21 NYC Bathroom Design Ideas

by | Last updated May 17, 2024 | Bathroom Design, Interior Design

There are so many options for what you can do with your bathroom design that it could make your head spin.

I am Jorge Fontan, an architect in New York and owner of Fontan Architecture, an NYC-based architecture and design firm. We work on many project types, including residential renovations and new builds. In this post, I will review some bathroom design ideas and show you a few of the bathrooms we have renovated in NYC.


Marble Slabs 

Marble slabs are the top-of-the-line luxury bathroom design material. Slabs are large pieces of marble that can be up to ten feet long to over five feet wide. Using slabs eliminates grout lines, creating a much more sleek look. Marble slabs are truly luxurious and will also come at a higher price. This type of bathroom is usually for the more high-budget renovations. Marble has a great deal of character and can really enhance the overall bathroom aesthetic. Using slabs will always be a more high-end look as you have very large pieces.

Below, you can see a marble bathroom in an apartment we gut-renovated. The wall behind the tub is made of marble slabs. Each surface of the wall is one piece. There are no grout lines whatsoever. This is a great way to have a beautiful modern yet timeless look in a bathroom.

Marble Slab Bathroom

Marble Slab Bathroom, Primary Bath Renovation, Upper East Side Manhattan


Porcelain Slabs

Porcelain Slabs are a more affordable option than marble slabs. Like marble slabs, large-format porcelain tiles avoid grout lines, creating a seamless look. The sleek look adds to the luxurious feel and neatness of the bathroom. Porcelain is a great option for a bathroom because of its durability and price compared to natural stone.

The photo below shows one of the bathrooms in an apartment we renovated on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. We used porcelain slabs in this bathroom to give it a more modern look. This bathroom is simple yet elegant. We have another post you can read if you want to learn more about Why Porcelain is Good for Bathrooms.

Gray Bathroom with Large Format Slab Tiles

Gray Bathroom with Large Format Slab Tiles (UWS, Manhattan)



If you hope to be a little unconventional, you don’t have to use tiles on your bathroom walls. There are many alternative finishes you can use in a bathroom design. Faux concrete is one example of a specialty finish for a more unique and modern look. Concrete finishes can be a great alternative for a bathroom if you want an ultramodern option.

Below is a concrete-look bathroom in a loft we gut-renovated in the Financial District. The walls do not have any seams. This material is applied by hand on-site and relies heavily on the quality of the craftsmanship, adding artisanal charm to your bathroom design. A  Concrete Bathroom Design has a great industrial, highly modern look.

Concrete Bathroom in an NYC apartment

Concrete Bathroom in a Loft in FiDi, Manhattan, NYC


Accent Lights

Accent lights are always an excellent way to elevate a space when done tastefully. They add ambiance and mood to the space, not to mention extra light. These types of lights are really meant to just be an accent. The bathroom would be quite dimly lit if you used it as the primary lighting source. It is best to include recessed lights as well.

The photo below shows the powder room in a UES apartment we renovated. Here, we have an antiqued mirror with a small cove around the entire perimeter incorporating a linear light. The light glows from all sides, making the mirror feel like it’s floating in the light. Details like this can really elevate a bathroom design.

Small Powder Room Design in NYC

Small Powder Room Design UES, NYC


Marble Sink

A marble sink is an elegant, high-end option that can make a bathroom stand out. If you want a personalized luxury bathroom, a custom marble sink is a great addition to the design.

The bathroom below has a custom marble sink made of the same stone as the back wall. This bathroom is all made of custom, high-quality craftsmanship, adding a refined and unique touch to the design.

Custom Marble Sink

Custom Marble Sink in an UES Bathroom Remodel


Shower Niche

Wall niches are essential for showers, as far as I am concerned. You will always need space to put shower products; having a niche is much more sophisticated than having a shelf hanging on the wall.

The photo below is of my favorite type of shower niche, where we have a seamless recess in a marble slab wall. Notice that there are no joints between the niches, as that is one large marble slab. The inside of the niche is made from miter-cut marble to make a seamless transition. This design is a very distinguished look for a shower niche.

