Expert advice

Expert advice

When it comes to the wet-areas of the home, expert advice is a must. Designer Nicky Claridge guides us through planning the bathroom and laundry

Where should I start when it comes to planning my bathroom?  
When designing a bathroom layout, we get clients thinking about who will use each space, and how they will use it (besides the obvious of course!), now but also in the future. Choosing the appropriate fittings and fixtures then becomes a matter of what is most important or useful to the user and what fits best in the available space. Every household is different so ensuring the spaces we create are suited to our clients’ lifestyles and individual tastes is key. 

What should I never compromise on? 
Practical, functional design, and durable materials. The bathroom is a very hard working space especially in a family home; so it’s extremely important to get the right advice when it comes to selecting the fittings and fixtures. There are a huge number of products specifically designed to cope with moisture, and a lot that aren’t, so don’t be fooled by the price. Cheap doesn’t always make for cheerful – especially when water is involved.   

Should I approach my ensuite and family bathroom in the same way? 
In my experience, the family bathroom and ensuite can function in very different ways from each other, and therefore the design approach should reflect the purpose of each.
For example, the ensuite can be a busy space for a working couple first thing in the morning, so things like double showerheads and twin vanity basins are smart inclusions. 
Mornings can see the main bathroom, or the family bathroom, overrun with teenagers getting ready for school, so twin basins and large mirrors are useful. For families with younger kids, having a bath is probably high on the priority list.
One trend that is coming through more and more in the ensuite, if there is room, is a separate space for the toilet, creating an added sense of privacy.

Laundry talk

What is your top tip when it comes to planning the laundry?
Again, recognising how the household actually uses this room is the first step. If this is a highly-used space – for doing the ironing, feeding pets or dumping shoes and bags when coming in from outside, for instance, in addition to doing the washing – then a bigger budget should be allowed and more consideration given to the layout and materials used.
 
What trends are we seeing in laundry design?  
People are becoming a bit more adventurous and daring with their colour choices, which is fun. I personally love the look of colour-matched base cabinets and benchtops, with accent coloured walls and tall cabinets, and funky tiled splashbacks. We are also raising the height of front-loading washing machines and driers for more user-friendly access, and creating storage below.

Is there still a place for freestanding laundry appliances, or is everything under-bench or wall-mounted?
While front-loading appliances allow for additional bench space, top loaders generally have a larger load capacity, so it really comes down to what suits the household.  

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