Planning a New Bathroom? – Read This First… (Part One)

Image: Bathroom Takeaway

If you’re in the early stages of planning a new bathroom there are a few things that you are probably already focused on.  Keep it simple with the tiles or go all out with a patterned floor and a blush pink wall?  Go for modern fittings or push the boat out and invest in that roll top bath you’ve always wanted?

When you’re just starting to plan a new bathroom, these kind of decisions are important.  They drive the overall design of the room which ultimately has a big impact on how it will look and how you will feel about it.  They’re the big picture.

But when you’ve pinned to your hearts content, you’ve scrolled Instagram for hours and mood boarded your perfect room there are a million other decisions, some maybe not quite as glamorous, to make to create your perfect space.  The little details.

So read on for a guide to a few of the areas that can sometimes remain neglected until too late in the day.  There’s so much to cover that this is just Part One – I’ll be back with thoughts on toilets, baths, showers, basins and vanity units, tiles and other finishing touches over the coming couple of weeks!

Taps (and everything else that goes with them)

If you’re knee deep in bathroom planning there’s a good chance that you’ve given some serious thought to taps and most of that thought has probably gone to finish.  The once ubiquitous chrome is facing some serious competition from alternatives from a simple brushed version to timeless stainless steel, glitzy gold, sleek black and even brightly coloured versions that transform the space (if you like the sound of the latter by the way check out Vola for some seriously beautiful examples in a veritable rainbow of shades).

Image: Vola

Frustratingly it feels like many of the best known suppliers haven’t kept pace with how quickly the market is moving and whilst they may offer one or two alternatives, if you want a different finish the choice is still often go high end or go for one of the limited selection available.

If we’re talking mid to higher end then there are plenty to choose from.  For a modern industrial vibe I love Bespoke Taps.  A British-Italian business started by owner Paolo Francone the focus is on solid brass and stainless steel products in a range of finishes including polished brass, brushed bronze, brushed or polished nickel, copper and oil rubbed bronze.  Although they are by no means a cheap option with prices from around £300, when looking for something similar for a client I found them to be a great alternative to options such as Bert and May which, while absolutely beautiful, start from around £800, or Watermark Designs with not dissimilar prices.

For a more traditional feel in a period bathroom Perrin and Rowe do a great range of options, ranging from around £300-£500 in a variety of finishes, whilst Fired Earth also cover the bases with some great examples from ranging from around £200 to £1000.

Honourable mentions also go to Abode, Neve and Lusso Stone who have some great options for what I would class as mid-range pricing, and Samuel Heath who are not mid-range but whose Bauhaus collection makes me consider selling an organ and changing all of the taps in my house.

Image: Abode Designs

If you are looking for something in the more accessible price category I find Tap Warehouse an excellent starting point for a whole host of finishes and tap types that suit a range of budgets.  I find Bathstore’s range more limited but their new Noir collection has some really good options with other co-ordinating fittings for a monochrome look.

So you’ve picked your black/gold/nickel/bright green taps but hold your horses because your decisions around taps don’t end there.  When we moved into our house we were over the moon to have a lovely roll top bath which we swiftly repainted yellow (as someone had decided to do it in a highly dubious turquoise).  What was less appealing was the badly fitted chrome free-standing tap that let the whole situation down even when the turquoise had been erased from our memories.

During our recent project we swapped this out for wall mounted bath taps which have made a seemingly small but actually enormous difference to the room.  Suddenly the bath feels like a real luxury, even when it’s still half full of plastic toys and tinged with purple sparkles from the constant bath bomb usage.

Image: @livedin365

If you’re at the start of a bathroom project, it is well worth giving some consideration to wall bath and/or basin mounted taps which can really add a air of luxury to the room.  Don’t forget to also consider, however, that they may well require additional work from your plumber and you will need to plan how they might be boxed in if you don’t want to disturb an existing wall.  It is also likely that you will reduce your options of available taps still further, particularly when you factor in matching bath and basin taps.

Speaking of matching, don’t forget the other items that you might want to match into your chosen brassware as you need to make sure you can find each item in the desired style and finish or colour if you want to keep the consistency before you go ahead and order.  This obviously can include your shower but also your bottle trap (really only applicable if this is going to be on show rather than concealed within a pedestal or vanity unit), waste and also cistern buttons or levers for your toilet.

Image: @livedin365

In my experience finding all of the necessary brassware for a project in a style that you like, in the finish that you want and at a price that works for you is one of the trickiest part of pulling a cohesive bathroom together so it’s really worth investing the time up front to get these elements right before you begin.

And that’s just the start!  This will be the start of a series on bathroom projects so I’ll be back next week with more thoughts on the details including the glamorous subject of toilets and basins.