Seamless Marble Shower Niche

Seamless Marble Shower Niche Upper East Side, NYC


Free Standing Tub

If you have a large bathroom with enough room, a freestanding tub can be a great option for enhancing the design.

The photo below shows a primary bathroom in a Manhattan Brownstone we gut renovated. I always liked the idea of having a freestanding tub in a Brownstone; it just feels fitting. The freestanding tub does require a bit more space, but it is an excellent addition to your bathroom.

Bathroom With Free Standing Tub

Bathroom With Free Standing Tub Manhattan Brownstone


3D Tiles

There are lots of options when it comes to bathroom tiles. If you want to add a bit of texture, you can use 3D Tiles that have differentiation in the surface with the ins and outs. This type of tile can be a fun addition to give a bathroom more action and variation.

This bathroom we renovated has a textured tile with a horizontal 3D striation. This option makes the bathroom stand out and has more play than a monolithic bathroom wall. This type of tile provides a different look for a bit of an accent.

3D Tile Pattern

3D Tile Pattern, Bathroom Renovation, UES, NYC


Adjustable Hand Held Shower Slide Bar

Having a handheld shower head in addition to the primary shower head is a great convenience for a bathroom. It can help with children and pets, cleaning the tub or shower, and using it when you are showering. I especially like having the hand held shower head on a slide bar so you can set and adjust the height.

The picture below shows an adjustable slide shower head in a primary bathroom where we gut-renovated and combined two apartments on the UES. The particular fixture is a smart shower with a digital display that controls the water, steam, lighting, and music.

Adjustable Hand Held Shower Slide Bar

Adjustable Hand Held Shower Slide Bar


Make Patterns

If you are using tiles, you can create patterns with the material. For example, picking two different tiles or multiple types of tiles can create a pattern that breaks up the space and adds to the overall look.

In the bathroom below, we have two alternating tiles of the same color. In this case, one is the textured 3D tile we already discussed, and the other is a flat smooth tile of the matching color. By alternating these tiles, we were able to make a simple pattern that made the bathroom less stark than it could have been if it had only one type of gray tile.

Modern Gray Bathroom

Modern Gray Bathroom with an alternating stripe pattern UES, Manhattan


Wood or Wood Look Porcelain

Bathrooms do not have to be cold and plain. Adding wood or wood-look porcelain can be an excellent option for bringing warmth to a bathroom design. Wood helps bring a spa-like feel to a bathroom, adding tranquility through its natural feel.

We designed the shower below with a wood-like porcelain tile with slats, which provided relief from the rest of the gray bathroom. When done properly, mixing materials can be a great strategy for interior design.

Wood Slat Look 3D Tiles

Wood Slat Look 3D Tiles


Black and White

A white or black bathroom can be a classic look, but so can a black-and-white bathroom. I love mixing black and white for interiors, and doing it in a bathroom is a great way to elevate a classic look.

We used black and white in the bathroom below to create a timeless look that feels elegant and uncomplicated. Black and white is a great combination that will always work together. It is a quintessential look that is not too simple and classy.

Black and White Bathroom Design

Black and White Bathroom Design


Natural Wood Vanities

Natural wood always brings vibrance and warmth to any space. This point goes extra for a bathroom, which can feel cold and plain.

We used a wood vanity in this bathroom to offset the plain gray porcelain slab walls and floor. This mixture of materials brings life and energy to the space.

Gray Bathroom with Wood Vanity

Gray Bathroom with Wood Vanity


Linear Shower Drain

A linear shower drain is a nice touch for a shower floor. These drains are rectangular, sleek, and minimal, which is why we often use them in modern bathroom designs.

Below is a photo of a linear shower drain in an apartment we renovated in NYC using a linear drain. This shower has a concrete floor, which is also installed on the drain. The only part of the drain visible is the rectangular reveal in the shower floor. The drain itself has a pan to receive tiles or, in this case, concrete. This design is a very nice way to achieve a modern, sleek look on a shower floor.

