Assessing Your Bedroom and Bathroom Design Needs

Answer these 32 questions to figure out how to better design your bedroom and bathroom.
joankohn_itsyourbedandbath_2

joankohn_itsyourbedandbath_2

Simple architectural details, including shutters, shelves, and a handsome tub enclosure, add style, storage, and stature to this small bathroom.
Design: Sally Weston

Answering these questions will help you analyze how your bed and bath should look and feel.

Part 1. Lifestyle and Aesthetics

  • On a scale of 1–10, how beautiful — and how comfortable — are your rooms?
  • How often do you find yourself yearning for a new bedroom or bath?
  • Have your personal or family needs changed over the years? Do you expect changes ahead?
  • Do you have a favorite spot in the bedroom — a perfect place to read or work?
  • What are the "must-haves" for your new design?
  • What was the worst mistake made in the design of your present bedroom or bathroom? Is there something that annoys you, or that you’ve had to learn to live with?
  • What’s your immediate reaction to the bedroom when you open your eyes in the morning?
  • Is there enough space, seating, and storage for everyone to be comfortable?
  • What are your sleeping habits? Can you bathe, groom, and dress without disturbing your partner?
  • Does anyone have disabilities or other special needs that require adjustments to your design?
  • Is there a family pet to accommodate, perhaps with a sleeping area?
  • Do you wish to expand the function of your room? Perhaps you’d like an entertainment or exercise area, a desk space, a small snacking kitchen, a sauna, or access to the outdoors.
  • Is there too much of your past in the decor and not enough of your future?
  • Ranking the rooms in your house in order of preference, how high on the list is this room? What characteristics of your favorite room might be transferred successfully to your new bedroom or bath design?
joankohn_itsyourbedandbath_3

joankohn_itsyourbedandbath_3

With a vivid imagination, a tiny trapezoid was transformed into an enchanting bedroom filled with sunshine, storage, and even a small sink.
Design: Ivan Bercedo and Jorge Mestre

Part 2. The Space

  • Have you examined every elevation of the room — the walls, ceiling, and floor — to look for ways to improve the space? Are doors and windows well placed? How might you enhance the architectural shell with minor or major changes?
  • Are there opportunities for expanding your existing space, such as an empty corner or an unused area under a stairwell? Is there an adjacent attic, basement, hallway, closet, or spare room from which to borrow some extra space? How about adding a dormer?
  • If the available space is ample, how might it best be partitioned or otherwise segmented into distinct functional areas?
  • How’s the traffic pattern inside the room? Can you move around and through the space with ease, or do you find yourself bumping into objects or people?
  • How about the traffic flow between rooms? And does your room have a gracious entry?
  • How easy is it to make your bed? Where do you place your bedcovers at night?
  • Is the bedroom dark enough for sleeping? Does the lighting plan balance natural with artificial light and provide good general, task, and accent lighting? Does the room enjoy enough sunshine? Are light switches conveniently located?
  • Is your bedroom quiet enough for sleep and relaxation?
  • Are your rooms wired to accommodate all necessary equipment and technology?
  • What is the room’s relationship to the out-of-doors? Is there a way to improve it, with new windows, doors, skylights, or perhaps a new patio or balcony?
  • Do you have enough space to fill all your storage needs? Can you readily find what you’re looking for, or do you rummage and hunt? Are there items you’ve stored in the attic or basement that you wish you could use regularly?
  • When cleaning your closet, do you find things you didn’t remember you had?
  • Do you have adequate places to display your decorative pieces, family treasures, and art?
joankohn_itsyourbedandbath_4

joankohn_itsyourbedandbath_4

Two sheets of glass lined with glimmering rice paper allow natural light to flow into a windowless interior bathroom. Glass panels are also used to construct the sink, shower, and even the bathtub beyond, further enhancing the sparkle.
Design: Joan Dineen

Part 3. Condition

  • What is the current condition of your room — including floors, ceilings, finishes, walls, and trim? Are the doors and windows in good shape?
  • Are your fixtures in good working order? Does the interior hardware on your cabinetry work well? Do the doors and drawers open and close smoothly?
  • Are the heating and air-conditioning in good repair? Is the level of humidity appropriate?
  • How much time do you spend taking care of this room? Is maintenance overly burdensome? What chore would you most like to eliminate?
  • Do you understand all the pros and cons of any new materials you’re considering for your new design? For example, will that new vanity top you want require periodic sealing to avoid stains?

Final Thoughts

The relationship you have with your bedrooms and baths is personal and private. You are the only one who knows all the important questions that must be answered before you finalize your design plans. A careful examination of your rooms and everything in them will help ensure that your new rooms will work beautifully for you.

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