We’ve been in our home for 3 years now and it’s taken us this long to get round to doing the bathroom.  As I’m sure you’re already aware, the two most expensive rooms when renovating a home are the kitchen {which we’ve already done, read my kitchen blog here} and the bathroom.  When we moved into our home the décor and interiors hadn’t been touched for 25 – 30 years so everything was really old, rickety and was in desperate need of some TLC.

Planning a big project can seem overwhelming and you’re right to feel like this. My experience in overhauling and renovating bathrooms is that it is a huge undertaking but, can be made much easier with a little careful planning and scheduling at the beginning.

Before I set out on any home project I carry out a lot of research, I use Pinterest, Google images to find inspiration and to get ideas for the type of look I’d like to achieve.  Then I go to some of my favourite websites for further research and inspiration, these include; Cox & Cox, John Lewis, Laura Ashley, Next and home magazines {my favourites are Country Homes & Interiors, Ideal Homes and Country Living}.   They all provide me with inspiration and insights into how to get the perfect room for any project I’m working on.

These are the steps I followed when planning the bathroom of my dreams;

 

  1. Make a wish list

It’s important when renovating any room to write a ‘Wish List’ of your every want and need so that you when you plan the layout and design of the room you can build all of this into the planning.  I always do this and for the bathroom, my wish list was the following;

  • Toilet and bathroom made into one room to create a large, open space perfect for relaxing in
  • Traditional bathroom suite ~ with a modern twist
  • Taps ~ traditional with a bath/shower mixer tap over the bath { they look great and they come in handy too when washing the boys hair }
  • Walk in shower ~ large enough to fit me and the boys in so I can wash them down after football
  • Extra-large shower head {so showers can be more enjoyable}
  • Traditional, yet modern tiles on floor
  • White metro tiles on wall, only half way up so we can paint the remaining part of the wall
  • White metro tiles floor to ceiling in the shower

 

  1. Plan the layout

Once you have your ‘Wish List’ you can start planning for the bathroom of your dreams.  It provides a great starting point for you to work with, and in the final planning stage of your bathroom some of the things in your ‘Wish List’ may be unachieveable due to space, cost, time or money but, at that stage you can make an informed decision about what it is / isn’t your prepared to negotiate on.

In order to achieve all of the above I knew we needed to combine the existing toilet and bathroom, this made the space much bigger and I knew if we did this we could achieve the look I was striving for.  I then measured {roughly} the size of the new bathroom and visited as many showrooms as I could to get a feel for the products and looks that were out there.  This is easier to do when you already have the space/room there however, it’s much harder to measure accurately when you need to start taking down walls so I worked on a rough measurement guide initially whilst visiting show rooms.

Visit as many showrooms as you can

By visiting numerous showrooms you get an idea for the type of bathroom suites and products that are out there and it provides you with a good idea of the cost.  I visited 8 showrooms in our local area and collected over 10 bathroom interior brochures and this all provided me with insights to the types of bathroom suites that were available.  I arranged for one of the bathroom companies come to our home and measure up and they took into consideration the width of the joining wall from bathroom to toilet and drew plans which showed what the room would look like with the wall down.  I was pleasantly surprised on how big the space would be so I knew we’d made the right decision.

 

  1. Choosing your bathroom supplier

The company that came out to measure up were great however, I couldn’t find a bathroom suite I loved so I kept searching for other suppliers.  I finally stumbled upon James Hargeaves and after seeing their Burlington range, I was hooked.  It was exactly what I was looking for, traditional yet modern and it had a vast range of taps and accessories but, the thing that sold me the most was the quality of the goods and the great customer service I received.

I soon learned that you could buy Burlington products from many different suppliers within the UK and some of these suppliers were cheaper than James Hargreaves however, their showrooms were based down South and I wasn’t prepared to travel that far to see their products.  However, I am the type of person that likes to see the quality of the products before I buy so I chose the range I wanted and asked one of the internet suppliers to cost this up for me and send it to me.  They did just that and I then visited James Hargreaves local showroom with this cost breakdown and asked if they’d price match it and they did! I would have gone with them anyway as their front of house salesman was so helpful and spent over 2 hours with me from start to finish explaining every product in detail and this is exactly what I needed.  This isn’t the kind of investment you make every day and so I needed someone who would take their time with me explaining the products and the benefits and drawbacks of each one.  However, I also wanted value for money and through their price match they provided all of this and so much more!

I took the brochure home again and fine-tuned my order and started choosing the type of suite I’d like but, I underestimated how many decisions there were in choosing a bathroom.

 

Considerations to bear in mind when choosing your bathroom

There are so many decisions you’ve got to make when choosing a bathroom suite and I had hugely underestimated this.  Here are some of the key decisions I made about how bathroom and here are my words of wisdom when making your own decisions;

 

  • Choosing the right bath ~ Baths come in all shapes and sizes so choose carefully. There are benefits and drawbacks to having a free standing bath, the benefits are is that they look so beautiful however, some of them are quite small so always {always} make sure you try them out before you buy.  Richard and I ended up sitting in so many baths before we made our decision because roll top baths can be quite narrow so we tried so many baths before we made our choice.
  • Choosing the right shower ~ There are so many different types of showers too, there’s electric, thermostatic, dual outlet etc so make sure you discuss each of the benefits and drawbacks of each with your supplier. We chose the Burlington shower and we chose to have a 12 inch shower head for maximum water coverage.  It is huge now it’s installed {maybe a little too big} but, we do love it! We then chose the Instinct Corner Wet Room Panel shower screen to go with this and one of my main reasons for this was that it didn’t have too much chrome on the screen, sometimes they can look a little tacky if they’ve got too much.

