Top 10 trends for designing your dream bathroom

BC Designs Plazia is the classic modern free-standing bath for the contemporary bathroom

BC Designs Plazia is the classic modern free-standing bath for the contemporary bathroom - Credit: Archant

PROMOTIONAL FEATURE Patrick Heaphy, Senior Designer at Ripples, gives us an expert guide to the key trends in bathroom design

Burgbad Bel collection includes a space-saving mineral cast washbasin with under cupboard and pull out drawers

Burgbad Bel collection includes a space-saving mineral cast washbasin with under cupboard and pull out drawers - Credit: Archant

1. Choosing a bath

Relaxing in the tub is a great way to unwind after a hard day, so make sure you pick the perfect design to suit. Usually the size and shape of your bathroom will dictate the style of bath you need. A spacious room is ideal for a freestanding model – a colourful cast iron slipper bath will complement a classic scheme while a curvaceous design in a composite material will create a contemporary look. For smaller spaces, an inset bath is ideal and if you want the flexibility of an over-bath shower, go for a tapered design with room for showering at one end. Think about the materials of the bath, too. Cast iron and enamelled steel are heavy so you’ll need to make sure you can not only get it upstairs but that the floor can take its weight. Lighter options include acrylic, which also retains heat well. To create more room for bathing, consider using freestanding or wall-mounted brassware or a double-ended bath with centrally positioned taps.

2. Selecting the shower

Tall storage cabinet with shelving and pull out drawers

Tall storage cabinet with shelving and pull out drawers - Credit: Archant

Showering has become much more of an invigorating experience in recent years with fixed overhead, drench or rain showers providing a variety of spray patterns for powerful or softer flow. If you have the space, a fully tiled walk-in wet room is one of the most popular options but if space is limited then look to an over-bath shower or separate shower enclosure with either bi-fold, corner entry or single-panel screen. A frameless design will create an ultra modern finish. For the shower itself, make sure it has thermostatic control to prevent scalding and consider whether you want a separate handshower. Digital showers are the latest trend, with remote control operation, pause functions and timer settings. Many manufacturers now offer water-saving solutions with aerated flow or eco settings while others have ‘rub clean’ nozzles to prevent the build-up of limescale.

3. Making sanitaryware stand out

Consider whether you want a wall-hung or back-to-wall WC and a wall-hung or pedestal basin. Wall-hung sanitaryware has the advantage of adding the illusion of space to a small room as well as making the floor area easier to clean. You may prefer to have the basin and WC built in, in which case the furniture will conceal unsightly pipework. When it comes to basins, bigger is better with double designs and matching ‘his’ and ‘hers’ styles creating a touch of hotel chic. Another trend is for countertop basins that sit proudly on a vanity unit or worktop – take your pick from sleek conical shapes, stone or glass designs and more rectangular styles. If you do go for a countertop, make sure your tap has a long enough projection to reach over it. WCs have also come a long way in design terms, as you can now buy models with built-in LED lighting and integrated odour extraction.

Fixed showheard with integrated LED lighting

Fixed showheard with integrated LED lighting - Credit: Archant

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4. Be bold with brassware

One way to make a statement in the bathroom is to choose a distinctive tap to team with your crisp white basin and bath. Monobloc mixers are the neatest solution and you can find everything from short spout styles in geometric shapes and gently curved designs to ultra modern fluted faucets in a sleek polished finish. To free up space within the basin or bath, choose a wall-mounted style or for added wow factor, opt for a freestanding bath/shower mixer. The latest trend is for digital mixers, which are not only extremely hygienic but also easier to use and will help to ‘future proof’ your bathroom. Remember, whichever product you choose, always check it is suitable for your water pressure.

5. Plan storage carefully

Savvy storage is key to a clutter-free bathroom. Make a mental note of all the things you need to keep in the bathroom, from towels and robes to toiletries and children’s bath toys. Next, consider whether you want fitted or freestanding. Fitted storage will make the most of every inch, and is ideal for awkwardly shaped rooms, loft conversions and even en-suites. Freestanding elements can also make life easier, as you can move them around when needed and update the style in years to come. Most of us want space-saving storage so look to dual-purpose products such as mirrored cabinets, under-bath shelving and vanity units with pull-out drawers below. Wall-mounted designs will make a small space appear larger while recesses and niche shelving can be integrated into stud walls and wet rooms.

6. Top tile trends

There are so many stunning tiles to choose for your bathroom, whether you want them for walls or flooring. Large format tiles are currently popular as they make a room feel bigger as well as less busy thanks to fewer grout lines on show. You can’t go wrong with neutral shades – whether stone, ceramic or porcelain – but if you want to create a focal point, consider tiling a feature wall in a bold bright tile or iridescent glass mosaics. When choosing floor tiles, you may want to introduce underfloor heating, so make sure the tiles are compatible. They should also be slip-resistant so look for a textured or raised pattern as well as a matt design rather than polished. Another element to consider for wall tiles is the finish – the colour of the grouting, the space between the tiles as well as the tile strips around the perimeter can all make a huge difference to the finished look. To break things up, choose a co-ordinating or contrasting border tile.

7. Get the lighting right

Good lighting is key to a successful bathroom scheme. First you’ll need task lighting such as lights around or above the mirror. Having a light either side of the mirror prevents shadows, which makes it easier to shave or apply make-up. It’s also important to have a more general downlight for all-round illumination. Next, consider adding feature lighting to highlight statement pieces or architectural features. You can have lighting in recesses, beneath wall-hung units, around the perimeter of the bath and even in the bath or shower thanks to the new wave of products incorporating chromotherapy, a coloured lighting system that’s said to improve health and wellbeing. Always use a qualified electrician and make sure the products you choose are suitable for bathroom use. Current legislation splits the bathroom into zones, which determines the IP (Ingress Protection) rating required.

8. Making the most of your mirror

High-tech mirrors and mirror cabinets come with built-in demisters to prevent steaming while others have sensor activated LED lighting and are Bluetooth enabled so you can hook up your iPod and listen to your favourite tunes as you get ready in the morning. Other options include having a tall mirror fronted cupboard with shelving within or a rotating stand with a mirror on one side and storage on the other.

9. Technology in the bathroom

Take your bathroom to the next level by investing in some high-tech kit. Today’s designs include motion activated taps and lighting, wireless showers, self-cleaning WCs, baths that play music from your tablet, smartphone or laptop and even waterproof televisions so you never need to miss your favourite soap again. For a spa-like sanctuary, check out the latest shower cabins, saunas and steam rooms that come with chromotherapy, aromatherapy, hydromassage jets, audio systems, touch screen control and central showerhead for the ultimate spa haven. The key to making it work for you is to choose a combination of products to suit you and your family. We also love the rise in water-saving solutions such as digitally controlled shower flow rates and timer settings to prevent teenagers taking too long!

10. Finishing touches

Once you have all these elements in place, it’s time to consider the little touches that will complete your new dream bathroom. Think about the flooring and window dressing and consider whether you want something that blends in or makes a statement. Make sure both are suitable for bathroom use and always use bathroom paint if painting the walls. It’s specially formulated for high moisture rooms so will be able to cope easily with a steamy setting. Blues and greens have traditionally been popular shades but the latest schemes are seeing bolder colours taking centre stage. Finally, treat yourself to the fluffiest towels and a pretty soap dispenser, toothbrush holder and tumbler set and you’re ready to relax.

For more information about Ripples and further ideas and inspiration on designing your dream bathroom,

visit or call 0800 107 0700 for your nearest showroom.

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