Fun additions to the bathroom will give it a luxury spa feel.
Because the bathroom is contained and separate from the rest of the house, it doesn’t have to ‘flow’. You don’t spend too much time in it, which means you can tolerate zany patterns that you might not want in your bedroom or living room.
Liken them to an orange lining on a conservative suit – the bathroom gives a glimpse of personality without being overpowering.
Adding wallpaper, with a decorator’s varnish to seal it, is a good way to inject some fun. This can only be done in Zone 3 of the bathroom (Zone 0 is the bath area where everything needs to be submersible and fully waterproof).
Don’t buy an expensive kind and replace as often as you want to update the bathroom scheme. Tiles come in beautiful patterns for the walls and floor but they won’t be as easy to change as wallpaper or paint.
Antique chandeliers are also ok in Zone 3, so long as the fitting has been checked by a registered electrician.
Bespoke fixtures can definitely add a touch of class and individual style, e.g. a glazed wall cut to size in a wetroom or custom-made vanity unit. The cheaper approach is to use standard size units but design the dimensions of the space carefully so that they fit exactly.
For example if you want to transform a space you could buy an inexpensive mirrored wall unit from a DIY retailer and fit it into a space especially carved out for it. It’ll look stunning but you need to be planning ahead for it.
The tech touches that will make you feel like you have a spa in your own home won’t be as expensive as you think. Motion sensors (known in the trade as Passive InfraRed or PIR) are cheap to install, at €100/£80 a point.
Use them to automatically turn on ambient light in window-less bathrooms to create a welcome ambiance or to turn on the lights in the shower area.
Think of how many light fittings and circuits you want to have, what can be controlled individually, and on what circuit to put the fan on. You might not want the noisy fan to come on every time you walk through the door.
When it comes to the towel radiator consider investing in an electricity mains connection so you can turn it on in the summer when the heating isn’t on. Make sure it’s programmable so it turns on when you want and thermostatic so it switches off when it reaches temperature.
Demister pads (small pads with electrical current installed behind the mirror) are reasonably low cost and work well if you want to shave or do your makeup after having had a shower.
Electric underfloor heating is about €1,000/£850 to install in a small to medium sized bathroom and is worth the investment – you’ll be turning it on for short periods of time so won’t cost too much to run either. Just remember that it isn’t sufficient to heat the space, you will still need radiators.
Remember too that every stud wall is a storage opportunity – you can create an alcove-shelf recessed into a stud wall in a shower – you only need a dept of 80mm. Ask the tiler to have a slight incline leaning towards the front so that you don’t get a pool of water at the back.