5 Things Low Maintenance Bathrooms Never Have — 'These Will Render The Space Impractical,' Say Experts

For an easy-to-maintain, smooth-running bathroom, ensure that these ill-considered elements are far away from the space

An all white bathroom with a mirror and lights in gold, and the toilet section with a wallpaper
(Image credit: Phil Crozier. Studio credit Reena Sotropa + Alanna Dunn)

Everyone wants a beautiful, luxe bathroom but one that isn't difficult to maintain, or clean. While designing or renovating this space, if you're careful about choosing materials or products that require far less attention than others in their category, you will save hours of elbow grease.

To have such a dream space, we reached out to experts to understand what features one should avoid, and choose instead, that make this room easy to maintain. Take a look at these suggestions and gift yourself a bathroom that is a breeze to use, clean, and maintain.

1. Shiny tiles

A bathroom with shiny marble tiles

(Image credit: Simon Brown Photography Ltd)

'Tiles that have a shiny finish or a large format polished tile can be slippery, so we usually stay away from those, as they make for the most impractical flooring options,' says Shelby Van Daley, founder of Daley Home.

Choose bathroom tiles that have a hard surface, are water-resistant, and are skid-proof.

'Porcelain and mosaic tiles are one of the most common and effective ones,' says Sabrina MacLean, founder of Hino Studio. 'They are durable and versatile, with a wide variety of colors and designs in the market.'

'I usually go for tiles with softer patterns and neutral tones that will ensure the design is timeless,' says Bea Pernia, founder of Bea Interior Design. 'Porcelain tends to be the most popular choice for bathroom flooring as it is less porous and it is suitable for floor heaters to keep feet warm when temperatures are cold. Porcelain also provides a clean design that will make the bathroom feel soft and elegant.'

2. Sheer curtains

A bathroom with sheer curtains next to the bathtub

(Image credit: James Merrell)

While bathroom curtains can make the space feel light and breezy and even add a soft touch, these can increase effort in maintaining the room. Many curtain materials like sheer or silk can become damp easily, catch mold, and start giving the room a dull appearance. Curtains should especially not be installed next to the shower or bathtub.

'Instead of curtains, I'd suggest vinyl shutters, as they are waterproof and easy to open and close,' says Jane Lockhart, founder of Jane Lockhart Design. 'If they have a horizontal center split within the surface of each shutter panel, the lower louvers can be closed while the upper ones can remain open all the time to let light in. If that is still too much work and you don’t have a view you want to show off, but want to let in the light, adding a frosted coating to the window surface is a good option, as once it's done you never touch it again.'

3. Polished bath fittings

A bathroom with chrome fittings

(Image credit: ANNA STATHAKI)

One of the most important ingredients for designing a good, modern bathroom is the quality of fittings. Smart and easy-to-use taps and handles are essential to the smooth functioning of this space. You also want to choose elements that don't show dirt easily.

'The most high-maintenance bath fittings are anything with a polished surface,' advises Maria Vassiliou, founder of Maria Zoe Designs. 'If fingerprints will drive you crazy, opt for more brushed finishes such as brushed brass or nickel.'

'If you want low maintenance fittings, go for unlacquered brass,' says Bethany Adams of Bethany Adams Interiors. 'The metal will patina and the variations in the finish will hide all manner of sins.'

4. Impractical storage

A bathroom with storage under the sink

(Image credit: Mary Wadsworth)

'A big storage mistake many people make is not matching storage options to the type of product you keep in your bathroom,' says Jane. 'For instance, if all of your bottles are very small (i.e., only a few inches in height), then it is not effective storage to have shelves spaced far apart and set deep. Or, if you have tall cans of items, like hair spray, these should be kept upright in which case tall, thin shelves are needed. However, if you keep Costco family-sized items in the bathroom, then deep and high shelves are important. Essentially, good storage is a result of matching your dominant product size to your storage type or container.'

The more impractical your storage is, the harder it will be to keep the space clutter-free and clean.

'If you can't alter what bathroom storage you have by gathering similarly sized products together that have a similar function, using more size appropriate clean containers will help to better use the space you have,' says Jane.

5. Poor quality lighting

A bathroom with lights installed above the mirror

(Image credit: Matthew Williams)

Choosing the right bathroom lighting is paramount because this element can make or break the look of the space. And, heavily affect the practicality of the room. Poor quality fixtures and low lights will mean you will either need to keep changing the bulbs or bring in more light into the room, with added fixtures.

'Low lighting aside, any harsh lighting in a bathroom can also make your daily routine a literal headache, so stay away from any bulbs that give off cold blue tones,' says Shelby. 'The same goes for extremely dim bulbs such as incandescent old-school bulbs. They are impractical and not a great choice when getting ready for the day (or night!).'

'The ideal mirror lighting is wall sconces on either side. Consider yellow warm lights that are flattering and do not cast shadows,' says Shelby.

3 products to make the bathroom low maintenance

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari is an architecture and design journalist with over 10 years of experience. She's worked at some of the leading media houses in India such as Elle Decor, Houzz and Architectural Digest (Condé Nast).  Till recently, she was a freelance writer for publications such as Architectural Digest US, House Beautiful, Stir World, Beautiful Homes India among others. In her spare time, she volunteers at animal shelters and other rescue organizations.