If you have a barn or outbuilding you no longer use, how about converting it into a beautiful bathroom? We share our top tips.
No matter what type of property you live in, lack of space is the No 1 issue faced by most UK homeowners. The problem is most acutely experienced by those living in ever-smaller urban dwellings, but that’s not to say it can’t be an issue for those of us living in rural locations.
Indeed, many cosy countryside cottages and farmhouses are just that—cosy. However, they can also be cluttered and cramped, with little scope to extend. But, if you do have some form of outbuilding, like a barn, which no longer performs its original purpose, it could just be the perfect place for a luxurious and spacious new bathroom.
Turning other parts of your home into bathrooms
As the eternal struggle between a space and your own needs and requirements plays out, many people are turning to alternative methods to find a place for a bathroom. In many older homes, people are extending upwards and creating loft bathrooms, whilst others transform their garage into a sanctuary…and let’s face it, how many people actually store their car in a garage these days?
Whilst it may seem costly and impractical to provide plumbing and waterproofing for a room, barn or building which wasn’t originally intended for this purpose, there are some cost-effective ways around this. For example, Saniflo produce a range of macerators which reduce solid waste down, so it can be discharged through small bore pipes to a soil pipe that may be some distance away. With Saniflo, you can easily add bathrooms to your property (see below).
The experts give an emphatic thumbs up when asked if you can turn a spare room into a bathroom. After all, in the long run, won’t an additional bathroom and fully waterproofed space add value to both your lifestyle and your property price?
From barn to beautiful bathroom
A barn, although usually separate to your main property, could be transformed into your very own luxury retreat, and it has many things going for it. First, barns tend to be solidly built (usually brick or stone) structures. With rough brick walls and potentially a high wood beamed roof, you can work with these stunning original features to create something that's sympathetic to your rustic setting—charming and full of character.
Second, there should be level access to your barn, so no traipsing up and down stairs. And, as you will be starting from scratch, it really does give you a blank canvas to work with. The potential is glaringly obvious!
Third, is space. It is highly likely that your barn was big enough for agricultural use, and should be ample in size for a bathroom that will be, potentially, much larger than average.
Top tips for converting your barn into a bathroom
What are your needs?
Everything about your barn conversion bathroom will depend on the end user. Is it intended for you? Is it specifically for house guests? What would you want to find in there? A toilet and wash basin are a given, but what else? A bath, a shower or perhaps both? And are you considering just the functional items or something far more luxurious, like a roll top bath or perhaps even a steam shower cabin?
How about layout?
Is there a certain bathroom layout that will make best use of your barn space? For example, if you have an undisturbed outlook (across fields or hills, for example), you could turn this into a real unique selling point (which we’ll explain more about below).
There are bathroom layout guidelines which must be followed, but in a building that is potentially very roomy, you should have no such issues.
What’s your style?
Once you’ve worked out what you want and where it’ll go, the next thing to consider is your style. There are 2 main paths you could follow:
- Traditional—timeless, ornate designs which produce a vintage look and feel
- Contemporary—an on-trend look, which looks clean, unfussy and fashionable
One thing you may really want to do is accentuate and complement the rustic appearance of your barn conversion and you can go down either the traditional or contemporary route to achieve this. We came up with a Refined Rustic style, which you’ll find as part of our Get the Look style guides.
Keeping things warm
It’s highly unlikely your barn will have had heating previously fitted to it. And, without adequate heating, your bathroom is going to be pretty uncomfortable during those winter months, so this is something you’ll need to seriously consider.
One option, could be to fit underfloor heating. That way, there will be no need for obtrusive radiators, and it can run separately to the heating in your main property. You’ll also need to ensure your barn is adequately insulated, so all that lovely warmth doesn’t escape into thin air.
Think about light
If you have an aspect which isn’t overlooked by anyone or anything, you might want to make the most of this, by fitting a suitable window, and make the most of the view as you relax in the bath or look out of the shower. However, you may want to consider your privacy and think about the position of any windows and whether they will need to be frosted. Or perhaps fit skylights?
Of course, it’s not all about natural light. You’ll need to consider the amount of artificial light you’ll need and where they’re positioned. Items like wall lamps and illuminated mirrors are great for task lighting and also for those times when you want to get the mood just right.
If you’re seriously considering transforming your barn into a luxurious bathroom space, you may as well push the boat out a little. How about your very own bathroom entertainment system? With a waterproof TV designed specially for use in bathrooms, you or your guests, can lie back and enjoy a relaxing film or exhilarating sports match, all from the comfort of a hot, soapy bath.
Barn bathroom planning considerations
If you're significantly changing the use of your barn or altering the building, you may need to seek planning permission. You will also need to employ a variety of tradespeople. As such, it's always worth ensuring your electrician is part of a recognised professional body like NICEIC and your bathroom fitter is BiKBBi accredited. This will give you peace of mind, knowing any work will be completed to a high standard.
And what about cost? Well, estimates will typically vary, but there is the initial cost of converting your barn to another use and this could be around £1,500 per square metre, initially. From there, it is just a matter of seeing how much it’ll cost to fit your bathroom. If you live in a remote location, it may typically be a little more than where you’re close to a large town or city, with bathroom fitters and plumbers all vying for jobs with very reasonable estimates.
If you’re considering changing the use of any room in your home, or if you simply need guidance on renovating an existing bathroom, you’ll find all the practical advice you need by browsing our bathroom planning guides. From small bathrooms, like cloakrooms and ensuites, to grand designs like loft conversions, it’s the perfect place to start.
Free Bathroom Design Service
If bathroom planning fills you with dread, why not enquire about our Bathroom Design Service? We’ll work with you to create the perfect design (which you’ll receive free of charge, with no obligation to buy), plus a full product list to pass on to your chosen Tradesperson. Simply click below to enquire today.