After the kitchen threads... Your top ideas for a new bathroom?

(69 Posts)
minipie Thu 20-Sep-12 18:18:32

We need to redo a bathroom sometime in the nearish future and I'm trying to gather ideas.

Any do/do nots to share?

How to make it child friendly? (don't have DCs yet but will do shortly!) for example, a hand shower for hair washing... Anything else?

Where to look for pictures for inspiration?

Best places to look for nice tiles?

Extractor fan...?

Tips on layout? It's a small ish bathroom with a sloping ceiling which makes things a bit harder. We will need to have a bath with a shower over.

Best flooring... Usually I'd use tiles but is there a more child friendly option?

Is underfloor heating worth it? Electric or wet... ? Do I need a radiator/towel rail as well?

Anything else?


Ragwort Thu 20-Sep-12 18:24:14

Can I join in as I am also planning a new shower room and finding it all very stressful. Nothing useful to add yet grin - but I am determined to have a towel rail, so useful and nice to look at.
One thing that has been suggested is a shower with two heads - one fixed at adult height and a lower one for hosing down children (or feet) - not sure if I have explained that very well.

minipie Thu 20-Sep-12 18:26:52

I know what you mean Rag - I don't think we'll be able to have a separate shower sadly but guess the equivalent for a bath is to have a fixed overhead shower and then another one on a hose (maybe inset into the rim of the bath) to hose down DCs. Helps with cleaning too I imagine.

PigletJohn Thu 20-Sep-12 18:31:52

you will need a radiator. Towel rails don't give out much heat, and are usually covered in towels.

Be sure to get an effective Centrifugal extractor fan, that comes on automatically with the light switch and runs on with a timer. If it is inside the bathroom, it should not be directly above a bath or shower as the electrical regulations are then much more stringent, but if you can have one in the loft, with a duct through the ceilling and another through the loft wall or soffit, it can be much more powerful and less noisy.

tiles or laminate flooring will be very tiresome when the floor has to come up for repairs to plumbing or wiring.

Bamboo flooring is supposed to stand up to water, which most other materials, except vinyl or tiles, can't.

If the old floor is chipboard, rip it up and put down 18mm WBP ply. Chipboard is at its best on a bonfire.

minipie Thu 20-Sep-12 18:45:13

Thanks Piglet. I don't know what the current floor is, will have to take up the covering (I think it's rubber) to find out. Is WBP ply the same as marine ply?

Impressed that bamboo stands up to water... I didn't know that. I wonder why it's not used for kitchen floors more, is it quite soft perhaps? <tangent>

Hmm will be tricky to work out where to put the fan... the bath almost certainly has to go against the only external wall, so I would have put the fan there, but then the fan will be above the bath. The room is in the eaves so there's only a little bit of loft above it, but guess we could put the fan at that end of the room. If it reduces noise it's worth it. Thanks.

If we put in wet underfloor heating I presume we wouldn't need a radiator? But is wet underfloor heating even possible in an upstairs room (i.e. on top of joists rather than fully solid floor)?

PigletJohn Thu 20-Sep-12 19:00:52

Marine ply is a higher quality, and usually has at least one clear hardwood face suitable for varnishing, so is more expensive, but, yes, similar.

Bamboo flooring looks a bit odd and fibrous to some people, including me.

you can run the pipes for wet underfloor heating betwen the joists, in trays, with insulation underneath.

A loft fan only needs a vent in the ceiling, the fan does not have to be directly above the vent.

this ducted one extracts up to 220cu.m. per hour

wheeras the usual cheap rubbish only extracts 85

If you can fit them in , have 2 hand basins .
Shower in bath is fine , have a screen though not a shower curtain .
I like a heated towel rail .
No clue about flooring , except don't have carpet !
We had a lovely ensuite in our old house , have a horrid one now .
No window , and a noisy inefficient expelair fan .

minipie Thu 20-Sep-12 19:06:15

thank you!

out of curiousity, how do you know so much? Are you a builder or are you actually Sarah Beeny which is my secret theory

minipie Thu 20-Sep-12 19:07:20

^ addressed to Piglet

Doi we have 2 windows! but no space for 2 basins in this one. It's going to be a kids bathroom mainly in the medium to longer term.

