Contemporary bathrooms with an open floor plan design are becoming increasingly popular in homes today. This modern style emphasizes clean lines, minimalism, and a seamless connection between spaces. An open concept bathroom provides a greater sense of space and light, allowing for a relaxing oasis within the home. In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about designing and decorating a contemporary, open plan bathroom.

What Defines an Open Plan, Contemporary Bathroom?

An open plan bathroom follows a minimalist aesthetic, lacking walls, barriers, and separation between spaces. The shower, tub, sinks, and toilet blend seamlessly together without visual obstructions. There is an unbroken flow between functional zones, creating an airy, open feeling.

Hallmarks of the contemporary open bathroom style include:

  • Spaciousness and a feeling of lightness
  • Continuous flooring materials throughout
  • Clean lines and geometric shapes
  • Lack of ornamentation
  • Neutral colors like white and gray
  • Sleek, modern fixtures
  • Natural materials like stone, concrete, and wood
  • Large format tiles
  • Frameless glass shower enclosures
  • Floating vanities and wall-hung toilets
  • Seamless integration of technology and lighting

The open design removes visual clutter, providing tranquility and relaxation. Fixtures and finishes are integrated for harmony and cohesion across the entire bathroom space.

Benefits of an Open Floor Plan Bathroom

There are many advantages to choosing an open concept for your contemporary bathroom design:

Light and Space

Removing walls and barriers maximizes available light from windows and overhead fixtures. Sunlight can penetrate deeper into the space. The openness creates an airy, roomy feeling, even in modestly sized bathrooms.

Clean and Minimalist Look

The lack of partitions and separated rooms achieves a clean, minimalist aesthetic. The contemporary style avoids elaborate detailing and ornate decorations in favor of simplicity. Visually clear surfaces and open space emit a soothing, spa-like vibe.

Easy Cleaning and Maintenance

With fewer corners, nooks, and obstacles, an open bathroom floor plan is easier to clean. There are less places for soap scum, mildew, and grime to hide. Upkeep and maintenance are more convenient without a cluttered layout.

Flexible Functionality

An open design means you can customize the layout to best suit your needs. Fixtures can be placed anywhere to create handy zones, without being constrained by walls dictating placement. The space can readily adapt if needs change.

Greater Interaction

Removing barriers between shower, sink, toilet, and tub areas fosters greater interaction among family members. You can easily have a conversation from one area to the next in an open-concept bathroom.

Design Considerations for Contemporary Open Bathrooms

If you are planning an open bathroom, there are several important factors to consider:


Careful planning of drainage is crucial for an open bathroom floor plan. The shower, sinks, and bathtub must all have proper sloping, waterproofing, and tiles conducive to good drainage. Otherwise, an open design is susceptible to flooding. Consult closely with your contractor on this.


Think about privacy needs between the shower, toilet areas, and the rest of the home. Using frosted glass on certain walls or windows can help delineate private zones while still retaining an open feel. Strategic placement of vanities or half-walls are other options.

Storage solutions

Since an open bathroom lacks walls and closets, storage can be a challenge. Get creative with drawer cabinets, floating shelves, freestanding cabinets, and hidden storage solutions. Adequate storage is key for keeping the space clutter-free.

Fixtures and finishes

Select durable, water-resistant finishes for floors, walls, and countertops. Materials like ceramic or porcelain tile, engineered quartz, solid surface, and natural stone are good choices. Coordinate fixtures in the same finish for visual harmony.

Lighting design

Proper ambient, task, and decorative lighting is crucial for an open bathroom. Use waterproof fixtures near shower and tub areas. Install both overhead and vanity lighting for brightness and visibility.

Furniture layout

Carefully map out the placement of fixtures and furniture based on established plumbing positions. Scale drawings are essential to ensure proper traffic flow and functionality within the space.

Design Elements to Incorporate

There are several key elements that can enhance an open plan, contemporary bathroom:

Spa-Like Relaxation Zone

Designate one area of the bathroom as a spa-relaxation zone. Incorporate features like a freestanding soaking tub, towel warmer, plush rugs, and potted greenery. This oasis will provide tranquility when you need to unwind.

