Designing or remodelling a bathroom can be a daunting task. Whether you’re starting from scratch, completely refurbishing an existing bathroom or making a few minor renovations, some basic know-how and top tips will help make the project a success.
It is essential to stay focused on your needs and lifestyle in order to understand the possibilities of your new space and make the room functional. The choice of materials, fixtures, faucets, lighting and storage units require careful thought since they all play a role in the final comfort and look of the bathroom.
The bathroom is one of the rooms whose status has changed the most over the years. Before, every house would have a tiny bathroom which included the basic fixtures: bathtub, washbasin and toilet. Bathrooms today are bigger and have a multi-purpose vocation.
Spending time in the bathroom has become part of our everyday routine: the morning rush to get the little ones ready or those stolen moments when we can indulge ourselves and relax in a delicious bubble bath with the lights down low. The bathroom sometimes doubles up as the laundry room, overflow linen room or even, for those lucky enough to have the space, a walk-in closet.
It is vital to identify exactly what you need before starting to design this new space. You will get far greater personal satisfaction from a bathroom adapted to your lifestyle than one planned only with your home’s resale value in mind. A carefully thought-out and tastefully decorated bathroom will make everyone happy, including potential buyers.
There are two types of renovation: total, when you tear out the existing bathroom and start over with a new layout, or the more light-handed approach, where you retain, but modernize, the existing sanitary arrangements.
When opting for a total remodel, many people often use the opportunity to enlarge the bathroom by incorporating part of the adjacent room, such as a child’s bedroom or the bedroom closet.
If space-efficiency is an important reason for refurbishing, choose materials which fulfil this requirement. For example, floor heating can replace your obsolete radiator which took up too much room. To optimize storage space, simply install a cabinet or shelves above the toilet.
Modern bathrooms are bigger and more practical. They are multi-purpose, with a defined space for each activity. The main areas might include:
When planning your bathroom, it is important to follow the logical sequence of your habits. For example, when you step out of the shower, you need access to the towels without having to negotiate your way around the toilet.
It is possible that the direction of your home’s joists will determine where it is feasible to locate the bathroom fixtures. You cannot always change where the toilet goes. Before demolishing a wall, check that there are no pipes or electric wires inside the wall cavity. Having to relocate a roof drain which passes through several floors will add to the project’s complexity and cost.
To avoid any unpleasant surprises, consult a professional plumber before embarking on your project.
It is best to go with quality chrome or stainless steel-coloured faucets. Dark and gold-coloured fixtures date more quickly. Also check the availability of parts, since some parts wear more quickly than others – rubber gaskets, in particular. A faucet comprising metal parts lasts longer than one made solely of plastic.
The same goes for bathroom fixtures. The shape of the toilet, its height and the comfort of the seat need to be taken into consideration, as well as the toilet’s water consumption. Bathtub/shower combo or separate bathtub and shower? The size of the room often determines the tub and shower arrangement as well as how these units fit into the overall bathroom layout. It is handy to keep a bathtub in at least one bathroom.
A well-designed bathroom deserves to be shown in its best light! Recessed ceiling lights are popular because they are unobtrusive, always in style and can be dimmed. Wall lighting above the washbasin area is very practical, allowing you to apply make-up or shave without casting a shadow over your face. Don’t overlook natural light sources. A mirror placed opposite a window doubles the daylight entering the bathroom. Finally, a waterproof downlight above the shower is a must, especially on those January mornings. If your bathroom is small, opt for a fan/light combination.
Concealing bulky things like clean towels or a bathrobe can often be a problem in a bathroom. A storage bench near the vanity and not too far from the shower offers an alternative and neat solution.
A hanging organiser is another practical idea. It is not very deep and can hold rolled-up towels, cosmetics and – why not – magazines or a good novel! If you are installing a heated floor, the organiser can go where your old heating unit was.
Another great idea is to create niches in one of the shower walls. A recess of 4" set into the wall is ample for keeping your shampoo bottles tidy. Tiled differently to contrast with the rest of the shower, or perhaps customized to match the vanity’s backsplash, shower niches are definitely “in”!
Once you’ve planned your layout, it’s fun to play with decoration styles. The decor of the bathroom can be entirely different from that of other rooms. Go ahead and unleash your imagination! For a contemporary finish, larger floor tiles oblige. If you’re after a rustic feel, try false beams on the ceiling. Or why not both, for an eclectic style?
Use pale colours to make the room appear larger. To make the ceiling look higher, tile ¾ of the way up the wall, as far as the top of the shower panels. Avoid putting a decorative border half way up the wall; this will give the opposite effect, which is not what you want!
Top-quality materials and muted colours are perennially fashionable. The same is true of tone-on-tone: creams, whites and beiges can be relied on to withstand the test of time.
Towels and design accessories are perfect for personalizing and brightening the decor. If the colour goes out of fashion, it is easier and less expensive to replace the towels and a few accessories than change the floor!
Whether you keep the hand towels in wicker hampers or steel basins is not really important. What is important is that the bathroom is functional. Got the space but lack a few ideas? Drop in to your store and meet our professionals to help hone your ideas and turn them into reality.