PigletJohn Thu 20-Sep-12 19:14:12

yes, I am not Sarah Beeny

Ragwort Thu 20-Sep-12 19:18:39

I have two basins in our ensuite - I think it is ridiculous as the room is so small that no way could two people comfortably use each basin - I am having them ripped out grin.

Is an extractor strictly necessary? Our house is only 6 years old but doesn't have extractors - I just open the window grin.

I want built in units but the only ones I have seen are very dull and boring, anyone seen any good designs?

Will a heated towel rail be alright on its own in a very small en-suite - no one else is allowed to use it except me grin - so just one towel !

minipie Thu 20-Sep-12 19:23:03

Built in units - I would get a carpenter to make some tbh, that way they will be exactly the right size and shape for your bathroom and you can also incorporate any boxing in of pipework needed.

Ragwort Thu 20-Sep-12 19:27:29

That's a good idea - now I have to find a carpenter grin.

NorbertDentressangle Thu 20-Sep-12 19:30:30

My tips based on what I like about our bathroom:

-towel rail and a radiator
-An extractor fan that is controlled by humidity as well as by the light switch (that way it will come on when needed even if the light isn't being used)
-Storage (for towels, toiletries, loo rolls etc)
-Flooring -my pet hate in bathrooms is a cold, tiled floor (and carpet of course but that goes without saying!) . We have reclaimed wooden parquet which has been in for about 9 years and still looks great. I also like the rubber textured one (Dalsouple?)

minipie Thu 20-Sep-12 19:38:49

What sort of storage do you have Norbert?

SamsGoldilocks Thu 20-Sep-12 19:40:42

what's this obsession with two handbasins. To me it just equals more housework cleaning the damn things.

LeeCoakley Thu 20-Sep-12 19:43:11

Have extractor fan independent of light switch. Very annoying for it to come on if you are just going in there to fit a new bog roll.

LeeCoakley Thu 20-Sep-12 19:44:29

And look very carefully at heated towel rails. They look good with no towels on but our gaps are so small we just end up draping the towels over the top.

itsgoneabitchilly Thu 20-Sep-12 19:46:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PigletJohn Thu 20-Sep-12 20:08:17

some people have a psychological aversion to ventilation and will not open windows or switch on fans.

The automatic extractor overcomes their vile tendencies and keeps the bathroom fairly free of condensation, damp, mould etc PARP

SwedishEdith Thu 20-Sep-12 20:10:49

If you have a towel rail, make sure you can turn it on when rest of heating off <bitter>

Agree at pointlessness of two sinks. I don't want to chat whilst I'm getting washed. Just get up at slightly staggered times.

Never understood the point of those fixed overhead shower head things unless you enjoy washing your hair every day - assume they're a bloke thing.

Taps for the bath - try to avoid the ones that have gap in the middle underneath - you can never really clean it.

PigletJohn Thu 20-Sep-12 20:13:33

if you have a hot-water cylinder, any plumber with more than 6 months experience can easily plumb the towel rail and/or radiator to come on while the cylinder is being heated. This is typically during and after your bath.

Be sure you fit a thermostatic radiator valve, otherwise it will helpfully warm the bathroom even in midsummer.

NorbertDentressangle Thu 20-Sep-12 20:24:24

minipie -for storage we have a built-in floor to ceiling cupboard, about the size of a small-ish wardrobe where we store towels, bedding, loo rolls, cleaning stuff etc. It also has a small radiator in the bottom of it so its like an airing cupboard.

We also have a set of drawers for toiletries. The top of it is great for the electric toothbrushes, kids toothpastes etc as bathrooms tend to have a lack of flat surfaces to put things on I find

AllPastYears Thu 20-Sep-12 20:38:19

Big heated towel rail would be good. Ours is only really big enough for 1 big and 1 small towel, I'd like more in there. It would be nice to have more control over when it's used - ours is a fancy radiator really, and in the summer we have the heating on twice a day for the towel rail but with all the other rads off. Mind you, I would like timed control for every room in the house. <<control freak>>

We have amtico flooring which is nice, easy to clean, and not cold. It's been down about 13 years and we've never needed to take it up for access to anything.

jollydiane Thu 20-Sep-12 21:00:12

Here are my tips:

Have a radiator but link it into the hot water tank thingy so that in summer although the heating is off you still have nice warm towels.

