First, decide on how much money you have to spend in the bathroom. Make a list of what jobs need to be done by an expert and what jobs you can tackle yourself. Unless you have had experience in plumbing and electrical work, however, it is best to call in the professionals: they have the expertise to do the job speedily and have all the right tools at their disposal. Obtain at least two quotes for the work and deduct this from your total budget.
Providing you keep designs simple, decorating, tiling and laying the flooring are jobs you can do yourself. To keep costs to a minimum, use existing pipe runs to plumb in the new fixtures.
Choosing a suite
Visit local do-it-yourself stores and plumbers merchants to compare the cost of new bathroom fixtures. Whole suites are often pre-packed, ready to take home and offer good value. Although colours are not limited to white and cream, this is not really a drawback since these colours match most schemes. Furthermore, plain white and cream tiles are among the cheapest to buy. lf purchasing a bathrooms fixtures as separate items, remember to check that taps, toilet cistern fittings, and wastes are included in the price.
Keeping costs down Tiling walls from top to bottom will add to the cost of a new bathroom, so limit tiling to areas such as the basin and tub splashbacks and the shower enclosure, and paint the other areas. Varnish and high gloss paint finishes will render surfaces water-repellent but are not practical for regularly soaked areas Good lighting will make the room more pleasant and safer to use. Install a track of low-price spotlights that can be angled towards specific areas. Roller blinds are also inexpensive; different styles allow natural light in but maintain privacy.
Creative floor plans
The increasing demand of many homeowners for en-suite bathrooms often means that a larger room is divided up or the extra bathroom is squeezed into an awkward area. Both of these solutions can leave you with an irregular-shaped room with little natural light. Imaginative floor planning, however, will ensure that fixtures are well situated and irregular floors are an asset, not a drawback. Conventional bathroom layouts will be of little help if the new bathroom is to be installed in a space that is long, tapered, or has intrusive features such as a chimney breast. A corner tub or shower makes good use of a small area, or the toilet could be situated there and screened by a partition for privacy. Low projection toilets and basins in bathrooms leave more room for movement than conventional models, making them a practical option.
Floors need to be comfortable and non-slip, especially where changes in level occur. Define level changes to make it easier to judge distances as you move about the room. Make use of higher floor levels with restricted headroom by placing the toilet or bidet there.
When allocating space for fixtures, allow sufficient room for the “activity area” to make it safe and easy to use. The recommended space may not always be possible to achieve, but common sense tells you that elbow room for cleaning teeth and space for showering are essential.