This post follows on naturally from last week’s about the three main questions you need to ask before beginning any scheme and how to relate them more specifically to the bathroom. Having done that, here are some places you might want to look at to source the products once you have worked out what you need.
We spoke last week about how to plan your bathroom and the three key questions you need to ask yourself before you start. Now that you have answered them you can start to think about how you want your bathroom to look.
Now I appreciate that most of us start this way. It’s the completely normal way to start but what I would advise is that you park that side of things until you have sorted out the Who, What and When. Then you can come to the pretty bit.
After all, that’s the bit that’s easiest to change. So by now you have worked out that you can ditch the bath in favour of a massive shower, or that you have space for a free-standing tub. Or that you really need two basins not just for him and her but also to allow maximum teeth-cleaning traffic in the mornings. Or maybe you just hate baths and always shower. Or vice versa. And don’t forget the storage – those lotions and potions take up more space than you think. And where is all the spare loo roll going?
So the practical questions answered, we come to the pretty bit. As you know I’m a huge fan of patterned tiles. They can really add personality and soften a space that is often hard surfaces and straight lines. But just as you don’t have to paint a wall all one colour so you don’t have to use the same tiles throughout.
As long as your tiles are the same thickness (and you can work round that with a clever tiler who is prepared to fiddle about with the thickness of the glue) you can, for example lay a stripe of patterned tiles down the back of the shower and across the floor with plain ones either side.
Or you can lay patterned tiles in stripes to whatever height you want. Or just have pattern as splashback behind the basin(s) and make the rest of the room plain. The tiles are the really fun part. There are no rules.
Places to shop include Mandarin Stone, Baked Tile Company, Ca Pietra and Reed Harris and if you’ve got time on your side Topps have some really great tiles but the collection is massive and you might have to wade through a lot before you find the one you want.
When it comes to the lighting there are rules. Loads of ’em and I have written about them before. The basic one is that they must have an IP rating of 44. It’s about how sealed the fitting is against dust, steam and water. Once you have established that you can start looking for the style you want.
When it comes to taps there are, of course, all the places you know already. Sometimes the cheaper online warehouses don’t have the customer service you may later come to need. Be aware. Otherwise what to do about the old brass tap conundrum? This flared up as a trend and was ubiquitous in the glossy magazines and high end places where people could afford it. Just as the market catches up and they become more affordable, the fashionistas have moved on. Or rather back. To chrome. You need to decide if brass is something that makes your heart sing and you will love it forever then do it. Otherwise stick with tried and tested chrome. Or there is another way. Well two actually. Black is a good modern alternative that will always look like a style statement rather than a fashion choice. And polished nickel – softer than chrome. More expensive. Properly luxe but not as gold as brass so less tying. And fashion-led.
For high end brass taps try Volo or Lefroy Brooks or Perrin and Rowe. Move on to Lusso Stone for black taps and more affordable brass.
Now you’ve sorted your tiles, your taps and your lighting. Those are probably the three most important elements of your bathroom. The touch points and the places where making a choice matters. When it comes to baths and shower trays it’s largely about what fits and what you can afford. Trays that sink flush into the floor are more expensive. Free-standing baths require free-standing taps, which are more expensive. I have spoken before about the advantage of wall-mounted appliances making the space look bigger.
There are two more elements that are important in a bathroom. One – the mirrors are vital. The other – a bit of wooden to soften it all off is dependant on the space you have available. A wooden stool for the radio or to rest a towel will always look good. Or perhaps a wooden stand for the basin. Even a couple of wooden shelves will help.
So lastly let’s look at mirrors. A heated mirror over the basin will stop it steaming up and mean you don’t have to keep adding fingerprints when you wipe it clean. A mirror with a shelf is another bit of storage and we know that’s always useful. But consider a big mirror for decorative purposes – perhaps one with a big frame? I have a large foxed mirror in my bathroom. A big modern mirror can make the place look like a gym. But, again, if it’s your only mirror and you really need to see in it then foxed probably isn’t the option for you. We looked at the best round mirrors a couple of weeks ago. Start there and see what you fancy.
Right are you ready to redecorate your bathroom? Go.