A well designed bathroom should be a sanctuary which looks and feels the way you want – but it has to fulfil some very basic functions! Expensive tiles and fittings won’t matter if building standards, practicality, safety and privacy are compromised.
• Bathrooms are mostly building work with limited fittings and cabinets so there is a large labour component and cost.– especially if you are stripping out an existing bathroom and moving plumbing. Your options may be limited by constraints such as the type of floor and the space under it.
• Make sure your design is right first and that you can fit in what you want.Then make sure your builder gives you sufficient time to research and choose your fittings so that you won’t have to make decisions under pressure. Don’t forget to ask if you need an S trap or a P trap toilet!
• Living through a bathroom renovation can be a bit of a nightmare if you are doing your only bathroom and toilet - you may have to resort to a porterloo and shower elsewhere for a couple of weeks!
• Firstly, is the bathroom in the right place? It should be convenient for the users and if possible, not open off a public area such as a family room.
• Can you have the combination of fittings that you want or will you need to compromise? eg. a shower over a bath or do without a bath
• Is the view into the bathroom as attractive as possible? Try to avoid the toilet being on full view! You can also be quite exposed in a clear glass shower.
• What are your storage requirements – cleaning needs, extra soap, shampoo, toilet rolls, tampons, razors, makeup, hairspray etc? What about towels? Dirty washing? Think about combinations of drawers, open shelves, shallow wall cupboards, towel racks, robe hooks and baskets.
• Make sure the towel rails are in the right places and that there is room to dry yourself or your children
• Aim for maximum natural light - windows can be high if necessary and there are a variety of ways of obscuring low windows for privacy.
• Lighting, ventilation and heating need to be addressed early. There are a variety of combination fittings available which can simplify the decision-making.
• Floor tiles should be non slip when wet – eg smaller tiles are often safer than large ones. Some are textured and a bit rougher which offer a better grip. Honed stone is better than polished
• Door clearances – make sure the shower door can’t hit the door into the bathroom if both are opened at the same time. It must also clear the shower head when opening inward!
• You should be able to turn on the taps without getting wet or leaning too far.
• If a bath is set high with steps or sunken into the floor there should be grab rails for support
Selecting Fittings and Tiles
• Try before you buy! Get in the bath, sit on the loo, have a pretend shower and check height of basins and comfort of taps.
• Choose the best taps, towel rails, accessories that you can afford. Like jewellry, they can make or break the final look
• Tiles are very permanent so choose carefully for now and the future. Neutral colours are often safer. You can always paint the walls and add bright towels.
• Make sure the floor tiles and wall tiles are the right sizes to line up grout lines neatly.
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