Darren Palmer’s Top Takeaways from Our Bathroom Masterclass

Darren Palmer’s Top Takeaways from Our Bathroom Masterclass

Darren Palmer, leading interior designer and judge on Australia’s top renovation show, The Block, joined us for a Bathroom Design Masterclass in Brisbane in October.

Darren’s strong eye for detail and passion for innovative design has made him a Blockhead favourite. We’ve captured our top four takeaways from our recent Q&A to help you to nail your own bathroom project.

Darren shared his top design tips at our Masterclass at Westfield Carindale, QLD

How can I make sure my bathroom looks well-considered, even on a tight budget?

For Darren, it comes down to matching the shapes you bring in the bathroom. If the basin is a oval shaped, then the bathtub should be the same shape. If the basin is square-edged, then think about the shape of the toilet. Everything needs to have a relationship to each other.

"These things unify the space and elements within a home, and that’s what makes it look like it’s well-designed and well-considered – even if budget’s a factor."

How can I make sure my bathroom continues to be useful as I grow older?

There’s no need to detract from your design with clinical materials and products, but make sure you plan ahead, especially when it comes to structural elements.

"Adding extra beams in the walls to install grab rails by the shower and toilet is a very clever idea. Tile the wall as usual and forget they’re there until you need them."

Darren’s tips for designing with your future needs in mind include:

  • Wide doorways and open spaces to accommodate the use of walkers if ever required.
  • Include some additional waist-height storage to keep clothes dry and within reach.
  • A shower seat is a great addition for multi-functional living, plus it can look intentional and stylish if included in your design.

How can I recreate realistic lighting in the bathroom?

Balanced lighting throughout the space is really important for practical tasks.

"You don’t want to be in front of the mirror in dull lighting with what you think is the right amount of eyeshadow, for example, and realise later that it looks less subtle than you thought."

Darren’s top tips for creating the best realistic light are:

  • Fix lighting at either side of the vanity. This avoids light casting a shadow over one side of your face.
  • Ideally, place a light above the vanity as well. Set it above the tap waste and facing down so it balances the two side lights.
  • If you can integrate some of the lighting into your shaving cabinet, then great. Many saving cabinets like the Kado Lux and Izzy Z1 cabinets have integrated lighting in their units.

Is underfloor heating really worth the investment?

Absolutely! Just make sure you choose the right type of underfloor heating.

  • Electric underfloor heating is cost and energy efficient to install and use when you only need it for a couple of months of the year, such as in warmer states like Queensland.
  • Hydronic underfloor heating (using water pipes, like a traditional radiator) may be more expensive to install but costs a lot less to run for longer periods of the year, which is great for cooler areas like Victoria and Tasmania.
"Even in Queenland, there are a few months a year where you don’t want to walk on the tiles with bare feet. It’s actually energy efficient because you use it so infrequently over the course of a year."