Bathroom Feature

Wet, Wet, Wet!

Bathrooms need to work in terms of design and practicality. Devon Home asks experts for their advice on how to put the ‘bliss’ back into your daily soak

Lucy Baker-Kind
1 May 2015

Whether you soak in your bath every night, or whether a quick power shower is more your style, the bathroom is one of the rooms in our home that sees high traffic and needs to deliver on performance and practicality.

The bath is often the focal point, and its position and style are determined by the room’s size and age. Roll-top baths are still proving popular in period properties, whereas owners of modern houses gravitate towards modern fixtures – and if it can be sited by a window with a view, so much the better. Laura Holt, Showroom Manager at KBB South West in Kingsbridge, is finding customers want to make the bath as spacious as possible. “Baths with a panel against a wall are very popular, so that wall-mounted taps can be used.”

Mixer taps in a chrome finish are the most requested for a sleek appearance, with a rounded style proving more popular than sharp angular designs. James Warnett, Partner at Tavistock Bathrooms and Tiles, is also seeing clients choosing a more high-tech method of filling their baths. “A trend is using an overflow filler with valves in the wall, which leaves the edges clear. Another new innovation from Crosswater is using digital technology to control the water flow using your smart phone.”

With all the modern technology and innovations available, basic comfort is still a consideration when choosing your tub. Nick Windust from the Devon Bathroom Centre in Exeter explains that customers like to physically sit in a bath in his showroom before making the decision. “Egg-shaped baths are the most popular as they are so comfortable.”

For busy lifestyles, a shower is a must, and Laura admits that environmental issues and money-saving are high priorities in decisions made, which means that large rainfall heads are now being replaced with more efficient and economical designs. Commonly, white bathroom suites are the most popular, yet coloured accents are now emerging. “Coloured shower trays are popular at the moment, especially white, black or cream slate-effect,” says Laura.

The days of a soggy clingy shower curtain are long gone, and screens are now available in a variety of finishes, including mirrored, frosted or smoked. “The most popular ones are the minimal look with as little frame as possible. A self-cleaning coating is also available,” says James.

Keeping the bathroom clean and hygienic is an important consideration, and some fittings are designed to complement our cleaning routines. “Most people ask for a hand-held shower head to be fitted, to help with cleaning, or if they don’t want to get their hair wet in the shower,” adds James.

Wet rooms seem to divide opinion with a like-or-loathe preference. Low-profile shower trays are available to stop the spread of water across the room, and are a good alternative to a full wet room.

If space is at a premium, some homeowners ask for the bath to be removed, to install a walk-in shower enclosure instead. However, having both bath and shower is the ideal. “Over-bath showers are only used when there is minimal space in the bathroom and both bath and shower are requested,” Nick says.

One of the most used items in a bathroom – the WC –  is being fitted with button flushes and soft-close seats. Wall-mounted with a concealed cistern in the wall is another practical fixing.

Both pedestal and wall-mounted basins are still in demand, complete with mixer tap, and a modular basin unit with drawers and cupboards provides essential storage. “We sell a lot of full pedestals and semi-countertop basins set into singular-style units or runs of units, as storage is important,” says Laura.

Suite aside, other finishing details such as storage, towel rails, lights and wall coverings need to be considered. Tiles are still the most common choice to clad walls, with very large designs now popular. Coloured shower boards are practical in a shower enclosure, as there are no grout lines to clean. “We are now selling a significant quantity of resin panels that have an invisible joint and look and feel like natural stone, giving a luxurious effect,” explains Nick. Underfloor heating is a luxurious yet practical touch. “It keeps the humidity down and makes tiled bathroom floors more comfortable to walk on, plus wet rooms dry out much faster,” he adds. 

Ideas to maximise space and provide storage are essential, and stainless-steel baskets (that won’t rust), are designed to hide products and clutter. “When it comes to the shower, we are asked for storage in the form of baskets or shelves built into the wall,” Laura concludes. “Space-saving options are a must, and short-projection WCs, compact basins and different shaped baths can all be considered,” James concurs.

“Egg-shaped baths are the most popular as they are so comfortable”

About Devon Home magazine

Devon Home is published by We Make Magazines, a family-owned Devon company. The only specialist interiors magazine for the county, Devon Home is a celebration of homes, gardens and interiors, with expert information from local designers, architects and craftspeople. Together with our Devon-based writers and sales team, we show you how to improve and love your living space.

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