Homes & Gardens



TILES Thanks to technologi­cal advances, porcelain tiles are now available in a huge variety of designs and formats of up to 1.2x2.7m. ‘Extra-large or XL tiles create a uniform aesthetic, making rooms look bigger by reducing the number of grout joints across walls and floors,’ says Jules Archard, sales director, Domus. ‘Often replicatin­g the appearance of natural stone, marble or terrazzo, porcelain is hard-wearing and incredibly easy to clean and maintain.’

Also look out for the wide range of patterned and colourful encaustic and reclaimed tiles that can be used to add impact and joy to your scheme. Some are suitable only for walls, and some require sealing and a higher level of maintenanc­e to keep them looking their best – check with the supplier before you buy.

Jules also points to upcoming trends in maximalist pattern, jewel colours and luxe finishes, and in warm and natural tile schemes. ‘Soft, earthy tones combine with textural and raw finishes to create relaxing bathrooms with a 70s-inspired aesthetic,’ he notes.

STONE & COMPOSITES For some of us, nothing beats the classic beauty of marble, each slab unique with individual veining and colour striation. It is more porous than some manmade materials, so may mark and stain over time. This patina of age has a charm, but many prefer the more consistent, lowmainten­ance qualities of manmade ‘sheet’ materials, including Silestone and Caesarston­e quartz surfaces and Ceralsio ceramic, while solid surfaces, such as Corian, can be formed into sweeping shapes and smoothly integrated basins in vanity tops.

WOOD Wood flooring is known for adding warmth and character to a bathroom, as well as providing contrast to the sometimes clinical look of hard white surfaces. ‘The multi-layer core of engineered wood makes it a better option for bathrooms than solid boards,’ says Peter Keane, managing director, The Natural Wood Floor Co. ‘The dramatic fluctuatio­ns of moisture and temperatur­e naturally cause movement, which the wood floor must be able to withstand,’ he explains. He also recommends an oiled finish to protect the floor. Wood-effect porcelain tiles offer the look of wood in a material with almost zero porosity, making them a useful alternativ­e if you are worried about frequent and heavy splashing.

FABRIC ‘I love to wrap walls and ceilings in fabric which, as well as looking elegant, lends warmth, softness and textural interest to a room,’ says interior designer Lucy Cunningham. ‘Bathrooms and cloakrooms are great places to experiment with bolder ideas and, as long as the room is well ventilated and you avoid any walls that come into direct contact with water, the fabric will be fine.’

WASHABLE SISAL & RUGS A new generation of washable materials is expanding bathroom flooring possibilit­ies. ‘I’ve recently been using more and more unnatural flooring; it’s waterproof, so no stains,’ says Lucy. Designed to look and feel like natural sisal, wool, seagrass or jute, these floorings are made from durable, easy-to-clean vinyl, polyamide and polypropyl­ene and available from suppliers such as Unnatural Flooring and Alternativ­e Flooring. Weaver Green and Jennifer Manners both offer soft, colourful runners and rugs made from recycled plastic bottles, well suited to bathroom use.

WALLPAPER Wallpaper is an effective way to introduce colour and pattern to rooms, including bathrooms and cloakrooms, and the latest Wet System papers do not need to be protected from splashes and steam by a layer of decorator’s varnish. ‘Thanks to its textural fibreglass membrane, this wallpaper is waterproof as long as it is properly installed with the glues and sealants supplied. It’s designed specifical­ly for use in the bathroom, including in the shower,’ says Joel Fry, designer, West One Bathrooms.


JULES ARCHARD, sales director, Domus

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