With a bewildering array of branded products on the market and enough options to make it difficult for you to decide where to begin, we recommend that you choose your bathroom design in collaboration with a professional bathroom designer.
At JMI Bathroom and Kitchen Centre of Bristol and Chipping Sodbury, we are happy to guide you through the process of choosing everything from the layout of your new bathroom to the selection of furniture and the specification of tiles and lighting.
But you may find it helpful to consider the different elements of what makes your ideal bathroom first. Once you have a clear idea of some of the things you like, we’ll be best placed to help you make your dreams into a reality.
1. Choosing your bathroom furniture and layout
When you are having a new bathroom put in, the existing layout of the bathroom furniture (the collective term we use for the main physical fixtures in a bathroom, such as baths, showers, washbasins, toilets and cupboards) need not necessarily be followed, though you might decide it is for the best in any case. Have a think about what elements you would ideally want in your bathroom, which of them you can fit in practice in the space you’ve got, and what layout would work best to accommodate as much as possible of what you want.
Depending on the size of your bathroom, the position of the window and door, and the available space, you may have room for any of the following:
- Fitted oblong bath – a standard bath grouted in to the tiles along two or three walls of your bathroom; an optional shower screen may be fitted so it serves as a shower too
- Fitted corner bath – ideal for small bathrooms, or can provide a cosy seated bathing experience for two
- Freestanding bath – for a traditional and luxurious look, these can be sited anywhere in the room, and are often preferred away from the walls in larger bathrooms
- Upright shower enclosure – generally designed to be sited across a fully tiled corner of the bathroom, these come in a variety of form factors including quadrant and rectangular, and often feature rounded outer corners; they comprise shower drainage tubs and matching screens
- Shower cabin – like shower enclosures, but fully enclosed, with screens on all sides, these are designed to be sited away from the wall.
- Standalone toilet – various designs available, from modern close-coupled to traditional high-rise and low-rise designs with separate tanks
- Hand-basin – these come in various sizes, from large ones that you can comfortably hold both hands in at once to narrow ones perfect for tight spaces
- Combination vanity unit – these space-saving modern designs combine the functions of hand-basin, toilet and cupboard into an integrated unit
- Bidet – a traditional element of bathroom suites of earlier times, still popular with some buyers
- Bathroom cupboard – an enclosed space in which to store your toiletries, bathroom supplies and first aid kit
- Mirror – essential when cleaning your teeth and useful when applying make-up and styling or cutting your hair
- Heated towel rail – a useful alternative to a bathroom radiator, allowing you to hang up your towel to dry with the assistance of your central heating at times of year when it is on
- Radiator – a normal radiator plumbed in to your central heating circuit, to help keep your bathroom nice and warm in winter
- Airing cupboard – a tall enclosed cupboard often used to site the hot water cylinder for homes with conventional and system boilers. It can be used to help keep towels warm and dry if there is free space in it. If, however, you have changed your boiler to a combi boiler and therefore no longer need a water tank, you might find that ripping out the entire airing cupboard frees up space that can be useful for siting a new shower for example.
- Extractor fan – this should be placed either in the ceiling (if it can be connected via the attic to the outside of the house) or in an outside wall
Please note that baths, showers, hand-basins and extractor fans all require holes to be drilled in walls by your plumber – a process known as core-drilling. If you are moving your bathroom furniture around from the layout you inherited, you may need to have existing holes filled in too.
2. Choosing a style for your bathroom furniture
When you come to choosing your bathroom furniture such as bath, hand-basin and toilet, it is well worth taking a look around at the styles of different brands and models to get a feel for what suits your aesthetic tastes – and if you live with a partner and / or children, their opinion may also be worth taking into account at this stage.
You will tend to find broadly speaking that the world of bathroom design today is split into traditional and modern schools of aesthetics, but within each school there are plenty of distinctive styles. Whatever style you select, we strongly recommend working consistently within that style for each individual bathroom, because the result then looks coherent.
At JMI Bathrooms, we are skilled at matching products with compatible aesthetics, and will be happy to advise you on this stage of the selection process. We work with many of the finest bathroom furniture brands and can supply custom bathroom solutions to match your desires and creative imagination.
You are in control of every last detail, including the finish of your fitted bath panels, the choice of your taps, and the material construction of your toilet seat; and no request is too particular for us here at JMI Bathrooms to fulfil (subject to the availability of matching products, of course – but if it exists, we’ll find it for you)!
3. Choosing a colour scheme
Bathrooms installed from the 1960s to the 1980s frequently featured suites of bath, basin and toilet in a matching colour. Some were pink, others various shades of yellow, brown and green, some even blue. Fashions change, and many homebuyers now feel that those coloured suites look dated and of their time, and seek to replace them.
