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10 Top Design Tips for an Ergonomic Bathroom

Ergonomics are key to clever, contemporary design and the bathroom is no exception. If you are renovating or dreaming of redesigning your bathroom, here are 10 smart tips – as well as mistakes to avoid – that will ensure your bathroom boasts form as well as function.

Raise the height of vanities

When designing a bathroom, we spend plenty of time pondering the length and depth of different sinks and vanities, while the all important height is often forgotten. Most people are taller these days than the previous standard height – in fact, it is not uncommon for some vanities to reach 1000 millimetres in height.

If you are lucky enough to be long of limb, consider raising your vanity if it holds a recessed sink. If, however, you are keen to tap into the trend of mounting a bowl basin on top of your vanity, be wary of increasing the height, or your sink could end up at an uncomfortably lofty level.  Best to get some expert advice on this one!

Rethink the position of your bath and shower taps

Have you ever turned on the shower taps and had to duck to one side to avoid getting splashed by a stream of water? This common design flaw usually results from the shower taps being positioned too close to the shower head – sometimes even directly beneath it. To evade standing in the line of fire, try placing your taps on a facing wall as shown in this walk-in shower.

If you need to combine a shower and bath to save space, avoid placing your shower taps behind a fixed glass screen. This ergonomic faux pas forces you to reach awkwardly behind the screen to grasp the taps while leaning precariously over the tub. In the long term your back will thank you for it.

Allow room between your sink rim and tap

If you have ever leant forward to splash water on your face and knocked your forehead on the tap, you’ll understand why the dimensions between sink and spout matter. Avoid pairing a long tap with a short sink and aim to have at least one head-length between the rim of your sink and the spout of your tap. This will also reduce any splash back when you turn on the bathroom tap and ensure you don’t wear the water. The tap below sidesteps this ergonomic design blunder with its short spout, which directs the flow of water towards you.

Recess wall-mounted vanities above your sink

Likewise, many wall-mounted cupboards above bathroom sinks have been the cause of similar bumps to the head, particularly if they are opened while someone is leaning over the sink. The mirrored vanities in this home are recessed and have a gorgeous LED light touch; making them not only a beatiful piece of art on the wall, as well as hidden storage space.

Swap deep cupboards for drawers

Remember when deep storage drawers began to replace cupboards in kitchens, causing cooks throughout the workd to rejoice? This clever trend has taken longer to catch on in the bathroom, but it’s just as relevant.

Ergonomically, it is easier to simply open a drawer and see the contents at a glance instead of groping in the back of a dark cupboard. Drawers are available in many different designs and depths to house all your toiletries.

Design with cleaning in mind

Ergonomics come into play when we clean our homes as well as when we use them on a daily basis. In this striking vainy tile and subway tiled bathroom, every centimetre of floor is easy to mop when wet and vacuum when dry, by virtue of the built-in bathtub. Sinks and toilets are available in built-ins, too.

By regularly sweeping your floor with a mop doused in no-nonsesne cleaning products, you will save yourself hours spent on your hands and knees scrubbing grout with an aching back.

Position towel rails cleverly

For your safety and comfort, it pays to think of how you can contain wet zones to avoid slippery surfaces. One of the simplest ways to keep your wet and dry zones separate is to position your towel rails within easy reach of your shower or bath, and not on the other side of the room.
In this beautiful and articulate home, towel rails are positioned within easy reach of the tub – far enough away from the tub to keep towels dry, but close enough to be at hand.

Place the toilet paper within reach

We have all had the experience of trying to reach a thoughtlessly placed roll of toilet paper positioned on the wall behind us. To save yourself a stretch, aim to position the roll holder beside the toilet within easy reach and don’t be afraid to sit on the “thrown” to determine exactly where is best

Include some seating

We don’t generally think of the bathroom as a place to sit (aside from on the obvious fixtures), but if you add a comfortable perch you’ll be surprised at how often you use it. And bathroom seating can be used for more than just sitting on: seats can be the perfect place to rest rolled up towels for guests, display a pot plant or light some candles for a relaxing soak in the tub.

Seating comes in many forms, from a basic chair or stool (like the one in the photo) to more elaborate built-in constructions.

Turn up the heat

Heaters are often relegated to the living areas of homes. But a room where people are frequently unclothed…well that’s a good place to install some heating. Warmth may not strictly be about ergonomics, but it certainly is about comfort. Heated towel rails and heat light/lamps are great options, as well as under-floor heating.

Refresh Interiors is a boutique refurbishment and project management company that delivers tailored solutions based on our client needs, budget and style - contemporary, heritage or minimalist.

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