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bathroom with small decorative cactus

The best bathrooms are a harmonious combination of comfort and utility. After all, no one wants to bathe, brush their teeth, shave or put on makeup every day in a room that’s drab or uncomfortable. When designing a bathroom, there are some common pitfalls that can upset the balance of the room’s utility and its decorative appeal. Being aware of these roadblocks can help you design the well-thought-out and revitalized bathroom you dream of. Here are six easily avoidable bathroom design mistakes that can deter the best design intentions. 

Bathroom Renovation Mistakes to Avoid

The shiny finish on the Trinsic Single-Handle High-Arc Bathroom Faucet pairs well with the two-tone cabinet pulls. (Above; Photo: @mcgregorhomes)

Mistake #1: Not having a clear plan
Before you start, get organized! Take some time to think about the space’s needs and what you’d like it to include. Make a list and prioritize the items. It might turn out, for example, that the pedestal sink you’ve been coveting is actually less important than having adequate storage space. It’s much better to consider up front how each element will impact the room than to realize you’ve blundered after the project is finished.

Bathroom Design Mistakes: Choosing the Wrong Materials

From the vessel sinks and Trinsic wall-mounted faucets to the leather cabinet pulls and large rectangular floor tiles, everything about this bathroom is well-planned and creates a cohesive look. (Photo: @stacykallen)

Mistake #2: Choosing the wrong materials
The bathroom needs materials that look good while standing up to temperature fluctuation and everyday use. You may have your heart set on the appearance of a certain wallpaper, stone or tile, but go with the wrong materials and you’ll be having to replace them more quickly or possibly coping with mold and mildew. Make sure the wood, metals, stone, paint and wallpaper you choose are safe for bathroom use. Bathrooms need proper ventilation to remove moisture and odors, so be sure to install a bathroom exhaust fan if you don’t have one.


A Chrome Lahara Two Handle Centerset Bathroom Faucet shines brightly against the contrasting moisture and stream resistant wallpaper in this powder room. (Photo: @lovefabdecor)​

Mistake #3: Not planning for enough storage
Bathroom storage is so chronically overlooked, it’s best to plan for more than you think you’ll need. Let’s face it, we keep a lot of items in the bathroom, and it’s more pleasant when that stuff doesn’t tumble out every time you open a cabinet. Not to mention, a messy bathroom due to poor storage takes away from the design aesthetic you worked hard to achieve. Think of what you need to store (linens, toilet tissue, toothpaste, makeup, razors and shaving cream, etc.) and then decide what types of storage you’ll need to keep it all organized.

Bathroom Renovation Mistakes: Not Enough Storage

This space isn’t large, but every inch is expertly maximized. This sleek Trinsic faucet is the best size for this countertop, and the vanity is an excellent option for storage. (Photo: @laurenjsmyth)

Mistake #4: Trying to fit too much in a small space
If you can’t expand the bathroom’s square footage, focus on maximizing the space you have. You may long for a double vanity or a vintage wooden cabinet for linen storage. But if your bathroom is small and adding these means you have to squeeze into a yoga pose just to use the shower, you’re not going to be happy in the long run. No matter the size of your bathroom, be sure your design allows for comfortable maneuvering around the space and easy access to all the bathroom’s amenities. To assist with precision planning, here’s a helpful bathroom measurement guide.

Bathroom Design Mistake: Not Enough Lighting

Sconces are an elegant lighting option to consider in a bathroom. Don’t hesitate to match the lighting fixture to the faucet.

Mistake #5: Choosing inadequate lighting
Bathroom lighting might not be as exhilarating as a new faucet, but too many of us ignore this crucial aspect of the bathroom until too late. From shaving to putting on makeup, you’ll need adequate lighting to do everyday tasks properly. It’s a common error to think one light source will do the trick, but in most bathrooms it won’t. At the very least, most spaces require both overhead and vanity lighting.

Bathroom Renovation Mistake: Not adding your personality

The look of this bathroom is lively, energetic and proof that there’s no reason not to take chances with color, shape and concept. Go for the unique faucet design like this Ara Channel Spout Bathroom Faucet or outrageous wallpaper to create design magic.

Mistake #6: Forgetting to have fun!
While the bathroom is a functional space, that in no way means it can’t be stylish or playful. Practicality has to be paramount, but don’t forget to include personality as well. Try adding color or using a wildly surprising light fixture. Embellish the atmosphere with whimsical tile—the options are endless. For more ideas, here are some tips for crafting a small, bold bathroom and suggestions for transforming a small bathroom into a larger space.