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Your bathroom is one of the most expensive rooms in the house. It is fully tiled and contains expensive prime cost items as well. The bathroom should be a comfortable size but not too large or it is hard to heat in winter and a waste of tiles. Decide whether you want a separate bath and shower, or a shower over the bath.

Corner baths are a nice addition and will easily accommodate a shower over. A vanity can have one or two bowls, depending upon your budget. Always ensure the mirror is large as this reduces the amount of tiled area and makes the bathroom look larger. Always allow room for a toilet roll holder beside the toilet, and ensure that the taps in the shower can be turned on without pouring hot water onto your arm. A towel rail close to the shower is also necessary so you can reach out for a towel without having to 'walk water' across the floor.

Careful bathroom planning is essential:

Cavity sliding doors are excellent alternatives to opening doors, as they do not detract from the interior space. Robe hooks for hanging clothes, and a timber or tiled seat are excellent additions to a bathroom. If the design allows for roof skylights into the bathroom, this is an excellent way to provide natural light yet still maintain privacy from the outside.

Combination fan/heater lamps located in the ceiling provide ample heat, ventilation and light, but are expensive to install, as they must run on a separate circuit to the meter box.

It is essential that bathrooms be well ventilated, so an exhaust fan close to the shower is essential. Heating a bathroom is another important feature, which should not be overlooked. This can be done with either strip heaters on the walls or a small fan heater, located well away from taps or splashing water.

Tiling can also include items such as toilet roll holders, towel rails and soap dishes. Good tile selection is critical, since tiles are not easily replaced. The plainer the tiles, the more likely you are to be happy with them long term.

Remember the decor of the bathroom can always be changed by the colour of the towels rather than the colour of the tiles. Ensure that the floor tiles are non-slip, and durable so they do not easily scratch.

When building the bathroom, ensure the whole floor is membraned to prevent water penetration to other floors. A separate shower tray is also recommended. A glass shower screen, rather than curtains, is easier to clean and looks neater. The height of a shower screen should match the tiles to create a better appearance.

Whether the shower is hobbed or hobless is your choice. A hobbed shower is easier to waterproof. A hob around a bath or corner bath is an excellent addition as it allows space for shampoos or champagne.

A spa bath is a handy addition providing you use it. Most spas require an area outside the bathroom for a pump. Some spas have air beds, and so the pump can be mounted in the ceiling, away from the spa. A spa pump also requires maintenance so it is advisable not to build it in. It also requires its own power point.

If you are thinking of installing a spa, locate it in an area where you can enjoy a view from a window, then you can sit, relax and enjoy the vistas as you softly soak in the suds.


The same suggestions apply to ensuites as bathrooms. There is no reason why the ensuite needs to be smaller than the bathroom. However, it may be handier to put the bath in the main bathroom so that you can bathe the children, and just have a large shower in the ensuite.

Separate Toilet

A separate toilet for the bathroom is an excellent addition, but does require extra space. A separate toilet should have its own washbasin and, if internal, be mechanically vented to the outside.

Three-Way Bathrooms

No matter what age or size your family, a three-way bathroom allows people to shower, use the toilet and the vanity all separately. The vanity area can open to a hallway, and should be provided with light from a skylight.

A vented skylight above the vanity area not only provides natural light, but also prevents musty smells from accumulating. In three-way bathrooms, people using the toilet and bathroom can use the vanity area. A three-way bathroom requires more space than a single bathroom, but the benefits often outweigh the additional costs.

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