Make sure your shower screen in your bath extends enough and make sure every part of it can be cleaned (bitter experience)

If you have small children put the lock high up so they cannot experiment with the lock and lock themselves in (another bitter experience)

I love vinyl it can look lush and if you get board, bin it without guilt. It can be steam mopped so no chemicals needed.

Consider the shape of your tap. Will you be able to get a bucket under your fancy tap if you need to wash your floor (unless you have a steam mop) - can you see where I going with this...?

fossil97 Thu 20-Sep-12 21:23:32

We have a big heated towel rail (600 wide x 1500 high), I worked out this is how big it needed to be to be the equivalent of a radiator. Asked the plumber to make sure the wall brackets were right at the edges so that the towels can hang over. It has an electric element as well as being on the heating circuit although I'd like this to have a timer put on <never satisfied>

Bog standard vinyl flooring

We have gone for a shower curtain across the bath, I may regret it but didn't want to be struggling past a glass partition to wash the children's hair. One like this although got it cheaper through plumber's merchant.

No room for any cupboards so have got an Ikea vanity unit/basin combination. Definitely an extractor, humidity controlled probably a good idea.

Wall mounted mixer tap = monumental PITA, should have just gone for one hot and one cold.

fossil97 Thu 20-Sep-12 21:25:32

Sloping ceiling - think about headroom and also mirrors! In our ensuite, the basin is against the low wall, we checked carefully that DH has headroom to brush his teeth but there is nowhere to put a mirror high enough for him - think I'll have to put one on the side wall instead.

aylsham Thu 20-Sep-12 23:33:40

We've just put in an outasight shower screen which 'disappears' straight after shower (over bath and in middle of bath wall, along with centr taps). Really pleased with it - bathroom looks double the size when it's folded away.

AllPastYears Fri 21-Sep-12 08:32:49

Incidentally, on the solid flooring/pipe access issue - when I was a child my dad insisted on carpet in our bathroom so it could be lifted to get under the floor when needed. That carpet has never been lifted - and it's now been there 40 years! grin

Bramblesinafield Fri 21-Sep-12 08:39:34

If you just have a heated towel rail you will need underfloor heating. Particularly if the floor is tiled. Bitter experience. Brrrrrrrr.

3rdnparty Fri 21-Sep-12 08:41:33

out of sight shower screen sounds good - have tiny bathroom too could you link? thanks

minipie Fri 21-Sep-12 11:37:46

Thanks all. Great ideas here. Very interested in the outasight shower screen and also the idea of a towel rail linked to the hot water tank. We have a megaflo rather than a traditional hot water tank, will that still work?

Storage, I like the drawers idea, a lot easier than all cupboards. we will probably get some built in under the slopiest part of the roof. Generous ledge round the bath is a good idea too.

Extractor fan, I think we would have it come on automatically but be able to be switched off separately (eg in the middle of the night). It will be kids bathroom and they won't be able to open the window or remember to switch on the fan each time so I think it does need to be automatic to some extent.

chilly I have seen rubber things that go over bath taps (usually frog or dolphin shaped) to stop kids knocking themselves, not an elegant solution but might help with your central taps issue?

I will definitely consider vinyl or amtico or rubber instead of tiles given child friendliness. Am I better off with squares or with a single piece cut to fit?

Please keep the ideas coming !

MousyMouse Fri 21-Sep-12 13:09:44

we want to 'do' our bathroom next year.
I want
- toilet in the bathroom (currently separate without sink)
- radiator
- extractor fan (even though we have a window)
- fan heater (for a quick boost of warmth)
- tiles throughout (even under the bath)
- a washing line over the bathtub

PigletJohn Fri 21-Sep-12 13:23:21

a separate loo can be extremely useful.

theenchantedhood Fri 21-Sep-12 15:59:36

Ooh MousyMouse I really don't recommend the washing line over the bath.. A few years ago I flipped a towel that was over one just getting out of bath and 2 of the (enormous) tiles fell in one went straight through my Achilles tendon ;) Bitter, bitter experience ;)

Watching with interest as shower door fell into out bath today and it has a hole in it now sad Toilets been dying for months so looks like everything will need doing..

