365 Objects Of Design

How to Decorate Your Bathroom and Where to Source the Products

30th August 2018
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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.

bruzzoni black and white electric toothbrush

black and white tiles in a stripe in my bathroom

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?

cheltenham wall light from jim lawrence

cheltenham wall light from jim lawrence

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.

gone tiles from reed harris

gone tiles from reed harris

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.

demelza tin tile from mandarin stone

demelza tin tile from mandarin stone

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.

lily pad tile from ca pietra

lily pad tile from ca pietra

Jim Lawrence has a great selection of wall lights that don’t cost the earth as does Holloways of Ludlow and don’t forget John Lewis.

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.

karaja tiles from the baked tile company

karaja tiles from the baked tile company

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.

white metro tiles from topps

white metro tiles from topps

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.

wooden stool via designvintage £110

wooden stool via designvintage £110

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.





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  • Hannah 30th August 2018 at 8:14 am

    I am trying to plan 3 bathrooms in our new house. I am certainly overthinking it – especially when it comes to tile choices. I’m trying to remind myself that I should only pick what I love no matter what the trends, but it’s hard with so many styles and choices out there! We are trying to reduce our quote by spec’ing down Samuel Heath taps – I have found Crosswater do a good selection and include a black range.

  • Kirsten 23rd April 2018 at 7:12 pm

    Any other suggestions for black taps but Lusso Stone? I’m trying to find a bath filler that is a little more substantial than just a little spout. Something like a waterfall tap. But I can’t find anything anywhere in matt black 🙁

    @Malika: FWIW re your free-standing bath comment. I had one in my previous home and loved it. It was a slipper bath which sat against the wall with enough space to get behind it (i.e. at the top next to the wall) so that I could easily run a hoover/mop past and it turned into the easiest cleaning job ever.

  • Jeanne Bernard 18th April 2018 at 3:27 pm

    Ikea has a great mirrored medicine cabinet in lots of sizes. Mirrored inside and out. Open both doors and you can see the back of your head (great for hair drying). The only downside is they are 5 1/2″ deep and makes it difficult to find any side lights that would clear that depth. Best thing ever for storage and reflection.

  • Sue Sokal 18th April 2018 at 8:21 am

    Also, heating in a bathroom needs to be considered first. My very smart new bathroom upgrade is not warm enough. Big heated towel rails not half as efficient as radiators.

  • Malika 18th April 2018 at 7:28 am

    Oh Kate, thanks for writing this! We are refurbishing at the moment and it’s a great help. I was a bit sad that you didn’t include much in shower or baths though. There are a million types for each, while it does depend on what fits, for those of us who have space choosing which ones works and looks good is a bit harder. Finding suppliers that you can depend on or features that may be key would help making a choice.

    Ie I am considering a freestanding bath. But how practical are they for cleaning. Will it gather at the back of the bath( the side against the wall)? Will I hate it? Is there anything in particular to consider here?

    And for showers and what looks nicer and all in one with shower head, valves, handshower in one or all separate or just the shower head and valves. They all look very different but what looks best for what styles of bathroom.

    Maybe I’m over thinking it. I probably am. It’s all so confusing and overwhelming.x

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