Bathrooms are intimate spaces. They can be made to shine like no other room. A beautifully appointed washroom can be a marketing tool for a restaurant or cafe. While at design school in New York City my fellow students and I would seek out the latest restaurant opening simply to see how amazing the toilets were - we would also end up imbibing or tasting items to see how good the food was, but the main goal was the design. These new restaurants would garner reviews in design magazine as well as the regular press simply for having an innovative design and fun bathroom experience.
At home you can take bigger design risks in a bathroom. Create a fun, elegant, soothing or hip bathroom. Remember that trip to Paris? Blow that image up and use it on one of the walls. That amazing vineyard visit in the Barossa? Yup, that image of the vines would look great. Even a bold coloured coat of paint will radically improve the space. Important details like toilet roll holders, hooks and door knobs really shine when presented the right way.
I'm a strong believer that life is about the small details. I always encourage people to take a design risk. Life is short, so you might as well have a lovely toilet.
How to redesign a bathroom (or start from scratch)? The basics are wash basin, bathtub, shower, toilet, faucets, flooring and storage (don't forget storage). Assess if you can fit a free standing shower apart from the bathtub. This will create a safer space for all ages. (Old and young have issues getting in and out of bathtubs.) Trends? Yes, those can be important if you want to update the bathroom to increase your financial return on the sale of your house or apartment. With restaurants and cafes, innovation is important as well as easy maintenance. (Remember if your cafe toilet isn't clean, people equate that to a dirty kitchen.) The best way to start is to measure the space to assess what will work. Think about the flow between the bath and the sink, towel access when exiting the shower/bath and how many people need to use the sink (maybe your life would be happier with two sinks). Always remember you need storage. Most people like to hide away their toiletries when not in use, so be sure to incorporate drawers and cabinets into the new layout. These can be incorporated into the vanity or behind/beside a mirror. Lighting? Very important. When we're in the bathroom, we need to look at our faces for shaving or make-up application. Lighting the front of the face rather than light from above will minimise the shadows cast on your face - making you more beautiful.
Water? Water shortages are an issue. Research water saving devices like mixer taps with a temperature setting to conserve water, dual flush or low flow toilets, low flow faucets and shower heads and water diverting for garden use. These are important and easy to implement before you start your renovation.
Design aesthetic? There is a huge range. When selecting remember faucets, shower heads and mixers should have the same finish and detailing; square vs round edges, chrome, copper, black or gold, and matt or glossy. Mix-and-matching can look good but that should be the design style rather than a happy accident.
Floor and wall tiles? Stay tuned, we'll focus on that next.