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4 Essential Factors when Designing Your Dream Bathroom

The status of the bathroom has been elevated. No longer driven by purely practical needs, many of us are renovating our bathrooms with well deserved relaxation and luxury pampering in mind. We’ve also seen clients planning for extra bathrooms and en-suites as their families grow. Whatever your reason, installing a new bathroom is a serious undertaking and can be deceptively tricky. It requires quite a range of fittings and technical skill, often in a very compact space. For this reason, careful planning prevents costly mistakes and frustrating changes in the future. The bathroom is probably one of the most important rooms in your home in terms of its resale value. Hopefully, this planning guide will help.

1. Design a room for all your needs

Start by thinking about who will be using the room, as this will have a big impact on the design you finally choose. Is it to be an en-suite shower room for two? Or a family bathroom that needs a bath and plenty of storage for toys? A spa-style sanctuary will require particular specifications and fittings that could include a bath, separate shower, double basins, and discrete storage; while a guest bathroom may only require a shower and toilet. Next, ask yourself what sort of space you hope to achieve. Are you seeking a haven to escape to, or are you more of an invigorate-and-energise kind of person? This will affect the fixtures, fittings and colour scheme you choose.

2. Use of all available space

A scale plan of your room is a good way to help visualise the space and its various functions. Measure carefully as accurate dimensions are key and include features that are likely to affect the design, including windows, chimney breasts and doors. Cut out to-scale shapes of everything – loo, basin, bath and shower enclosure, for instance – and rearrange them until you find a layout that works best for you. Incorporate plenty of space between each element and consider how the room will work with more than one person in there at the same time.

3. Seek out expert advice

If you’re thinking about how to plan a bathroom, it’s best to seek out expert advice sooner rather than later. Mo is an experienced bathroom designer and fitter and a great source of information and advice. We will be able to tell you about the latest materials and technology and will have lots of solutions for compact or awkward spaces. We also have plenty of experience in maximising space within an agreed budget. For practicalities such as water pressure and soil stacks, our team of experts are here to help.

4. What inspires you

Choose your style early on as this will help narrow down the choice of fittings to consider. Scour luxury boutique hotel websites and magazines for looks you love. Quite often they’ll feature a lot of luxury packed into a compact space, so you’ll see a few layout tips, too. Bring together a visual checklist of what appeals to you, whether that’s chic and modern, industrial or vintage. Talk to friends who have completed similar projects about what they love about their new bathroom, and to discover the pitfalls and problems they may have encountered.

5. Think about layout

Replacing fittings, flooring and tiles or repainting walls is a quick way to get a refresh. If your layout isn’t quite right, think about the ways you might be able to make small but effective changes. Rehanging doors or fitting sliding ones is an excellent way to gain space, for instance. Bear in mind how your needs might change in the years to come. Just because you don’t need a bath in your life right now… it might not always be the case. Your family might grow, or indeed you might be selling, in which case a bath may have broader appeal.

6. Don’t forget to vent

The extraction of damp air always needs to be considered, but is actually often overlooked. You don’t want your new bathroom to become damp, especially in an en- suite positioned next to the bedroom. We would recommend making the room well ventilated, as you certainly don’t want steam flowing into the bedroom. Nor do you want the extraction to be too loud.

7. You can’t beat some heat

Imagine stepping out of the shower or bath and having a warm floor to rest your feet on. Heated tile floors add an extra touch of luxury, free up valuable wall space, and make economic sense. Radiant heat feels warmer than hot air, and few things in this world beat the feeling of toasty toes!

8. Elevate your space

Lighting plays a key role in your bathroom's functionality and mood. Good lighting can help elevate the feel of smaller bathrooms, helping to make them feel larger and brighter. You might want to set a relaxing tone over the bath with a warmer light, but require a brighter light over your sink mirror. Dimmers are a clever way to switch between task and ambiance lighting. Consider having low level lighting or a motion sensor for night time use.

9. Storage is the key

Storage is the key to a successful bathroom: toiletries never display well, nor do bottles standing on the floor of the shower. A substantial vanity unit with space for extra towels is a smart planning decision. Mirrored cabinets will allow for you to store products, as well as charge toothbrushes and electric razors. Niche wall storage will also ensure you can store bottles discreetly when in the shower.

10. Choose appropriate fixtures

A statement walk-in shower or a double-ended roll top would be lovely, but will they fit? Don’t cram in fixtures (this will only make the room feel smaller) and do research products that will help you make the most of your square meterage, such as wet-room style showers or Japanese-style square tubs.

11. Always use quality fittings

Choosing the right tile can be really difficult - there’s so many to choose from! You’ll achieve maximum impact with a floor-to-wall seamless feature, but you can also opt for a feature wall or floor. Think about your room proportions before choosing your tiles. Very decorative designs can be a little too busy for a small space, whereas they could be an ideal way to add interest and warmth to a large bathroom.

12. Tiling dilemma

There are abundant options for taps, shower heads, mirrors, towel rails, toilet roll holder, and cabinet handles... all with their distinctive elements. You could choose a classic, modern, minimal or elaborate style to fit your taste. The color of your choice is important, too: black, silver, gold, copper or brass? Exposed pipework or concealed? All require careful consideration.

13. Budget priorities

Deciding on a budget in advance means you can prioritise where to spend and where to save. Investing in just one beautiful piece, such as a freestanding bath (which you can pick up for under £500), rainfall shower or wow-factor taps can really work when shown off against a budget conscious backdrop.

14. Survival

How long you’ll have to cope without a shower or bath depends on the scale of the work – a refresh job might only take a matter of days, but if you are planning to move fittings or relocate plumbing, you may need to account for a longer period of time. If you don’t have a gym membership, other options may be a kind neighbour, friends who live along the commute to/from work, facilities at work or an understanding family member. Believe us, dry shampoo can only go so far!