Smart Home Technology

Include high-tech touches like digital timers and controls for lighting, temperature, and music. Touchscreen panels and voice activation can control various ambiance settings to customize your bathing experience.

Frameless Glass Enclosures

Frameless glass shower doors align with the clean, seamless look of an open bathroom. The glass allows light to permeate throughout the space and highlights sleek lines. Use low iron glass to prevent any greenish tint.

Floating Vanities

Floating vanities mounted just inches from the floor or wall align with the contemporary aesthetic. They have an airy, delicate quality and take up less visual space than bulky vanities.

Curbless Showers

A curbless shower with linear drainage blends seamlessly with the rest of the bathroom. It promotes barrier-free access and a sleek modern style. Just ensure waterproofing behind walls and under the pan.

Freestanding Bathtubs

Freestanding tubs serve as sculptural elements while still being highly functional. Their versatility makes them ideal for open bathroom designs. Many modern styles and materials like Japanese soaking tubs are available.

Stone and Wood Accents

Natural materials like stone, porcelain tiles, concrete, or wood add organic texture. Wood slat walls, stone tile wainscoting, and concrete vanities prevent the space from feeling too stark.

Design Styles to Consider

When conceptualizing an open bathroom, you can look to these popular contemporary design styles for inspiration:

Scandinavian Style

This style embraces minimalism, functionality, and a harmonious connection with nature. Look for light wood accents, gray and white color schemes, sleek lines, and recycling bins. Plants add life while sheer curtains increase privacy.

Industrial Style

Industrial bathrooms incorporate raw materials like weathered wood, concrete, metal pipes, and brick. Open shelving, galvanized hardware, and pendant lighting align with the rugged yet refined industrial vibe.

Transitional Style

This style strikes a balance between traditional and contemporary. Curved lines, lighter colors, and natural materials blend with clean-lined sinks and vanities. Add linens, woven baskets, and artwork for softer accents.

Luxury Contemporary

High-end open bathrooms exude extravagance with comfort. Expect luxurious materials like marble and brass, aromatherapy shower systems, towel warmers, and technology integration like touchscreen mirrors.

Urban Modern

Urban modern bathrooms embody sleek metropolitan living. Bold graphic prints and vibrant accent colors enliven the neutral palette. Touchable textures and nature-inspired motifs add livability.

Choosing Bathroom Materials

Materials selection significantly impacts the overall design cohesion in an open plan bathroom. Consider how your choices in flooring, walls, countertops, and fixtures work together:

Porcelain, Ceramic, and Stone Tiles

Tile is one of the most durable, water-resistant options for contemporary bathroom floors and walls. Porcelain and ceramic tiles now offer stone-like visuals. Natural stone like marble, travertine, or slate bring elegance.

Concrete Flooring

Concrete delivers an edgy, urban vibe. New stamping techniques create stone, wood, and other organic looks. Stain concrete in gray tones for an industrial feel or earthy hues for a nature-inspired look.

Wood Accents

Wood introduces natural warmth. Use it strategically on walls or vanities rather than directly in shower zones. Teak and bamboo resist moisture well. Reclaimed wood offers rustic character.

Quartz and Solid Surface Countertops

Engineered quartz or solid surface materials like Corian are ideal choices for bathroom vanities. They are non-porous, antimicrobial, highly resilient, and available in many colors.

Glass, Metal, and Mirrors

Glass, metal, and mirrors magnify light. Frameless glass shower doors, brass hardware, and backlit mirrors all sparkle. Dark metals like matte black provide bold contrast to pale tiles.

