Help & advice: Buying guide to bathrooms
Buying guide to bathrooms
Want a bathroom that's both fabulous and functional? It's easy if you give a little thought to making the best of your space. Here we help you plan a brilliant room. We have a great range of bathrooms to suit your taste - and fit that space!
First find out how much space you have. It's easy to do - just use graph paper to draw a plan of your existing bathroom. Put in doors, windows and radiators and then mark the existing plumbing and electrics, including the layout of water pipes, sewage outlets, ventilation ducts and light switches. Now decide if the fixtures you'd like will fit comfortably into your current set-up. Here are some things to think about when planning your new bathroom.
- Will rehanging the door save you space? This is pretty easy to do, and you've got the option of the door opening left, right or outwards.
- Aim to allow a gap of 80cm (32ins) in front of a basin - that will leave enough space to bend over without banging your head! And 15cm (6in) either side is just right for some elbow room.
- Leave enough space to step in and out of your bath.
- Planning to fit a shower? Make sure there's room to stand comfortably.
- With your shower enclosure you'll need 70cm of space for easy door opening - otherwise, sliding or folding doors are an option.
If you can't fit in all the units you want or if the room looks cramped, see if you can rearrange the fixtures or relocate them to another room. Sure, it's cheaper (and less hassle) to use the existing plumbing, but it's fairly straightforward to rearrange pipes if they're staying within the same area.
If possible, think about extending your bathroom, or adding an en suite to an adjoining bedroom. This might mean a bit more work and increase your budget, but a well-designed bathroom often adds much more than the initial outlay to the value of your home. Oh, and don't forget... before you act on your plans get some expert advice: have a chat with a professional plumber.
Think how many people use the bathroom so you can work out how much storage you'll need for their toiletries and towels (and those cleaning products!). What about wall cabinets and ladder shelving? They'll help you make the most of wall space. Use the floor too - fit in a laundry basket, for example. Also factor in space for your towel rails and hooks for bath robes.
Or why not go for the total look and pair your new suite with matching bathroom furniture? Our versatile bathroom furniture will give your bathroom a fantastic, fully fitted finish and offer masses of storage space. Choose from a range of tall cabinets, single and double drawer units, free-standing shelving units, open-shelf storage and mirrored or plain wall units in a choice of modern wood finishes.
Use lighting to create just the right mood in your bathroom, from light and bright in the morning to softly lit and relaxing in the evening. It's easy to build atmosphere by using different types of lighting - and natural light too. Think, for instance, how sunshine entering your window will brighten your space.
Remember that wall and floor finishes reflect light in different ways, changing how your space looks. And of course you need the right lights in the right place - concentrated lighting, for instance, when you're putting on make-up or shaving. Here are smart ways for getting bathroom lighting right:
- Spotlights give bright directional lighting where you need it most. They're either surface mounted or recessed and fitted into walls, ceilings and floors.
- Wall and mirror lights are great for adding atmosphere. They're ideal for your bathroom as the bulbs are tucked away behind a shade or mirror.
- Aah, candlelight...Romantic and relaxing candles are perfect for creating a little calm to help you enjoy a long soak. (Remember to snuff them out when you get out!)
Beautiful floor and wall finishes will set your bathroom off a treat - look for the ones specially designed for when there's water about. These tips will help you choose:
It needs to be safe, slip-resistant, hygienic and easy to clean. These tick all the boxes: natural stone, ceramic tiles, lino and specially treated wood and laminate. For more help see our flooring buying guide.
Tiles, wallpaper and paint
Ceramic tiles are perfect as they prevent water damage to your walls. Choose from gloss, matt, glass and metal finishes, available in almost every colour imaginable! Mosaic tiles look very stylish in a bathroom and you'll like the fact that they come in handy sheets for easy positioning. Mirror tiles work really well in modern bathrooms and of course make your space look bigger.
If you fancy wallpaper, choose vinyl or wipe-clean options as these cope best with moisture.
Choose a paint specially formulated for bathrooms, and only use in areas not exposed to water splashes. The paint is moisture-resistant and easy to clean, but nothing protects your walls quite as well as tiling.
Before you do any electrical, plumbing or maintenance work in the bathroom, check with your local authority about rules and regulations for bathrooms and toilets.