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5 Tips for Designing the Perfect Family Bathroom

Every home has one, but with the trend leaning towards stylish en­suites, it’s easy to overlook the ‘family’ bathroom. If the main bathroom in your home has become a wasteland for discarded cosmetics or a thoroughfare to reach the laundry basket, it’s time to have a re­think.

Who and how?

The first step to designing any room is to define who will use the space and how. If you do have an ensuite, chances are your family bathroom will be used most often by guests or the kids, meaning your suite and design choices want to be stylish enough to impress visitors yet practical enough for family bath time. Also consider how the space could offer something different from your ensuite­ perhaps your ensuite only has a shower but you prefer a long, relaxing soak or it has bright yellow tiles that wake you up in the morning but aren’t very soothing in the evening. Set a purpose (or purposes) for the room and design around them.

Make a plan

Bathrooms are usually the smallest room in the house with some of the bulkiest ‘mandatory’ items of furniture and the space is often further restricted by plumbing. As well as your suite, your family bathroom will need plenty of storage for everything from shampoo to beach towels, and you’ll need to make sure you factor in enough room to dry off comfortably. All of this means that the layout of your bathroom needs to be thought out more carefully than other rooms­ consider drafting in design help to avoid costly mistakes.

Are you sprucing up for a resale?

If you’re updating your home before selling, consider what potential buyers may look for in the main bathroom of the house. Try to choose a suite which will appeal to as many people as possible­ young professionals may not mind a stand­alone power shower instead of a bath, but families might be put off. Even if the house has 2 beautiful en suites, potential buyers will still knock pound signs off the asking price to redo a shabby family bathroom.

Work with flat planes

Corner baths or toilets may seem ideal if space is at a premium, but their 45° angle may compromise the sleek look you envisioned, and feel dated quickly. Instead, think of the room as a series of ‘flat planes’. Rather than creating a small patch of tiles on a wall behind a basin as a splash­back, tile the whole wall. If you do a glass shower screen, don’t stop it a little way down from the ceiling, take it all the way up. Thinking of the space as a series of complete rectangles in this way is a simple but effective design trick to maximise the sense of space.

Think about the ‘hero factor’

Lastly, think about the ‘hero factor’ in your bathroom. This could be anything from a quirky light fitting to a brightly tiled wall; an ornate mirror to a stand-alone, claw­foot Victorian bath. Having a focal point is a great idea­ it draws the eye and puts your own design mark on what can be a fairly standardised space­ creating a room that’s truly your own.

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