Walls & Floors
The glazed surface of ceramic tiles adds sheen to a bathroom or shower wall and is easy to clean. (Image: Habibi)
Tongue-and-groove panelling is an effective and elegant look in a traditional country style bathroom. The top of the panelling (approx 1.16 high) can be finished with beading. (Image: Mandarin Stone)
Tiles can add colour, pattern or texture to a bathroom. Timeless bathrooms are often in white or natural stone colours, particularly limestone or slate. With the huge choice of porcelain tiles on the market, you can opt for a stone-look without the maintenance issues of real stone. There are also porcelain tiles that look like real wood. If you prefer a low maintenance floor, porcelain tiles are an excellent option. Installing DITRA matting under the tiles protects against movement.
Marble tiles, mosaics or stone slabs can add glamour – and expense. (Image: Vitruvius)
Wool carpets should be avoided as they tend to rot if they frequently get wet, but consider softening the floor with a washable rug. There are carpets which are made for bathrooms, which are rubber-backed and made of cotton or synthetic fibres, if you want softness underfoot.
Wooden flooring can deteriorate if not sealed with a protective layer of varnish.
Eco-friendly floor coverings include cork, a sustainable material which is soft underfoot and linoleum which is made from linseed oil, wood resin and powdered cork.
When designing an en suite bathroom, try to link it visually to the adjoining bedroom, by using either the same paint colour or a lighter or deeper shade. (Image: Drummonds)
Electrics & Plumbing
Specify a series of spotlights for good ambient light in the bathroom. Different areas of the bathroom have different IP (ingress protection) ratings, depending on how close the area is to water and the possibility of immersion or splashing. Consult a good electrical supplier for the correct type of lights in each position and always include a good extractor fan for ventilation. (Image: Naumov)
Include a light over the basin mirror, on a separate switch. If you should use the bathroom in the middle of the night, you can then switch this light on rather than illuminating the entire bathroom. Consider adding a shaving socket, wiring in speakers, or adding an illuminated magnifying mirror.
Include a heated towel radiator, linked to the central heating or hot water system, in close proximity to the bath and to the basin. Ensure the finish matches the finish of your fittings: chrome, nickel, satin chrome, satin nickel, antique gold, copper. Check the BTU rating of the heated towel radiator to ensure there is sufficient heat output for the bathroom. You may need a supplementary radiator. Establish how many BTUs you need by measuring the length, width and height of the room, the number of outside walls and windows and consulting a heating specialist. You might also want to install electric underfloor heating under tiles.
Consider sandblasted or acid-etched glass or window film for privacy. (Image: Cheverell)
Slatted shutters or Venetian blinds let in light but keep out prying eyes.