large bathrooms, under-sink storage can be convenient. If you prefer a modern vanity with open shelving, look to keep your storage area tidy with decorative baskets and neatly folded towels.

If you have more space, freestanding linen storage is a wise idea. You'll be able to keep extra towels handy and have a place for items like hair dryers, extra shampoo and anything else you need to keep handy.

Wall shelves can also be helpful in small bathrooms where you don't have room for freestanding storage.

Shower, Bath or Both

No bathroom is complete without a space for bathing. Even your guest spaces need to offer guests something to help them get ready for the day each morning.

In your master bathroom, a shower and bathtub are ideal since you'll have a way to get clean quickly and relax when you need a little TLC. If your space is large enough, a freestanding shower and separate bathtub are often ideal. For a decorative touch, choose a claw foot bathtub with iron feet.

Not every bathroom can handle a freestanding shower and bathtub. In those spaces, a combination shower and bathtub is preferred. You'll need a little more space than a simple small shower box, but even most small master bathrooms can make this work if they scale other items like the vanity back just a little.

Don't Forget About Lighting

Lighting is obviously important in your bathroom, and if you're remodeling a space, you can likely use the existing overhead lighting. If not, recessed light fixtures are a mainstay in modern bathrooms, even in spaces that are designed with traditional decor.

You don't want to forget about decorative and accent lighting when creating your new bathroom though. If you're simply updating your space, adding new bathroom sconces can add an element of interest and offer more intimate, soft lighting.

4.75" is a common back plate size for wall sconces, but if you're updating an existing space with pre-drilled holes, you'll need to measure yours to be sure. Pay extra attention if your sconces are going on a bathroom mirror -- they'll need to be the right size to mount securely.

Make Your Bathroom a Comfortable, Relaxing Space

Every bathroom needs the creature comforts that we've all come to expect. In a smaller space, you may need to limit the number of hooks or towel bars you use, but every bathroom can benefit from stylish shower curtains, comfortable bath mats and decorative accessories like soap, toothbrush and tissue holders.

Single towel bars and hooks for hand towels are also must-have items. For shared spaces or a master bathroom, double towel bars and robe hooks are ideal.

Designing the perfect bathroom, whether it's a powder room, guest space or master suite, can provide you with an opportunity to get everything just right. Shop Pottery Barn to find everything you need to create the space you've always dreamed of calling your own.