Project Planning

15 Must-Haves for a Bathroom Remodel

Are you dreaming about remodeling your bathroom? It can be a lot of fun to imagine all the features you want to include.

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Christie Dixon

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Bathroom with separated toilet area

As an interior designer, I love dreaming big alongside my clients. I believe a bathroom remodel is more than just a renovation; it’s a chance to create your own personal sanctuary. But the possibilities for a bathroom remodel are basically endless, so it’s necessary to narrow down your “must haves for bathroom remodel” list a little. I’ve carefully chosen these 15 top bathroom features, from smart storage solutions to special touches of luxury, that I’ve found have the greatest impact on your enjoyment of the space. Let’s dive into these ideas and start shaping your dream bathroom together!

1: In-Drawer Power Outlets

Let’s talk about making your life easier with a simple, yet game-changing feature: in-drawer power outlets. Picture this: your hair dryer, shaver, or electric toothbrush all tucked away neatly, but still fully charged and ready to go. No more cords cluttering up your vanity! These handy outlets aren’t just about keeping things tidy; they’re about bringing a bit of that modern, hassle-free vibe into your daily routine. When planning your bathroom remodel, think about where these in-drawer outlets could fit in. It’s all about making your bathroom not just beautiful, but super functional for your everyday life.

In-drawer power outlets are a really nice feature in a vanity. Image courtesy of Deanna Blackwell/Wheelhouse Design Company and Docking Drawer.

2: Add Bathroom Towel Warmers

Ever thought about how a small luxury can make a big difference in your day? That’s exactly what a towel warmer does. Imagine stepping out of the shower and wrapping yourself in a warm, cozy towel. It’s like a hug every morning! And it’s not just about the comfort; a towel warmer can be a stylish addition to your bathroom too. There’s a variety of designs out there, so you can find one that perfectly matches your new space. Plus, think about adding a timer. Not only does it save energy, but it also means your towels are warm exactly when you want them. It’s these little indulgences that make your bathroom not just a room, but a retreat.

An electric towel warmer is one of my favorite features in a bathroom. Image courtesy of Hudson Reed.

3: Use Small, Textured Tiles on the Shower Floor

Safety in the bathroom is non-negotiable, but why compromise on style? The inclusion of small, textured tiles on the shower floor not only minimizes slip hazards but also serves as a key design element for your bathroom remodel. Choosing tiles that seamlessly align with your overall design scheme ensures a secure and visually captivating shower experience. Furthermore, why not go a step further and incorporate similar tile patterns on your walls or ceiling? The cohesive design approach of a tile floor creates an effective, harmonious, visual flow throughout the entire bathroom space.

Primary bathroom with glass shower surround and small textured tile floor.

4: Insert a Recessed Shower Niche

Tired of your shampoo bottles taking a dive off the edge of the tub? It’s a common bathroom annoyance, but here’s a stylish fix: a recessed shower niche. This isn’t just about keeping your shower essentials organized; it’s about bringing a sleek, clutter-free look to your shower area. Imagine all your bottles and soaps neatly arranged in a chic, built-in niche. No more slipping or sliding! While planning this feature, think about the ideal size and location to make grabbing your shower items easy and to keep your bathroom’s design flowing smoothly. And for an extra flair, how about adding some floating shelves as well? They’re a great way to amp up the style and functionality in your bathroom.

Shower niches. Image: Upscale Remodeling.

5: Install Heated Floors

Elevate your bathroom experience by extending warmth from the ground up with radiant heat flooring. Heated flooring is an extremely luxurious addition to your remodel that offer not only comfort but also eradicate the jarring shock of cold floors on chilly mornings. It’s a seemingly small detail that amplifies the overall cosiness of your bathroom sanctuary. Explore different heating systems, such as electric or hydronic, and assess their compatibility with your flooring material. Additionally, consider integrating your heated bathroom floors with a programmable thermostat to customize the temperature according to your preferences and the energy-saving goals of your bathroom.

6: Make the Tub Optional

Not everyone is a ‘soak in the tub’ kind of person, right? That’s why thinking beyond the traditional bathtub can really open up your bathroom design options. How about a spacious walk-in shower with freestanding tub instead? It’s all about creating a bathroom that fits your lifestyle, whether that means a luxurious shower or maybe even a modern wet room. But if you can’t part with the idea of a tub, no worries! There are some stylish alternatives out there, like chic freestanding or space-saving corner tubs. It’s all about finding what works best in your space and for your daily routine. Remember, rethinking the tub area can make a world of difference in the look and feel of your bathroom.

Freestanding bathtub in a remodeled wet room bathroom with woodgrain floor tile. Image: Upscale Remodeling.

7: Add Shower Grab Handles for Stability

Safety is key in a bathroom, and that’s where grab handles come in. They’re not just practical; they can be a stylish addition too. Adding these handles provides stability and support, making your shower safer and more accessible for everyone, including those with mobility concerns. And you’ve got options. There are all sorts of styles and finishes that can blend right into your bathroom’s design. Even if you’re not sure about installing grab bars right now, it’s a good idea to plan for the future. Ask your designer or builder to add blocking in the walls for them, so if the need arises later, adding handles will be a breeze. It’s all about creating a bathroom that’s safe, comfortable, and adaptable for your changing needs.

Shower with grab handles mounted inside that double as towel bars. Image: Upscale Remodeling.

