Creating an elegant and practical bathroom

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Bathroom STimes

Your bathroom should be a place of luxury and serenity, but it also needs to be functional.

It’s no surprise that with modern lifestyles, many families want more than one bathroom. I’d argue that one bathroom, plus an en-suite in the master bedroom, is enough formost houses.

I wouldn’t advise giving up a bedroom as houses are often valued by them. An en-suite can fit into a surprisingly small space; and sliding pocket doors can help.

There’s a trend to remove baths in favour of large walk-in showers. These can be stunning but pricey, and should be installed with expert care. With sinks, I prefer counter-top basins or wall hung vanity units to old-fashioned bulky pedestal sinks. But as the pipework will show, it should be installed well to ensure visual appeal.

Cabinets with counter-top basins offer added storage, and waterfall mixer taps are lovely. But digital showers are the greatest innovation. The controls are outside the shower so you can warm the water up before stepping in and even control it from your bed. They’re also good at helping conserve water and energy.

Condensation can create problems if you don’t have good ventilation, so don’t scrimp on your extractor, especially if you have no window. It won’t just air your bathroom, it will also protect the rest of the house from moist air. Aim for a silent extractor, particularly if the bathroom is close to a bedroom, and look for models with a humidistat and timer.

Natural stone looks good in a bathroom. It needs a little maintenance but has a soft elegance that porcelain lacks and it’s well worth the trade off. For me, pitted travertine adds a lovely tone to the room. I’d advise against floor-to-ceiling tiling. It’s cold, clinical and harder to change later. Instead, tile your shower and floor, then use good quality bathroom paint on the walls.

Before appointing a contractor make sure you do your homework and work out where you need to compromise; give serious thought as to whether you want a shower or bath or can realistically have both. Striking the right balance between practicality and having a space you really love is time well spent - after all, a bathroom should be a space you enjoy as much as any other.

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