How to create the perfect bathroom

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Make the most of small spaces with brilliant basins, trendy taps and chic cupboards, says Kate Watson-Smyth

Bathing has been fashionable since the third century and yet, for some reason, most modern bathrooms are squeezed into the tiniest of spots available, often without even a window to relieve the gloom, and the ensuing mould.

House-hunters will often rule out a possible purchase because the bathroom was just too grotty or shabby, although countless surveys have found that simply revamping it can add up to 20 per cent to the value of your property.

So it's time to take a tip from the Greeks. And the Romans. And the Japanese, come to that. And don't forget the Turks. They all knew a thing or two about bathing, and while we're not suggesting you add Doric columns and solid-gold fixtures, it might be time to think about creating the perfect bathroom. It's not complicated, it will enhance your life, add money to your house and help it to sell. It's not the economy, stupid – it's the bathroom.

Now most of us can't do anything about the size of it, and it's probably not a good idea to sacrifice a bedroom, unless you've got at least five or six, in which case turning the smallest into an en suite will always be a worthwhile idea, says Spencer Cushing, manager of John D Wood's Battersea branch.

"In the three- to four-bed market, it's not cost-efficient to turn a bedroom into a bathroom. If you need another bathroom, then you need to look up – to the loft. Loft conversions add more value than any other form of home improvement for the money they cost.

"Nine times out of 10, an en suite shower in the largest bedroom is the most cost and space-effective way of adding value." Although he cautions that in the current market, it's not worth putting in a new bathroom for sale purposes. "People like to do their own bathrooms, and while a bad bathroom may not help your sale, it probably isn't a deal-breaker," he says. "It's better to do your bathroom the way you want it and you will get the money if and when you decide to move.

So for most of us, creating the perfect bathroom is about clever space-saving tips in the area we've already got.

Georgina Spencer of Roca UK says: "The bathroom is one of the key value-adding areas within the home, despite the fact that its average size has remained unchanged for many years.

"You need to look carefully at products such as corner basins, back-to-wall WCs and wall-hung designs, as they make maximum use of the space available. A really great basin can make a good focal point in the room and show off a bit of style, and you should invest in good-quality taps. Most taps now offer water-saving devices so will save you money in the long run."

One of the key elements to consider in a bathroom is the storage. There are always masses of clutter in there and yet it will be much more appealing if it isn't full of plastic bottles and tubes.

Fitting a back-to-the-wall loo means you can put shelves above it. Consider a cupboard under the basin, and if you can inset the bathroom cabinet into the wall, it will protrude less, giving a more streamlined appearance while giving you ample storage.

If you can't fit a shower door and need to have a curtain, then try to find one made from anti-mould fabric. Prêt à Vivre's mould-resistant material comes in either cream or oatmeal and costs £26. It's also good for outdoor cushions as it's fade-proof, too, but will be perfect in the bathroom for either shower curtains or window blinds.

Monochrome is a strong theme at the moment and you can now buy black taps to contrast with your white bath. Grohe has produced a range of very attractive ones. You can now also buy wallpaper for bathrooms which will make a really dramatic statement with the black-and-white taps.

Interior designer Nina Campbell is also a fan of monochrome. "The most typical colours for a bathroom are cream, white and black (black and white marble is a lovely combination). Marble tiles, glass and mirrors are good materials"

Lighting, of course, is key to a good bathroom. Both Nina and Amanda Kaye, of LK Interiors, insist that you should have two lighting circuits. Nina suggests one light that comes on as soon as you enter and turns off when you leave, which will provide bright light for the functional morning ablutions as well as cater for children who just forget, as well as a dimmer switch for that long, relaxing evening soak.

Georgina points out the advantage of a wetroom or walk-in area. "They don't require a large space for installation and they can offer a clean look while creating the illusion of more space because you don't need to have shower doors opening out into the room and taking up space. They are also easier to clean, and give the appearance of a luxurious area without necessarily costing more as you don't need to buy the shower enclosure."

The perfect bathroom: Ten top tips

* Use a fog-free mirror

* Entertainment – radio, television

* Underfloor heating for when you step out of the bath

* Large showerhead for really good pressure which is almost a massage

* Good storage, for all those bottles

* Two basins so you can have his and hers and give a feeling of luxury

* Taps in the middle of the bath to give that spa feeling

* Skylights if possible to give more light and feeling of space, or, failing that, go for halogen spots to mimic daylight

* Walk-in shower suggests more space

* Good-quality towels

Discover more property articles at Homes and Property
News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
people

Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?

Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
tv

Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into conflicts
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'
film

"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier

Arts and Entertainment
Liam and Zayn of One Direction play with a chimpanzee on the set of their new video for 'Steal My Girl'
music

Animal welfare charities have urged the boy band to cut the scenes

News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
News
George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin married in Venice yesterday
peopleAmal and George Clooney 'planning third celebration in England'
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley at the premiere of Laggie at Toronto Film Festival 2014
theatreActress 'to make Broadway debut'
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
Sport
Erik Lamela celebrates his goal
football

Argentinian scored 'rabona' wonder goal for Tottenham in Europa League – see it here

Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
News
i100
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Focused Business Analyst - Finance and Procurement System Implementation

£350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Reading are...

Commercial Property Solicitor - Bristol

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: A VERY HIGH QUALITY FIRM - A high q...

Head of ad sales international - Broadcast

competitive + bonus + benefits: Sauce Recruitment: Are you the king or Queen o...

Note Taker - Scribe

£10 per hour: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you an experienced note taker...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker