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Bathroom Bliss

With just a few tweaks and updates, you can transform your bathroom into a soothing sanctuary. Here’s how. By Lisa Witepski.

According to Andrew Taylor, MD of Bathroom Butler, renovating or upgrading your bathroom is one of the single most valuable investments you can make to your property: remodelling your bathroom could help you make back up to 75 per cent of your costs.

But even if you’re not planning your bathroom renovation with investment or resale in mind, there’s a lot to be said for creating a welcoming space. After all, who doesn’t enjoy escaping to a sensory haven after a stressful day? This is exactly the type of mood your bathroom should provide, says Cayley-Jade Smith, design consultant at Bella Bathrooms. She advises a nature-inspired look, which creates a calming, balanced environment ideal for relaxation and rejuvenation: “A minimalist backdrop combined with organic forms, smooth shapes and soft, natural colours accented with warm wood, moody lighting and the addition of botanicals completes the look and is one of the hottest trends in bathroom design right now.”

A touch of luxury

First things first: how to turn your bathroom into a place of pampering? It’s as simple as adding a heated towel rack, says Taylor: “There’s nothing quite like stepping out of a bath or shower and reaching for a hot, fresh towel.”

Smith adds a practical observation: avoid buying cheap fittings. Rather, go for reputable brands which are known to offer good aftersales service and easily available parts, so that you don’t have to carry the cost of replacements later down the line.

Fixtures and fittings

Bathroom fixtures can make a real statement – which may be why matte black fittings are having a moment. It’s easy to understand the appeal, says Taylor: matte black can be matched with an all-black theme or used as an accent colour, and fittings are striking with highly noticeable visual appeal.

Smith agrees, adding that brushed bronze and champagne are other popular choices. She advises choosing a brand that offers accessories like towel hooks in the same colour, so that you can coordinate the look perfectly.

As for shapes, at AXOR, it’s all about slender silhouettes, flat surfaces, soft corners and balanced proportions, while sister brand Hansgrohe is punting minimalist elegance and contrast.

Totally floored

The key word when it comes to bathroom flooring is texture, made easier by advances in digital imagery which makes it possible to create natural looks on porcelain tiles – think wood, cement or stone. This allows you to invite in organic elements, without losing out on the durability and longevity offered by porcelain. Marble-look tiles also get the thumbs up, adding interest and versatility. They’re also an excellent choice if you’re opting for the contrasts created by matte black or metallic toned mixers.

Tile size is important, comments Smith. Too small, and the mass of grout lines will make the room look busy; too big, and you’ll end up with unnecessary wastage.

When it comes to the walls, she advises full tiling – or not tiling at all. The half-tiled look, accentuated by a listello, has now had its day. Instead, create features using subtle nuances – like a change in texture, which is both understated and elegant.

Luxe lighting

Lighting in a bathroom is obviously key. This is a room where fluorescent or bright lights can be particularly harsh, so Taylor recommends replacing them with recessed ceiling lights or, if this is not possible, installing a dimmer switch.

Indirect lighting in warm tones is also a good bet. Taylor also suggests a backlit LED mirror, which creates a halo of soft, warm lighting around the mirror’s edge.

The ultimate ambience enhancer, though, has to be a candle. Not only are candles a quick and affordable way to introduce soft lighting, but also to add atmosphere with different scents. Place them strategically throughout the room. Add two large pillar candles on either side of the bath, for example, or dot them around windowsills and shelves for the perfect amount of light.

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