Guide to bath­rooms

Plan your dream space with our step-by-step guide to the ba­sics

Real Homes - - CONTENTS -

Plan your dream space with our step-bystep of the ba­sics – from de­sign­ing your lay­out to choos­ing stylish fit­tings

Once upon a time, bath­rooms were a func­tional ne­ces­sity in most homes. Now, they’re just as much a de­sign fo­cus as the rest of the house, but with so many style op­tions on of­fer, it’s dif­fi­cult to know where to start when plan­ning an up­date. Whether you’re mod­ernising your ex­ist­ing bath­room or cre­at­ing a new one, there are plenty of things you need to con­sider.

where do i start?

First, be clear on what your aim is. Are you up­dat­ing an old bath­room, or ex­tend­ing to make space for a new one? Are you cre­at­ing ex­tra space by knock­ing through walls, or us­ing a small bed­room to cre­ate a mas­ter suite? This will help you set a bud­get for your project as well as ham­mer out ex­tra con­sid­er­a­tions, such as lay­out ideas and plumb­ing.

Con­sider what you have at your dis­posal al­ready, and how big you want to go. If you have a large bed­room, you might con­sider sec­tion­ing off a part of it with glazed doors to cre­ate an en suite. Al­ter­na­tively, a spare bed­room might lend it­self to be con­verted into a spa­cious fam­ily bath­room. Think about your bud­get, too. Ac­cord­ing to ex­pert ren­o­va­tor Michael Holmes, a typ­i­cal bath­room makeover without al­ter­ing the plumb­ing costs any­where be­tween £1,500 for a ba­sic spec­i­fi­ca­tion and £5,000 for a good spec­i­fi­ca­tion. A more com­plex con­ver­sion, ex­ten­sion or re­model can cost any­where be­tween £3,000 and £16,500 de­pend­ing on qual­ity.

Prac­ti­cal con­sid­er­a­tions

When it comes to plan­ning your bath­room, it pays to work with your ex­ist­ing plumb­ing, but there is al­ways a way around it if you’re look­ing to re­design your lay­out. While plumb­ing changes are trick­ier in apart­ments be­cause mov­ing pipes and drains is more dif­fi­cult, a house gives you more flex­i­bil­ity, as well as con­trol over the wa­ter pres­sure if you in­stall a pump.

Mak­ing changes to plumb­ing can be a nui­sance and comes at an ex­tra cost, so do bear this in mind be­fore mak­ing ex­pen­sive changes. If you’re do­ing a makeover, try and leave fit­tings in the same place to keep down costs. You can also make things sim­pler for your­self if you’re ex­tend­ing: build­ing a bath­room over a kitchen means you have eas­ier ac­cess to ex­ist­ing plumb­ing. Think about your wa­ter pres­sure and boiler, too; does your house have the ca­pac­ity for a new bath­room without up­grad­ing? If not, you may need to look into op­tions, in­clud­ing up­dat­ing your boiler, adding pres­sure pumps or a larger hot wa­ter cylin­der, or in­stalling an in­de­pen­dent wa­ter heater.

To en­sure your floor can sup­port heav­ier free­stand­ing baths, don’t for­get to fac­tor in the weight of a per­son and the wa­ter too


Plan­ning is key to de­sign­ing the per­fect lay­out for your bath­room. ‘Con­sider the three Ps: plan­ning the lay­out, pri­ori­tis­ing your needs, and plot­ting out the space,’ ad­vises Emma Gaskell, mar­ket­ing man­ager at Front­line Bath­rooms. ‘First, take ac­cu­rate mea­sure­ments of the space so you know what you are work­ing with, then de­cide ex­actly what you need from your room. Do you re­quire a bath, shower or both? Do you need a lot of stor­age space? Once you have a list of “needs” you can start to con­sider which prod­ucts are most im­por­tant to you, and there­fore which items you are most will­ing to splash out on.’ If you have the bud­get, it’s worth bring­ing in a bath­room de­signer to talk through your re­quire­ments, but if money is tight, there are plenty of free on­line plan­ning tools: try Front­line Bath­rooms or Ikea.

Con­sider the min­i­mum space you need for the items in your bath­room:

› Stan­dard rec­tan­gu­lar baths mea­sure L170xw70cm and need enough space for you to get in and out eas­ily

– we rec­om­mend 100cm of space in front of the tub › A typ­i­cal shower tray mea­sures around L80xw80cm › Al­low around 70cm in front of a WC for more ac­ces­si­bil­ity


For all bath­room light­ing, you need to pay at­ten­tion to the Ingress Pro­tec­tion (IP) rat­ing, which refers to how wa­ter­proof it is. ‘Bath­rooms are di­vided into zones,’ ex­plains Karen Wal­lis-smith, di­rec­tor at Fritz Fryer. ‘Zones one and two are reg­u­lated, but zone three doesn’t re­quire wall or pen­dant lights to be spe­cially rated.’

These are the zone reg­u­la­tions you need to pay at­ten­tion to:

› Zone one is the area above the bath to a height of 2.25m from the floor. ‘The min­i­mum IP rat­ing for lights in this area is IP44,’ says Karen, ‘but we would rec­om­mend a rat­ing of IP65 to pro­tect against low-pres­sure jets of wa­ter from the shower.’