  • Choosing the right sink ~ Sinks are plentiful in the Burlington range and there are so many different shapes and sizes but, we opted for the Burlington Regal Pedestal sink and chose the Burlington Claremont basin taps to go with this. It suited the look I was aiming for and it was traditional yet, modern.

  • Choosing the right toilet ~ Even with something as simple as a toilet, there were a lot of decisions to make and we chose the  toilet. It was a little taller than the average toilet and as we had such a big space I knew the bathroom could take it so we opted for this.
  • Choosing the right radiator ~ There are so many different types of radiators to choose from but, I was able to narrow it down as I wanted a traditional towel rail radiator in the bathroom to make sure it was in keeping with the rest of the bathroom. James Hargeaves were great in helping me make the right decision on this and I would recommend that whoever you go with you use their skills, expertise and knowledge to help you make decisions like this. They’ll explain how the pipework will work and they’ll help you to choose the right one for you.

  • Fixtures and fittings ~ The fixtures and fittings were quite complicated as it was in relation to all the plumbing and how to get rid of waste and excess water so I took their advice on this. James Hargreaves went through everything with me step by step and they explained the uses of all of the fixtures and fittings and chose the ones they thought would be best fit with my choice of bathroom.

 

  1. Choosing the right tiles

Now the bathroom was chosen I could start thinking about the tiles I’d need for the bathroom.  I already knew from my ‘Wish List’ that I’d like half tiles around the wall but, full tiles in the shower area but, I wasn’t exactly sure on the colour and shape of tile.

Again I spent hours visiting tile showrooms and asking for advice from each supplier, all provided a different perspective on the tiles I was interested in and finally I visited Topps tiles and found the metro tiles I was looking for.  I chose the White Metro Tiles as they were just the right size, not too big or small but, I needed a lot of them so knew this would be expensive.  But, these were the tiles I wanted so I chose these ones.

Finding floor tiles was going to be a little more difficult as I had my heart set on the tiles we already have in our downstairs toilet however, I couldn’t have the same upstairs and downstairs could I?!

I visited Topps Tiles showroom once more and researched for the same tiles, they’re part of the Berkley collection and they look so pretty in my downstairs loo but, I was looking for something similar but, slightly different I just didn’t know what.  Do you ever get like that when you know what it is you want but, can’t describe it but, will know when you see it?! Yep, that was me with this.

Anyway, I kept looking for tiles in Topps Tiles and many other on line suppliers too but, nothing took my fancy until by chance one day I was at Topps Tiles when they’d just taken a new delivery of the Berkley collection tiles and as soon as I saw them I loved them.  They were the same pattern as the ones in my downstairs loo but, slightly different and I knew in that moment it was those I wanted so I purchased them there and then.

I love them and we get so many compliments about them so thanks Topps Tiles!

  1. Choosing the paint

Now that nearly everything else has been chosen I was able to start thinking about the décor {this is the good bit!} so I visited our local paint supplier and chose a Farrow & Ball grey colour, (insert name of colour)  for the top part of the wall.

I thought it would work well with the white metro tiles I’d chosen and I was right it works well.  The white tiles really set off the grey on the wall and it breaks up the white as it’s such a big space I was a little worried it might look too clinical with all of the white tiles but, with the grey paint work it actually breaks it up quite nicely.

 

Additional tips

Renovating a bathroom is such an exciting project to start, I loved choosing everything for our bathroom but, the whole project from start to finish took two months.

 

Research

I spent hours researching the internet, Instagram, Pinterest and visited so many showrooms to get an idea of cost and range of bathroom suites so don’t underestimate this part.  I probably spent up to 6 weeks doing this before I rushed into anything and this gave me a good indication of what I’d need to start my bathroom renovation project.   The work itself took just over 2 weeks so we had to make do with showers at the in laws for a couple of weeks but, it was manageable and completely worth the dust and mess!

 

Tradesperson research

Once you’ve chosen your dream bathroom and worked out the cost of it all you need to find someone ‘good’ and an expert in their field who can fit the bathroom for you.  We asked for 3 quotes from 3 different tradesmen who all visited us at home and measured up and worked out costings to take the wall out, take out the old bathroom and fit the new.

After careful consideration we went with a plumber/tiler who could do the full job for us and came highly recommended from our decorator.  It’s always good to use someone who comes highly recommended as there are so many cowboys out there and this is a big investment so you can’t afford for anything to go wrong during the fit.

We were lucky that Aaron {Plumber of choice} was able to do the full project from start to finish and he could even do the tiling so it made sense to go with him.  He did a sterling job for us and the bathroom and tile work looks amazing!

 

Plan your budget

We’ve done a few major projects over the years and my experience of renovating old houses is that the cost always seem to go up once work begins.  Old houses have a habit of hiding additional work behind walls, in cupboards you name it everywhere so when you budget always make some reserves for additional work that may need to be carried out.

Bathrooms are expensive and if you want quality goods then you’ll have to pay for them.  Over the years I’ve learnt this the hard way as in the past I’ve chosen products that ‘look nice’ but, in time the quality of the product really shows as the taps start becoming eroded and the toilet seats start wobbling as the fixtures aren’t great.  Nowadays I’d rather spend a little more on quality goods because when you do it the other way round its false economy.

 

Final round up!

Choosing your dream bathroom is something I think everyone should have the opportunity to plan and do at least once in your lifetime.  We spend such a lot of time in the bathroom so it’s important to create a relaxing and calm environment for you to relax in at the end of a busy day.  I absolutely loved planning our dream bathroom and I’m hoping some of the tips and insights I’ve shared with you help you to create your dream bathroom too!

 

Good luck,

 

Kelly x