Designing your new bathroom can be a challenge. There’s a dazzling array of choice that makes deciding exactly what you want a real headache. It’s easy to get bogged down with information overload and confusing industry jargon.
It doesn’t have to be that way. The internet is a great tool to do initial research and work out exactly what you want in your bathroom. We have lots of great bathroom articles right here on our blog, although there are many other great bathroom websites with information, buying guides, tips and advice. Take a look at Pinterest and Houzz, image sharing websites full of great bathroom photography to inspire you.
Drawing on our 30-plus years of retail experience, we’ve put together a list of 10 of the most common bathroom design mistakes.
Don't forget to include an access panel when installing a concealed cistern!
1. Cutting Corners with the Installation
First thing’s first, even without any installation mistakes, the bathroom can be a dangerous place. When there’s an ever-present mix of electricity, water, slippery surfaces and glass fittings it really is no wonder that a large proportion of accidents in the home occur in the bathroom.
A badly installed electricity outlet, poorly mounted mirror or any other bathroom mistake can quickly become a risk to the safety of both yourself and your family, not to mention incredibly costly when things need to be fixed.
Unless you are a DIY guru, always seek professional assistance from an experienced and accomplished fitter that can help you create your dream design. It might cost you a bit more initially, but we have a long list of horror stories where a 'cheap' installation has ended up costing a small fortune to put right.
Choosing the cheapest installation quote is almost certain to end up costing you more in the long run. You get what you pay for, so don’t spend time and money buying a beautiful bathroom and settle for sub-standard installation. Get recommendations, ask for testimonials from previous customers or use sites such as Checkatrade or Rated People to find a good installer.
2. Size Matters
When you’re planning your bathroom design, ensure that you know exactly what space you have to work with. Cramming in a big vanity unit or an 1800mm bath and leaving barely any floor space will make your room look smaller than it really is.
If space is a premium, it might be best to opt for space saving sanitaryware that keeps your bathroom stylish without the compromise of comfort or space. On the other hand, if you’ve got an expansive blank canvas to work with – go mad, have fun and get creative. Purchasing a new bathroom is an opportunity that comes about once in a blue moon so you owe it to yourself to make the most of the experience.
3. Stinting on Storage
You can never have too much storage in your bathroom. Stacking bottles of shampoo on top of each other may seem like an entertaining prospect but playing shower gel Jenga every time you hop in the tub can quickly lose its appeal.
When you’re planning out your design, think about piece of storage that you’re going to need from where you might put your hair dryer, towels, toilet rolls and shampoo bottles to where you’re going to hang your bathrobe. There are bucket loads of inexpensive storage solutions out there to suit every possible bathroom design from shelving and wall hooks to bathroom cabinets.
4. Not thinking long-term
As the old saying goes, ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail’. Designing your bathroom is no exception to this long lived rule, given that the average bathroom lifespan is around 10 years. Let’s be honest, no one can predict the future but there are some simple steps you can take to ensure that your bathroom can be made as future proof as humanly possible.
You may not be considering expanding your family at this moment in time but who knows where you could be in 5 years’ time. Ensuring that your bathroom is child safe and family friendly doesn’t have to mean that you have to sacrifice fantastic design. Look into implementing future proof and functional pieces such as double vanity units that are a timeless design and would accommodate an expanding family.
5. Poor Air Flow and Ventilation
Two of the worst, and most preventable, problems in a bathroom are mould and bad smells. We can probably argue that the latter cannot be helped, but there are steps that can be taken to ensure that personal aromas and damp can be minimised effectively.
First and foremost, if you have a window or indeed multiple windows then make a habit of opening them. Bathroom ventilation is crucial for the longterm wellbeing of your bathroom (and your health). Nothing can be better for your bathroom than a blast of the fresh outdoors. If you’re unlucky enough to have a bathroom space not graced by the addition of a window, then fear not – there are alternatives available to you.
Installing a ceiling fan or extraction unit is an easy method of creating good air flow. Good air flow in your bathroom can help limit the build-up of mould and rust as well as making your bathroom feel airy and fresh.
