20 tips for bathroom renovation success

Ensure your renovation project runs smoothly with this essential advice

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1.Remember you can haggle. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking for a discount – in fact, it’s built into some shops’ official policies. We ran a poll to find which shops hagglers have most success in. With 70 per cent and 73 per cent success rates at B&Q and Homebase respectively, it shows that you could be throwing cash away by not haggling.’

2.Fitted furniture offers the chance to achieve a co-ordinated finish, but it needs to be planned from the start. Freestanding and modular furniture offer more flexibility and can be added after the sanitaryware is in place. Modular furniture can also be wall-mounted, making effective use of space in clutter-prone areas of the bathroom.’

3. ‘Instruct your plumber to conceal pipework in walls, under flooring or by boxing it in. If replacing a traditional basin, a vanity unit will hide it.’

4. ’Using large-format tiles will help a small space seem larger — especially if you match the grout colour and specify tight spacing. Make sure your contractor is aware of your choice and prices for the extra cutting work.’

5.‘Take time to plan a lighting design. A simple dimmer control is great, but two circuits enable separate controls for task and mood lighting.’

Debba range from Roca bathrooms in grey white bathroom

6. ‘If you’ve found tiles beyond your budget, use on a statement wall with a more affordable complementary tile elsewhere.’

7.Avoid horizontal border tiles in small spaces, as they can act like a belt — tightening the room and making the space appear enclosed.’

8. ’I always recommend tile backer boards to line bathroom walls and for tiled shower enclosures. These are 100 per cent waterproof when taped and jointed and also provide a good source of heat insulation. Available in varying shapes and sizes, they are ideal for wet rooms, bathrooms and to insulate below underfloor heating.’

9. ‘For tech fans, myriad options include waterproof televisions that sit flush within a wall, built-in hi-fi systems, smart lighting controls with preset moods for atmosphere, and automation of blinds and bath fillers.’

10. ‘Bathrooms are fairly unique in that they are one of the few rooms in a house that can manage perfectly well without a window, providing the space has suitable extraction to provide ventilation. This does allow greater flexibility in planning your house, but it should be remembered that, while not essential, daylight will enhance and magnify the space.’

Architect Your Home designed bathroom with walk in shower

11. ‘Use large mirrors to make a small contemporary-style bathroom feel lighter and more spacious — a frameless mirror covering the whole of one wall is very effective. To avoid misting up after showers and baths, fit heated pads behind the mirror (try styles from Demista).’

12. Avoid traders who ask for cash — it is illegal if they don’t declare it. If no receipt is given, you have no comeback if things go wrong.’

13. ‘Any reputable builder will be happy to sign a simple contract with you and a third party to ensure the agreed work is on schedule.’

14. ‘Always invest in quality brassware. These are the items that are in use every day, in particular concealed valves that regulate your home’s water temperature. Look for “rub clean” showerheads with easy-clean nozzles that will prevent limescale build-up; great in a hard-water area.’

vastus fixed shower head

15. ‘Beware of requests from traders for upfront payments, it may imply cash flow problems, often as they can’t get credit at builders’ merchants.’

16.Don’t let a builder talk you out of a design decision just to make their life easier — there’s always a solution if there’s the will to find it. Choose all fixtures and fittings before starting any work.’

17. ‘Choosing a registered electrician for a bathroom rewire means you will get additional protection should something go wrong. The approved schemes and regulations around electrical installations differ between England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, but you can find a comprehensive list of registered electricians in your area by going to electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk.’

18. ‘Break up a large space by dividing it into different sections, each with its own function and feel. Don’t be afraid to place freestanding rainfall showers or bathtubs in central areas — it will still feel spacious, but at the same time intimate and comfortable.’

19. Water fixtures range from 0.1 Bar for low pressure systems, to 3 Bar or more for those needing higher pressure. If unsure of yours, ask a plumber before you buy.’

20. ‘Most bathrooms are no more than 12 square metres. Maximise the floor’s visible area by using a freestanding bath on feet, or a plinth; consider a high-level WC where the cistern is above eye level, and wall-mounted basins.’