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Choosing the Best Bathroom Designs – 10,000 of Our Followers Voted What They Would Pick

We polled 10,000 followers about every bathroom remodel decision. These answers surprised us! Plus, tons of the best bathroom design insight.

A few days ago, Robert and I started the process of making some tough decisions for the master bathroom renovation. You know… the room that’s currently ripped to shreds thanks to the 100 gallons of water that poured into our house from the attic?

Yeah, that one.

Anyways, we always knew when the time came to renovate our bathroom that we would have to make some tough decisions.

It’s small. I’m talking at least half the size of the master bath in our last house.

One of the things we’ve always wanted to do is change what is currently our shower into a water closet to separate the toilet from the rest of the bathroom and put a larger shower in the main part of the space. (Because we’re very close in our marriage but not that close, if you know what I mean.)

But then, that would mean sacrificing double sinks for a single sink. And that started the debate of “Would completely changing the plumbing layout really be worth the extra expense?”

So then that kicked off a fun game of “Would You Rather?” in my Instagram Stories. (We all need 100,000 friends to help us make big house renovation decisions, don’t you think? It’s dang hard!)

We polled our Instagram followers (0ver 10,000 people voted!) about what they would choose for themselves in a bathroom design and we were completely surprised by some of the answers! Enough so that we have changed a lot of our original bathroom design plan.

If you’re ever planning a bathroom renovation yourself, maybe these answers will help you in your decisions too.

Bathroom Design Debates – You Voted and Had the BEST Advice!

double sink vs toilet closet in a bathroom

Lisa Staton Design | Cari Berg Interior Design

If you could only pick one…

1. Double Sinks vs Toilet Closet

The Vote: 60% Double Sinks – 40% Toilet Closet

WINNER: Double Sinks

Reader Insight:

“My husband and I are close enough that we don’t mind having a toilet in the main part of the bathroom, but I CANNOT share a sink with him when we’re trying to get ready in the morning. That’s a deal breaker.” – Ellen

“It’s a huge turn off to me when I walk into a nice bathroom but see a toilet in the middle of the room. I’d rather it be hidden, and it makes it easier for two people to share a master bathroom.” – Jennifer

tub shower combo vs large shower in a bathroom

Micasa Revista | Mandarina Studio

Which would you pick?

2. Tub Shower Combo vs Shower, No Tub

The Vote: 39% Tub/Shower Combo – 61% Shower, No Tub

WINNER: Shower Only, No Tub

Reader Insight:

“I have to have at least one tub somewhere in the house even if it’s not in the main bathroom, especially with kids. But only for kids. I personally don’t take baths frequently so I don’t miss having a tub.” – Joy

“If there’s absolutely no space for one, definitely no tub. The tub/shower combo thing is a freaking pain to keep clean all the time. Showers are way less maintenance. Seems like way less people take baths nowadays than they used to anyway.” – Alex

“If you’re going for luxury, you need a tub for sure. Maybe even a vintage clawfoot style one with a shower above if you don’t like the more modern looking tub/showers? Those seem to add more charm.” – Becca

large shower vs double sink in a bathroom

Jennifer Muirhead Interiors | Made by Carli

If you could only pick one…

3. Large Shower vs Double Sinks

The Vote: 39% Large Shower – 61% Double Sinks

WINNER: Double Sinks

Reader Insight:

“We had our bathroom remodeled two years ago with a large shower because I thought it would be soooo great to have and make our bathroom really feel more upscale. I absolutely hate it. Showers are cold in that large space and I dread it. They look nice but in actuality, they’re not worth it. I’d rather use that wasted space for more sink room.” – Jackie

“I’ll totally share a sink with my husband if it means I can have a really nice big shower!!! Plus, I feel like large showers do better for resale. At least that’s the case for me if I were looking at buying a house.” – Melissa

enclosed shower room vs glass shower in a bathroom

Katie Martinez Design | Casey Keasler

Which would you pick?