› Zone two is the area 60cm around the perime­ter of a bath or shower and 2.25m above the floor, as well as the 60cm ra­dius around a tap. ‘Zone two re­quires an IP44 rat­ing, and many retro or vin­tage lights are suit­able for con­ver­sion us­ing wa­ter­proof cap­sules, par­tic­u­larly if the lamp is en­closed within a glass shade,’ says Karen.

sav­ing space

When it comes to smaller bath­rooms, dou­bling up is the eas­i­est way to make the most out of the room. ‘Try­ing to in­clude too many dif­fer­ent prod­ucts in a bath­room can lead to pres­sures on your bud­get as well as on your space,’ says Emma Gaskell from Front­line Bath­rooms. ‘Choos­ing prod­ucts that have a dual func­tion­al­ity, such as a mir­rored shower en­clo­sure, can save on both money and pre­cious cen­time­tres. Opt for san­i­tary­ware and fur­ni­ture that cre­ates the il­lu­sion of ex­tra di­men­sions, such as wall-hung pieces to free up the floor space, and com­pact prod­ucts that in­cor­po­rate stor­age.’ Prac­ti­cal fit­tings, such as a quad­rant shower en­clo­sure and cor­ner cup­boards, will also help to max­imise space.


‘De­pend­ing on the size of your bath­room, you’ll need a ra­di­a­tor which can heat the room prop­erly,’ says Alan Gre­gory, SEO ex­ec­u­tive at Vic­to­rian Plumb­ing. ‘This is where Bri­tish Ther­mal Unit rat­ings come in. The BTU rat­ing is the mea­sure of heat that is emit­ted from a ra­di­a­tor. The higher the BTU rat­ing, the more heat that ra­di­a­tor can pro­duce.’

If you want to use your ra­di­a­tor year-round, it’s worth con­sid­er­ing a dual-fuel ra­di­a­tor. This can be run off the cen­tral heat­ing or as an elec­tric ra­di­a­tor dur­ing the sum­mer months, so you can still warm your tow­els when the cen­tral heat­ing is switched off.

If your bud­get al­lows, un­der­floor heat­ing (UFH) is ideal for a bath­room. UFH comes in two types:

› Elec­tric UFH is eas­ier to in­stall and can be retro­fit­ted into an ex­ist­ing scheme, but costs more to run.

› Wa­ter-based UFH re­quires more in­stal­la­tion work and will raise the floor level, but is cheaper to run.

sur­face so­lu­tions

When it comes to choos­ing the sur­faces for your bath­room, there’s plenty of things to con­sider. Floor­ing needs to be slip re­sis­tant, low main­te­nance and im­per­vi­ous to wa­ter and hu­mid­ity, and bath­room walls need to stand up to con­den­sa­tion – all while look­ing good, too. Luck­ily, there are plenty of op­tions to choose from, rang­ing from stone and lux­ury vinyl tile to rub­ber, ce­ramic and en­gi­neered wood floor­ing.

Porce­lain tiles are an in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar choice thanks to their dura­bil­ity. ‘Good-qual­ity porce­lain tiles are ideal for use in bath­rooms and wet rooms,’ says Chris Grainger, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at The Stone & Ce­ramic Ware­house. ‘They are vir­tu­ally in­de­struc­tible and re­sis­tant to stains, as well as be­ing im­per­vi­ous to wa­ter, mak­ing them per­fect for use in high-traf­fic ar­eas such as bath­rooms. They won’t be dam­aged by de­ter­gents or any of the other chem­i­cals we fre­quently ex­pose our bath­room sur­faces to ei­ther.’

Such tiles come in a large range of fin­ishes, from wood-ef­fect to mar­ble and metallics.

Vilto shelv­ing unit, H150x W46xd26cm, £50; Odensvik/ God­mor­gon wash­stand with two draw­ers, H64xw63x D49cm, £150; Vilto shelv­ing unit, H90xw47xd20cm, £40; Vilto step stool, H25xw40xd32cm, £17; Lange­sund mir­ror, £20; Ös­tanå wall lamp, £15; Snåpp pedal...

Fleur bath­tub, H62xw75x L170cm, £899.99; Hat­tie van­ity unit, H66xw123x D47.5cm, £1,499.99; Iris mir­ror, Dia.100cm, £199.99; amie ra­di­a­tor, H60xw60cm, £299.99; Hat­tie bowl and waste, H14xw40xd40cm, £159.99, all

Above Chich­ester 1220 countertop wash­stand in Shell, H72.5xw122xd45cm, £990, Nep­tune

Be­low Phoenix bath­room suite, from £799, Wickes

Washed wood bath rack, £15; Mila laun­dry bas­ket, £10; Li­lac Stu­dio glass bot­tle, £30; Mila wash bag, £4; Dorma silk dress­ing gown, £60; Mila lo­tion dis­penser, £7; Mila tum­bler, £5; Mila trin­ket pot, £8; egyptian cot­ton tow­els, from £6, all Dunelm. For...

Speculo For­est wall tiles, £125 per m2; black honed mar­ble floor tiles, £149.50 per m2, both Topps Tiles

ador mar­ble-ef­fect porce­lain tiles, W10xl60cm, £39.95 per m2, Walls & Floors

Si­tar Lato ra­di­a­tor, H135xw50cm, £418, The ra­di­a­tor Com­pany

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