Concrete Bathroom Floor & Linear Shower Drain

Concrete Bathroom Floor & Linear Shower Drain in a Manhattan apartment (FiDi)


Coordinate Your Fixtures & Accessories

The last thing we want is a bathroom that looks thrown together. This is why we always coordinate bathroom fixtures and accessories when we pick out fixtures. Ensuring that all the fixtures work together functionally and visually is critical to the design’s success.

The photo below is of a bathroom we designed in a Chelsea loft. The fixtures here are all polished chrome and have a similar aesthetic vibe in their shape. I cannot emphasize how important it is to make sure these items all make sense together.

Coordinate Matching Bathroom Fixtures

Coordinate Matching Bathroom Fixtures Loft Bathroom Renovation in Chelsea, NYC.


Wall-Mounted Toilet

Every decision matters when it comes to design, including the choice of toilet. Wall-mounted toilets are a more modern bathroom design option. They are neat and easy to clean and offer some technical advantages for installation. We often use wall-hung toilets in renovations because they give us more freedom to change the bathroom layout when renovating apartments in multifamily buildings. We have another post if you want to read about the Advantages and Disadvantages of Wall-Hung Toilets.

In this loft bathroom, we went for a subtle industrial look. The wall-hung toilet added to the overall aesthetic and was a great addition to the design.

Wall Mounted Toilet

Wall Mounted Toilet in a Chelsea Apartment NYC


Mosaic Tile Shower Floor

There are many options for the shower floor, but using mosaic tiles is a popular choice. Mosaic tile in the shower has a technical purpose that you may not know about. All the grout lines in the tile add traction and make the shower floor less slippery. This is not mandatory by any means, but some people prefer it. The mosaic shower floor allows us to bring in another material of a different scale to help break up the bathroom and add a little extra touch.

In this bathroom, we used a black marble mosaic with a herringbone pattern. This choice provided a simple and classy way to make the mosaic shower floor our client wanted.

Mosaic Tile Floor for a Shower


All White

Some people love all-white bathrooms; these can certainly be a classic look.

The photo below shows a white marble tile bathroom in an apartment we renovated on the Upper East Side.

White Marble Bathroom Design

White Marble Bathroom Design, UES, Manhattan


Custom Bathroom Accessories

You can custom-make almost anything, but making custom items for your bathroom is the real way to achieve a truly bespoke design.

We had a custom towel bar made for this industrial loft. It is made of black tube metal to go with the concrete bathroom design.

Custom Ceiling Mounted Industrial Towel Bar

Custom Ceiling Mounted Industrial Towel Bar


Frameless Shower Doors

Shower doors, whether for the shower or tub, are critical parts of any bathroom design. The details in the shower door hardware make all the difference.

In the picture below you can see frameless shower doors for a tub in one of our Manhattan bathroom renovations. This bathroom does not have tracks for its shower doors. It has point support clips. This detail eliminates the need for continuous tracks or frames, making it look much sleeker. The glass needs waterproofing seals, which can be clear and minimally visible.

Frameless Shower Doors

Frameless Shower Doors


Make It All Work Together

Good design is deliberate, and bad design is thrown together. The most important thing about designing a bathroom is that all the choices work together.

The vanity below has a white integrated sink top over a dark wood cabinet. This bathroom has a very modern and simple design. The walls are gray porcelain, and they all work together. The key to a successful bathroom design is making sure all the details, materials, fixtures, and choices work together. 

Wall Mounted Floating Vanity

Wall Mounted Floating Vanity in a Chelsea Apartment


Thank you for reading our blog post on Bathroom Design Ideas in NYC.

I hope this was helpful. You can contact Fontan Architecture directly if you want to speak with an architect about a specific project you are planning.


Contact Fontan Architecture


Jorge Fontan

Jorge Fontan

This post was written by Jorge Fontan AIA a Registered Architect and owner of New York City architecture firm Fontan Architecture. Jorge Fontan has earned 3 degrees in the study of architecture including two degrees from the City University of New York and a Masters Degree in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University. Jorge has a background in construction and has been practicing architecture for 20 years where he has designed renovations and new developments of various building types.