Plan the perfect bathroomBathroom Design & Planning | 30/03/2016
A full checklist for your new or renovated bathroom
When planning a bathroom – whether new build or refurbishment – there are many things to take into consideration. To make the process that much more enjoyable our experts at Lakes Bathrooms have provided their planning top tips to help you achieve the bathroom you desire.
Before you start…
Your first decision in planning any bathroom needs to be about what you want and need from the room: It is to be a functional family space, a stylish sanctuary, or a high-tech showstopper?
- Functional space ☐
- Stylish (luxury) space ☐
- Show stopping (technologically advanced) space ☐
Once you have that focus in mind, you should plan carefully to make the best use of available space; thinking about whether bathing is essential or if showering is your preference. Do you want to combine the two with a bath and shower screen, or devote space to a wetroom or walk-in?
- Bath only ☐
- Combination bath and shower ☐
- Separate bath and shower ☐
- Wetroom ☐
- Walk-in shower ☐
- Fully enclosed shower ☐
When planning your space, make sure you’ve thought practically about how the room will work once it’s created. Will doors open the right way? Will everything fit and function the way you hope?
Begin your bathroom on paper and draw a plan to scale so that you can check your design will work. Grab some graph paper and plot your room outline before adding the elements you want to include. Alternatively there are now a number of online tools for accurately planning spaces. Take care to include radiators and other fixtures, plus windows and doors.
- Plan on paper ☐
- Plan online ☐
Walk yourself through using the room in your mind and check that it fulfils all your practical preferences. Planning in lighting and electrics forms part of this – do you need power to a cabinet (for example for shaving or toothbrush points) or light directed over certain features?
Next think about what sort of investment you want to make and hence how much you want to spend. Budgeting effectively is essential, so start by researching and pricing your chosen fixtures, fittings and finishes. Think about functionality like heating – do you want underfloor warmth, for example – and ventilation or extraction need to be considered.
- Underfloor heating? ☐
- Extraction fan? ☐
Eco aspects are now often considered in the bathroom. Do you want to capitalise on the latest design innovations that save water, power or avoid chemical pollutants? If this is on your list of priorities then do your homework when planning so that you can include environmentally responsible elements in your bathroom and buy from companies with good eco and ethical credentials.
Where to spend and where to save:
In terms of spending, that old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ holds true in the bathroom. So it’s wise to invest in the best fixtures and fittings that your budget can accommodate.
If you’re financially astute, you will probably want to consider the lifetime value of the things you’re buying and consider how long they may last. Choosing elements or treatments that may extend the life of your bathroom is a wise buy – for example a stay-clean coating on your shower enclosure, shower door or bath screen will keep it looking good for longer and improve its durability.
- Do you want a stay clean coating on your shower? ☐
If you plan to have a shower in your bathroom then devote as much space to it as you can. Space is luxurious in the shower and with minimalist glass enclosures you can create a sense of light and space that really enhances the look of your bathroom.
Spend a bit of your time and potentially save a lot of your money by shopping around. There are some great deals out there and so thorough research really pays off. Check whether it’s most cost effective to buy your fittings separately or as part of a package – it may be that you can negotiate extras if you concentrate your spend with one supplier. Time to get serious with your negotiation skills!
If you dream of a wetroom but are put off by the cost, then you may be able to create the look and feel for less. Wet room demand has driven the traditional shower enclosure manufacturers to offer alternatives, with trays shrinking from 110mm monsters down to as little as 25mm in height. New lightweight materials make these easier to install and minimalist walk-in enclosure design goes a long way to create the wet room feel without the cost and hassle of waterproofing. It’s a B plan option to consider when budgets get squeezed, or when practical difficulty overtakes wet room feasibility.
When to DIY and when to seek help:
You can save even further by getting involved in your bathroom project at a practical level. The things that you can tackle yourself are the labour intensive parts of the job: Ripping out, preparing, creating the blank canvas. Then decoration and even tiling can be mastered. It may take you a little longer than a professional, but if you have the time and want to save money then it’s an option to consider.
Design is an area that you may be happy to do yourself; laying out the component parts of your room and choosing what will work where. However, many bathroom retailers offer a design service using specialist software that can create photo-realistic 3D pictures and real-time walk-throughs to give you a vision of your chosen bathroom design.
For safety and legal reasons you mustn’t attempt any electrical work yourself (this is now covered by Part P in the domestic market and must be conducted by a suitably qualified professional). Plumbing is another area where it’s best to rely on an expert. Whilst easy plumb screw fittings may make it tempting to attempt, a good plumber will be taking all sorts of factors into account, such as fall-away angle in the shower to ensure it drains well. Take care to comply with any regulatory factors such as Building Control if your bathroom project includes any structural work – this is definitely an area for the experts.
Last minute considerations can make or break the functional performance of the bathroom. For instance a bathroom can look stunning in the spring when it’s fitted, but then prove impractical come winter-time if heating wasn’t properly planned. Think ahead for things like lighting, storage, heating and extraction.
Basically in summation, when it comes to bathroom and shower choices, a bit of planning goes a long way, because once you know the logistics of your space choosing the right shower enclosure, style and door opening mechanic, is so much simpler. At Lakes Bathrooms we have a range of enclosures, trays, and door options to suit whatever your plan may be, check out our collections here.