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Bathroom ideas

Designing a new bathroom might seem a daunting task, but with our gorgeous bathroom ideas and expert advice it needn’t be. There are several essential elements to consider when you think about bathroom design – whether you want to know how to install a shower room or what bathroom suite will suit your space, our gorgeous bathroom decorating ideas gallery is packed with inspiring pictures to get you started.

Browse these beautiful (and practical, we promise!) bathroom schemes for all styles and budgets to get a sense of what you like. From vintage bathrooms with free-standing tubs to modern bathrooms, there’s a huge range of options to choose from so it pays to do a bit a research before you invest.

Consider clutter-proofing with the right bathroom storage to keep your new scheme looking box fresh and finish the space with the prettiest bathroom accessories to give a very functional room of the house your own personal style.

From small bathroom solutions to our guide to bathroom colour schemes, we’re here to help you create the perfect bathroom in the heart of your home.

Bathroom decorating ideas

Rees-bathroom-makeover-split social media

Before and after: from bland bathroom to chic retreat

‘When we moved in, we weren’t keen on the bathroom, but it had some nice features,’ say the owners. ‘We…

Makeover split before and after: from cramped bathroom to calm haven

Before and after: see how this cramped bathroom has become a calm haven

When the owners moved into their four-bedroom 1920s semi in Oxfordshire, the loo and bathroom were separate. At first they…

Optimise your space with these small bathroom ideas

If you have a small bathroom don’t worry, we’ve got plenty of small bathroom ideas for you. No matter how…

Before and after: Be inspired by a coolly classic bathroom update in this Edwardian home

Shagpile carpet, vinyl wallpaper and polystyrene ceiling tiles were all design ‘features’ of this bathroom, which in its former state…

Upgrade your space with these bold bathroom colour schemes

Bathroom colour schemes are essential for getting the look, feel and design you want in your bath or shower room. Break…

Before and after: from spare room to bathroom, see how this family gained luxury by giving up space

With two small bathrooms located one next to the other, but neither really suitable for a busy family home, the…

Before and after: check out how this tiny bathroom was given a striking makeover

‘I would hardly describe my bathroom as generous, so every millimetre counted when it came to updating the space,’ says…

Red bathroom with white hexagon tiles

Bathroom tile ideas

Bathroom tiles are an easy way to update your bathroom without completely renovating the whole room. A new bathroom tile design will instantly…

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Bathroom space and storage

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Planning and decorating your bathroom

It may not be the most glamorous or fun place to start, but it’s absolutely essential that you get your bathroom plumbing right before you move on to planning your bathroom décor.

Begin by working out where your soil pipe will be. This is the pipe that carries off waste from your bath, shower, sink and toilet. To ensure proper drainage, there are recommended guidelines as to how far away different items of sanitary ware should be from the soil pipe. A toilet should be located within 6m of the soil pipe, a shower or bath within 4m, a basin within 3m. Working within these limitations you can then work out the best layout for your sanitary ware, ensuring that the waste outlet for each falls within the recommended distance.

Remember to include room for piping in your bathroom design. You can conceal pipework behind bathroom cabinets or wall panelling, but bear in mind that this may eat into the amount of floor space your have in your bathroom.

Other important factors to consider before you start decorating are underfloor heating, heated towel rails and towel radiators  – central-heating operated or electric? – as well as water pressure and whether you need to install a pump to get that high-pressure power shower of your dreams.

How to plan a small bathroom

Let’s face it, in the UK we are not, on the whole, blessed with large, palatial bathrooms – there’s a reason it’s known as ‘the smallest room in the house’. But a small bathroom can still feel grand, with the right fixtures and finishes.

If you can’t fit a full-size freestanding roll-top bath, why not go for a more dainty but equally elegant slipper bath instead? No room for a separate bath and shower? Create an opulent shower bath by installing a rainfall showerhead above your bath along with a ceiling-mounted shower curtain rail and statement shower curtain. Or why not do away with the bath all together and treat yourself to a walk-in shower, complete with massage jets? Make sure you leave at least 120cm between the showerhead and the shower entrance in a walk-in shower to avoid soaking your bathroom floor.

If you’ve converted your loft or attic, it may be tempting to tuck to a toilet under the sloping ceiling in an eaves-space bathroom. Just make sure you leave enough head clearance for people who stand up to go to the loo!

Clever bathroom storage will be your biggest ally a small bathroom, especially if you have a large household. A wall-mounted medicine cabinet fronted with a bathroom mirror is a bathroom storage staple that’s hard to beat. Bathroom vanity units  with built-in shelves, cupboards or drawers are another space-efficient option, as are bath racks and shower baskets. And don’t forget hooks – for towels, bathrobes, loofahs, hair brushes and other bathroom accessories.

Bathroom decorating ideas – from tadelakt to tiles

Thanks to exciting new materials, we are now spoiled for choice when it comes to decorating our bathrooms. We can take our pick from bathroom wallpapers , micro concrete, polished plaster, vinyl flooring, Moroccan-style tadelakt and many other wonderful, waterproof creations.

Bathroom tiles are still the top choice, however, because they are practical, versatile and come in innumerable sizes, shapes, colours and designs. Shop wisely, and they’re also a great way to decorate your bathroom on a budget.

Size matters when it comes to choosing your bathroom tiles. In a small bathroom, medium-size tiles no larger than 40cm are generally the safest bet. Oversize tiles will make a small room feel smaller and also risk leaving you with lots of uneven tiles where they have had to be cut down to fit the space. The extra grout lines between small mosaic tiles, on the other hand, can feel a bit overpowering in a small bathroom. An easy way around this is to tile only in the areas around the shower, bath and basin splashback, using bathroom-suitable paint or wallpaper in the rest of the space.

Take your time finding the right bathroom basin taps and shower fittings, as these can be the finishing touch that make or break a bathroom design. Choose a finish – from polished nickel to antique brass – and stick to it throughout for a cohesive final scheme. Mixer taps are a modern, practical option, separate hot and cold pillar taps give a more traditional look, floor-mounted taps are striking and decadent, while wall-mounted taps are a great space-saver in small bathrooms.

Choosing the right bathroom lighting

For safety reasons, bathrooms are split up into separate zones when it comes to lighting, and you need to choose your lighting according to which zone each light will be in.

If you want to place a light right next to a bath or inside a shower cubicle (zone 1), you will need a light with a minimum IP rating of IP65. ‘IP’ stands for ingress protection and is basically a measure of how watertight a light fitting is. A light within 60cm of the bath, shower or basin (zone 2) will need an IP rating of at least IP44.

Most bathroom lighting specialists recommend using lights with an IP rating of at least IP20 in any bathroom setting, though there are no official restrictions on the type of lighting that can be used outside of the above zones – with one important exception. If you want to hang a chandelier or any other pendant light directly above a bathtub it needs to be at least IP44 rated.

It’s also important to note that, in the UK, bathroom light switches must be situated outside the bathroom, unless they’re on a pull string.

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