Today’s bathroom is more than a mere functional space. It’s a room you can retreat to, a place of quiet sanctuary in an increasingly noisy world.
A great bathroom is easy to maintain, has enough storage for everything you need, includes good-quality fixtures and feels luxurious to use. The bathroom and laundry are spaces that always benefit from being designed from the floor up. Practicality takes top billing when it comes to decisions about your bathroom and laundry floor. Tiles, because of their ability to stand up to splashes and moisture, are clearly the best choice for bathrooms and laundries (though they’re not the only option). Laundries sometimes suffer the fate of being overlooked, but they can be just as stylish as any other room in the house. The tiles you select for your floor can provide the perfect launching point for the rest of your design. Large-format tiles, typically 300x600mm or larger, have been embraced by homeowners in recent years and for good reason. Larger tiles mean less grout and therefore less cleaning. They also look fantastic! As counter-intuitive as it may seem, using large-format tiles on the floor of a small bathroom or laundry is a smart idea. The fewer visual ‘breaks’ the eye encounters, the greater the perception of space, and that’s extremely valuable in, say, a 2x3m space. If you fancy a dark tile but worry that your space is too small, stick to using it on the floor and opt for a white or soft neutral tile or paint colour on the walls. Large-format tiles may be the most popular floor and wall choice for bathrooms, but don’t rule out mosaics. They’re timelessly stylish and super-practical. Not too long ago, a timber floor was considered off limits for bathrooms and laundries. Now, thanks to leaps and bounds in digital printing, things have changed. Today’s timberlook tiles and luxury vinyl planks provide a timeless foundation and are so expertly printed you won’t be able to tell they’re not the real thing. Some are so well designed there’s no give-away repeat in the woodgrain print, and they even feel similar to timber underfoot. Despite the inevitable shifts in fashion, there are many great-looking tile options that are sure to stand the test of time (important when you consider the average bathroom and laundry is only renovated every 10 to 15 years). Marble and stonelook tiles will always be a winner, as will a crisp white subway tile. In the past year or two, penny-round mosaics and hexagonal tiles have experienced a surge in popularity. Hexes are particularly hot. Used large or small, this trend is not going anywhere soon.
Sarah Pickette Features Editor, Australian House & Garden