It’s relatively easy to make a bathroom look good. It’s harder to make it function well while being safe and following basic design guidelines established by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA). Make the most of your limited space by avoiding these top bathroom mistakes.
Chandeliers have become pretty commonplace in bathrooms in recent years, particularly in tandem with standalone tubs. While it looks great, it’s technically unwise to hang a chandelier directly over a bathtub for several possible reasons. First and foremost, if hung too low, a bather can hit his or her head when standing. There’s also the risk of electrical shock if a person touches water and the light fixture at the same time.
So what are your options if you really want a chandelier in your bathroom? The NKBA rule of thumb is that any “hanging fixtures be no closer than 3 feet horizontally and 8 feet vertically from the top of the bathtub rim or shower stall threshold.” That means a chandelier in the centre of the room—away from the immediate area of the tub or shower—is completely fine.
Small spaces are increasingly common and so we’re learning to adjust our expectations. But building codes continue to exist and apply to all spaces, big or small. When it comes to enclosed showers, code typically requires 30 inches by 30 inches of interior space. NKBA guidelines actually recommend increasing that requirement to at least 36 inches by 36 inches—everyone needs elbow room to properly shower.
If you insist on squeezing a shower into a micro space, create a well planned wet room to maximise mobility and safety.
Step Up Tubs
Giant tubs accessible by a series of steps (or a ladder) thankfully aren’t as popular now as they once were; they have a much higher incidence of slipping and falling than do regular tubs.
The NKBA suggests avoiding steps outside of a tub. If, however, you can’t eliminate the steps, a grab bar or handrail is mandatory.
Some people love the glossy, clean look of a shiny floor. But shiny floors have the honour of being much more slippery than more matte, textured floors. Slip-resistant surfaces are recommended by the NKBA for the bathroom floor, shower floors, and tub bottoms.
If you can’t live without a shiny floor, choose a small tile and install the tiles so the grout is visible. While it will take away some of the sheen, grout will lessen the slip risk. Better yet, use the shiny tile as a small accent in tandem with a non-slip tile.