Get Bath design ideas and a mood board for an elegant master bathroom with a freestanding tub and Carrara marble tile.
You know that thing you’ve been planning forever, but you never quite get to? Something else always comes up and steals your attention. That was the master bath for us… but five years after moving into our 1990’s home, the master bath renovation has finally made its way to the top of our list, and today I’m sharing our bath design ideas and plans with you!
In asking readers lately about what kind of content they find helpful, I’ve had lots of requests for more about the process – preparing for a renovation, design plans, surviving a renovation 😉 , etc… so I wanted to devote a little post to our master bathroom plans.
When we moved into this home, the master bath looked like this.
Since every home my husband and I had ever lived in before this one was built in 1956 or earlier, this bathroom seemed (and still feels) pretty enormous compared to the closet-sized bathrooms we were used to. Despite its size, though, it’s an odd shape, leaving lots of floor space in the center but not a lot of wall space for a shower and tub.
We considered rearranging things entirely, but we decided that the cost involved with rearranging the layout wasn’t worth it, as I’m not sure the space really offered any options that would be much better. Plus, the natural light from the window above the tub is wonderful. Here is a rough sketch of the layout (not exactly to scale, but it gives you the idea).
Mood board for master bath
As you probably know if you’ve seen our kitchen or my girls’ bathroom that we remodeled a couple of years ago, I have a love of Carrara marble. I shared many inspiring ideas for marble bathrooms a couple of weeks ago, so today I’m just going to outline our specific plans for this bath design.
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We actually replaced our countertops (with Carrara marble) and sinks and faucets when we remodeled the kitchen (using remnant pieces from another project is such a great way to save a little!), but everything else has been left since we moved in. Here is what we have left to do:
- Fix the leak that appeared on the ceiling of the room below the bathroom… Ugh.
- Lay white marble floors in a herringbone pattern (I think it’s going to flow with all the crazy angles in there)
- Replace huge garden tub with a more modern, freestanding tub
- Put floor to ceiling honed marble tile on shower walls and tub surround
- Surround walk in shower with frameless shower enclosure
- Replace all light fixtures
- Add fan above shower
- Replace mirrors, hardware, etc.
How to Design a Master Bath
Bathrooms are super fun: showers, freestanding bathtubs, toilets, vanities, sinks, and tile. Oh tile. I have a thing for tile. I think people are often intimidated by bathroom design, but I really do think it can be simple. I always start with these questions:
- What’s our renovation budget?
- Do any of the major fixtures (e.g. toilet or shower placement) need to be moved?
- What overall vibe do I want the space to have?
- What specific materials do I need to make that happen?
- What unique element can I add to the space?
Always a #1 consideration in any renovation… We have never taken out loans for renovation, so budgets are pretty firm. As a general rule, we set a budget we’d like to follow and then get bids for the work. If the bids come in higher than we had hoped, we start looking at the areas where we could DIY or find cheaper materials in order to meet the budget. For example, on this bathroom renovation, we decided to do the demolition ourselves in order to keep the bid below our original budget.
Speaking of budget, changing the layout of the bathroom is generally the most costly thing you can do… so if at all possible, it’s wise to keep the layout the same. That said, sometimes the bath design would be so much improved by change that it’s totally worth it! On the other hand, sometimes removing doors or replacing showers with tubs can be enough of a change (without the cost of rearranging plumbing) to improve the flow of the space. See my tips for designing small bathrooms here.
This is important. Do you want crisp and clean lines? Elegant and refined? Relaxing and spa-like? Or cute and funky? Since bathrooms are completely closed off (usually) from the rest of your home, you have a chance to go a bit dramatic without clashing with other spaces. On the other hand, I’ve always been a fan of working with the architecture and style of your home rather than against it. Scour Pinterest for bathroom design ideas and consider how those meld with the style of your home.
Your answers to budget and vibe will obviously affect this significantly. Choosing materials for a bathroom is so fun, though! You get to choose floor tile, wall tile (or not!), tub (or not!), shower enclosure, sinks, vanity… and then there’s the jewelry: faucets, lighting, cabinet hardware, shower curtains. This is obviously an area where cost can range significantly, so if budget is tight, start looking for sales now. 😉
Since bathrooms are functional spaces, it can be easy for them to feel pretty vanilla: tub, tile, cabinets, sink, toilet. When I design a space, though, I always want to consider what will make the space feel unique. It might be a bold mosaic tile. Or funky cabinet hardware. Or a vintage rug as a bathmat. Or a dramatic pendant light. Or an antique cabinet repurposed to hold towels. Whatever it is, I think bathroom design at its best has some element that isn’t cookie cutter.
Sources for an elegant master bath Design
I’ve already ordered all the items for our space, and I’m happy to say that I love them all! Here is what we will be putting in our marble bath: polished nickel plumbing fixtures, gold lighting, gold mirrors, a white freestanding tub, and a frameless shower door.
It all sounds pretty elegant (and I think it is!), which is definitely in line with the traditional flavor of this home. But I like to think that by choosing some more modern elements (like the mirrors and the tub) we are creating a more balanced, transitional space.
Do you have any questions about the project? Let me know! You can follow along with the renovation on instagram, and don’t forget to pin it!
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