Planning the Perfect Bathroom!
No longer are bathrooms banished outside homes in a far away corner of your yards. Bathrooms now are an integral part of your overall decor and a place to relax and wash your worries away in a tubful of hot water. Luxury bathrooms are no longer a prerogative of only the rich but even middle class people now aim to have fabulous, jazzy bathrooms in their homes, and they do not have to be very expensive too. With a little bit of careful planning, research and a little creativity, you can have your own spa-style bathroom in your home. Whether you are upgrading your existing bathroom or are building a new home, you need to work out a lot of possibilities first starting with a carefully drawn plan, obtaining permissions (in case of upgrading old bathroom) etc.
Prepare a Proper Plan
Before you start any actual work, draw up a plan with everything shown, from the electrical connection points to plumbing. In case you are required to knock down a wall or two extend space in your bathroom, you should have the original blueprint of the place to determine where the RCC structures stand. You also need to obtain required permission to do so from the housing society. Check available space before buying your bathroom essentials such as a tub or a shower enclosure etc. Measure the area carefully and also check manufacturers guidelines, for some fittings they clearly define the space needed to be left between the fittings. This might affect your plans in case of space restrictions. So study these guidelines before you start work or else, you may have to knock down some work making it a waste of time, money and materials.
Preparing a plan will also enable to define your requirements. You can also visit a store that sells bathroom fittings and do a research. Carry the measurements of your bathroom and talk to the salespeople. They will help you determine what you need and will even offer various options for your ideas. They may suggest better and economical options as well.
Prepare a list of the main fittings you want in your bathroom such as bath tub, shower, WC, etc. and maybe other special fittings such as exhaust fans, extra electrical points for shavers, heating racks, utility cabinets for storage etc. Carrying a list with you will help you choose the fittings that will suit your requirements and fit into the overall decor.
Choose a style for your bathroom that best suits the overall look of your home. If yours is a compact modern flat, then a compact bathroom with small bath, wall hung WC will be better suited. If your home is a large bungalow then a large bathroom with freestanding tub, large vanity units etc. will look better.
Selecting the Right Flooring
You can select from a wide range of flooring especially available for the bathrooms from natural limestone, slate and marble with various finishes and textures; to various types of ceramic and vitrified floorings. But whichever kind you select, see that they are not very smooth and are skidfree. Bathrooms tend to get wet making them prone to skids. Limestone, slate, marble tiles are comparatively heavy and should be fitted by expert fitters. These floors also need occasional treatment or they become stained that is hard to clean. On top floors of buildings, they may also not be a viable option. In such cases, ceramic tiles are better option.
Vinyl floorings that come in a roll are also a good option for your bathroom. They are quite easy to instal and are long lasting. They come in a wide rage of textures, designs, colours and are also available in designs that simulate natural, marble and wood textures. So if budget is a major consideration, then you can still give a natural look of these materials to your bathroom by laying the vinyl flooring.
Paint or Tiles for the Walls?
The main consideration while choosing among the two is waterproofing your bathroom. For this purpose, tiles are best. You can choose from ceramic tiles in a range of colours, designs and textures. To create unique patterns, you can select tiles with only borders. There are other options to choose from among glazed, glossy tiles to matt-finished ones. To create an illusion of space in a small bathroom, use larger plain tiles for a simple, open look. For an overly large bathroom, you can use mosaic or other design tiles to give a cosy look.
If paint is what you have selected, then choose the ones that have anti-condensation and water-resistant formulas. They will be a bit expensive but worth the money because cheaper paints will cause leakage problems after only a couple of years causing you to spend money on repairs.
Lighting for Your Bathroom
Safety is a prime consideration in your bathroom, hence select electrical fittings, sockets etc. that are specially made for bathrooms, as they will be mainly waterproof and shock proof. The switch must be located outside the bathroom so that one does not accidentally use wet hands to switch on or off. Recessed lighting is a good idea to create a relaxed, soft mood in your bathroom. There are many styles and designs of lighting available for bathrooms that you can select from. If you have installed a bath tub or a jacuzzi, it will be a good idea to have a special fittings near the tub for spa-like experience on days when you want to relax in a tub with only those special lights on.
