When it comes to renovating your bathroom, choosing a suite is one of the most important aspects to get right. But with so many different designs and styles available, finding the perfect combination for your home and requirements can be a daunting task. You need to figure out what will work best for you, not just in terms of style and space but also budget and longevity. This guide takes you through all you need to know to make an informed choice.
It’s not about brand, it’s about style
Bathroom suites can be broadly divided into two categories: traditional and contemporary. Traditional bathrooms embrace classic Edwardian or Victorian style—think ornate, sculpted lines, high-level toilets and luxurious roll-top baths. By contrast, modern or contemporary suites are made up of clean lines and strong shapes with few, if any, decorative flourishes.
It makes sense that a traditional suite would look best in a period property, in keeping with the character of an older house, whereas a contemporary suite would rightly suit a modern home. However, it’s not a hard and fast rule. Contemporary suites tend to have a wider range of size options, which is worth considering if you live in a smaller house.
Buying a bathroom suite is an easy way to achieve a coordinated finish, but that’s not to say you can’t choose items separately. However, it will mean a little more time and consideration to ensure continuity. A good rule of thumb is to always choose your toilet and sink from the same collection to avoid an unsightly mismatch. And likewise, you will want to make sure that any additional features and accessories keep to the theme, whatever that ends up being.
Form follows function
Whatever your dream bathroom looks like, the two most important things to consider are the available space and your personal requirements. How is the bathroom going to work for you in your home? If you have children, for example, then key elements might include a separate bath and shower, easy-access storage, single mixer taps and seamless, wipeable surfaces. Perhaps there are special access requirements to consider for a person with reduced mobility? In which case, a walk-in shower or bath would be a great investment.
When planning your suite, it’s a good idea to plan around the position of the toilet, as the position of the waste pipe can be difficult to change and may increase your costs. You will also want to think about storage if you want to keep your new bathroom clutter-free, whether that means shelves, drawers, alcoves, cupboards or cabinets. Some bathroom suites come with a vanity unit—another great way to add stylish storage space to your bathroom.
Layout and space planning
Before you go ahead and buy a new suite, it’s a good idea to experiment with some layout ideas. The size of your bathroom ultimately determines what suite will work best, so start by measuring the space and making a scale drawing on graph paper, noting the position of the windows and doors, as well as the waste pipe. To make the most of your available space, it’s a good idea to work with a bathroom designer who can offer you the best advice.
In smaller bathrooms and cloakrooms, space-saving options like a corner bath or toilet and basin combination unit can help you make the most of your available space. On the other hand, if lots of space is available, you have more flexibility to include features such as freestanding baths, statement basin units and generous cabinet space. You can afford to be bold—a dainty short projection toilet could look out of place in a spacious family bathroom.
Ventilation is another important aspect to consider. If the bathroom has no windows, consider installing an extractor fan to minimise mould and damp. The fan should be installed near the bathing area or between the bath and shower, if they are separate. It’s a good idea to get a fan with a little more power than is required.
Finally, remember to allow for the opening of doors, in particular hinged doors that open into the room. If you’re short of space, a sliding shower door may suit you better.
Extending the life of your bathroom
The average lifespan of a bathroom is around 10 years, which means that whatever your decision, you’ll be living with it for the best part of a decade. Bathroom suites are, therefore, a long-term investment, and so it pays to think ahead.
For instance, though you may not have a family right now, is it possible you may have one in future? Even if that looks unlikely, consider the next person to buy your house. A design that is flexible and accommodating stands more chance of selling easily. A child-friendly bathroom doesn’t have to come at the expense of sacrificing style. Functional pieces such as a sturdy bathtub or double vanity unit will serve you well regardless of your family situation.
Try to avoid fad styles and trends if you want to future-proof your design. We all remember the avocado bathrooms of the 70s, the oversized jetted tubs of the 90s. Most bathroom trends have a lifespan of around five years or so before they are tossed out. On the other hand, classic styles, neutral colours and high-quality materials are unlikely to give you cause for regret in the long-term. Leave the barn doors and fish scale tiles to the cowboys and mermaids.
The best way to find your ideal bathroom suite and avoid expensive mistakes is to have a chat with a professional and hire a qualified installer who will recommend the best fittings for your needs and ensure they are correctly fitted. Get in touch with our experts to find out more.