4. Closed Shower Room vs Glass or Open Shower

The Vote: 52% Closed Shower Room – 48% Glass / Open Shower

WINNER: Closed Shower Room

Reader Insight:

“Cleaning large glass shower doors is paaaaaiiiiiin! Mine always look awful because they’re such a chore to do.” – Tammy

“We stayed in a VRBO once with a big open shower and I thought it would be so amazing. Water got all over the place and it felt like showering in a hospital. Just cold and blah. I couldn’t wait to get the heck out of there. It’ll be a miracle if that open shower doesn’t cause some kind of water damage.” – Bailey

“We put in an enclosed shower room and I will never go back. It’s like showering in a warm, cozy blanket of steam. Ahhhh love it.” – Lisa

large shower vs linen cabinet in a bathroom

1st Dibs | Rosa Beltran Design

If you could only pick one…

5. Large Shower vs Linen Cabinet

The Vote: 45% Large Shower – 55% Linen Cabinet

WINNER: Linen Cabinet

Reader Insight:

“Any time you can get MORE storage in a bathroom, just do it!” – Leah

“Large showers are the most ridiculous waste of space. It serves absolutely no purpose but to take up room. Storage!!!” – Allie

“I will FIGHT someone to have a big shower. If I need a vanity AND a linen closet, I have too much stuff and need to purge. But I’m more of a minimalist so maybe that’s not the norm.” – Crystal

scalloped backsplash vs sink ledge backsplash in a bathroom

Jean Stoffer Design | Atlanta Homes

Which would you choose?

6. Scallop Backsplash vs Sink Ledge Backsplash

The Vote: 27% Scallop Backsplash – 73% Sink Ledge

WINNER: Sink Ledge

Reader Insight:

“I can see that sink ledge being a big clutter collector. If it’s not there my husband and I aren’t tempted to put stuff on it.” – Megan

“That scallop backsplash is gorrrrrrgggggggg! But I think the ledge is more practical.” – Krista

airy bathroom vs moody bathroom

Architectural Digest | Architectural Digest

Which would you pick?

7. Airy Bathroom vs Moody Bathroom

The Vote: 92% Airy vs 8% Moody

WINNER: Airy Bathroom

Reader Insight:

“I want my bathroom to feel peaceful and lots of white feels peaceful.” – Emily

“White = spa.” – Carole

“Black would show dust eeeeeeverywhere!!!!!” – Annie

rug vs no rug in a bathroom

Sloane Studio Interiors | Marie Flanigan Interiors

Which would you pick?

8. Rug vs No Rug

The Vote: 66% Rug vs 34% No Rug

WINNER: Rug

Reader Insight:

“Why put down all that pretty tile just to cover it up with a rug?” – Mandi

“My mother slipped and fell on a bathroom rug once and broke her wrist. They’re a hazard!” – Audrey

“Vintage rugs in bathrooms!!! I love them!!!” – Caroline

“I always have a rug… it’s nice having something warm under your feet while you’re getting ready. And I have a bad back, so standing on a little extra cushion on a rug helps when I’m standing at the vanity doing makeup/hair.” – Vanessa

“Heated floors!!!” – Cindy

sconce lights vs pendant lights in a bathroom

Kate Marker Interiors

Which would you pick?

9. Sconce Vanity Lights vs Pendant Vanity Lights

The Vote: 58% Sconce Lights – 42% Pendant Lights

WINNER: Sconce Lights

Reader Insight:

“When I’m putting on makeup, I want light hitting my face from both sides instead of up above. Overhead lights create weird shadows and I can’t see what I’m doing as well.” – Miranda

“I think it depends on if you want modern or traditional. Pendants seem more funky and sconces are nice but more ‘expected’.” – Paige

brass fixtures vs black fixtures in a bathroom

Jenni Kayne | My Domaine

Which would you pick?

10. Brass Fixtures vs Black Fixtures

The Vote: 46% Brass Fixtures vs 54% Black Fixtures

WINNER: Black Fixtures

Reader Insight:

“Neither! Where’s the brushed nickel?” – Lindsay

“We have black fixtures and apparently hard water… it makes me crazy that you can see white spots on the drain stopper in the sink and bathtub. Something to think about if you have hard water where you live.” – Lisa

“Black says farmhouse to me. Brass says traditional. Depends on the vibe.” – Tasha

“Brass adds a little warmth I think. Makes neutral not seem so cold.” – Reya

“Do both!” – Mary Beth

built in linen cabinet vs freestanding vintage linen cabinet in a bathroom

HGTV | Country Living Magazine

Which would you pick?

11. Built-In Linen Cabinet vs Freestanding Vintage Cabinet

The Vote: 53% Built-In vs 47% Freestanding Vintage

WINNER: Built-In

Reader Insight:

“Ohhhhh that’s hard! Only thing I can say is vintage furniture can smell weird sometimes. I don’t want my towels smelling old and musty.” – Tracy

“The built-in seems more practical. I worry what the humidity in a bathroom could do to a vintage piece of furniture. It’s beautiful though.” – Makenzie

colorful tiles vs neutral tiles in a bathroom

Interior Blooms Design Co. | Amber Interiors

Which would you pick?

