Plan your bathroom
Tips and techniques
Careful planning and research is the key to success with any new bathroom. So take time to read through our handy hints and design tips before you make any decision.
How much space do you have? First of all, measure the area of your bathroom. Take doors, windows and radiators into account and draw straight onto the scaled grid (download our cut-out bathroom suites and grid). Mark the existing plumbing points such as water supplies, water and soil outlets. Now experiment with the layout of your new bathroom. Take time to explore the possibilities and make sure there is enough activity space around each item. For further planning advice contact your local retailer.
Bathrooms are usually the smallest room in the house, but that doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style. How about a compact suite, a corner bath or back-to-wall suite where all the plumbing can be concealed. Keep pattern and decoration to a minimum and use plain blocks of colour and larger tiles to create a sense of space. Reflective surfaces such as chrome, glass and shiny tiles will help bounce light around the room.
Plumbing & Ventilation
Wherever possible try and use the existing plumbing – it can be costly and time-consuming to re-route the water supply and waste pipes. Sometimes however, moving sanitaryware around may considerably improve your space. Moving within the same room or next door shouldn’t present too much of a problem, but moving your bathroom to the other side of the house can, especially if there is no drainage on that side. Seek professional advice from a qualified plumber.
Think about what you store in your bathroom – toiletries, towels, cleaning products – before you decide what storage you need. A fully fitted look will create masses of storage space and allows you to build in extras such as concealed lighting. But don’t forget to include an access panel to reach the plumbing. High-level open shelving, installed in a ladder fashion makes optimum use of wall space – glass shelves are particularly good as they don’t dominate the room. Things that you use every day are best stored on easy access shelves or a tiered trolley on wheels.
Paints & Papers
Most leading paint manufacturers now sell paint specifically designed for the damp, moist conditions of bathrooms. They have a soft sheen finish that is moisture-resistant, durable, and easy to wipe clean. An anti-condensation paint is also available that reduces condensation and contains a fungicide to protect against mould growth. It is ideal for use around an open topped shower enclosure where surfaces are bombarded with steam. Wallpaper is great for hiding bumps and uneven surfaces without having to replaster. Make sure you use a vinyl wallcovering and apply with a fungicidal adhesive for best results.
Ceramic tiles are tough, resilient and waterproof – the perfect covering for bathroom walls and floors. They come in a multitude of colours and designs including plain, patterned, glossy or matt and even glass and metal versions for a hi-tech look. Small mosaic tiles are a popular choice and can be bought in sheets for easy positioning. Try creating a simple geometric pattern with varying shades of the same colour or use oblong shaped tiles and fix in a brickwall fashion.
A bathroom needs safe, practical flooring that is slip-resistant, hygienic and easy to clean. Natural stone looks and feels great in the bathroom. Choose from limestone, granite, sandstone and terrazzo and opt for a matt, slip-resistant finish. cream and buttermilk tones and add natural wood accessories. Strong colour can be overpowering in a bathroom, so paint one wall in a bold shade, say a fiery orange or brick red, and leave the others neutral.
Windows must let in sufficient light and make your bathroom private at the same time. Traditionally bathrooms had frosted or patterned glass, but try shutters made from Perspex, sliding screens or Venetian blinds in cool metal. If you have a small bathroom, a sandblasted glass pane will create a sleek, uncluttered look and there’s no need for blinds or fittings. You could even consider installing a large skylight to flood a small space with light.
White has long been a favourite in the bathroom. It creates a clean, fresh look and provides a neutral backdrop if you want to add some colour. For a cool, tranquil bathroom, try a palette of watery blues or pale greens and co-ordinate with shiny chrome taps and fittings. Alternatively, warm up an all-white bathroom scheme with cream and buttermilk tones and add natural wood accessories. Strong colour can be overpowering in a bathroom, so paint one wall in a bold shade, say a fiery orange or brick red, and leave the others neutral.