Blog | Vanity By Design - Elements & Principles of Design

Elements & Principles of Design

Elements & Principles of Design

By Georgia Spurling 9/04/2018 11:00 pm

A brief exploration into how to utilise elements & principles of design within your bathroom. 

What are Elements & Principles of Design?  

Elements of design are the basic ingredients in any recipe. If you wanted to make pancakes for breakfast you wouldn't forget the flour or the eggs. To create a bathroom, you need the basic ingredients first. What comes to mind when talking about the bathroom? Vanity, bath, toilet, shower, right? These are essential and make up the core ingredients to any bathroom design. However there are many other elements that are vital to include, such as line, colour, shape & texture. After you read this, feel free to take a look at some of our unique shaped vanities & colour options in our hamptons style collection to be inspired! 

Principles of design are the way in which the elements are used. How the recipe comes together through different methods or techniques to create the finished product such as balance, rhythm, emphasis and contrast.

Let's take a look at how these elements & principles can be utilised within the bathroom... 



Line is the first & most basic element suggesting a mass or volume, characterised by length & width. Line is defined as any linear mark, it provides visual routes vertically, horizontally & diagonally. If used correctly line can direct the eye towards or away from certain areas. It can create emphasis & generate a sense of movement throughout the space. 


  • Lines should be utilised dependent on the scale of the room. If the bathroom is small, use horizontal lines rather than vertical to elongate its length.
  • Use line work to draw attention away from areas such as the toilet. Direct lines to the vanity, bath or windows. (This really comes down to the floor-plan & layout) 

Application: Tiles (Coloured Grout, shape and layout), wallpaper, paint, shower screens etc. 


Image 1: 

Image 2: Vanity By Design - Huxley Vanity in Japan Black  


Colour is one of the most obvious elements, it's the first thing you see & is usually the first thing you recall about a space. Like when a car flashes by, you will remember the colour, but not the specific type (unless maybe you'r a car enthusiast!). Likewise in a bathroom, you will remember the colour used, not the brand or product code. Choosing a colour scheme is crucial in the early stages of your bathroom design. Consider colour theories & the psychological effects colour can have on people. Colour can easily dominate a space, it should be used sparingly & purposefully. 


  • The best way to bring colour into a bathroom is through a feature tile. Paired with more neutral tones the scheme will be balanced nicely
  • If you'r brave, coloured vanities and baths create a huge statement in the room! Check out some of our unique colour options such as Duck egg, Jade Green and Navy. 
  • Accessories are the easiest and most cost effective way to add colour. Consider towels candles or even plants & flowers to really bring your bathroom to life! 

Application: Tiles, wallpaper, paint, vanity, bath, plants & accessories


Image 1: Vanity by Design - Cleo Vanity in Jade Green 


Shape can be geometric or organic. It adds interest to a space by defining boundaries of properties through line & colour. The scale of your bathroom will depict how shapes & patterns applied to surfaces will influence it (e.g. Large tiles in a small bathroom will make it feel bigger, whereas small tiles will crowd the space).  When choosing a shape in items such as mirrors, its important to consider symmetrical & asymmetrical formats. The correct use of shape no matter it's form will feel balanced even in the most asymmetrical designs! 


  • Use alike shapes when designing your bathroom. Round basins look lovely paired with round mirrors.
  • Use shape to add interest to different areas. Not all tiles in your bathroom should be the same. Mix & Match scales and shapes on different surfaces (floors / walls). However it's important to not overcomplicate the design with too many differing shapes. Choose shapes that will complement each other rather than compete. 

Application: Tile shape, Mirrors, basins, lights etc. 

Image: Vanity by Design - McQueen Vanity in Natural 


Any design requires texture both physically & visually as it gives tactility & depth to a space. Texture should be used sparingly & with intent, considering the user foremost. In a bathroom you want textures that can easily be cleaned, thus smooth tiles are hugely popular. Tactile illusions give the impression of texture yet can feel smooth. Consider feature tiles with tactility to create depth. Accessories are vital in a bathroom to create softness and help create warmth. Texture should vary throughout the space and can be achieved through including a bathmat, towels or even a timber stool. 


  • Use a textured feature tile on vertical surfaces to create depth 
  • Make sure to apply both hard and soft textures to create warmth and interest within the space. 

Application: Tiles, vanity, accessories, handles, tapware 


Image 1: 

Image 2: Vanity by Design - Mcqueen Vanity in Natural 


The principles of design are guidelines to organisie the above elements. Analysing how successful the bathroom is can be determined by providing balance, rhythm, emphasis & contrast to create cohesion & unity within the space. Balance in a bathroom should first be considered regarding placement of the vanity, bath & toilet, accompanied by materiality of the products and surfaces applied to the space. Balance can be adjusted by scale and composition and holds two forms of identity; Symmetrical & asymmetrical. Both forms create a vastly different outcome. The balance of the room is dependent on the rhythm or pattern created through the surfaces. Surfaces should complement each other to create a sense of order & flow throughout the room. This is done through repeating shapes, textures and colour pallets. Through such elements, emphasis and contrast should be considered in relation to light & dark / thick & thin features to achieve overall harmony & unity that is both functional & visually intriguing.

Image: Vanity by Design - Chantel Vanity in Black 

Stylist: Steve Cordony 

There's many more elements & principles of design, however the discussed points are arguably the most important to get right, as they are vital to the bathrooms success. Such simple elements and principles can make or break a room, so it's important to understand how they work together before commencing your design....