Once all the bathroom fittings and fixtures are in place you may find there is little room left for custom made free-standing cupboards and shelving, so it is vital that storage is considered at the planning stage. Returning to the graph-paper floor plan of your bathroom, assess the available space. Remember that no elements, except perhaps the windows, need be constant. Building a false wall a few feet out from a real one might create an ample walk-in closet.
Alternatively, build-out to either side of the basin to custom size the cabinet or the bath, creating a decorative alcove (which could be mirror-lined) and providing twin storage units. Use the space above and below the fittings; set the basins into cupboards and utilise the otherwise wasted area above the bath with a row of shelves or a towel rail.
Modular shelving units need not necessarily stand against a wall; projecting at right angles, they can also serve as decorative room dividers. Built-in storage units are a good way to make use of every available inch of space. Made to measure, they can be fitted into awkward alcoves or under sloping attic ceilings. A row of floor-to-ceiling cupboards will give a room a streamlined finish, as well as disguise less decorative elements such as the hot water tank or cluttered shelves.
BEHIND CLOSED DOORS
Twin storage units have been built out from the wall to either side of the basin in this sunny, well-lit bathroom. The ‘cupboard’ on the right houses a toilet; the other provides ample space for a shower. The shower’s interior is fully tiled and the unit has a conventional shower door, which provides a better seal than the exterior door. Linked by the pedimented mirror above the basin, the two units add an architectural note to the room, creating a decorative feature out of necessity. For good measure, the design of the doors neatly echoes the shutters at the window and the panels on the bath.
Double doors for the bathroom cabinets can provide a flexible alternative. They allow the two rooms to be closed off from each other completely when shut, and yet virtually made one when open. They would be particularly appropriate in cases where an en suite bathroom has another access and might, on occasions, be used by people other than the occupants of the adjoining bedroom. An en suite bedroom and bathroom should be planned in conjunction. Not only should they look good together, complementing each other in decorative terms, but they should work well together.
Depending on the positioning of the two rooms, the less-than-decorative items such as the toilet and bidet should be discreetly placed out of sight from the bedroom. If they cannot be hidden, then folding wooden screens, either painted or decorated with decoupage or fabric, a curtained canopy, an opaque glass screen or a simple semi – partition wall can all be brought into play. Another ploy is to focus attention elsewhere, making a decorative feature of the bath or basin. Continue the style of decoration through from one room to the other. The bathroom need not be a replica of the bedroom but should echo the same themes.
Use matching fabric at the windows or complement the wallpaper in one room with a fabric in the same design in the other, and run the same floor covering throughout both rooms, if possible, for an added sense of continuity. One final consideration; particular attention should be given to heating en-suite bathrooms, especially if the bathing area is not sectioned off from the bedroom. Large rooms are difficult to heat evenly, and you might want to consider additional heating near the bath to ward off post-bathing chills.