12. Color vs Neutral

The Vote: 35% Color vs 65% Neutral

WINNER: Neutral

Reader Insight:

“Neutral is more timeless. You’d be less likely to regret it later.” – Kirsten

“I looooove that green! Depends on your personality. If you’re a bright, colorful person, have a bright, colorful bathroom.” – Amber

large mirror vs double mirrors in a bathroom

Apartment Therapy | Architectural Digest 

Which would you pick?

13. One Large Mirror vs Double Mirrors

The Vote: 42% One Large Mirror – 58% Double Mirrors

WINNER: Double Mirrors

Reader Insight:

“Large mirrors seem builder grade-ish.” – Myra

“Large mirror makes the room feel bigger.” – Tammy

patterned tile vs simple tile in a bathroom

House Beautiful | The Lifestyled Co

Which would you pick?

14. Patterned Tile Floor vs Simple Tile Floor

The Vote: 41% Patterned Tile vs 59% Simple Tile

WINNER: Simple Tile

Reader Insight:

“Patterned tile can date a bathroom really fast. I’m already looking at patterned tile these days and thinking, ‘That’s very 2015.'” – Sean

“I just like big tile because it’s fewer grout lines to clean.” – Alisha

“Patterned helps hide dirt.” – Sharon

wall tile vs wall millwork in a bathroom

Studio McGee | Studio McGee

Which would you pick?

15. Wall Tile vs Wall Millwork

The Vote: 58% Wall Tile – 42% Wall Millwork

WINNER: Wall Tile

Reader Insight:

“Wall tile is so much easier to keep clean and fresh looking.” – Megan

“Millwork would probably be less expensive if budget is a concern. But still pretty!” – Michelle

wood vanity vs painted vanity in a bathroom

Chris Loves Julia | Studio McGee

Which would you pick?

16. Wood Vanity vs Painted Vanity

The Vote: 39% Wood Vanity vs 61% Painted Vanity

WINNER: Painted Vanity

Reader Insight:

“I knew wood cabinets would make a comeback one day. Seems like it’s happening a lot more lately, especially vanities that look more like furniture.” – Sarah

“I just voted painted because that blue is amazing!” – Jen

“Ohh both are so beautiful don’t make us choose!!” – Vanessa

What are you thoughts?! If you have any experience with any of these in a renovation, tell us everything! Once the big decisions are finally in place, we can start choosing finishes, and really… that’s the actual fun part.

Anyways, I hope this helped! I learned a lot from y’all, and I hope this gave you some guidance too!

If you want to save this post for reference later, you can pin it here:

Choosing the Best Bathroom Features

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20 Comments

  1. Hi guys, so sorry to hear about your bathroom drama, but it led to a very interesting post. Thanks for sharing. Also today I saw this article which I found interesting as some of their findings contradicted those in this post. I guess it all comes down to personal taste – either way, it sounds like the new and improved bathroom will be amazing!

    https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/bathroom-design-trends-2021-36938007?utm_medium=at_daily&user_email=138803bb18dc2814732d15453413e254b0d0bf1b7b94ba9dac8070cda02f0b1e&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_campaign=Thurs%20Daily%20%2806/24%29%20A/B&utm_content=Final&utm_term=AT%20Daily%20-%2090%20days%20engaged

  2. We are also preparing to remodel our (only) bathroom.
    I would love brass fixtures because of the warmth they add, but I can’t help but think they will date the space, much like the gold fixtures did in 90s bathrooms. We are using brushed nickel or black. I haven’t decided yet.

    Also, I am doing a dark tile floor with dark grout. Right now, I have tiny white tiles on the floor with white grout and I can’t get the grout clean.
    Just some thoughts . . .

  3. I have to say I love a toilet closet! We’ve had one for the 19 years we’ve lived in our house and I’m quite sure it has saved many arguments about who needs the bathroom. We have a separate shower and tub, but the tub is only used every so often by my husband. I hate baths. Double sinks are another marriage saver! That’s my two cents. Good luck! I can’t wait to see what you do.

