Our guide to the perfect bathroom

sideboards display cabinet
Inside Out Bathroom Cabinet with Double Door

Our handy guide is full of hints and tips to help you create your dream bathroom.

Often the smallest room in the home, bathroom planning can be a bit of headache, with dilemmas such as what flooring to choose and whether you should have a shower or a bath raising a multitude of questions. Our handy guide is here to help you through the process and create the bathroom you really want and need.

Planning and measuring

Planning and measuring your bathroom should be fairly easy; particularly if you’re planning on leaving every component, e.g. bath, basin, shower, etc in the same place. It’s then just a simple case of measuring your existing bathroom furniture and making sure everything fits. If you’re thinking of a complete overhaul including moving baths, basins and showers around, then you’ll need to enlist the help of a plumber who will be able to show you exactly what can go where according to where the water supply comes in.

Deciding whether you want a bath or shower really comes down to space and personal choice, but the general thinking is that it doesn’t have to be one or the other. If you have room, opt for both. After all there’s nothing like an invigorating morning or after-gym shower to get you going, while equally you probably want a relaxing bath after a hard day at work.

If you don’t have room for a shower cubicle, consider an over-bath shower. There’s a wide range to choose from which will suit both classic and contemporary schemes. Choosing to have both a fixed large showerhead along with a moveable one attached to a riser is a good idea as the larger fixed head will provide a powerful shower while the moveable showerhead can be used for cleaning and washing hair over the bath.

Wireworks Dark Oak Mezza Revolve Cabinet

When it comes to toliets, technology ranges from heated seats to models with jets that will wash your bits and pieces! If you’re happy with a bog-standard (sorry about that) toilet design, the only decision you’ll need to make is whether to opt for freestanding or wall-hung, the latter of which saves valuable floor space. This is the same when it comes to basins; a pedestal basin can look great but one which is hung on the wall will take up less room and make your bathroom feel less crowded.

Basins now come in a plethora of materials from concrete to marble, glass to copper so you’re guaranteed to find one which suits both your budget and your style. Unless you have loads of room or are desperate for one, consider leaving out a bidet – they’re best left to hotels and only take up unnecessary space.

Choosing tiles

When it comes to tiles, the choice is almost endless with hundreds of colours, numerous materials and a wide choice of designs available - again, it really comes down to personal choice and budget. A whole tiled bathroom can be expensive but looks great and is easy to keep clean. If you can’t afford to tile the whole bathroom, don’t skimp around the basin area and ensure you tile as high as you can around the bath. Over the last few years, tile layouts have become increasingly more interesting than simply stacking tiles on top and by the side of each other so, if you want to create an impressive display, think about choosing brick, mosaic or herringbone layouts to add some interest.

If you’re going to have a tiled floor in your bathroom, consider opting for a darker tile (and/or darker grout), which won’t show up every speck of dirt and will be easier to keep clean.

Walls and floors

It’s not just tiles that can bring bathroom floors and walls to life, there’s a whole host of other ways to add pattern and colour. When it comes to flooring, it might sound obvious but avoid carpet – it will only smell mouldy when wet. Rubber, vinyl or specially treated wood/laminate flooring is a good idea and all three come in a wide range of colours and styles.

Walls should be painted with a product designed for the bathroom so it can cope with heat and condensation; there’s a good range of colours available from all the well-known paint manufacturers so you’re bound to find something that fits in with your colour scheme.

If your bathroom is particularly small, consider mirroring one wall, which will add a feeling of increased space and light.

Furniture and accessories

Bathrooms create lots of clutter so storage furniture is a must. Fitted furniture is a good idea if you want to make the most of your space. Look for wall hung cabinets which can be used to hide away all your lotions and potions while shelves or racks can be used to stash fresh towels.

toilet brush
Plush Brush Designer Loo Brush

When it comes to accessories, as well as adding the usual toothbrush holder and soap dishes, try decanting shampoos, conditioners and shower gels into pretty glass bottles for a more glamorous look.

Taking care of your bathroom

There’s little point in creating a beautiful bathroom only to not look after it and keep it looking its best. Bathrooms are notoriously prone to damp, condensation and mould which, left untreated, can damage walls and floors, look unsightly, as well as being bad for your health. Ventilation is key to helping prevent mould forming so, if you don’t have a window, make sure you have a powerful extractor fan.

If you opt for an enamel bath, these can easily become chipped; repair kits are available which can make the enamel look as good as new but it’s always best to repair a chip as soon as it appears. It might sound obvious, but regular cleaning will ensure your bathroom looks its best. Non-abrasive cleaners are best, especially when it comes to cleaning chrome and delicate or decorative tiling.

Like this? For more interiors ideas and exclusive offers straight to your inbox...

About Alexandra Thomas

Alexandra Thomas Alex Thomas has more than seven years experience as an interiors journalist working for titles such as Real Homes, Ideal Home, greenmystyle.com, 25 Kitchens and Grand Designs. Her passion is high-end furnishings but she also has a keen eye for a bargain.