Bathrooms can be a costly room in the home and having permanent fixtures means it is vital to get the layout right. Maximising every bit of space and further giving the illusion of more space is paramount in what is often a small room. Whilst a bathroom must be functional it can be a great place to express your style. The belief that strong colour and patterns are not suitable is misplaced. Neutral colours are used in an attempt to make the space look larger and not date – but remember, 80’s beige still dates and is not overly inspirational! Instead, consider the amount of natural light and/or artificial light, and don’t be afraid of using colour and dominant finishes, whether with tiles and or cabinetry to make a statement. After all, this is one of the accepted rooms in the house where you can comfortably do this.

Using correct heights and distances between fixtures means ease of use, safety and comfort in the bathroom. Ensure the benchtops, bath hob, shower hob, tap ware and accessories are all at comfortable heights and distances for the user. Make sure there is sufficient elbow and knee room around the toilets and between twin basins. Ensure taps in the shower can be easily turned on before entering without wetting you. Appropriate finishes that will perform well, are easy to maintain, are water resistant, are safe and look good, should be selected.

Do a budget estimate of what you would really like, before committing to a design and buying anything. Be realistic with prices and add on a contingency sum of at least 15% to the total amount. The estimate will often be higher than expected. Be realistic and modify your ‘wish list’ to fit in with what you can really spend.

Planning for maximum effectiveness and impact:

1. Do you want the toilet in the bathroom or a separate room?

How high do you want the tiles to go?

3. Do you want a shower, bath or both?

Do you want the shower and bath separate or together? If separate, do you have enough room?

5. What type of shower screen would you like?

What type of taps do you prefer – separate hot and cold taps with an outlet or a mixer type?


Are you going to mount the taps on the sink, on the bench (best suited to solid benchtop materials) or on the wall?


What type of toilet do you want? The options range from a china cistern, close coupled suites to wall hung toilet pans.

9. What type of basins do you want? Options range from under-counter and semi-recessed to vessel-style and surface-mounted basins.

What type of taps best suit the basins you have selected? Consider the distance from the basin to the tap outlet – too close and water will splash in a vessel-style basin, for instance.


What type of storage do you require? How much and what for? Do you have room in the bathroom for this or can you put it elsewhere?

Things to Consider:

When renovating bathrooms, do not jeopardise a good layout by leaving plumbing in existing locations. Within the total cost of a new bathroom, relocating plumbing is often money very well spent, particularly when you consider how long it will have to last.

Be realistic as all products have their pros and cons. For instance, marble looks great and is timeless but is costly. It is also beautiful polished but is more slippery. Gather as much information as possible on what you would like to use and weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of each. Decide what you can live with and what you can’t, thereby making an informed decision.

Heating is essential and is not considered nearly often enough. Under floor heating in a new bathroom is perfect. Heated towel rails are also a great idea and, at the very least, a wall mounted heater or heat light is the bare minimum for comfort.

Good ventilation is essential to combat steam and condensation. Natural is ideal, but even this must be supplemented by an extraction fan.

Good lighting is essential for easy grooming and reading, if you wish. Dimmable lighting or separate switches are a great idea for achieving a more relaxed mood.

Electrical requirements – such as power points and switches – will be limited to a minimum distance from a water source. You will need power point for a hair dryer, electric shaver, electric toothbrush and a heated towel rail.

Take into account your accessories – what do you need? Towel rails or rings – single or double? Toilet roll holder, soap holders, bath or shower trays for shampoos, hooks for robes, soap dispenser, toilet brush, bin, etc.

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