Before getting into the specifics of choosing your new bathroom fixtures, fittings and finishes – once you’ve got the basics of your existing bathroom mapped-out with our Free Bathroom Planner – think about the following points and carry your conclusions into the next chapter:
- Will there be small children living in the home, or likely to make overnight visits?
Most main bathrooms have enough space for a separate bath and shower. However, a popular trend for apartment-dwellers and downsizers is to do away with a bath altogether, in favour of a larger walk-in wet room. With babies and small kids, it’s generally easier and safer to give them a bath, rather than trying to hold and shower them at the same time. The possibility of accommodating children or grandchildren, for example, could make the bath a major priority when previously it had been considered irrelevant or redundant. Depending on the property, there is also the possibility of affecting future resale value if the ‘young family’ home-hunters are discouraged from purchasing your home due to the lack of a bath. Ensuites are a different story but think carefully about your bathroom renovation choices if they will result in your property having no bath whatsoever. If you’re trying to save space, a bath with shower over might be the best all-round option. A semi-frameless screen keeps the floor dry and the bathroom looking more open and streamlined. It’s a great all-round answer when shower enthusiasts can still enjoy a combination rail and hand-held shower, as well as a generous overhead rain shower. The bath can be of the deep-soaker variety, set-in on three sides for excellent water containment. With a stylish contemporary bath spout and wall-mixer, the combination bath/shower can provide kids with manageable bath-time fun and the adults with both showering convenience and a deeply relaxing bathing experience.
- Are any occupants approaching more senior years, or will older persons be visiting?
Without question, a walk-in wet room is the most accessible solution for bigger kids and adults of any age but especially seniors, for whom advancing years may impede or deny the ability to get safely in and out of a bath. Issues like these might be far from your thoughts at present, but with WHO’s lifetime product warranty, your bathroom renovation could last your entire lifetime (unless you renovate again, or sell this home). Another very common situation with extended families is the need for younger home-owners to accommodate an elderly relative on a temporary or even longer-term basis. The likelihood of such scenarios eventuating in your household could argue against the choice of a shower-over-bath combination. However, if a bath/shower combination is the best solution for your needs right now, and an older person might need to use your new bathroom at some stage, choose a shallower bath to minimise the step-over height on the edge of the bath. Of course, a separate bath and wet room is always the best option – wherever the floor-space allows!
- Is water conservation important to you, or is your area affected by water restrictions?
The practical and fashionable emphasis on having multiple shower heads would seem to be at odds with the need to conserve water in many parts of Australia. However, this is not necessarily so with modern shower-head technology. Shower heads from WHO carry the WELS rating so you can easily see from the number of stars on each product how water-efficient it will be in your home. If water supplies in your area are compromised, combining a shallow bath with a high WELS-rated rail/hand-held shower and rain shower will satisfy your conservation needs, yet still deliver the full range of contemporary bath and shower options. Toilets from WHO are also WELS-rated and you might be surprised at how efficient they are!
- How much bench-space and storage does your bathroom really need?
It’s true that some households have little more than a toothbrush, shampoo and razor to store in the bathroom. A small vanity unit plus mirrored wall-cabinet and co-ordinating shower-shelf would provide enough storage and put-down space for everyday requirements in these situations. More common, however, is the need to store and access a variety of small appliances (hair dryers, electric toothbrushes, electric shavers, etc.) and an array of products for personal care. If your household fits into the latter category, no matter what size your bathroom space, take a look at WHO’s mix-and-match vanity combinations. Choose the biggest benchtop that your bathroom-size can handle (up to a whopping 1.8 metres in length), combine with any number of vanity cabinets underneath (doors or drawers, either wall-hung or floorstanding), and you’ll have ample under-bench storage, plus enough bench-space for twin basins and the myriad of products and appliances that people in the home might like to use. Remember, longer benchtops are also safer because electrical appliances shouldn’t rest anywhere too close to water! Even if your bathroom is tiny, like a small ensuite, you can still create useful bench-space and style with a compact vanity package like the Lily 600 from WHO. Although narrow in profile, the Lily 600 has a good-sized cabinet underneath, a generous bench-mounted basin with broad rear surround, and still some spare bench-space on either side of the basin for products and small appliances.
- Does your bathroom suffer from peak-hour rush?
It only takes two people trying to leave home or head for bed at the same time to put any one-bathroom home under pressure. A double-basin vanity is ideal for any multi-person household, and a definite value-add for future property resale. You might think your bathroom wouldn’t have enough space for twin basins, but WHO can configure mix-and-match double-basin vanities with benchtop-mounted basins from as little as 900-1200mm in bench length, or with an integrated twin-basin vanity top from 1500mm. Another great bathroom time-saver is a wet room with twin showers. The conventional arm-mounted shower head has mostly given way to more modern and flexible configurations, such as combining a hand-held shower with adjustable ‘massage’ head (on a fixed vertical rail with easy height adjustment to suit everyone in the home), as well as an overhead rain shower for a broader, more drenching spray. Take two sets of showers, with two independent wall-mixers, and two people can shower independently, at the same time (water-pressure and hot-water capacity permitting). Double-shower wet rooms are almost the norm in new home builds these days, but you don’t need a mansion-sized bathroom to create a double-shower wet room when you’re renovating. The minimum area required would be equivalent in size to a smaller bath and many people, depending on circumstances, will choose to forego a bath for a larger shower. The toilet is another facility which can cause a queue to form outside the bathroom. If your home has only one toilet and it’s inside the main bathroom, while you’re renovating your main bathroom and getting tradespeople in, you might as well look around the home for somewhere to install a second toilet. The laundry or garage could offer potential for a second toilet and perhaps a small vanity or wall-mounted hand-basin, but you might also consider creating a handy and oh-so-trendy ‘powder-room’ in the void under a staircase, for example, or turning part of a little-used bedroom into an ensuite for an adjacent bedroom. Modern ensuites, with smart space-planning and compact components from WHO, can fit loads of style and convenience into not much more floor-space than a large wardrobe requires. What a fantastic everyday benefit for the growing family – and what a great value-add for the property too!