Some people view their bathrooms as a status symbol. It is an area of the home where opulence rules and the more money you lavish on it, the better the result. When relaxing in a room clad in fake (or real) marble, it is easy to imagine you are back in the days of antiquity when the Romans and Greeks ruled. All you need is a toga and a couple of slaves to complete the scene.
Designing the perfect bathroom isn’t as straightforward as you might think at first. If you get it wrong, it could cost your dear. In order to achieve the best interior design, you must buy top quality fixtures and fittings. They don’t come cheap, unfortunately, but they are worth every penny.
image credits @ home space
We will investigate the design and planning procedure first.
The most important advice I can give you when designing the bathroom is to separate the toilet from it if you can. Sometimes it might mean sacrificing part of a spare bedroom to use as a lavatory. In my opinion, it is a sacrifice worth making. The extra space you gain is valuable, and you will suffer from fewer interruptions when you are trying to relax at the end of a hard day. The sewer pipe is a problem. If the toilet is relocating to a new position along an outside wall, you can usually alter the plumbing. If it is not, you may have to replace it with a unit that uses a macerator and pump to flush the waste away.
I recommend that you measure the room and draw it to scale on a piece of paper. Remember to include the positions of the windows and door at the same scale. Then pay a visit to your local showroom to see what furniture is on offer. You could visit Soakology Bathrooms and other websites to get a rough idea of the dimensions of baths and vanity units too. The internet is a valuable tool in the planning stage and might influence your decisions, so you know what to look for when you go shopping.
Pay attention to the style of the fixtures. Do you want them to match the interior design of the rest of the house? Roll-top baths and Victorian style sinks are hardly in keeping with a futuristic home. The choice is a personal one so take some photographs if you need to and consider it carefully before making a decision.
The taps and hardware can make or break the quality of the design. There is a vast selection from which to choose and some even come with lights. The mind boggles!
Before the installation begins, address the lighting in the room. During the day, natural light is best. Unfortunately, architects often design homes with tiny windows but you can enlarge them. It will only take a builder a day or two to enlarge the opening and first a new lintel and window.
There is a wide choice of artificial lighting and thanks to the development of white LED bulbs; it can feature in wet areas without posing a danger. You will find fittings suitable for use in the shower cubicle and even in the wall and floor tiles.
Most bathroom renovations follow the same process. If you are completing the installation yourself, here are some guidelines.
- Remove the old bathroom suite. Turn off the water supply using the stop tap and disconnect all of the fixtures and fittings. Cap the pipes with stop-end joints before reinstating the water supply.
- Install the wiring for the new lights, shaver points, etc. Electricity is dangerous, and you should not interfere with it unless you know what you are doing. Many DIY fans install the new wiring and pay an electrician to come along and make all of the connections when the time is right. Even if you are confident, you should always ask a qualified person to test and inspect your work. The bathroom is a hazardous environment, and there are strict regulations laid down by the Installation Of Electrical Engineers that you must follow.
- Install or make alterations to the pipework next. The hot and cold pipes are easy to fit, but the waste pipes are sometimes a challenge. You may need to box them in where they cannot go under the floorboards or into a wall.
- When the wiring and pipework are complete, proceed to plaster the room. Because you will be tiling the walls and floor, the walls need not be perfectly smooth, but they must be flat. Plastering is an art form, and I advise you to get an expert to repair and skim the walls if you have no experience in it.
- The suite can go in next. Attach the taps and waste outlets to the bath and sinks before you secure them in their final resting position. It is sometimes difficult to access the locking nuts afterwards. If you want to make the job even easier, you could connect flexible hose connectors to them too. They make the connections to the water pipes easy. Use plastic pipes and push fittings for the waste water.
- When the suite is in situ, wrap it in cardboard and polythene so that it will not suffer any damage as the project progresses.
- Tile the walls and floor next. Draw a horizontal line halfway up the walls and a vertical line down the centre. It is from that central point that you should start tiling. Work outwards towards the sides, top and bottom of the walls. If you measured correctly, the tiles that you must cut should be roughly the same size at each end of the wall. The same goes for the top and bottom. It is a professional trick that makes the wall look perfect. Use the same technique on the floor.
- Now is the time to install the light fittings and make the final connections. As I said; ask an electrician to do the work if necessary.
- The room is now complete except for accessories such as towel rails, window blinds, and any other small items.
If you plan well, the installation should go without a hitch, and you can enjoy your new bathroom every day. If you’re lucky, it will increase the value of your home too; not that you would ever want to leave this room behind.