Shower and Shower Enclosure
Showers are now no longer simply outlets for water above your head but are now available with a number of added features like heated water of temperatures you select, hydro massage or steam option. Electric showers are now a popular choice as they take in regular tap water and heat it as you use it, thus negating the use of separate geysers to heat water. Also as it heats water as you are using it, there is no wastage of energy to heat a full tank of water. Also available are thermostatic mixer showers that allows you to choose from a hot and a cold inlet and also to mix both.
Showers can be hand-held, ceiling mounted or wall mounted. They come in a different variety of styles and shapes with adjustable shower heads. For household with children, choose ones that also are equipped with hand-held showers.
For larger bathrooms, separate showers with shower enclosure or cubicle may be considered. The shower enclosures can be made of glass, or any waterproof material such as fiber glass, plastic etc. These are also easy to clean. For budget options, instead of an enclosure you can instal a waterproof shower curtain that can be pulled back when not in use.
Toilet or Bidet
When choosing the toilet or WCs or bidets, availability of space should be taken into account. These now come in various colours, shapes sizes with attractive features like heated seats, water-saving options etc. Toilets are commonly made from porcelain, but are also available in plastic and stainless steel. The best one is of course, porcelain that is easy to clean and also looks better than plastic or steel.
There are many types such as high-level cistern with pull chains that are becoming a popular choice. If space is no consideration then you can have this installed in your bathroom. Bidets are the ones that come with water provided to clean up and are more hygienic than using toilet papers. In case of small bathrooms, you can go for wall-mounted WCs that are more compact and streamlined in design and are also easy to clean.
Choosing the Right Basin
Basins are commonly made of porcelain in various colours and shapes. They are also available now in glass, steel, iron, resin or plastic. Some common styles of basins that you can choose from are:
Wall-mounted basins that take up lesser space than conventional pedestal styles. The pipes can be recessed into walls allowing you to create a storage or vanity cabinet underneath the basin.
Pedestal basins are easy to fit and conceal pipes well, although they can be quite bulky so are not ideal option for smaller, compact bathrooms.
If you do not have an integrated basin with storage or vanity unity owing to lack of space, then you can fit overhead wall cabinets. The storage facilities should be taken into account during the initial planning stage itself. You can either get them made by a carpenter and then polished to tone that matches your bathroom fittings or you can get them readily made from the market. There are multipurpose shelving systems available that come with a mirror in different sizes you can choose from. These cabinets are very much important to store away extra soaps, shampoos, towels, toiletries etc.
Make sure that your bathroom has good ventilation to prevent build-up of condensation. If there is no ventilation then the humidity and condensation build-up will cause mildew on walls, floors and cabinets which is not good for your health and is also hard to clean once it sets in. If there is no proper ventilation available, it is better to fit an exhaust fan. Check the waste system, it should be properly installed. The waste pipes must run downhill, if they are not, then you might have to pull the floor level up a little bit. Get an expert to check this out for you.
Besides the above essential and integral components, you can add one or two plants placed in beautiful planters with lush foliage. Choose from plants that thrive well in humidity and it will instantly transform the look of your bathroom. You can even add a couple of paintings or colourful frames on the walls to make the room come alive. Plants that thrive well in such conditions are various types of ferns such as fishbone ferns and asparagus ferns. Bromeliads and grape ivy also does well in these conditions, If you have larger bathroom that looks quite empty you can place a planter with Aspidistra, also called as the cast iron plant, Beaucarnea or the pony tail tree, rubber tree or some types of palms. Or even a single small rex begonia will do the trick. These plants will add colour to your bathroom, will improve its aesthetic value and they will also purify the air in your bathroom, making this place a pleasing retreat for you to charge your batteries.
In conclusion, it is not difficult to have a bathroom of your dreams. All that is needed is planning, research and creativity, and of course investment of your time, efforts and money. But once you create that perfect bathroom, it will be worth every penny you have spent!
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