How to hire a bathroom designer

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Nowhere in a home is good design more important than it is in the bathroom. Not only for the sake of wowing visitors with beautiful tile patterns and frameless glass, but also (and arguably more importantly) for safety, and to ensure that it stands up to the abuse it’s likely to endure on a daily basis.

This is a room where floors and walls are likely to get soaked with water on a very regular basis (especially if you’ve got kids). Steam’s likely to penetrate every available nook, mould’s always a potential problem and proper lighting, ventilation, plumbing and electrics are all crucial no matter where you live.

For better or worse, in most cases bathrooms also have a very significant impact on the resale value of a house too. Installing a sexy bathroom’s as much about improving the value of your house as it is about durability and safety.

Eileen Middleton - Winner, Large Bathrooms QLD 2012  
An award-winning bathroom designed by Eileen Middleton of Eileen Middleton Services on the Sunshine Coast.

 

Why should I hire a bathroom designer?

To be very clear, you don’t need to hire a professionally qualified bathroom designer to plan your bathroom. Good bathroom design’s a seriously complicated affair though. Hiring a properly trained bathroom designer’s a great way to ensure that you’re getting a stunning, expertly finished bathroom, and that every practical issue has been completely considered and accounted for.

In many circumstances, forking out more for a bathroom designer will pay for itself in terms of the value it adds to your home, and (possibly) to eliminating the need for additional alterations further down the track.

 

What do bathroom designers do?

A bathroom designer’s job is to work with you throughout the process to ensure that what you need (and want) from your bathroom is clearly established.

The designer will assess your tastes and requirements, your budget and what that will allow, what kinds of space you have available and various other practical issues. From there, the designer will put together a design that meets your needs, and reflects his or her own creative vision.

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Some designers may also be able to help project manage your bathroom build for you too – and even recommend a team of trusted contractors or arrange special deals with suppliers.

Many (if not most) bathroom designers start their careers in related fields like plumbing, tiling and interior design. For that reason bathroom designers usually have a very good practical appreciation for the building process. Likewise, many have also undergone formal training and have gone on to become Certified Bathroom Designers.

 

What makes a ‘good’ bathroom design?

A really well put together bathroom is one that balances a long list of important practical considerations against aesthetic choices. Below are just a few of the things that need to be fully considered:

  • cohesive visual style or theme
  • layout and accessibility
  • safety and slip prevention
  • material and product choices
  • ergonomics
  • waterproofing
  • appropriate lighting
  • plumbing and electrical requirements and limitations
  • adaptability for special needs (perhaps in the future)
  • privacy
  • energy and water efficiency
  • the practicality of the design to be executed by tradespeople and other specialists
Katrina Luxton - Winner, Large Bathrooms, VIC TAS 2012  
An award-winning bathroom designed by Katrina Luxton of Bubbles Bathrooms in Melbourne.

 

What qualifications should bathroom designers have?

There’s no legal requirement saying that people need a formal qualification to call themselves ‘bathroom designers’. Having said that, if you’re paying for someone to design your bathroom, it’s wise to make sure they have all the right skills and experience.

The KBDi (Kitchen and Bathroom Designers Institute of Australia) offers a year-long training and certification scheme through a registered training organisation, under which participants become Certified Bathroom Designers (CBDs). Certified Bathroom Designers are required to undergo assessment to make sure that their work’s of a consistently high standard.

Certified Bathroom Designers need to keep up with changes in trends, regulations and with new developments in terms of materials and technologies in order to maintain their certifications. Hiring a Certified Kitchen Designer is a good way to ensure that you’re getting a qualified professional.

 

Where can I find a bathroom designer?

In many cases, companies that offer bathroom renovations will have in-house bathroom designers. Likewise, many suppliers (tile and bathroom plumbing suppliers, for example) engage interior specialists to help with the selection of products, which can be very helpful if you're researching a particular style or application.

Many bathroom designers work independently too, and can be contacted either directly, through trade or design directories, or through the Find a designer tool on the KBDi website.

 

How to choose the right bathroom designer

There’s no hard and fast rule about what makes one designer better than another – and for the most part it’ll come down to:

  • what you think of the designer’s previous work
  • how well you and the designer communicate, and
  • the extent to which you believe the designer will create something you like

Remember that the design process is as much about the designer’s creative vision as it is your own preferences and requirements. If you’ve got your heart set on a particular look, style, material or colour, it’s up to you to properly communicate this and set a realistic budget for your dream.

 

Looking for some examples of beautiful, professionally designed bathrooms? Head over to our bathroom ideas gallery.

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