In today’s society, where we all lead busy and stressful lives, bathrooms have become the only place where peace and quiet can prevail (the lock on the door helps in this respect). A well-designed bathroom can also change the entire feel of your home (and if you believe the ‘trusted estate agents’, it can also add considerable value). To realise this and create a sanctuary from everyday life you need to give careful consideration to each aspect of the room; the type of basin (wall hung vs. counter top vs. pedestal), the toilet (close coupled vs. wall hung vs. back to wall), the bath (free standing vs. built in), and the shower (corner vs. quadrant vs. recessed vs. shower over bath)... and once you have done all that hard work you also need to think about the finishes for the floor and walls (which should complement and bring out the best in your sanitary ware).
Just like with the kitchen, spatial planning of the bathroom is critical... and not just because it’s typically one of the smallest rooms in your home, but also because unlike the kitchen (where the majority of appliances are rectangular), bathroom furniture comes in a variety of shapes and sizes - this in itself adds a significant layer of complexity to spatial planning and what you can realistically achieve within the space.
- When planning the bathroom think about the positioning of the bath first - it’s the biggest piece of furniture in the bathroom and, as a consequence, options for locating it may be more restricted (and in turn drive what you do elsewhere)
- Another very important consideration is the throne... always aim to position the WC so that it isn’t the first thing that you see when entering the bathroom (if it is a more persuasive argument, imagine you don’t have a lock on the door and conjure up an image of what you would see if you walked in at the wrong time...) and also position it as far away from the bath as possible
- One of the additional restrictions that will have an impact on the spatial planning of your bathroom and, more specifically, the position of your WC will be the draining and plumbing arrangements. In simple terms, the WC needs to be located near the soil stacks, which tend to be located on external walls (so in some homes this may drive the entire layout of the bathroom, bath included)
- Basins should ideally be positioned where there is natural light for activities such as shaving (men) and application of makeup (women, but also some men...). Don’t underestimate the superior quality of natural light in a bathroom mirror when compared to artificial light - it may be cruel, but at least it’s honest...
- If you have space limitations, you may have to sacrifice the double basin that you have always dreamed of (theory being one for me and one for the messy one, or the other way around...), but it will be worthwhile as it is always better to allow space for your furniture to breathe then to try to cram it all in!
- If you are lucky enough to have a large bathroom you will have much more flexibility around the design and be able to come up with a more impactful layout and emphasise some of the key features of the room more effectively (obviously harder to clean, but more impactful nevertheless) - for instance, a large freestanding bath with lots of space around it to breathe will be a real centerpiece and it will allow you to really appreciate the space and freedom while you luxuriate in the bath (unless of course someone is using the toilet at the same time).
Above all else, when designing your bathroom there are a couple of fundamental questions that you need to address;
- Is your bathroom going to be a traditional style or modern contemporary? This decision in itself will be highly influenced by the overarching style of your home and the design of your other rooms. Whatever style you choose, it should be one that you enjoy and one that complements the style of your home (it is worth bearing in mind that some people spend as much time in the bathroom as they do in their bedroom... just a thought worth bearing in mind) - it is a significant investment and refitting usually involves a great deal of inconvenience and cost!
- Another key question will be bath or shower, or both? In order to keep our ‘trusted estate agents’ in a happy place make sure that you keep at least one bath somewhere within your home (preferably in a bathroom). Ultimately, actually having a bath or a shower is very much a personal choice, but if you can have both in your home you definitely should! Showering is certainly more environmentally friendly - it uses less water and fewer resources to heat the water. That said, although bathing uses more water (this only being the case if you have a bath alone - maybe your bloke will join you after he is finished on the toilet), there are times when a shower just won’t do - bathing is perfect after long runs (with ice if you are hard enough) or after a hard day at work and, being honest, it is also essential for small children...
- Finally, make sure there is plenty of storage in your bathroom as you will use it; we all need somewhere to store spare loo roll and other toiletries, particularly those little things that you don’t want guests to see. That said, if your home is anything like mine, some forms of clutter in a bathroom are unavoidable (particularly if you don’t tidy up...) - this includes; toothbrushes, makeup, beauty products, make up removal stuff and perfume (which all tend to pile up around the basin). An effective way to deal with all this clutter is to invest in built in storage around the basin (where it all inevitably ends up). Deep, easily accessible drawers will give you somewhere to put all your stuff, reduce clutter and make your bathroom feel more spacious
You should never underestimate the hidden power your bathroom has in terms of influencing the overarching look and feel of your home. Your bathroom should be a haven where you can relax and either enjoy an invigorating shower or a relaxing soak by candlelight after a hard day at work! Or, being more blunt, somewhere to have a comfortable read when you are sitting on the toilet...
Below are a few examples of bathrooms that I love…
|(Image from Modulnova)|
|(Image from Modulnova)|
|(Image from Modulnova)|