Question - where to go for the suite? Online or get a co to do it or someone local clueless

PigletJohn Fri 21-Sep-12 16:24:30

I have a feeling that your washing line was attached to the tiles, hood.

Should have been screwed into the brickwork ir stud.

Arithmeticulous Fri 21-Sep-12 16:43:13

Heated towel rail that is off the floor (so that you could put storage under it if required)

Electric underfloor heating mat under the flooring

Roca Khroma toilet - turns your toilet into an armchair (sort of) so you can sit and drink wine watch the kids in the bath

Laundry chute grin

Lots of storage and lights.

Murtette Fri 21-Sep-12 16:45:23

Where do you keep your medicines? A high up, lockable cupboard would be useful. You could also keep some bleach/toilet cleaner in there to save taking it upstairs each time you clean to loo {lazy emoticon}.

If you're having a wide ledge, only have it on the wall side of the bath as otherwise you have to step over it to get in & out of the bath which is hard for short legs & when you're pregnant with subsequent DCs & trying to bath existing DCs.

I think a tap in the middle on the wall side is a good idea as then neither DC (if you're planning two) ends up at the tap end.

Our loo is next to the bath which I like as I can sit there & watch DC now that they're old enough to be in the bath by themselves but am still close enough if one of them decides to do something mad.

Towel rail attached to hot water is GENIUS. I love having warm towels all year around. Definitely have an extractor as otherwise you have to have the window open in the winter which can be miserable!

PigletJohn Fri 21-Sep-12 16:48:24

extractor fans should not be noisy, BTW. If yours is, make sure it is fixed to the wall firmly to prevent rattling. Otherwise the motor bearings are probably worn out and you should buy a new one (unless you are handy enough to dismantle, clean and lube)

We are almost finished doing our new en-suite in a loft conversion.

Things that have worked well :

A low radiator on a section of wall that is not going to be used, taking up as little room as possible.

Grey grout for floor tiles - looks better and easier to maintain.

As big a mirror as possible above the sink.

Separate cupboard for storage, meaning we could have a large flat sink mirror rather than a cupboard.

minipie Fri 21-Sep-12 17:48:04

Good point about taps in the middle being good for bathing 2 DC at once. Also good point about sitting on the loo as a chair - that will happen a lot when bathing DCs I imagine so will look out for a comfy lidded one!

Or, we could have one of those taps which is actually an overflow and tap combined - basically a round steel thing which sits where an overflow would usually sit on the side of the bath but water also comes out of it. Sounds like that may be the best option?

Won't fit a bucket underneath but if we also have a separate hand shower attachment we could use that for any bucket filling.

Can we do the towel rail attached to h w tank thing if we have a megaflo?

Good point to think about laundry bin and cleaning products.

More ideas welcome...!

You can get middle of the bath taps which swivel out of the way - I am getting some a bit like these (cannot find proper link at the moment)

betterwhenthesunshines Fri 21-Sep-12 18:13:24

We have a Megaflow and the towel rail is plumbed so that it comes on the hot water circuit. That way it's always warm when you're likely to be having a bath/shower.

Some plumbers aren't sure about this as usually towel rails are on the central heating circuit and have some inhibitor stuff added to the water <?>. But this is the way my parents had it so it's the way we've done it too. Been here 8 years now and now problem with towel rail rusting from the inside so far (and parents were intheir house for 2o years with no problem.

The waste / filler thing so you don't have to have a tap is called an Exofil. It's great - we just have a wall mixer valve and no taps sticking in the middle of the bath.

We also have a WC built into an alcove. The cistern is built into a 'false wall' at about waist height with a removable block of oak. That acts as a rather nice shelf for a freestanding clock - very useful! and books. Above that we have a narrow depth cupboard about 20cm deep so the front is flush with the rest of that wall. It fits ALL medicines, spare shampoo, holiday wash bags, suncreams etc. And has a spotlight above and below.

PigletJohn Fri 21-Sep-12 18:33:09

the water that circulates through the boiler and the radiators (mixed with corrosion inhibitor) is the same water that circulates through the heat exchasner coil in the cylinder or Megaflow. It does not mix with the tap water, so this is a perfectly fine thing to do. A plumber with more than six months experience should be familiar with the method.