Designing a Contemporary Open Shower

One of the highlight features of an open bathroom is often a contemporary open shower area. When designing this space, consider factors like:

  • A curbless entry and linear drainage for barrier-free access
  • Frameless glass enclosure panels
  • Recessed niches for storing shower necessities
  • An overhead rainshower head for a spa-like experience
  • High-tech additions like steam, aromatherapy, or chromotherapy
  • Easy-to-clean shower walls made of stone like marble or slate
  • A contrasting floor pattern or mosaic tile design
  • Waterproof shower bench seating for functionality
  • Ambient, task, and accent lighting placements

Achieve unity by repeating floor, wall, and ceiling finishes throughout the entire bathroom. Carry wall tile or other features into the shower area for visual continuity. An open shower with coordinated details creates a sleek, spa-like environment.

Designing Contemporary Vanities and Sinks

Well-designed vanities and sinks are centerpieces of an open, contemporary bathroom. Consider these tips when planning this functional area:

Floating Vanity Styles

  • A floating vanity aligned just above the floor epitomizes the contemporary look. Opt for sleek, simple cabinet fronts with integrated hardware.
  • Choose a durable material like quartz or Dekton for the vanity top. A matching undermount rectangular sink maintains clean lines.
  • Incorporate hidden storage like pull-out drawers and trays to keep clutter out of sight.
  • Make sure to waterproof the wall behind a floating vanity.

Vessel Sink Options

  • Vessel sinks sit atop the vanity surface, rather than being recessed within it. Their raised profiles make striking focal points.
  • Select vivid vessel sinks in materials like hammered copper, vivid glass, or carved stone.
  • Pair ornate vessel sinks with simple floating vanities to offset busier sinks.
  • Ensure vessel sinks allow adequate clearance for bath necessities like soap and toothbrush holders.

Creative Sink Alternatives

  • Concrete sinks offer an edgy, bespoke option. They can be cast in any shape and stained in gray hues.
  • Wooden sinks bring natural warmth. Teak and bamboo are good moisture-resistant choices.
  • For a true minimalist look, opt for a sleek wall-mounted faucet and drain without any sink basin.

Lighting for Open Bathrooms

Proper lighting is essential for an open bathroom to function efficiently and look radiant. Include ample natural light plus well-placed fixture lighting.


Strategically place windows to allow ample sunshine to penetrate into the bathroom. If privacy is a concern, use textured glass or window films to diffuse the light.

Skylights and Ceiling Windows

Skylights and ceiling windows splash the entire room with natural light. Place these correctly so light streams onto the shower and vanity areas. Opt for solar tubes to bring in sunlight from roofing above.

Ambient Lighting

Install LED recessed can lights across the ceiling for ambient fill lighting. Space the can lights out evenly to illuminate the entire open bathroom. Dimming lets you control the mood.

Task Lighting

Focus task lighting on key areas like the shower, vanity, and any accent walls. Wall sconces flanking the mirror provide ideal visibility for grooming. Install waterproof showerheads with built-in lighting.

Accent Lighting

Use accent lighting to highlight artwork, architectural details, and decorative shower tiles. Try narrow-beam adjustable LED lights. Rope lighting installed behind trim or under cabinets adds a subtle glow.

Floor Plans for Open Bathrooms

Careful planning is vital for an open bathroom layout to function efficiency. Use these example floor plans to help envision your dream open bathroom:

Centralized Floor Plan

This layout positions the shower, tub, and vanities in the center of the space. Walkways surround each area for easy circulation. This maximizes natural light exposure inside the room.

Zoned Floor Plan

Divide the bathroom into organized zones or vignettes. Shower, soaking tub, double vanities, and toilet nooks each have their own niche but remain connected. Define zones using flooring patterns, ceilings, or glass walls.

Perimeter Floor Plan

Place fixtures and features around the bathroom’s perimeter. Walkways open up in the center of the room. This layout maximizes potential privacy from adjoining rooms.

Furniture-Style Floor Plan

Mimic furniture placement in living spaces. Float the bathtub away from walls like a sofa. Angle vanities diagonally across corners as you would desks or media cabinets. Break up space creatively.

