The second major item of bathroom suite equipment is, of course, the bath. Baths are now available in a range of materials and many different shapes, sizes and colours. Shorter baths are less satisfactory in use than long ones and should only be used where there is insufficient space for an average 1700mm long bath.
The simplest baths have taps and waste at one end, with the taps being either central or, if it is more convenient, at a corner and these models, being at the cheaper end of the market, are generally sensible, straightforward designs. As in other fields, however, manufacturers let their imaginations rip as prices rise, often with results that are none too happy. Many larger, more luxurious baths incorporate welcome refinements such as built- in grab handles, soap recesses, taps placed on the side of the bath so that they can be reached easily, and non-slip areas for showering.
Other luxury bathroom suites are a different matter and display fanciful, amorphous and vulgar forms of no practical value or beauty. The increased use of materials such as acrylic and glass reinforced plastics has also tended to bring out the worst in bath manufacturers. But there are exceptions and these are worth seeking out for the advantages they offer. If you choose a bath that has no provision for things such as soap, nail brush and sponge, these will need to be kept somewhere else close at hand – and even a bath with a built-in soap dish is unlikely to have enough space for everything. Recessed holders for fitting into the wall are a good answer to this problem; they are made in ceramic to match tiled walls.
Projecting receptacles are also available in many different forms. A grab handle is well worth having – particularly if there are children or elderly people in the house. Accessories, in general, are discussed in more depth in other parts of our website. The bathroom suite is most likely to be fitted against a wall or possibly in the corner of the bathroom. There are baths on the market that fit diagonally across the corner of the room where space allows, but it is difficult to see a much practical advantage in this, although the effect is a bit exotic. Since they simply take up more space than a conventional bath, perhaps they just serve to demonstrate the fact that one has a bathroom big enough to have space to spare. There may be room, in large bathrooms, to have the bath in the middle of the floor and circular baths are available with this in mind.
Such an arrangement may suggest the luxury of ancient Rome, with room for the slaves to dance round in attendance, but again its practical advantages are dubious. Even in an unusually large room, the bathroom suites may well be best kept against a wall, with a clear space for accessing about 1100 x 700mm next to it running alongside the bath.