Simpler is often better in bathroom design



I’m not sure who holds the title of current generation hotel bathroom design guru, but hopefully anyone will take a moment to think about the true functionality of maneuvering around a bathroom. hotel bath. There are designers who need a lesson in planning, if my recent guest experiences are any indication.

Now I understand that the material for the shower and the bath is constantly changing. But some of these new devices are not intuitive to use. I wish hotels would put a manual – or even some sort of sign – in the bathroom detailing how to turn on cold and hot water.

When I was a child, I learned that the hot water faucet was always on the left and the cold water faucet on the right. Today, it’s harder to discern when circular faucets only have one handle – or worse, several, with top and bottom handles and faucets to turn on and off.

And please don’t get me started on some hard-to-understand handheld shower accessories. How many times have I wished for instructions on the water supply of such devices.

Believe me, sometimes simpler is better when it comes to a tub or sink.

I traveled a lot during the summer and discovered all varieties of bathroom accessories, from steel to brass to bronze. And the showers themselves have also been improved. Steam showers are not uncommon in better hotels these days.

There is a lesson here for owners with guests. If you have a complex faucet system in your guest’s bathroom, take a moment to give your guests a brief guide as you show them the rooms. And if your guests are lucky enough to use a bathroom that has a steam shower, you definitely want to make sure they know how to use it and enjoy it, right?

Other than steam showers, many hotel bathrooms no longer offer these terrific deep soaking tubs in which one could relax after a hard day of traveling. I urge those who design hotel tubs to keep these deep tubs in place.

And while they’re at it, they should always have a wall bar to help guests get in and out of the tub. A tub – especially an unfamiliar tub in a hotel bathroom – can become a dangerous place to soak up without a properly suspended bar.

Recently in a hotel bathroom I found a glass panel attached to the tub instead of a shower curtain. The panel had a small, oval shaped opening in the glass. The opening was approximately 8 inches high and 3 inches wide, just large enough to accommodate the hand of a bather in need of a bar of soap!

And while the bathroom had a tub – the old and deep – it lacked a wall bar that could be used by someone standing or shaving. This shower and tub combo, in my opinion, was unsafe and clearly not well thought out.

Today’s bathroom designers really need to study how the bath works. Function should always be a priority. Who will care about the beautifully designed glass doors if they don’t know how to turn on the hot water or if they don’t feel safe?

The decoration is not only pretty. It is also a question of practice.


Palm Beach resident Carleton Varney is president and owner of Dorothy Draper & Co.

Palm Beacher Carleton Varney is president of Dorothy Draper & Co., an international design firm with offices in New York, West Palm Beach, London and White Sulfur Springs, W.Va. His new book is titled “Romance and Rhododendrons: My Love Affair with America’s Resort – The Greenbrier. ” Visit or email her at [email protected] Help support our journalism. Subscribe today.



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