  4. I love black cabinet hardware. We did black door handles and hinges throughout our new house, and I used black towel rings, hooks, tp holders, etc in the bathrooms. But I’m not a fan of black faucets, especially for showers. We did Delta brushed stainless faucets and I love them so much! As for lighting, we have overhead fixtures that are not pendants or sconces (although more of a sconce look with three downward facing seeded glass globes). I have 12×18” beige ceramic tiles with beige grout for my floors and shower. We use a squeegee on the showers walls and I damp mop the floors, and they look great. I keep daily shower cleaner and a small scrub brush in the shower to use while I’m in there to get any pinky orange stains, and spray daily shower spray in the floors. We have clear glass frameless doors with a special treatment on them to help resist water spots and a water softener, and with using the squeegee, they stay looking nice. I also just started keeping a microfiber cloth in the shower to dry them off a little more. Also, I have heard that overhead shower heads are not all that pleasant to use, as the water is constantly coming down on your head, and if you step out of the water spray, then you get cold. It’s nice to have it hit your body without being in your face or hair, especially if you don’t want to get your hair as wet. . Also, I think a shower head with a detachable spray hose is worth it’s weight in gold! So nice for not only rinsing your body’s but also rinsing down the shower walls. We have a toilet closet but honestly it’s rare that we are using the bathroom at the same time, and we have a half bathroom nearby, so I would say if you are limited on space, I would forgo that. We lived together for almost 27 years without one. Ours now is so tight that it’s difficult to close the door unless you do so before you sit down or else it hits your knees because it swings into the space close to the front edge of the toilet. So basically we don’t shut the door anyway! A pocket door would be nice for that and I considered it, but doesn’t always work depending on available nearby wall space and electrical wiring. Also, I agree that storage is definitely more important than a gigantic shower. Our four ft. shower is plenty roomy, and we have recessed niches for products (you can’t do those in exterior walls, we were told). One of my favorite features is the little corner shelf we had installed down low for leg shaving!
    Good luck with your remodel, I know whatever you chose, it will be beautiful! Oh, one more thing, our linen closet has adjustable shelves, so I was able to remove a shelf and make room in the bottom for a laundry basket, which I really like!

  5. If this is your forever home, please think about the future. If you have a water closet and you or your husband were in a wheelchair or on a walker, it would be impossible to maneuver either to safely use the toilet.

  6. Really interesting post for sure! I hate tubs so no tub; I used big, pink swirly tile in the shower and also have to have a water softener to save the tile. I would totally avoid solid black anywhere in my house, pain to keep even decent looking. As far as walls as tile vs framed stuff, I say let the mirrors and fixtures be the focal point, adding more to the mix looks like you are “trying too hard”.
    As far as paint vs wood cabinets….tough. I have a nice cherry finish sink cabinet that is sealed and built tough (Lowe’s) that it is totally easy to keep clean and dent free (imagine that). The upper cabinet is painted. Have both.
    I don’t care for patterned tile, seems “fussy” to me and that little polka dot stuff gives me nightmares.
    Make sure the framing is the best, the lighting is really good and if your sinks have a tendency to stain from your water, get a softener. A softener will save all your faucets, enamel, dish waster, frig. water and washing machine.

  7. I’m in the middle of a main bath remodel. The plumbing is all staying where it was but they took the room down to the studs. The bathroom doorway was not standard size and making it larger was the motivation to remodel. To widen the door way, we took out a bedroom closet and are changing a slider to a single French door. The bathroom doorway will be really wide and have a barndoor. Taking out the closet also made it possible to enlarge the shower. The longer shower allowed for a built-in bench. The glass enclosure will look like the picture you posted where the glass follows the line of the bench. We are putting in two shower heads–a rainfall and a very nice handheld. The handheld will be by the bench and the height adjusts on a long vertical bar. My shower and bathroom floor are finally tiled and grouted. I love the combo of light gray 4×12 subway tiles, a 4′ wide decorative glass inset and Carrera-look mosaic tile. The mosaic is in the large niche and on the shower floor. All the tile transitions are finished in silver metal edging. I love it! The bathroom floor is 12×24 “marble” that matches the mosaic. I’m both gaining and loosing storage space. We couldn’t widen the room so there wasn’t an option to add a second sink. I’m going from a small vanity to a wide-bordered pedestal sink. The large clear glass shower wall and the less-bulky sink will make the room look wider than it is. My old medicine chest was a nice size but my new one is 24×36 and has an LED light in the glass. I used to have a fixture over the vanity and a light in the exhaust fan. We’ve added 4 can lights and the new fan won’t have a light. The electrical is finished and the plumbing connections have been upgraded. The new sink, matching toilet, medicine chest and shower heads are sitting in my living room. The drywall can’t be completed until the new French door is delivered. It’s been on order for a couple of months! Eliminating one of the closets led to expanding the remaining closet to a walk-in. When the project is finished, I’ll have a new bedroom as well as a new bath. I’ve already chosen the new doors (on order!), the new paint and carpeting. The most frustrating thing about remodeling in 2021 is the wait for supplies!

