Whether you prefer contemporary or classic – and you want a roomy family bathroom or an intimate en suite, it’s easy to plan a scheme that will suit. As the nights draw in, so does the appeal of curling up in the tub.
However, if one of your bathrooms is more serviceable than sumptuous, it may be time to give it an overhaul. Start by drawing up a list of everything you wish was different about your bathroom – and what you’d like it to contain, as well as what you plan to do in there – is it a family bathroom, en suite or a secondary room to a main scheme?
Think about who is going to be using the space and whether you want it to be simply functional or somewhere you want to spend a lot of time, says a bathroom designer.
Consider what sort of style of bathroom you’d like – classic, contemporary, or traditional. The most cohesive designs start with a focal point that the rest of the room is then shaped around if you fall in love with a bath in bright blue – marvelous!
Branch out and use blue highlights through cabinet handles and lighting. This is also a good idea if you’re not sure about picking a brightly colored feature. Simply choose a classic white scheme and accessorize. A white bathroom will always seem bright and timeless. You can then change around colored accessories as you like, continues Rita.
Another idea is to mimic inspirational layouts you’ve seen to recreate a designer feel. Think about your favorite hotels you have stayed in and what exactly they used to create a luxury space.
A double vanity unit, roll-top bath or large mirrors will all add a higher level of glamour to your bathroom at home. If a hotel-style bathroom appeals, you’re in good company.
Spa bathrooms are right on trend, creating a calm and inspiring place where you can relax in luxury. Allow yourself space to breathe – avoid clutter and be as generous as you can with the sizes of baths and showers.
Include some comfortable seating to relax into and keep colors neutral and natural. If you have the space, investigate the world of steam or sauna to complete the well-being experience.
Although you’ll need to consider the water pressure in your property if a spa-style bathroom appeals, as high flow rate shower options such as body jets or large shower heads usually require 2 bar or above to operate. Once you’ve decided on a style, the next thing to consider is if you want a fitted or mainly freestanding design.
A fitted, sleek bathroom will have clean lines and can provide acres of storage around basins and in cupboards. Fitted furniture is often designed to be installed along one wall in a bathroom, so that you achieve a complete run of units, often incorporating lots of storage and concealed extras such as laundry baskets.
There are options for smaller, more standard bathroom layouts – but they usually end up with small or even unusable cupboards, or even blank fascias to cover awkward spaces. They provide a cohesive look and can give a clean feel to a small bathroom – but you can end up having access for maintenance to the bath or WC blocked by a fitted unit.
Freestanding units can be moved around to achieve a better layout or taken with you to another house. They still provide great storage and if you pick a neutral finish such as white gloss, you can mix and match them. In terms of sanitary ware, a freestanding bath can be more versatile as to where it fits into the space and will create a more visible floor area, making the room appear larger, plus you can add color by having it painted in anything from on-trend French grey to rich jewel shades.
Metallic baths are also a beautiful option for introducing warmth, providing organic color, particularly if you choose copper or brass finishes.
Plan your layout
Bathrooms can be trickier to design than kitchens because so much is connected to height and space. There are lots of different elements to the design process, so start with a detailed survey of the room, which allows you to budget accurately for the changes you plan to make.
Something as simple as moving pipes needs to be considered and coasted. For example, if a WC is part of the room, and not located elsewhere, the easiest thing is to leave it in its present location. Soil pipes can be moved but there can be restrictions on positioning and it will extend your renovation timeline.
However, if it’s in your immediate field of vision when you walk into a room, it is a good idea to try and relocate it. One of the worse things is to walk into a bathroom and set eyes on the toilet. Tucked around a corner, behind the door or with a bath or basin obstructing the view are all good options, as is opting to have it wall-hung to reveal more floor space and make it easier to clean around. Building a stud wall behind it will help to hide pipework, too.
The classic sort of bathroom layout is the bath on one wall, the shower in next corner, the toilet in the other corner and the basin in the fourth corner. Using clever design and thought you can create a beautiful space where some of the most attractive elements are on show so that when you walk into the room you get that wow factor of a stunning bath ahead of you and a toilet and the shower behind a stud wall, sectioning off the zones of the room.
Baths make great statement features so don’t be afraid to have yours in a prominent position. For full-on wow factor, choose freestanding pieces as focal points. Classic cast-iron baths or sumptuous showers are big important features that can transform a bathroom into a pure theater. Taps that complement your bath will also need to be considered.
