Creating a beautiful family bathroom is not only a project that can add real value to your home, but it can also make busy mornings flow a lot easier! Knowing where to begin if it’s your first home project to tackle can be a bit of minefield though – we made plenty of mistakes when we first started to discover our passion for interior design. It would have been lovely if someone had let me know a few useful tips before we began – so I decided to create a cheat sheet here of things we wish we’d been told.
Plan it all out
It can be tempting to jump straight in and start making changes, but it pays off to spend more time planning before you actually get into the nitty-gritty of renovation. Prepare the heating and lighting as integral parts of the design, rather than as afterthoughts, and consider any immovable structural features you may need to plan the design around, such as load-bearing walls or chimneys in older properties. Also, take note of where your current soil pipes and hot water supply are located as this may affect where you can place things in the new layout. Making a scale drawing of the floorplan and adding cutouts of the fixtures you want can help you to avoid expensive mistakes – or a lot of bathroom companies will visit with 3D software to show you how best you can use the space available.
Make it Childproof
Whether you have kids now or are thinking of starting a family in the future, consider the design features that will make a difference. I know that before my daughter came along, I wouldn’t have considered soft-close toilet seats to be an essential, but where there are little fingers to protect, it becomes necessary. Similarly, you can also get devices that regulate the temperature fitted in the shower, and tiles with a special coating to reduce the risk of slipping. Make sure you also include a lockable cabinet that small people can’t reach, to keep medicines and hazardous items like razors out of harm’s way. Making a few savvy design choices now could prevent a minor disaster in the future!
Use the space well
In most family homes, space is at a premium, so have a think about how best to squeeze what you need out of the floor plan available. Clever space saving tricks like curved corner shower units that maximise dead space, moving storage units off the floor by opting for wall mounted cupboards and shelf and opting for a heated towel rail instead of a space-sapping traditional radiator can all make a bigger difference than you might think. Think about the type of suite and especially the sink and associated storage you need and check out Unique Vanities to get the most out of your newly-designed room.
Stop the morning rush
It’s absolutely key to design a space where movement can flow smoothly, as a family bathroom always has peak times of demand, like first thing in the morning when the kids need to get ready for school and adults have work to think about. If you have space, consider fitting twin sinks – these can be a lifesaver! Baths with centrally placed taps can take two younger children at once, and even just fitting a second handheld hose in your shower unit means you can take kids in the shower with you, or hose them down quickly.
Think about storage
When sharing a family bathroom, having well thought out storage can reduce day to day friction and make the space work so much better for everyone.There are often hidden pockets of space in even the smallest room that can provide unexpected extra storage with the right design. My motto is that there’s always scope for another drawer somewhere! Similarly, while bare shelves can quickly become swamped with clutter, using a few stylish storage baskets to separate and contain different types of object can give a much sleeker look that hides a lot of stuff.We’ve also discovered, in our bathroom, that a simple thing like hooks can make a massive difference. They don’t take up any space, and can be used to hang up baskets of bath toys, extra towels and discarded clothes – you can even buy ones that slot over the door frame to use every inch of spare space.
Budget well – and expect the unexpected
It’s not quite as much fun as choosing paint colours or picking out the perfect new bath, but planning ahead with the cost of your renovation project is an essential. Shop around for the best deals on the suite you want, make sure you approach multiple bathroom fitters for a range of quotes and sign up early to newsletters from home stores and suppliers for early warning on sales and exclusive subscriber discounts. The budget you have in mind will be hugely different depending on how much of the work you’re doing yourself if you’re replacing the whole suite or only certain items and how much you’re planning to alter the layout. There are lots of hidden extras you need to include – it always surprised me how much decent taps cost! Plus, there’s tiles, lighting and all the finishing touches, like new towels and soap dispensers. Start by listing out exactly what you want to achieve and be realistic about the costs involved. I would also advise to always plan in a contingency amount in case of any unexpected little extras that pop up along the way.
Don’t forget the luxury
Although practicality is a major element here, don’t forget to include a little luxury as well. After all, when the kids have gone to bed, there’s no better ‘me time’ than a deep, relaxing soak in the tub to make you forget about everyday concerns. Introducing lots of storage means that bath toys and children’s clutter can easily be tidied away, and adding some adjustable LED downlights can bring a feeling of calm to the space – I love this guide to different types of bathroom mood lighting!
Good luck with your project and enjoy the beautiful new space you’re creating!