Whether you have lived in your home for years, or you are moving into a fixer-upper, there will come a time when you look at your bathroom as something other than the clean, bright and inviting room it should be.
You might want to demolish everything or just make a few changes to freshen up the look. But, either way, you will need to plan properly.
The first thing you will need to do is make a design. Look for inspiration from bathroom retailers, magazines or even your friends and family’s bathrooms.
Once you have your ideas and an image in your mind, it is time to put pen to paper or, if technically inclined, mouse to online design sites.
Make a plan for your bathroom and get to work.
- Bath, Toilet and Sinks
Firstly, do you need to replace them? Your sanitaryware is a huge expense so you might want to keep t if it is not an awful colour from the 1980s. Unless you cannot live with white sanitaryware for some personal reason, it really is the best colour to choose as it is ageless and the next buyer of your home will have no problem with it.
Cracks and chips in acrylic baths can be fixed with a special bonding material specially designed for this purpose. Even chips in porcelain baths can be fixed with filling compound and very fine sandpaper.
If you are going to replace your bath, think about whether you want a soaking tub or corner bath which will give you more space for storage. If you don’t really use your bath, a shower unit will be cheaper and, again, take less space.
Are you thinking of replacing your toilet because it doesn’t flush properly or doesn’t seem to fill quickly enough? Instead of spending all that money, try a few simple fixes like checking the toilet flush device, making sure your pipes are clear and ensuring there are no leaks to stop water filling your tank properly.
If you still want to replace it, there are some space-saving toilets you can choose if your bathroom is on the smaller size.
The porcelain repair kits for your bath can also be used to fix chips or cracks in your sink but, if you want a new sink, look at corner or trough sinks to save space. (You usually only need a sink to wash your hands or clean your teeth, so there might not be a reason for a normal sized one.)
Once you have chosen to buy new or revamp your sanitaryware, put these into your drawing.
Your taps, faucets, toilet flushing handles and shower heads will probably need to be replaced as they tend to get damaged and become ugly quicker than the sanitaryware.
Think about the design of your bathroom and choose appropriately, keeping to the same theme, modern, traditional etc.
- Plumbing and Electrical
You will need professional help if you are moving or buying new sanitaryware and installing new lights, exhaust fans or warm towel rails. The bathroom can be a dangerous place if electrical problems occur and poorly fitted sanitaryware can lead to water leaks and mould.
Consider the environment when installing plumbing and electricity with water-saving toilets and showers as well as low wattage lighting.
Choose a good quality floor as poorer quality will mean problems with damp, peeling up and cracking later on. You can choose from tiles, laminates, vinyl or even treated wood depending on the style of your bathroom.
- Walls and Ceiling
Walls and ceilings should be light in colour and easy to clean as well as repelling moisture. Full tiling is expensive so you can consider tiling around the bath and sink and using bathroom paint on the other walls and ceiling. Bathroom paint has an anti-mildew content which is important if you have problems with damp.
If you want to keep your current tiles, try using a grout cleaner to freshen them up and simply re-painting the walls to save money.
Once you have placed your sanitaryware in your drawing, it is time to look at your storage and add that as well. Do some research to make sure you have minimum spaces between your toilet, bath, sink and the cabinets you want to install. Don’t think you can fit cabinets into every available space as you might find you hit your head every time you brush your teeth or cannot open cabinet doors whilst standing in the bathroom.
If you have a very small bathroom you can consider using open cabinets so you don’ have to worry about opening doors.
In any case, don’t overcrowd your bathroom with cabinets as it will just make it look small and cluttered.
- Décor Tips
- Keep your bathroom simple, with light colours and clean lines.
- Too much clutter will make your bathroom look pokey and small so keep it clear.
- Use mirrors wherever appropriate to give a sense of space. You can even buy mirrored shower doors.
- Ensure that walking into your bathroom from another room is not a style shock. By this, we mean if your home is very modern and minimalistic, a bathroom with wooden panels and a rustic claw-footed bathtub will be a style shock.
- Many live plants do very well in the moist atmosphere of a bathroom and can really make it look vibrant.
- Use open shelves to display photos, knickknacks, candles etc to give a more personal feel.
- Place hooks everywhere. Hanging towels, makeup bags, sponges and loofahs etc keep your bathroom free from clutter.
Once you have decided on all these points, call in the professionals for the work you cannot do, hand over your plan and get your chequebook ready. It might also be time to use the other bathroom in your home for a few days or to make sure you are very friendly with your neighbour until the work is done and you can enjoy your beautiful and functional new bathroom.