Though there are elements in there you certainly wouldn’t want to get intimate with, the bathroom is a truly personal space. As such, it should be somewhere you truly want to spend time, because, let’s face it, we do spend a lot of time in there; an average of 416 days in our lifetime, in fact. And personally, considering the amount of long and languid baths we love to take, perhaps that number is an underestimate, don’t you think?

We’re coming up the U-bend and from a different angle here, but we believe the bathroom should be viewed as a living area, not just one which provides function. Somewhere to relax, unwind and indulge; the domestic designated space for ‘me’ time. The design of your bathroom shouldn’t be an afterthought, then. Think about it whilst reading these 6 ideas for designing a bespoke bathroom.  

THE LAYOUT 

When you open the door of your bathroom, it shouldn’t be the aroma of the previous occupant’s work that first hits you. Instead, your bathroom should be pleasing to the eye. And rather than artistic flourishes, a calming bathroom space is most evoked by a carefully considered layout. 

Aesthetically, an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ mantra is best repeated in the bathroom. The last thing you want to see is a toilet when you’re indulging in a spot of pampering here – the sight of the can simply doesn’t make you think of nice things. Consider a dividing wall, then, between tub and loo, like you’d find in a 5 star hotel room’s en suite.

Cluttered surfaces are equally detrimental to kicking back here. We can’t emphasise enough, then, the importance of storage. Be smart and conceal storage to hide unsightly cosmetics, and display only beautiful bottles and dispensers on some stylish open-plan shelving. A less is more approach definitely works in the bathroom.

THE DEVIL’S IN THE DETAIL

Speaking of beautiful dispensers and attractively shaped bottles, it’s in the small details, like the taps and other fixtures, the radiator valves and towel rails, where you can really make your bespoke bathroom look and feel the part. So, do make sure that all these elements are synergised in terms of colour, material and shine; to have a tap in gold and a showerhead in silver would look very mismatched, indeed. To evoke harmony from the off, ensure the finer details are all matching and complementary.  

Speaking of detail, having a permanent place for bathroom friendly plants, like aloe vera or Chinese evergreens, also marks your bespoke bathroom out as a place for fun rather than function. In the design phase, designate an open shelf, plinth or pedestal to some flora. 

MODERN STORAGE

If you are to keep things clutter free and minimalist, in the name of eliminating distraction from your well earned soak, then modern storage is your best friend in the bathroom space. A wall hung or freestanding vanity unit are both popular choices here, as they look sophisticated and are compact for the space they provide within. Willow Tree Interiors, who design bespoke bathroom vanities, emphasise the importance of buying from FSC certified wood suppliers to mitigate environmental impact and also avoid wood rot caused by the high humidity of bathrooms.

You could also install recessed shelving and lighting into the existing structure of the wall, to minimise the necessity for building outwards, instead using the room’s foundations to make space for storage. Shower shelving in the form of shower walls is another smart storage solution which will give you the most bang for your buck in a more compact space.

BATH, SHOWER OR BOTH? 

Here at IDEAL we’re huge fans of freestanding baths with claw food stands, as they make one hell of a statement, redolent of rest, relaxation and grandeur, too. If you have the space, then perhaps such a tub, placed in the middle of the room, provides a focal point for both the fun and the function of your bespoke bathroom. Should you opt for a freestanding tub, though, you’re probably going to have to sacrifice a shower. Otherwise, you run the risk of a cluttered room. 

Alternatively, if you’re a little shorter on space but still want that luxurious centrepiece, at the design stage you could choose a statement shower. You know the style; one of those huge, walk-in affairs where the head feels amazing. A more practical choice than a freestanding tub, perhaps…

CONSIDER A WETROOM

Speaking of which, why not devote a whole room to being a walk-in shower, just with a different name? Beloved of the bathrooms of South East Asia, as they’re incredibly easy to keep clean and are economical with dimensions, wetroom style bathrooms are seeing a huge rise in popularity in the UK recently, and it’s easy to see why. 

Essentially, this is a shower room but without the necessity for screens and a tray. Such rooms are designed with a sloping floor so as to drain excess water and sealed walls to prevent water damage, and are a practical solution to having a small second bathroom which you want to make the most out of, space wise. Do make sure you install some slip-resistant flooring, wood panelling or mats, as they can get seriously slippery!

TO TECH OR NOT TO TECH

That is the question. 

Sure, we’ve spent this long extolling the virtues of a decluttered bathroom, but if you are intent on making this a room for leisure as much as loo-sitting, then the addition of some carefully chosen tech options could make all the difference in your impression of the space.

Are you one for belting out songs in the shower? Do you spend all day anticipating watching your Desperate Housewives episode in the tub? Do heated seats, a heated floor and heated towel rail bring you a feeling of inner warmth beyond the temperature they’re giving off?

Or, do you believe in your bones that the bathroom should be a more natural space, free from the distractions of technology?  

Should you fall into the former camp, then there are plenty of allowances you can make in your bespoke bathroom design for the introduction of technology. Smart bathrooms are the watchword here, and perhaps our favourite addition here is speakers designed specifically for bathrooms, which are Bluetooth, waterproof and low voltage; just perfect for some soothing tunes while you soak.

If you’re to go full Kardashian, then smart mirrors are the latest bathroom interior design craze, controllable by voice via Amazon Alexa, Google Home or Apple Homepod, and discreetly changing back into a mirror when not in use. No one has to know about your Countdown habit if you don’t want them to!

Lighting is one of the most important elements of a bathroom, and you can harness the power of tech here, too. That smart mirror we already mentioned? That can double up as a one-stop-shop for your voice controlled, diverse lighting needs too. The Phillips Hue Adore leads the field currently.