Today’s bathrooms are a far cry from the past when getting clean involved a quick rinse off in the shower. Now it is all about luxury and relaxation — a place where you go to unwind, pamper yourself and savour the experience.
“As we live our lives with busy schedules and changing technology, the bathroom of today is now becoming a sanctuary from the daily grind of everyday life,” Cassie Dyce, design consultant at WA Assett, The Bathroom Renovators, says.
“It is a place of inspiration and contemplation, while offering a number of different functional requirements. You want to create functional yet beautiful space.”
Here the experts outline the elements required to create the perfect bathroom.
A bathroom that focuses on a combination of light, space and finishes will always function well and look great, according to Reece Bathroom marketing manager Daniela Santili.
She says its design, fixtures and decor selections needs to be guided by the size of the room and who will be using it.
“The space’s intended use will directly affect the layout, fittings and finishes you choose,” she says. “Finally, add design flourishes like candles and nice hand wash, flowers and quality linen. This will really tie the space together and give it a ‘finished’ look.”
Town & Country Designs’ Melanie DeMelt says the perfect bathroom also has to have good storage to keep it tidy and organised, while Veejay’s Dave Whitehead says lighting (dimming downlights) and heating (towel rails and floor heating) are great ways to add comfort.
If you have room, Ms Dyce says to install a deep, freestanding bath tub to help create a spa-like bathroom and to stick with natural colours if trying to emulate a hotel feel. “Think of your bathroom as a room to be decorated rather than one to simply equip,” she says.
“It may be the smallest room in the house but that doesn’t mean it needs to be boring. Brighten it with pops of colour and use striking wall art, bespoke murals and texture to bring it to life. Think outside that box.”
Whether starting from scratch or renovating, thorough planning is the key to achieving a bathroom that suits your budget, space and style, Ms Santili says.
“If you’re retrofitting an existing bathroom you’ll need to consider existing plumbing and electrical points as these will directly affect the layout of the room, whereas if you’re building from scratch you’ll have complete creative reign,” she says.
“For those working to a strict budget we recommend compiling a list of ‘must haves’ and a list of ‘lust- haves.’ The inclusion of splurges may need to be revised once the final costs are completed.” Ms DeMelt says to choose fixtures and decor that require little maintenance.
“As people are becoming more time poor, easy maintenance is a must so go for larger tiles which minimises grout and also walk-in showers with no doors, meaning no glass screens to clean and a more spacious feeling.”
Ms Dyce says lighting is another important consideration.
“Focused mood lighting and flush- mounted LED lighting are replacing the broad overhead clinical look,” she says. “Making the lighting flexible easily changes the room from functional to atmospheric.” Ms Santili recommends using Reece’s 3D bathroom planner (www.reece.com.au/bathrooms) in the design process.
“This is a great online tool that helps you explore the possibilities of the space you’re working with, putting the entire Reece bathroom product range at your fingertips, as well as a range of fitting, finish and lighting options,” she says.
“The 3D planner’s ability to incorporate specific room dimensions, existing plumbing, power outlets and window and door spaces means your vision will reflect the important realities of any bathroom project.”
Floating — or wall hung — vanities are now available for all styles and budgets and black bathroom fixtures are increasingly being fitted as bathroom focal points, according to Ms Dyce.
Ms DeMelt says space-saving concealed toilet cisterns are another popular choice, while Mr Whitehead says timber or timber-look products on floors, walls and cabinetry is also a growing trend.
“For example, timber-look tiles, timber mosaics and timber or stressed timber laminates on cabinetry,” he says. “This is bringing warmth and character into new designs.”
Focal tiles, wall tapware mixer sets and natural finishes like marble are other hot bathroom looks, Ms Santili says. “Consumers are also showing a keen interest in geometric tiling such as round or diamond-shaped tiles and unique printed or patterned tiles to create a focal point within their bathroom space,” she says.
HOW TO MAKE SMALL SPACES WORK
- Mr Whitehead says layout is everything when renovating a small “Stick to minimalist designs such as wall-hung vanities and frameless shower screens in order to enhance the illusion of space,” he says.
- Ms DeMelt says a great way to keep a small bathroom uncluttered is to install narrow wall cabinets that allow you to stand at the mirror and use one product after the other without having to put them down on the benchtop.
- Use a neutral colour palette on the floors to make the room appear bigger, Ms Dyce says.
- Maximise the natural light by installing a skylight, big windows or mirrors, Ms Santili says.
- Careful selection and placement of fittings, colours and mirrors can all make a bathroom seem bigger, Mr Whitehead says.
- Ms Dyce says to install full- width countertop-to-ceiling height mirrored walls over vanities to help stretch the space visually and to create a streamlined look.
- Ms Santili says corner, freestanding or swivel towel rails and wall-hung accessories like toothbrush holders and tumblers are great space savers.
HOW TO GET THE LUXURY LOOK
> Lay floor-to-ceiling tiles to create a feeling of height, Ms DeMelt says.
> Install heated floors, heated towel rails, big rain showerheads and matte-finish tiles for a luxury spa-resort feel, Ms Dyce says.
> Put in a freestanding bath and a wet room-style, walk-in shower, Ms Santili recommends.
> Ms Santili says to dress the room with premium linen and accessories like decorative candles, flowers and hand washes.
> Enhance freestanding baths and benchtop basins with wall lights, floor lighting and even a chandelier, Mr Whitehead says.