Achieving Privacy in an Open Bathroom

Privacy is a top concern when bathrooms lack walls and visual barriers. Here are design ideas to carve out private zones:

  • Install textured glass windows and doors that block views but allow light infiltration.
  • Use strategically placed partitions, columns, or half walls to separate areas like toilets and showers.
  • Incorporate layered lighting and shaded window treatments. This controls visibility from outside the home.
  • Create secluded zones using ceiling designs, alcoves, or layout techniques like the perimeter floor plan.
  • Use zone rugs, artwork, mirrors, and finishes to define distinct spaces within the open layout.
  • Position vanities, clothing racks, or folding screens to act as movable room dividers when needed.

With careful planning, you can attain privacy in desired areas yet retain an airy, open bathroom environment overall.

Storage Solutions for Contemporary Open Bathrooms

Open floor plan bathrooms require smart storage solutions since traditional closets are absent. Here are some ideas:

  • Opt for vanities with full extension drawers that maximize all available space. Include pull-out trays, hooks, and organizers inside cabinets.
  • Incorporate wall-hung cabinetry above toilets to stash extra toilet paper and supplies.
  • Use bamboo, rattan, or metal bins on open shelving for rolled towels and bath essentials. Keep them uniform for a cohesive look.
  • Under-sink roll-out trays on casters hold items neatly. Stash the trays out of sight when not needed.
  • Install recessed niches into shower walls. These waterproof nooks are great for shampoo bottles and razors.
  • Freestanding cabinets positioned around the room provide enclosed storage. Opt for cabinets with doors/drawers to conceal contents.
  • Mount ledges with a lip at the base of walls. These hold neatly folded towels and toiletries.

With clever solutions, you can have abundant bathroom storage despite the lack of closets in an open floor plan.

FAQs About Open Plan, Contemporary Bathrooms

Some frequently asked questions about designing an open bathroom include:

Is an open bathroom more expensive?

In general, yes. Removing walls raises construction costs. You need top-quality waterproofing, floors/walls that span greater surface areas, and extensive lighting. Higher-end fixtures and finishes also keep the open look elegant.

What is the best flooring for an open bathroom?

Porcelain tile and natural stone like marble or slate are best. The flooring absolutely must be waterproof and slip-resistant. Large format tiles 12″x24″ or larger help the space feel seamless.

What colors work best in open bathrooms?

Neutral, lighter tones keep the space feeling airy and expansive. Grays, whites, beiges, and light wood tones are common. Use bolder shades sparingly as accents.

Can you put a toilet and shower in an open bathroom?

Yes, you can place a toilet and shower in an open plan as long as proper precautions are taken. Strategic design choices like using glass walls and correct slope/drainage prevents water issues.

How do you add privacy to an open bathroom?

Use textured glass, translucent panels, or obscured glazing on certain walls or doors. Strategically placed screens, half-walls, and ceiling design can carve out private zones while retaining an open look.

How do you decorate an open concept bathroom?

Use neutral colors, natural materials like stone and wood, and plants to add livability. Rugs, wallpaper, artwork, and pendant lighting inject personality. Arrange features thoughtfully to designate specific zones within the larger space.

Designing an Open Plan Bathroom: Key Takeaways

  • Embrace spatial openness and fluidity between shower, tub, vanity, and toilet areas.
  • Select durable, water-resistant materials like porcelain tile and natural stone.
  • Include floating vanities, curbless showers, and frameless glass for an airy look.
  • Maximize natural light with ample windows, skylights, and translucent dividers or glass walls.
  • Zone the layout into functional areas using lighting, ceilings, layout, rugs, and finishes.
  • Solve privacy needs with smart partitions, blinds, and strategic layouts.
  • Incorporate plenty of concealed storage like cabinets, shelving, and hidden nooks.
  • Keep colors light and finishes streamlined. Use natural materials like wood, stone, and greenery to warm up the space.
  • Proper planning is key. Consult designers and contractors experienced in open bathrooms.

An open, contemporary bathroom promotes tranquility and relaxation at home. With clever solutions and mindful design, you can enjoy an airy, spa-like bathroom that perfectly suits your needs. The minimalist open concept infuses simplicity and light into your everyday routine.