Gorgeous results and a seamless renovation process are achievable if you follow these renovation tips and bathroom design ideas from two Irish design experts …
More than kitchens, bathrooms are the most popular rooms to remodel but it’s a myth to think that a smaller space means a reduced budget. To keep the process efficient and cost effective, it’s best to follow these rules from two industry experts. Below discover some essential advice as well as bathroom design ideas for 2023 transformations.
1. Customise existing fittings
“If you don’t want the expense of moving your bathroom around, use existing plumbing but customise the height of your shower head and wash hand basin to suit you”, advises Lisa McVeigh of DMVF Architects, Dublin; www.dmvf.ie. “This can be simply done by a plumber, who can measure and mark it out on the wall before they fit it.”
2. Know where to save and what to splurge on
If buying new sanitaryware McVeigh says it’s best to measure before purchasing it as it can often be bigger than you think. “I always advise clients not to overspend on sinks, showers, baths and toilets, rather splurge on the accessories from taps to showerheads and also on shower screens.”
3. Build niches and recesses for extra room
Maximise your shower or bath area as much as possible; when space is extremely tight, don’t build out, build in. McVeigh says creating recesses in the wall of your shower area avoids hanging storage system which just adds clutter and is hard to keep clean.
4. Create a focal point
Less can be more in bathrooms, believes Catherine Quirk of Quirc Interiors, Straffan, Co Kildare; www.quircinteriordesign.ie. “Design the space with a focal point – either the vanity unit or a standalone bath tub which always makes a fab centrepiece.”
5. Create a sense of space
A white-on-white colour scheme is often deployed to create a sense of space and evokes memories of pristine hotel ensuites. “To further create a feeling of spaciousness and make cleaning easier, opt for wall mounted basins and toilets. Large mirrors will also make bathrooms feel bigger. Alternatively use mirror-faced cabinets for storage,” explains McVeigh.
6. Choose the right tiling and don’t overdo it
“When it comes to tiling, there’s no need to tile all the walls – save on budget and tile only where there is a risk of splashing or moisture. It will make it feel more luxurious,” says McVeigh. “If using a pattern tile on the floor, keep the walls plain or vice versa,” advises Quirk.
7. Don’t be afraid to go dark and moody
Both McVeigh and Quirk love adding panelling and wallpaper to their interior design schemes, especially in guest bathrooms. It might seem counterintuitive but for spaces without a window, don’t be afraid to go dark and moody! Most people feel they should go light to make it feel brighter.
8. Consider lighting carefully
Lighting is very important – especially for grooming and applying make-up. It should be functional with a ceiling pendant and wall lights either side of a mirror. Quirk advises, “Ambient low level lighting in the shower area or surrounding a bath gives a sense of height to the room and calmness. Position wall lights either side of the mirror – these can be in a brass or satin chrome finish that should match accessories. Brass or satin chrome accessories will add glamour and sophistication to the room.” Also consider a dimmer switch – perfect for late-night baths in lieu of candles.
9. Add decorative pieces
Plants in the bathroom bring colour to an otherwise sterile environment. For the wow factor, a one-of-a-kind mirror, an elaborately carved, sculptural chair, a coolly sensual photograph or a bookcase can also add elegance.
10. Choose the right flooring
Though it isn’t an old adage, it should be: you can’t keep a good floor down. A solid wood floor infuses bathrooms with character as do ceramic tiles. A cost-effective alternative is sheet vinyl flooring which is also waterproof – often only a single-width is needed for a small space, eliminating the need for seams.
Invest in this source book
The premise of The Ultimate Bath by Barbara Sallick, Rizzoli, €60, is that a beautiful bathroom is not necessarily large, lavish, or over-the-top, rather it celebrates the unexpected which can work wonders in modest bathrooms. Sallick should know – she is co-founder of Waterworks – a luxury brand of kitchen and bathroom fittings, fixtures and furniture and has also written other essential blueprints Waterworks: Inventing Bath Style, The Perfect Bath and The Perfect Kitchen. All photographs used in this feature are from The Ultimate Bath by photographers including Joshua McHugh, Paige Rumore, Simon Upton, Thomas Loof, Melanie Acevedo and Trevor Tondro.