And so we come to the next updated part of my mini-series Five Ways to Revamp a Room (rapidly) although if you have other rooms that I haven’t featured then do get in touch in the comments below and we can always tackle spare rooms, playrooms, downstairs loos and dining rooms should you wish….
This week it’s the bathroom and I’m sharing some pictures that were taken for the Soho Home website a couple of years ago.
The first thing you need to consider when doing a bathroom makeover is are HOW YOU USE THE SPACE and I’m well aware that the average bath in the UK is something ridiculous like 6ft by 8ft – I’ll just pause while all the Americans pick themselves up off the floor and shake their heads in bafflement. Yes that’s right. Tiny. Now, clearly mine is bigger than that. That’s because we took out a bedroom to create a really big bathroom, but I’ll say this once and for all; it’s not how big it is, it’s how you use it. By which I mean; do you use the bath? Because if you don’t then think about getting rid of it and installing a big shower instead. As long as you keep the plumbing in the wall then if you sell the house and people don’t like it then they can always put the bath back in on the basis that bathrooms and kitchens are the two rooms that people are mostly likely to do up.
And the other thing that I have suggested to clients before is the double shower as seen above. Clearly this house has a bath too although I think that’s a small one (1500 instead of a standard 1700) but that shower is great for two people at the same time. Now that could be two small kids – imagine speeding up bath time – as well as two time-pressed adults.
I also feel strongly that you should decorate your house for the way you live now and not for the mythical person who may or may not buy it in a few years time. My mother is a case in point. She redid her bathroom ten years ago. She had already stopped having baths, finding them tricky to climb in and out of, and only showered. The result is that she has a bath that has been used once – by my 13yo – a tiny corner shower and a basin that’s so small I hit my head on the tap every time I use it. She would have been better off losing the bath and making everything else a little bigger. And remember when it comes to resale – you might lose the families with young children if you have no bath but you’ll gain the downsizing pensioners.
While we’re on planning the room; f you can fit two basins that’s a bonus – one less shoving match to have in the morning. If there’s no room for that then find the longest one you can – you might just manage to squeeze two people cleaning their teeth at once. Finally wall-mounted basins and loos are better in small spaces. The more floor you see the bigger the space will look.
Now I appreciate planning a refit might not come under the remit of a rapid revamp, but we did part of our bathroom when these pictures were taken – replacing the shower and building the counter under the existing basins without changing anything else – so I don’t think you need to rule out changing part of the room if it makes it function better for you and your family.
However, in terms of small changes with big impact, then next thing on the list is definitely STORAGE. It is a truth universally acknowledged that you have more stuff than you will a) admit to b) need and c) actually use. So first things first – sort it out. Get rid of the things you don’t need and don’t use. If it’s not pretty then get a bathroom cabinet. The first rule of storage is when you run out of horizontal space go vertical so use the walls.
Put the pharmaceutical stuff in a cupboard and the pretty stuff on a shelf. We use the long shelf between our basins as underwear storage so, when it’s not being photographed, it has a row of baskets with socks and pants in. We also tuck all the spare bottles and deodorants and stuff in there but, crucially, they are in plastic Muji storage boxes so that it still looks tidy.
Once the storage is sorted – and be ruthless – then it’s time to look at what in any other room would be called the soft furnishings – TOWELS. When was the last time you had new ones? While you’re at it treat yourself to a new bath mat. Of course these things are necessary, but they also bring colour to a room so it’s way to decorate the space a little more. They also help acoustically – all those hard surfaces can make a bathroom really echo but towels will absorb some of the sound. If you keep spare ones in here then make sure the colours are working and roll them up on a shelf so they look good as well.
Next up, think of your bathroom as YOUR SPA and invest in a few pretty storage jars so that even if you buy in bulk from the supermarket you can decant it into nice bottles. Yes it’s a five minute faff, but if it makes the experience more pleasurable then it’s worth doing. After all, isn’t that part of the joy of the hotel bathroom – lots of lovely toiletries that you want to take home with you? Exactly. Think about the elements of the luxury hotel bathroom that you enjoy – fluffy towels, nice shampoo, a shelf to rest the glass of wine and space for a radio and bring them into your own bathroom.
Lastly, PLANTS are another good way to soften the space and the hard lines. Many plants like it hot and steamy and if they don’t, or you don’t have natural light then fake it. In the image above the plant to the right of the image is fake and the others are real. If you have space for a little stool by the bath to rest your book or your glass of wine then bring it in. A touch of vintage is another great contrast to all that white sanitary ware and cold metal taps.
So there are 5 ways to revamp your bathroom. I haven’t talked about lighting as that’s a bigger job but you can read my post on how to get the lighting right in the bathroom here.
And, as I said at the top – well done for making it down to the bottom by the way – if you want to talk about other rooms then let me know in the comments below. You can also mix and match lots of these ideas between rooms of course.