Not sure where to start when it comes to choosing your new bathroom or how to do it? Read on for some expert tips and advice from Victoria Plum...
The hardest part about choosing bathroom suites is knowing what exactly you want, what styles you like and which brands take your fancy. There are so many bathroom planning options out there that it can become tricky, and with so many choices, knowing what goes with what is confusing. Whether you are looking for a family bathroom, shower enclosures or a space saving storage unit, there are so many different types to look at. People often end up buying singular collections wholly, before realising that it can make their bathroom space look like a showroom for that brand.
Your bathroom suite, wet room or shower room should be very important to you. It’s the place where you think, rest, and really recuperate. It’s important to carefully consider the different components that make up your bathroom design, and make sure you decide on a style that’s comfortable and appealing to you. You also want your new bathroom to ideally not break the bank, and not date too fast either.
There are many considerations that go into designing and planning a bathroom suite. Whether you are looking at the bathroom floor, shower baths, wall hung toilets or bathroom lighting, it is important not to overlook the detail.
Things to choose
1. Colour scheme
Your bathroom suite colour scheme is potentially one of the most straightforward things to choose. Colour plays a big role in everyday life in both a physical and psychological capacity, so you may already have an idea of the themes that you like and don't like. Contemporary bathrooms will obviously look slightly different to traditional bathroom suites, and room size also plays a part. Small bathrooms may be more neutral and light to give the illusion of a larger, practical space, whereas a large family bathroom can get away with brighter colours in both modern and traditional designs.
Choosing a suitable colour scheme, not just for the bathroom walls, but also for the appliances such as the bathroom radiator or vanity unit, can help your bathroom or en suite fit into your vision. If you’re going for a retro look, choose a coloured bathroom suite that includes a toilet, corner bath or freestanding bath and basin in the colours yellow, brown, green, blue, or red. You could also choose a feature wall to make a vibrant statement—your ideal bathroom is so easy to create if you are after a certain colour look. There are a huge range of ideas for your bathroom suite that can help to maximise space or improve your existing bathroom.
If you’re going to the 90s, white bathroom furniture and porcelain tiles would be where you’d like to be. This trend still prevails today, whilst modern bathroom designs will still prefer white, for good reason.
White reflects light well, and so gives the bathroom a pristine, classy, lit-up feel which helps emphasise feelings of cleanliness and comfort. A smaller bathroom can also benefit from this neutral shade. If you’re going for a modern approach, look into muted colours of brown, beige and black or maybe lean into the textural details like a smooth stone, concrete or wood for your bathroom suite accessories. Small or awkward spaces however do not lend themselves to these colours. Mirrored cabinets can help a small bathroom appear bigger, whilst also providing storage space.
2. Choosing the style
Especially if your home is going to have multiple bathrooms, syncing up the design styles chosen can lead to great results. You want your bathroom suite, and the individual elements within them, such as bathroom taps, wall mounted basins, a shower enclosure or vanity unit to be coherent, look neat and well thought out. The bathroom design should take into account the available floor space.
If you need some inspiration on bathroom suites, you can speak to an interior designer. They should be able to provide moodboards and examples of the different types of styles that would work. Online bathroom planners or a bathroom suite buying guide are also an option if you need some assistance in choosing the right bathroom suite or maximising space. Being specific when choosing the style is important. Make sure you state exactly what you like, and not to just a style such as vintage or modern. Within each of these time periods, there are a variety of different styles and being specific will mean you can create your dream bathroom with different elements like freestanding baths, corner toilets or a space saving bath suite.
Choosing styles and colours may take a while and may require design guidance, but is definitely worthwhile. Individual taste can vary so much and if you live with a partner, children or family, and share a bathroom, you’ll want to solicit their opinions as well.
3. Choosing wall coverings
Tiling not only serves a creative purpose but a functional one as well. Traditionally, plumbers used to “half-tile” areas around the sink and straight baths. This meant that the tiles were used to cover the walls up to the height of the basin and the bath to reduce water splashes from dampening the walls. This was popular for family bathrooms.
Having a full shower enclosure would mean you require tiling up to the height of the shower. Tiling is an essential protective tool. Some modern styles try to do without tiling and instead opt for waterproof coverings like shower wall panels, but you should consider tiling and whether it would suit your vision of a bathroom suite.
In terms of how trends are moving, brick-shaped tiles have been widely favoured for traditional-style bathroom suites. Brick-shaped tiles come in a variety of vibrant colours. In terms of something more modern, large square tiles have become more popular within a bathroom suite as they reduce the height of the tiles and the size of the grout.
The areas that you don’t tile will have to be painted. You can’t make do with normal all-purpose paint, however. You will have to choose specially formulated bathroom paints that can protect the walls against dampness or mould.
Discover which paint is suitable for bathrooms with our handy guide
You might have to re-plaster the walls if the bathroom wall is revealed to be in terrible shape after the old decoration has been torn down. Consider budgeting around that too, which should be more affordable in small bathrooms or en suite bathrooms.
4. Choosing floor coverings
Bathroom suites before the 1990s tended to have vinyl and carpet coverings over the floorboards, which were usually made of wood, vinyl or some other composite material. If your bathroom dates from 1980s or even earlier, containing vinyl tiles on the floor covering, you may want to consider removing and changing your floor covering. This is due to the health hazards posed by asbestos, which was a prominent building material at that time. Modern bathrooms do not feature this anymore.
Note that your floor may not be what meets the eye. Modern bathroom fitters tend to favour a protective layer over the whole floor before adding the final floor covering. Another option to think about for bathroom suites is underfloor heating, which for small bathrooms, is more affordable due to the reduced available space. If you’re looking to live a modern life in the cold weather, having a warm floor in your designer bathroom is a lovely way to start and end your busy day.
5. Deciding the layout
Deciding on the layout of your bathroom is the most important aspect to think about. When fitting new bathroom suites, it’s crucial to take into consideration the current layout and analyse it for a few good reasons, especially if you want to introduce pieces such as a freestanding bath, walk in shower or quadrant shower enclosures.
If you like your existing layout, not having to re-lay power lines or change the waste pipe drastically saves on cost and man hours. If you’re not so keen on the current layout, you may also want to take note of it just to visualise where certain elements of your bathroom might want to go. This could be corner baths or a full bath suite.
The most important thing in this step is working around your limitations and making sure that whatever decisions you’re making won’t make it extra difficult to fix, rebuild and maintain in the following years.
There are lots of considerations when it comes to the topic of upgrading your bathroom suite, and this might all seem daunting. Having the bathroom of your dreams is worth the stress however, as it is one place in the home where you can truly take time out in.
Modern bathroom ideas
At Victoria Plum, we’re full of fresh modern bathroom ideas, so why not have a look at inspirational bathrooms on our blog? If you’re interested in a specific style, our Get the Look style guides are a great place to start.