There are a very few, very old, cylinders, where the water can mix, and inhibitor cannot be used.

jollydiane Fri 21-Sep-12 23:34:42

i like the look of this. Any idea how it could be done? I particularly like the shelf and sink design. Come on piglet don't let me down wink

amck5700 Fri 21-Sep-12 23:56:02

Modern baths particularly shower baths tend to have quite steep sides and take and age to fill.

we have recently redone our main bathroom, en-suite and downstairs loo - got all the fittings from next bathrooms and can't fault the quality, delivery and returns process.

This is the bath we got and the shower panel folds in half to make it easier to deal with kids in the bath and clean.

ThreePly Sat 22-Sep-12 00:24:18

I'd say have your extractor on a separate switch. We did, because I can't bear the thing whirring away when you're just brushing your teeth.

Having 2 basins is really useful (then again, I have lots of DCs).

Drawer units under basins don't provide much space and things wobble over when you pull the drawer out.

Yy to shower screen not curtain. We got a bifold one so it could fold back on itself easily.

Electric underfloor heating + towel rail + radiator makes it lovely and toasty!

Look out for ex-display items on eBay -- we got some good deals that way.

PigletJohn Sat 22-Sep-12 00:40:02


that is a variety of partially-inset basin

I consider it better than a vanity basin as splashes and toothpaste dribble are less likely to go on the worktop. The front of the unit is not actually cut away as you might have thought.

when you look at the basin upside down you see it is not solid as it looks, the front rim is cut away to fit over the unit. You will understand if you look at some.

the cistern tiled into the wall will be a nuisance when it goes wrong.

Isabeller Sat 22-Sep-12 00:47:54

v interesting thread, hope it's ok for me to ask a question. I'm redoing a basement bathroom (solid floor) because of plumbing problems. Underfloor heating would help make best use of the tiny space, can this be connected to the same pipework as the radiators or does it mean a whole new system?

PigletJohn Sat 22-Sep-12 00:59:29

it can, but it runs at a lower temperature so it needs its own thermostat and blending valve. The place that sells the special pipe will probably offer kits with the extras that you need.

On a solid floor it is laid before the final concrete screed is poured. If your basement is old the floor may need to come up for dpm and insulation anyway. It will need a lot of ventilation because basements tend to be damp. it may even need drainage tiles and a pump to remove the wall seepage.

Rattitude Sat 22-Sep-12 00:59:32

I got a corner bathroom cabinet from Utopia, which is great and spacious.

The builder made a wooden base on top of it; the wash basin is inset and the same tiles are used around the sink as on the floor.

My bathroom is 3 years old and the towel rail is getting a lit bit rusty in places...

I prefer tiled floors. Just make sure you choose your (wall and/or floor) tiles carefully. I have been looking around for a new house over the past few months and I have been put off many places with bathrooms that must have been fitted fairly recently but that I really did not like.

Unless you think you may spend at least the next 10+ years in your house, you should try to aim for a neutral or classic look.

I got my tiles from a company in Doncaster, whose prices were unbeatable (Tile Agents Yorkshire Ltd. in Doncaster DN9 1PN).

My tiles were the Tau Ceramica Metallica range on the floor, bathroom sides, walk-in shower walls and cabinet top, and white on the walls - expensive but easily 20-25% cheaper in Doncaster than in most places I saw them.

And wherever/whatever you buy always ask for a discount. Not just for bathrooms - on everything. So far have saved £800 just on asking if they can take any extra off - oh and got a "free" loo roll holder.

aylsham Sat 22-Sep-12 13:48:22

Here's the link, but I have seen it cheaper on other sites, sorry don't have time to look now though. Yes, expensive, but cheaper than extending bathroom to get the same feeling of space!

aylsham Sat 22-Sep-12 13:48:51

Ohhh aylsham I love, love that. I think that has solved the bath screen How is it working? Is the curtain just inside the bath - does it really all fold away. Wow!

sandycloud Sat 22-Sep-12 16:27:15

I really wanted a roll top bath but wanted a shower above it too. Bath store have a roll top that has a fitted corner so water doesn't slosh over the side. Our bathroom is small and it makes the room feel bigger as you can see the floor underneath. Also can shove toys under it when you want them out the way.

amck5700 Sat 22-Sep-12 16:30:24

This is mine just after we did it up:[

MousyMouse Sat 22-Sep-12 22:18:22

oh, I forgot something important on my list: I want a hairdryer in the bathroom. I find it a right faff to have to leave the bathroom to dry my hair.

