Planning Your New Bathroom
Until recently, more attention was given to the living rooms or kitchen in house design, as these traditionally serve a much more social function than the bathroom. Yet the very purpose of the bathroom means that it should be one of the most appealing rooms in your house - being a place to get ready for the day ahead, or to relax in after a stressful one. This means that it should not be a cold and badly decorated room, but instead a warm and luxurious haven within your house. Sometimes it will not take much to change your bathroom into such an inviting place; a simple change of colour, and perhaps the addition of a large mirror, the right heating and lighting can make it perfect without having to completely renovate the room. If a larger overhaul is needed, then make sure that you take the right steps to create a bathroom that is both practical and appealing.
First try looking around various shops and also utilise the internet, as this will help you to decide upon a design that you like. Keep in mind things such as the tile or paint colour you may wish to use for the room, and how this might affect your choice of suite, as well as thinking about the different finishes that you'd like to incorporate.
If you decide to go for a new suite, then think carefully about the choices that you make - here you have an opportunity to get everything perfect within the room, and if you make the proper plans then the end result should be very satisfying.
With the obvious complications of drainage and piping within a bathroom, it is important to have a clear idea of how you want the room to look before you call the plumber. Although you may want to completely change the look of your bathroom, you have to take into account the position of pipes within the room, as well as the position of the main soil stack (the pipe which your toilet is connected to that usually runs down the outside of your house). It is much more cost effective if you leave your toilet in the same place, as it is difficult to change the position of the stack. Also think about how the pipes in your room will work - once again it will be cheaper and easier to install if you have the bath, sink and toilet in a line within the bathroom, this way they can be served by continuous water pipes in the wall. Make sure that you measure your bathroom (in metric), and perhaps sketch out a scale plan of where you want to have your fixtures and fittings. There are many factors that you have to keep in mind when planning out your room; take into account what is wrong with your current room as well as the how your new bathroom is to be used. Such factors include:
* How is the room to be utilised fully? It is a personal room and so must reflect the priorities of the users in its layout. For instance you need to take into account how often the bathtub or shower would be used, or how much storage space is needed.
* How many bathrooms and showers do you already have, and is this going to be the main bathroom? Will any safety provisions have to be made for children?
* Where are the doors, windows and ventilation areas placed within the room, and will they impact your layout?
* Does your current system supply enough hot water?
* Where is the hot water cylinder and airing cupboard? Will you have easy access to it when the bathroom is finished?
* Is there anything you want to keep within your current bathroom, and if so, is it moveable or fixed?
* Do all of your current fittings need replacing, or are some in an acceptable condition?
* The characteristics of any furniture should be considered; will you opt for fitted or freestanding furniture? Decisions on the types of heating, lighting and ventilation should not be neglected. When having lighting installed, make sure that it coincides with the installation of any cabinets and fittings, just in case wiring has to be run behind them. Also ensure that it complies with all the current legislation's.
* Most importantly, consider your budget - how much can you afford to spend, and how will this impact upon the designs that you choose? Have a look around; if you cannot afford a designer brand of a certain style that you like, there are companies that offer very similar designs for a much-reduced price.
The bathroom today is usually designed so that numerous members of a family can use it, and yet personal space is still required. For this reason it is important that certain divisions are made within the room, giving connected but distinct areas to be used. Three basic areas often used are the washing area, consisting of the sink and any storage needed, the bathing area, made up of the bath and/or shower, and the sanitary area, which includes the toilet and perhaps a bidet as well. Partitions and doors can help make this distinction between areas clear, such as between a shower area and the toilet area. One could also make use of a layout that emphasises independent zones, almost separating one area from the next.
The amount of space available will obviously have an impact upon the layout of your bathroom. There are numerous measures that can be taken even if the space available is limited. Make sure that there will be enough space around each of your fittings to ensure that they can be used properly, and without any snags. There should be room to get in and out of the bathtub without obstacle, while access to the toilet and sink should be likewise unhindered. A space of around 700mm should be left from the bath, with distances of 1000mm maintained around the toilet and sink if possible. If you choose to use a shower cubicle, make sure that you have room to open the door and get in and out without any problems.
Space saving measures will be discussed in more detail elsewhere, but can include installing a shower cubicle instead of a bath, fitting one of the new combination shower baths, using a corner sink fitting, a wall hung toilet, or using a built in sink, in place of a freestanding one. Using simple designs and maximising the use of light will mean that a room will not have a cluttered feel to it.