However, many struggle to design bathrooms well and once the plumbing and tiling are underway there is little room for change or manoveure. Unlike living rooms and bedrooms, bathrooms do not let you rearrange the layout whenever you feel like it so you need to try and get it right first time round.
Looks-wise, bathroom design has moved on from shiny stainless steel and glass basins of recent years to more tactile and elegant smooth ceramic and stone. Shapes have become more structural and bathrooms more architectural now. But looks alone are not enough and people are spending as much on what cannot be seen as what can! Pumps, thermostatic controls, boilers and water pressure are items you must discuss with a qualified and recommended plumber before you purchase the visable sanitary ware. Many people are spending hundreds of euros on smart taps, only to find that their existing water pressure will mean a trickle of hot water rather than a designer blast coming from the tap.
The bath is likely to be the largest item in the bathroom so work out how much space is available for it. If you like to share the bath, go for a double-ended bath, made to accommodate two people or several children. Taps are luxuriously placed in the middle. Free-standing baths are the ultimate in design luxury but you need plenty of room. Whirlpool baths are great for the stressed and offer super relaxation.
For rooms with less space, go for built-in baths with bath panels which can be tiled or Wayne Scotted to add style and elegance. Villeroy and Boch have a very stylish model called the Libra, designed to look amazing with a shower on the wall overhead and designer taps on the side - very swanky in a small apartment!
Free-standing and roll-top baths are very popular today. There are several styles: standard with taps at one end, double ended with taps in the middle, slipper baths, which curve up at one or both ends and bateau baths, which resemble small boats. With the exception of the latter, all these baths sit on ball and claw feet When choosing a roll-top bath check the material it's made from. Enamelled cast-iron is extremely tough, very heavy and more expensive. The exterior of the cast iron bath can be painted to match the rooms décor. Acryllic is an increasingly popular choice for modern reproduction baths and is lightweight, smooth and less pricey. However, it is not as durable and rigid and some baths can creak and shift as you get in and out.
Basins and bowls look fantastic mounted on washstands. Large designer taps coming from the wall or vanity unit are a must to achieve the designer look and if planned in advance, should not prove a problem for your plumber.
Showers are finally getting the space they deserve. Tiny 80cm cubicles are making way for wet rooms, 120cm x 90cm units and walk-in units. They are becoming increasingly sophisticated and many models are now incorporating not only a large and powerful shower head, but also a flexible and detachable shower arm. Consider issues such as pipe size, boiler capacity and water pressure. A power shower may come with a built in pump but others may need a pressurised water system, not available in some houses without massive renovations.
Walk-in wet rooms are hot property right now, so is it for everyone's house? Space for the open wet area is a must and trouble free drainage is essential and not always possible in some older upstairs bathrooms. Consult with a reputable plumber before taking the plunge.
- Rehang a door if it is taking up too much space in your bathroom and have it open out from the room instead of into the room.
- Bathroom heaters are part of the furniture these days. If you have the space, go for a super sleek ladder that doubles as a towel rail.
Walls and Ceilings
Once you've selected your perfect bathroom suite, it's important to add the finishing touches by choosing beautiful shades for your walls and ceilings. Think about the wall colours which will work well with your new fixtures and fittings. Aquatic and green shades are on-trend this season and Nordic Breeze, Celestial and Cape Green from the Dulux Bathrooms range are hugely popular at the moment.
Having invested so much time and money in your aquatic oasis, don't let your hard work go to waste by choosing an unsuitable paint for the bathroom. With constant exposure to moisture and steam, bathroom walls and ceilings must be painted in a special bathrooms paint to keep that freshly-painted look for longer. Don't let your beautiful new bathroom be spoiled by peeling, flaking paint!
Dulux Bathrooms is ideal for the task. Not only is the range specially formulated to be exceptionally tough, wipeable, moisture and steam resistant and suitable for areas of high condensation, Dulux have now developed a new formulation which offers up to 5 years' mould and mildew resistance.
Bathrooms can often be small spaces, so you may prefer not to use a colour on the ceiling. However, it's important that a specialist paint is used here to, as rising steam can damage the paint surface. I opt for Dulux Bathrooms Iced White or Porcelain, for a fresh, clean look and ultimate protection.
Don't forget your woodwork and radiators too. After investing so much in your new bathroom, don't chipped radiators and faded window-sills spoil the look. Refresh the colour with an off white, neutral or blue such as Nearly White, Just Walnut or Blueberry White from the easycare satinwood range.
Top colours for 2010
The in-look for bathrooms
- Limestone, marble and travertine
- Power showers with body jets
- Spa baths
- Free standing baths
- Wet rooms
- Rain head showers
- Wall mounted taps for basins and baths