Many freestanding models have telephone-style taps in the center of the bath with pipework extending from the floor but they can also sit at one end of the bath. For true seamless appeal though, and if the bath is close to a wall, the taps can be routed into it, leaving the bath completely free from brassware and creating a waterfall-style effect when it’s being filled.
Remember to include some storage nearby, too. A freestanding bath won’t usually have ledges to put soaps, shampoos, sponges, etc. on so if it’s going to be near a wall, accessible, low-level shelving would be useful.
Alternatively, a bath tidy that fits across the bath will keep everything – including a relaxing glass of wine – within easy reach. If you’d like to have a separate shower, consider if you’d like it as a showpiece or a subtler element of your scheme. In recent years there has been a growing trend for minimalist shower enclosures with impressive glass panels and slim, invisible framing. This trend encourages light into the bathroom, offering an illusion of extra space.
Include some storage
In all the pleasure of choosing sanitary ware and a gorgeous bath, storage can sometimes be forgotten but it’s a must. Towels and toiletries should always have a place, whether they are hidden away or displayed proudly in a lit alcove. If you’re choosing fitted furniture allow for storage solutions below built-in basins and behind mirrored units, preferably with some lighting incorporated, too. Storage space is really important in a bathroom; I cannot stress that more highly. It is really useful to have electric shaver and toothbrush chargers hidden from sight inside a mirrored cabinet or underneath a vanity unit. You can also add some shelving on the walls or in corners, which are especially useful in smaller rooms where cupboards could make it feel, closed in. If space isn’t an issue, consider installing some slim bench-style seating that can conceal hidden lift-up storage. The latest bathrooms also have hi-tech audio systems tucked away. Sound systems with built-in speakers are becoming favorites among high-end bathroom designers – where you can connect your iPod or iPad and listen to your favorite tunes while in the bath or shower. Built-in radios in mirror cabinets are also now available.
While they’re still a classic choice, ceramic or porcelain tiles aren’t your only option for walls and floors in a bathroom. Natural stone, composites or even waterproof wallpaper can all be used in different areas to create impact. In smaller spaces, larger-format tiles can make the room look bigger.
Mosaics, for example, make your room appear smaller and look much better from a distance, so if you haven’t got a huge bathroom, limit the use of them to one wall or just a strip. Similarly, larger tiles can also make the room look longer, depending on how you place them, plus they have fewer grout lines and look less busy. Using the same tiles for the floor and wall will increase the seamless appearance and opens up the space.
Flow-maintenance life, you may also want to consider surfaces with texture or specks to minimize watermarks and dirt. Flat colors and gloss tile will show every single grain of dust on the floor. To keep your bathroom cozy and comfortable during the cooler months, it’s also advisable to opt for underfloor heating.
Radiators are great for drying and warming towels but often don t having enough BTU values to warm through walls and floors of stone from a cold state. Wet (i.e. water-pipes) under floor heating will be more efficient to run but is often best installed as part of a larger renovation as it can raise the level of the floor. Dr (i.e., electric mats) UFH can be laid practically anywhere but can be expensive to run constantly.
Brighten with lighting
Lighting is a crucial part of any bathroom scheme for relaxing ambiance and practical day-to-day use. Gare the days of a single ceiling light, now the emphasis is on layering illumination and fulfilling a variety of needs.
The types of light are roughly divided into categories. The three layers of light include ambient accent and feature lighting and allow us to create different scenes and compositions within any bathroom space. Ambient lighting, such as functional mirror lighting and downlight illuminates the overall space, while accent lighting focuses on specific room details. Strategic use of downlights can add sparkle to taps and porcelain, but be careful not to overuse them as this can make the space feel overwhelming.
Lastly, feature lighting can be used to highlight areas such as shelves and recesses for visual interest. It’s also good to include some form of night light, either under the counter or via a wall light, to provide low-level diffuse lighting that won’t strain your eyes in the middle of the night.
For ease of use, add remote sensors, so your bathroom lights up as you step into it. Pendant lighting is another way of enhancing design. You will need to consider the IP (Ingress Protection, which rates how sealed products are to prevent dust and water from getting inside) ratings of a lighting/electrical appliance.
If you want a great statement chandelier over the bath, it would need to be specially designed for a bathroom. Last but not least, don’t forget to personalize your bathroom space with layers of luxuries. Accessories, such as fluffy towels, scented candles, and colored glass bottles for a bubble bath, will all help to make your bathroom feel more inviting and a place in which everyone will love to linger.