Designing Your Bathroom

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We may all wish to have a spa-quality retreat as a bathroom, but various constraints – such as space, time and budget - always play their part in making this difficult, if not impossible. However, planning your bathroom design before you tackle it can make a huge difference to the final outcome and, done correctly, can even seem to make the impossible a reality.

Make it yours

This is your space, and if you are starting from scratch it means that you have a blank canvass on which to work. You can design a floor-plan to allow enough space for all your desired fixtures and fittings without fear of encroaching on your overall space. If you are remodelling or renovating, think about what it is that you want to change about your current bathroom. Are you short of space and, if so, could extra space be achieved through rearranging the floor-plan or by creating built-in storage? Make a list of what it is you would like to change about your bathroom that would make it an easier and more comfortable space to use and decide what, if anything, needs to be moved in order to achieve your goals.

Even if you are selling your home rather than keeping the space for yourself, creating a personal space for the next inhabitant could prove to be a deal-clincher when it comes to a sale. A bathroom is the second-most scrutinised room during home viewings, and the chances are that creating the right space for your family would achieve the same goal for the next.

Log your ideas

Knowing what you want to change is one thing, but knowing what you want to replace it with is quite another. Search for inspiration on design and renovation shows, in magazines and online. Keep pictures of designs and features you like in a scrapbook and detail what it would mean in relation to your floor plan. When you begin to search retailers and suppliers for the goods you require, keep notes on comparisons between outlets. This will ensure that you get the right product at the best deal, but you should also make efforts to see and touch those fixtures and fittings that you like. Viewing them in a glossy magazine or online outlet is completely different to seeing them first-hand. You may not like them up-close at all, so make sure you take your scrapbook and make further notes as you progress.

Maximise your budget

We would all like to have an unlimited pot from which to create our perfect bathroom, but for most of us this is sadly not the case. The hundreds or thousands of pounds you have saved for this project needs to be spent wisely, so as you build your scrapbook you should also include all costs involved and evaluate them before committing to purchase, dividing the items into what you can live without and what is necessity. Make sure you prioritise the structural elements and floor-plan, as cosmetic features can often be changed at a later date.

Before it comes time to hire contractors, make sure that you have done all that you can do yourself to aid the process. Strip old wallpaper or unwanted tiles, remove old fixtures and pull up old flooring before any workers arrive. This will minimise their time on the job, and therefore minimise the amount you spend on hiring them. However, great attention and care should be taken to shut off any water pipes before pulling out fixtures and discover where wiring and pipes are before tearing down walls. Any mistakes here could end up costing you more than you were set to save.

Money can also be saved on materials. High-end goods will provide a luxury feel, but they will also stretch your budget to its maximum. Often, using just a handful of such luxury items will provide the same aesthetic but cost a lot less. Rather than using hand-painted imported tiles throughout, for example, using them on a area at eye-level such as the backsplash or around a window frame will draw the eye, while surrounding them with plain, quality tiles will make them stand out even more. Similarly, marble substitutes such as “cultured” marble work perfectly for worktops and cost a fraction of the price, while faux-marble ceramic tiles are just as visually pleasing and no different to the naked eye. These money-saving exercises will allow you to spend your budget where it really matters, whether that is a luxury stand-alone bathtub or a specialist heating system. If you renovating to sell your home, this thrift is particularly important to ensure that you do not spend more than you will add to your resale value.

Aim high, be realistic

While we all may aim to create a bathroom space that is as luxurious as it is functional, we all have to be realistic when it comes to those very real constraints by which we are bound. Planning your bathroom space, researching and logging your ideas and maximising your budget will ensure that you can achieve maximum results from your bathroom, whether it is intended for your family or the next.