FancyBread Sat 22-Sep-12 23:26:58

When you choose you bath get in it and check it is comfortable even if it's in the middle of a busy shop.
If you install an overhead shower stand under it and pretend to have a shower to make sure it is in the right place before its plumbed in. Get your partner to do the same.
If you have a fixed overhead shower also have a handheld shower to wash kids hair etc.
Underfloor heating is really nice.
We have had several two sink bathrooms but unless you have a huge bathroom I would just have one.
Have a low level lighting option for middle of the night loo visits.
Make sure the pipe work to the radiators are sunk into the wall so the floor is kept as clear as possible.

MousyMouse Sat 22-Sep-12 23:35:19

oh, and be careful with bathtubs.
some are of a cheap and wobbly material that is not suitable for use as a shower.
and if you order the bath at a diy shop for the builder to pick up and install, check the builder has not exchanged the chosen bath against the cheapet wobbly one and pocketed the difference (happened to my parents, took ages to sort out, mainly because it's not instantly obvious).

Isabeller Sun 23-Sep-12 09:49:55

Many thanks Piglet John for underfloor heating info and for general inspiration of thread.

I redid a very small bathroom a few years ago and made the mistake of overcrowding the space. Learning experience smile.

EdgarAllanPond Sun 23-Sep-12 10:27:12

". Chipboard is at its best on a bonfire."

even then, it's not very good smile

aylsham Sun 23-Sep-12 17:12:47

Ffaok, it's wonderful. Yes, just folds away completely. There is a spray you use once a month on curtain to stop mould and that seems to work fine. Just spray 10 mins before shower. The curtain has three levels but only a tiny difference between each. Ours ONLY just fits inside bath as the unit is on tiles around bath edge which has raised it a bit but doesn't seem to matter because the water runs down the pleats and into the bth anyway. Very pleased with it.

HannahD78 Fri 11-Jan-13 15:54:14

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

aufaniae Fri 11-Jan-13 22:35:54

"Best places to look for nice tiles?"

My tip for tiles is to ignore the chains and find some independent tiles shops.

When we did our flat up in London, we were on a tight budget and did a lot of shopping around. (We started with all usual chains - B&Q etc)
The best quality and range of different styles were by far and away the independents, who were also the best value for money!

We got our lovely kitchen wall tiles from these guys in Walthamstow in the end Al Murad

Their website doesn't seem that impressive, there was a much bigger stock in-store IIRC.

But I'd say visit a range of independents if they exist where you are.

aufaniae Fri 11-Jan-13 22:38:02

"Where to look for pictures for inspiration?"

I've just discovered this website which I'm really enjoying - mainly using it to get inspiration on colours atm.

aufaniae Fri 11-Jan-13 22:50:14

If you want to save money on the bathroom suite, again avoid the chains.

We looked at stores like B&Q and Bathstore were very unimpressed.

We then looked at a local building supplies shop which the tradespeople use, and we found better quality bathroom suite for a fraction of the price.

We got our bathroom suite, from "Chris Stevens Discount Trade Centre" on Holloway Road, N19. It looks cheap and cheerful from the outside, and it's not all beautifully laid out. But hey, they're aiming at trade. If you can see past that, you'll save an arm and a leg!

It also has a "Bathroom Centre" next door, which is aimed at non-trade, and worth a look just so you can be happy you're getting a bargain in the first shop IMO!

We're about to do up our new house, and will probably drive up to London to get our new bathroom from there again I reckon.

MmeLindor Fri 11-Jan-13 22:51:57

Marking place to come back to tomorrow

echt Sat 12-Jan-13 06:24:21

Excellent thread.

We're looking to renovate the family bathroom this year, and thanking our lucky stars the house is on stumps (Australia), and floor vented heating which sorts out some issues.

My only advice is dark, non-glossy fake slate floor tiles which don't show DH's body hair fall-out. Think mature silver-backed mountain gorilla.grin

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