6. Getting Carried Away with Design
If you’re sitting here reading this and thinking ‘how could you possibly go design mad?’, then allow me to explain. There are those of us who look upon an empty bathroom space and think of ways to create a stylish, contemporary and yet sensible bathroom.
On the other side of the madness coin, there are those of us who will gaze upon an empty bathroom as a blank canvas to construct their Dali-esque surrealist vision whilst erratically twiddling their pointy moustaches. If you can relate to the previous sentence, then this next section is likely to be directed towards you.
Typically, what is stylish and trendy in the world of bathroom design has a lifespan of 5 or so years before it gets tossed into the forgotten pile of neon leg warmers, perms and Betamax.
Because of this, it’s best to rein things back in a bit and future-proof your design. Stick with neutral colours, classic styles and the finest quality materials. Adding a personal wacky touch can be achieved with any accessory that can be quickly removed with a screwdriver or hammer when you inevitably reach the ‘What was I thinking?’ stage.
7. Small Budget for a Big Project
When you’re planning out your bathroom design, always expect to be over budget because, more often than not, you’re going to be.
Problems can occur in the most unexpected of places – think about any possible issues with mould, dry rot, old plumbing, electrical wiring and water pressure.
A typical buffer for mistakes and unforeseen additions should be around 15-20% of the overall budget. If your design is somewhat elaborate or risky, you should look into increasing your budget by up to 50% to ensure that there are no last minute shocks when the bills start to roll in.
8. Inadequate Lighting
The right lighting in your bathroom can make all the difference. If your bathroom has a large window space that faces into the sun then lighting shouldn’t be deemed as that much of an issue. If you have no windows or are unfortunate enough to have a window in direct view of your neighbours, then you might want to install some adequate lighting in your bathroom.
Wrong or inadequate lighting in your bathroom can turn the room that we all love so much into a space of misery. That lipstick smudge that you failed to spot before leaving the house is going to be quickly picked up by your peers when you get out into the daylight. But on a less vain note, poor lighting conditions can even be dangerous when you mistake your toothpaste for hair removal cream because you couldn’t make out the packaging correctly. Whoops.
Installing efficient mirrors, as well as ceiling and wall lighting, and even extras such as LED lighting in the bath panel or in can not only provide a functional and safe environment, but also lift the mood within the bathroom.
9. Choosing the Wrong Materials
Choosing the right materials for your bathroom is paramount to creating a design that’s going to survive over the long term. Opt for high quality sanitaryware. Look for ABS stone-resin shower trays, heavy duty or steel enamel baths and bathroom furniture that costs more than £99. The extra expense early on in the bathroom renovation process will, more often than not, save you money in the long term, and will look the part for longer too.
In terms of fitting materials, the main thing to remember is that a bathroom environment can be compared to that of a South American rainforest. It can get hot, cold, steamy and wet all in the space of a few minutes. This varying change can have negative effects on the building materials that you choose when contemplating your bathroom design. Choose products that are specifically designed for the bathroom and can withstand the humidity and variance in temperature, not just the first or cheapest thing you happen to stumble upon when traversing the endless corridors of Ikea.
10. Ignoring the environment
Advances in technology have allows for some fantastic methods of making your bathroom more environmentally friendly and more often than not, can also save you a lot of cost in the long run. A lot of new taps can come with water saving cartridges that default to water saving positions, restricting the flow of water that comes through the tap. This can, typically, save anywhere between 30% and 70% more water than using a conventional tap.
Another example of eco-friendly bathroom technologies would be dual-flush toilets. Dual flush toilets allow for a quick or long flush, dependant on the button you choose to press. Compared to a single flush toilet, dual flush toilets can cut your bathroom water usage by up to 20% in the average home.
The best way of avoiding expensive mistakes is to have a chat with our bathroom experts and get a good installer. We have experts on hand with many years of experience designing bathrooms and managing installations. Don't underestimate the value of someone who does this all day every day.