  8. We’re doing our bathroom right now. My beautiful 3 sconces have been cut down to one in between the 2 mirrors and I’m so afraid it’s going to look weird. And the glass! I don’t know, clear or patterned? I wish I could get some opinions on that.

  9. We have done 2 bathrooms in the 12 years we’ve lived in our house. One of the bathrooms took 5+ years 4 different sets of contractors (don’t ask).
    I thought I would like more modern look with clean lines, and I’m not all all a modern person. Now that bathroom has a more traditional coastal farmhouse vibe. Not kitschy farmhouse, so it should be easy to change out.
    In our en suite bathroom we have painted real shiplap, and some stained wood. We used white subway tile in both bathrooms for our tub shower combo in the kids bathroom and in the walk in shower in our bathroom. We also used the same grey tile on the floors in both bathrooms, just run a different way to give variety.
    I will never- EVER use tile in a bathroom again. I have arthritis issues and other auto immune issues and cleaning the tile is a nightmare.
    We have an 8 ft long double vanity in the boys bathroom but a single, more furniture looking vanity in our bathroom because that is all we had room for and we seldom have to compete for use. I so enjoy the way both bathrooms finally turned out but again tile is not my friend. I think I would go for a solid slab surround for bath and shower areas next time and maybe luxury vinyl planks or linoleum for the floors.

    Good luck Lauren, continued prayers for you and Robert as you make decisions. It’ll be fun to see how it all comes together.

  10. We put in a larger than average shower and added an extra shower head on the opposite side. I really like that. It’s enclosed with three tiled walls and the door is frosted glass. Easy to keep clean. We also have an overhead light in the shower. I like all of these features. I don’t think a tub is necessary since you have one in the house. The hardest decision is between those double sinks and a water closet. Is there no way to have both?

  11. What a timely and thought provoking post! I’m about to to redo my master bath and this has confirmed some of my thoughts and made me put off a few decisions! A few things aren’t issues because I’m widowed and don’t have to share anything!

  12. Such a fun post. We’re in the same boat right now with choices on a new build. Very helpful. Can’t wait to see what you do with your bathroom.

  13. Currently collecting things to redo our Master and I am mixing metals- brushed gold sconces, mirror trim, and cabinet pulls…..brushed nickel faucets for shower, tub and sinks……
    Deciding on cabinet color- down to two really dark/ navy blue choices- large floor tiles(12×18) to lessen grout lines for maintenance purposes…so this article was perfectly timed! Thanks!

  14. Hi Lauren.
    This was a helpful post. If you feel torn you could always do one style in your master bath, and then the other style in your powder room. Then you get the best of both worlds! Except the shower/tub…you have to only go with one there.
    First world problems! Keep it in perspective!

    Christine
    New Hampshire

  15. We moved in December from South Florida to North Florida and bought our dream home. Our master bath ah I love it! Except for one thing: we have double sinks which I love, a water closet which I LOVE, a huge tub which I don’t love, and a small shower that is actually like a white plastic! 🙄🙄🙄 I hate the shower! We’re saving up to take out the tub and have a nice shower in its place! Where the shower was, we’re going to have a linen closet!! It may be awhile, but I can’t wait to fix the crazy shower situation!

    1. Having a bathroom you love is a game changer. And the shower and tub situation is a big part of that. At least you have set a plan in motion. YAY!!!

  16. We have remodeled two master bathrooms since building our home in 1987. My husband loves showers but I like baths and both rooms were large enough for both. We did change out the upstairs shower and linen closet for a larger shower without a door and open shelving for towels. It was one step in, then turn right with the faucet and shower head on the right side wall away from the entrance. Never had any water problems. Recently, we changed our main floor guest room to our room and enlarged it so that I could have a walk in tub. My husband got a smaller shower with just a shower curtain because the builder said we couldn’t put the shower head on an outside wall and we needed space for turning a wheelchair. The shower is opposite the tub in case we have a problem, so water could drain easily. We have large tile floors and double mirrors ans sinks and brushed nickel faucets and fixtures. We are happy with both remodels and wish you well with yours.

  17. What a fun post! I can’t wait to see what you do. I’ve been dreading our primary bathroom remodel. You go first 🤣

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