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.
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.
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.
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.
Say no to a cluttered bathroom by keeping your toiletries at bay with a neat and stylish bathroom cabinet
Sometimes it can be hard finding an easy way to store all your knick knacks floating about the bathroom I, myself can very much vouch for this. So the simple solution? Choosing a neat and bang on trend cabinet. In an array of sizes and styles, there’s something to suit everyone.
To ensure maximum space, opt for something sleek and compact for that neat and seamless look. This will help to keep your bathroom light and fresh all year round.
(Clockwise from left) Inside-out Bathroom Cabinet, £375, from Lifestyle Bazaar, Chrome Dardo Corner Bathroom Cabinet, £176, from Heal’s, Retro Medicine Cabinet, £35, from Rose & Grey, Arden Double Bathroom Cabinet, £119, from John Lewis, Pinnacle Double Door Bathroom Cabinet, £399, from John Lewis, Brighton Mirror Cabinet, £135, from The White Company.
A Spa-inspired bathroom is the perfect retreat after a busy day, a haven of tranquillity. Shut the door and feel the stresses of the day drift away.
A Spa-inspired bathroom is the perfect retreat after a busy day, a restorative haven of tranquillity and calm. Shut the door, sink into a luxurious roll top bath and feel the stresses of the day drift away. Stand under an invigorating shower and emerge refreshed, with soft towels warming on a heated rail. A daily source of pleasure creating a sense of wellbeing, a luxurious bathroom is a worthwhile indulgence.
Nothing says luxury more than a glorious freestanding bathtub. A grand centrepiece for the bathroom, a freestanding tub offers total relaxation and indulgence. The Water Monopoly, Chadder & Co. and Drummonds all have fabulous ranges, including double-ended slipper baths, copper, stone, and traditional cast iron roll tops. If space is an issue, take a look at The Albion Bath Company’s diminutive ‘Tubby Tub’, a generously deep, capacious roll top bath only 4ft in length. Bathrooms International has an extensive range of space saving inset baths as well as invigorating whirlpool systems.
When it comes to blissful showers, Hansgrohe has mastered the art. Experience the restorative power of the Raindance overhead showers, with air infusers for a voluminous spray of water, and spray modes ranging from massage jets to the gentle patter of soft rain. And at nearly a metre square, with three different spray zones, the Shower Heaven ceiling plate indulges the senses with a totally luxurious drenching. For something a little more traditional try the fabulous freestanding Spittle shower at Drummonds or the Needleshower at Water Monopoly.
For beautiful basins and vanity units Chadder & Co., Drummonds and Water Monopoly specialise in elegant classic designs. A vanity unit with a double sink will give your bathroom an opulent feel. The Deco double basin at Water Monopoly and the Double Marble vanity suite at Drummonds are both stunning. If you’re going for a contemporary look, West One Bathrooms and Bathrooms International have a great choice of styles and materials, including stone, glass and metal.
Storage is important if you want your bathroom to be a tranquil and relaxing space. Fired Earth, CP Hart and West One Bathrooms all have great bathroom storage ranges. Bard & Brazier specialise in towel rails of excellent quality in modern and traditional designs. A heated towel rail is a luxurious treat, perfect after a long soak in the bath.
As well as creating a peaceful environment, neutral colours and soft shades will make the most of the available light from smaller bathroom windows. White tiles with black accents look particularly striking and marry well with traditional baths and basins. If you don’t want to tile the whole room, tiling halfway up the walls, creating a tiled splashback for the sink, and tiling up to the ceiling around the bath if you have an overhead shower, will protect the walls in areas most likely to get wet.
For ceilings and un-tiled areas choose paint designated for use in bathrooms, such as Farrow & Ball’s Modern Emulsion or Dulux Bathroom+. Wallpaper with a washable or vinyl finish is also suitable for use in bathrooms. Zoffany has a good range of vinyl wallpapers, which are more resistant to moisture. Putting wallpaper behind a glass or Perspex screen will provide extra protection.
Engineered wood, rubber, or tiles are all great options for flooring. Rubber floor tiles and sheets come in a huge range of colours and are suited to contemporary decorative schemes. Engineered wood floorboards won’t expand and contract like solid wood and look fabulous with freestanding baths. Tiles offer the widest choice in terms of material, colour and pattern. Fired Earth, De Ferranti and Villa Lagoon all have fantastic ranges.
Lighting is key to creating a beautifully relaxing space. If you go for overhead lighting, choose an enclosed glass shade rather than spotlights, and use a dimmer switch to set the mood. Wall sconces are often more atmospheric. Drummonds has a great selection of elegant bathroom wall lights, with a really decadent feel.
Create the perfect ambience for a tranquil retreat with candles, mirrors and softer than soft towels. Drummonds has a range of luxuriously thick super-soft towels in subtle colours. Water Monopoly has a particularly good range of bathroom accessories including soap dishes, sponge baskets and wall sconces to hold bottles. Rocket St George has a fabulous Shell Candle wall sconce in brass that would look beautiful with a copper bath. Decorative mirrors will reflect the flickering candlelight, creating a lovely relaxing atmosphere. And leafy plants will finish off the bathroom with a natural feeling of tranquillity.