8: Add a Recessed Medicine Cabinet

In bathroom remodeling, efficiency meets aesthetics with the inclusion of a recessed medicine cabinet. This space-saving storage solution not only provides ample storage for medications and toiletries but also seamlessly integrates into the overall design, adding a touch of sophistication to your bathroom vanity. As you choose a recessed medicine cabinet, consider factors such as size, number of shelves, and door style to align with your storage needs and design preferences. This is an important part of any bathroom remodeling project, especially in small bathrooms, where space is at a premium. Don’t neglect storage!

New bathroom with a recessed medicine cabinet. Image: Upscale Remodeling.

9: Add a Swivel Mirror

Enhance your bathroom’s functionality and style by adding a swivel mirror alongside the main fixed mirror above your vanity. This versatile addition is perfect for those detailed tasks like applying makeup or precision shaving, allowing you to adjust angles for the best view. It’s not just about practicality; a pivot mirror also adds a touch of modern sophistication to your space. Plus, consider mirrors with integrated lighting to bring an extra layer of convenience and ambient illumination. With both a main mirror for a broad perspective and a swivel mirror for detailed tasks, your bathroom setup becomes more adaptable and stylish.

Remodeled vanity countertop area with swivel mirror and easy access to hair dryers and other accessories. Image: Upscale Remodeling.

10: Beautiful Tile Accents

In bathroom tiling, there’s a smart way to balance cost and style. Start with ‘field tile’ – these are the main tiles that cover large areas like your walls or floors. They’re typically more uniform and cost-effective, making them a practical choice for most of your space. Then, bring your design to life with some special accent tiles. Use these more decorative, potentially pricier tiles sparingly. Think of a striking backsplash, an eye-catching shower wall feature, or a unique decorative border. This approach lets you create a stunning, personalized look in your bathroom by combining the affordability of field tile with the distinct flair of accent tiles.

Primary bathroom with white subway tile with dark grout lines and decorative tile accents.

11: Bathroom Shower Benches

Adding a shower bench to your bathroom isn’t just about comfort; it’s about making the space work better for you. Whether it’s for sitting while you shower, a place to keep your toiletries within easy reach, or even a spot to rest your foot for shaving, a shower bench is a practical and versatile feature. Here, again, you have options. You can go for a built-in bench that blends with your shower’s tile work or choose a bolt-on bench that can be installed separately. The bolt-on types are great for flexibility; some can even fold up, staying out of the way when you don’t need them.

Natural stone shower with shower bench. Image: Upscale Remodeling.

12: Windows and Skylights

There’s nothing quite like natural light to make a bathroom feel more open and inviting. That’s why adding windows or skylights can be such a game-changer in your remodel. They not only enhance the look of your bathroom but also bring in that refreshing, natural sunlight, creating an airy feel. When planning, think about the best spots for these windows or skylights to capture light while keeping your privacy intact. You might consider frosted glass or well-placed blinds for the best mix of brightness and seclusion. And if your bathroom is tucked away from the exterior, don’t worry: a tubular skylight can funnel sunlight right from your roof into your space, brightening up even the most interior rooms.

Skylight in bathroom

13: Carefully Consider Your Countertop Material

Your vanity countertop is a focal point in your bathroom, and the material choice is pivotal. Striking a balance between aesthetics and durability is crucial. Delve into various materials to ensure your countertops withstand daily wear and tear while seamlessly blending into your bathroom design theme. Consider popular options such as quartz, granite, or marble, each offering a unique combination of beauty and durability. (Quartz is by far our most popular countertop material for bathrooms.) Assess the maintenance requirements of each material to make an informed decision based on your lifestyle and design preferences.

Vanity with quartz countertop and towel bars. Image: Upscale Remodeling.

14: Smart Technology Integration

I’m usually skeptical about loading up spaces with tech, and the bathroom is one room where I usually steer clear of it. Yet, I have to admit, some smart features in the bathroom can be genuinely useful, as long as they’re relatively unobtrusive. For instance, a mirror with integrated lighting can be a real help when you’re shaving or applying makeup. So, while I suggest keeping it simple, consider a few well-chosen pieces of smart technology. Maybe even a smart toilet with a bidet feature for an extra touch of hygiene, or a shower system you can set to just the right temperature. The key is choosing tech that truly makes your daily routine easier, not just fancier.

A smart speaker in a bathroom

15: Energy-Efficient Fixtures

Energy-saving features have really evolved, and incorporating them into your bathroom remodel doesn’t mean sacrificing comfort or style. Take low-flow showerheads, for example; the latest designs offer a luxurious feel while using less water. Likewise, higher-quality low-flow toilets flush just as effectively as their less efficient counterparts, and an energy-efficient bathroom vent fan performs just as well as a regular one, and it’s quieter to boot. By choosing these eco-friendly options, you’re not just doing your bit for the environment; you’re also setting yourself up for savings in the long run. So, go ahead and pick out those water-saving faucets and LED lights – they’re designed to perform well and look great, all while keeping your energy use in check. Remember, it’s all about finding that sweet spot where sustainability meets everyday luxury.

Energy efficient fixtures in a bathroom

Are You Ready for Your Bathroom Remodel?

When it comes to remodeling your bathroom, the key is to focus on functionality first. Sure, aesthetics are important, but what really matters is how well the space works for you. Start by asking the tough questions: ‘What do I need in here? What’s going to make my daily routine smoother?’ Prioritize the must-haves: a good shower, ample storage, efficient fixtures. Then consider the nice-to-haves. Luxury and style are great, but they should complement, not compromise, the practicality of your bathroom. Remember, this is a space you use every day. It needs to be efficient, comfortable, and yes, even a little bit indulgent. So, make those hard choices about what’s truly essential and then layer on the style. That’s the secret to a bathroom remodel that’s not just beautiful, but brilliantly functional too. As always, please feel free to get in touch if we can be of help.

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