From the Floor Up

Making Bathroom Safety Look Good

Posted by Daltile Team on Jan 5, 2016 10:30:00 AM

If grab bars and shower benches sound a little like your grandmother’s bathroom, you might equate bathroom safety with ugliness. Safety and accessibility isn’t just for seniors. The bathroom is often considered one of the most dangerous rooms in the house. Anyone can slip and fall in the wet conditions of the bathroom. And with mostly hard, blunt surfaces, a fall can be very dangerous.

But safety doesn’t have to be an interruption to your design. Here are a few ways to achieve safety and accessibility so that it looks good.

Universal DesignPhoto Courtesy of THE NEW AMERICAN HOME

Universal design helps you have a safe and aesthetically pleasing bathroom design. Universal design gives you ultimate accessibility and functionality without it being obvious.

Universal design accounts for needs over the course of a lifetime. Everything from toe kick pull out steps for kids to reach the sink to eye-level lighting for makeup application to seated vanities for elderly or wheelchair accessibility.

Tips for Attractive Design

  • Try a hanging vanity rather than setting it atop a cabinet. It provides space underneath for seated users and can be hung at any height

  • Consider a single-mount faucet to make things equally as easy for right and left handers and those who may lose use of right or left hand from stroke

  • Employ point-of-use features like storage right where it is needed—drawers where makeup is applied, cabinets for extra toilet paper next to the toilet

  • Put pull outs in the linen closet so items never get lost in the back of the closet

  • Eye-level lighting for makeup application

  • Removable shower head that can be used by anyone of any height, seated or standing

  • Tiled bench in the shower for seated bathing

Minimal Hazard

Hazards in the bathroom abound, but there are things you can do to minimize the danger. Start with selecting surfaces that make your bathroom safer like a tile that is rated for bathroom floor use. These ratings come from thorough testing. Textured finishes on surfaces also decrease hazard.

Bee Hive in White on the floor

Tips for Attractive Design

  • Wide rimmed bathtubs that users can sit on to get into and out of the bathtub

  • Tub set in a surround with built in seating

  • Decorative grab bars that match bathroom hardware

  • Exposed plumbing that can double as a grab bar

  • Zero-threshold shower to get rid of trip hazard


People with special needs or kids often need bathroom functionality that they can manage themselves. Decreased strength or arthritic disability can limit what they can do on their own in the bathroom. Keeping the physical effort minimal makes the bathroom easier to use.

Also consider the space available in your bathroom design and how to use that space. Is there enough room to comfortably navigate the room without bumping into anything? Is the shower entrance wide enough for all users?

Tips for Attractive Design

  • Get rid of the threshold of the shower for easy accessibility and no climbing over tub rims or tripping on raised thresholds

  • Create a wet room that is covered in tile so you don’t have to worry about keeping wet and dry spaces separate

  • Motion-activated faucets provide water with little effort—it’s also more sanitary

  • Single-mount lever faucets allow for one-handed control over the water in the sink

  • Build in a shower bench

  • Ensure shower entrances are at least 34 inches and toilets are about 18 inches off the floor

  • Consider wall-hung toilets that can be positioned at any height

  • Heated floors keep users comfortable

    Ambassador in Jet-Setter Dusk 24 x 48 on the floor and random linear mosaic on shower wall with 12 x 24 on vanity wall


Bathrooms can be incubators for bacteria because of the moisture level. That affects your air quality and your health. Promote health in your bathroom design with a few well-placed features.

Tips for Attractive Design

  • Install vents and fans to keep air circulating

  • Dehumidifiers can be helpful if you find it difficult to keep the moisture level down

  • Let in as much natural light as you can; daylight creates a sense of wellbeing

  • Include plenty of lighting for bathroom tasks as well as ambient light and decorative lighting so it’s easier to see and the bathroom is a pleasant place to be

  • Use tile for your bathroom surfaces—it’s easy to clean and maintain


Designing your bathroom for safety doesn’t have to be a drag. You can make it look good plus increase safety for every phase of life.

Topics: Bathroom Tile Ideas, Design

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