In the 1990s, traditional white bathroom furniture and tiling, which had dominated British bathroom styles up to and including the 1950s, made a stealthy comeback. Another quarter of a century later, white bathroom suites have come to dominate preferred bathroom furniture style once again, with both traditional and modern designs sharing clean white colour sense.
However, that doesn’t need to mean that every last detail of your bathroom should be white, or even that you need to follow the current white trend at all. There is plenty of room for individual expression and variation according to your personal aesthetic tastes; and you may for instance find that dark or brightly coloured bathroom floor or wall tiles provide a contrast with your white bathroom furniture that gives your room more of a sense of individual personality, warmth or dramatic flair.
4. Choosing a wall covering
It is traditional to fit ceramic tiles to bathroom walls to at least about a metre in height in order to protect your walls against taking in damp from splashes originating in the bath and hand-basin and their taps. This approach is known in the plumbing trade as half-tiling.
Where you have a full-height shower (and who doesn’t want one these days?) you will probably want tiling to extend higher, at least to the height of the shower, and ideally all the way up to the ceiling. Even if you only have a shower attachment to your bath, with an adjacent shower screen, you will probably find that full-height tiling in that area looks better and helps protect the plaster of your walls from damp.
Once you have decided which parts of your walls need tiling, you can select from a wide variety of tile sizes, designs and colours. Brick-shaped ‘metro tiles’ have been a fashionable choice for traditional-style bathrooms in recent years, and are available not only in white but in a host of vibrant single colours. Where square tiles are concerned, larger sizes have become more popular than the traditional smallish square tiles. Whatever shape and size of tile you prefer, think about adding personality by introducing some colour variation into your design, instead of settling only on a single tile throughout, even if this is the cheapest option.
Your tiler will normally want to start tiling from around the bath or other main feature of your bathroom furniture, so that the tiles immediately above it around both sides are whole ones, and will then work downwards to the floor, upwards to the ceiling (where applicable), and outwards to the other corners of the room. Depending on how low the window comes, there may even be scope for tiling into the edges of the window opening.
Whichever areas of wall you leave untiled will probably be best painted. Some older bathrooms have wallpaper on them, but because wallpaper tends to peel away in damp conditions, it hasn’t usually aged well. Specialised bathroom paints that are formulated to be resistant to damp and mould are widely available.
Depending on the condition of the bathroom wall after the old decoration has been stripped away, you may find it preferable to have the exposed areas replastered before painting them, so that the painted finish looks smoother and holds the colour it is supposed to have better.
5. Choosing a floor covering
Many bathrooms fitted before the 1990s will be found to have either carpet or vinyl floor coverings directly over the floorboards, or separated from them only by vinyl floor tiles. If your bathroom has vinyl floor tiles from the 1980s or earlier, there is a fair chance that they may contain a low level of asbestos, and for reasons of safety, it would be preferable to have them removed at the time of having your bathroom refitted.
In any case, for reasons of keeping the floorboards in good condition and preventing spills and damp from seeping through to the ceiling beneath, most bathroom fitters now prefer to put a protective layer of solid marine-grade or hardwood ply over all areas of the floor outside the bathroom furniture, and then to add the final floor covering over this.
Carpets are no longer such a popular choice as they once were for bathrooms, though they can still be fitted if desired. Most householders prefer a hard floor covering that can easily be wiped clean.
Choose from among high-quality laminates and a wide variety of ceramic and porcelain tiles for your floor.
But before your new bathroom floor is fitted, spare a thought for the possibility of first having underfloor heating installed! The feeling of warmth under your feet when you have just stepped out of the shower or bath is a 21st century luxury you may wish to indulge in; and we are happy to design and install underfloor heating for all our bathroom customers.
6. Choosing bathroom cupboards and mirrors
Nowadays, bathroom cupboards are offered in a wide variety of finishes, from white and custom-coloured laminate to wood. Let JMI Bathrooms help you choose a style that matches your taste!
Where mirrors are concerned, you can choose between cupboards with mirror doors, large single-panelled mirrors in various shapes, and futuristic illuminated mirrors lit from behind.
Choosing a new bathroom is an exciting opportunity to transform your home living experience and make visiting and staying in your house more appealing to guests.
At JMI Bathrooms, we love to help in this process and see your projects through from the drawing board to their complete realisation.
You can see just a few examples of bathroom style choices we can offer that may inspire you in the Bathrooms Gallery on our main Bespoke Fitted Bathrooms page. Just click the thumbnails for larger pictures.
We look forward to hearing from you about your bathroom remodelling visions, and to working with you to bring them to life!
0117 9720 171 / 01454 319 019