We asked Sarah Watson of Balineum for her tips on bathroom design…
Why did you decide to design a range of bathroom products?
I felt there was a gap in the market. When I first started Balineum it seemed to me it was very easy to buy modern bathroom furniture and fittings, and I just felt there was room for more interesting designs. The products we sell are all very much products that I would want to use when designing a bathroom.
How does lighting affect the look of the bathroom?
Lighting is so very important. You want it to be functional (to avoid potentially embarrassing make-up application or shaving mistakes) but you also want it to be flattering and soothing. The bathroom is the room in which you are the most exposed. I would recommend having a ceiling light and wall fitted lights above or beside your mirror, and I’d have both of them on separate dimmers so you can control the lighting depending on your mood and needs. We are delighted to announce that later this year we are going into our first foray of lighting, all damp-rated fixtures selected for their timelessness and adaptability to the bathroom. They will have a hint of Art-Deco design for this capsule collection so, watch this space!
Where is it best to use tiles? Shower only? Or on all the bathroom walls?
Tiles are not only practical for bathrooms and wet rooms but make a statement. One of my favourite combinations is to tile half way up the wall and tile all the wet spaces and then use a patterned wallpaper above the tile so the bathroom really begins to feel like another room in the house.
How do you decide on the colour, finish, size and shape of tiles?
There are so many tiles out there to choose from. When planning your own bathroom, I recommend spending a lot of time on Pinterest to see how other people have used tile sizes, patterns and grout colours. When developing our Henley tile collection we made a point of adding in detail sizes to really finish the collection – a baseboard, a bull-nose, and different shapes, so you can create patterns and really elevate a wall beyond using just simple square or rectangle field tiles.
When would you specify underfloor heating?
I am not an expert in underfloor heating, but I would have thought is a great addition to any sized bathroom. It gives off such a lovely, soothing heat.
Freestanding baths and basins on washstands are lovely, but how do you integrate storage?
People often underestimate how many things you want and need to store in your bathroom. We always suggest wide countertops so you have enough space for essentials such as soap dispensers and other accoutrements. All our washstands come with towel bars or shelves. Adding a wall shelf below your mirror or a medicine cabinet is another great way to get some extra space for toiletries. Baskets are always handy for towels. And building in a storage cupboard (for towels, medicines and spare toiletries) is always a great idea if you can.
What type of finish do you recommend for shower and basin taps?
I love them all. Chrome and nickel are perennially popular but we are seeing a resurgence in brass and bronze fittings in the bathroom. All the major tap suppliers will provide warranties and care instructions for all their finishes, so just make a decision based on what you like and the design you are trying to achieve.
How do you care for these?
Your tap supplier will give you instructions for the selected finish, but the general rule of thumb is always avoid cleaners with harsh abrasives as this will damaged the plating. And regular cleaning – wiping with a soft cloth after use will help prevent limescale build up.
What is the simplest way to brighten an all white bathroom?
Colourful towels or a coat of paint are quick wins. Also add some sleek accessories, perhaps in a different finish such as pewter or rattan. And a piece of colourful furniture like a stool is a great idea if you have the room.
Shower curtain or glass shower enclosure?
Shower curtain for me – that is how I started Balineum, because I really wanted to find a fabric shower curtain for my own flat. I like using natural fabrics like linen and cotton in bathrooms. The layering gives the room more texture and a touch of luxury.
What are the current trends in bathroom design?
We hear more and more customers wanting to create a ‘spa-room’, making the bathroom a peaceful place to linger and big or small it is a sanctuary away from the frenetic lives we lead today. We are also seeing people being more bold with colour in the bathroom and using finishes other than chrome and nickel – and I hope all these are trends that continue.
Launched six years ago with a range of smart shower curtains and towels, Balineum is now known for a wide range of luxury bathroom products, from washstands to mirrors. Their new ‘Henley’ ceramic tiles, hand-made in Stoke-on-Trent, come in a spectrum of colorful glazes. www.balineum.co.uk