Bathroom Design - Tiles, Lighting, Storage & Safety
Pratical Bathroom Design
Practical bathroom design is all about maximizing the space you have available, since the "smallest room" often really is one of the smallest rooms in the house. However, many people are happy to sacrifice a little space in order to install a bigger bath or shower. If you're doing this, find out whether or not this means re-plumbing the bathroom. You will save a lot of money if you can stick with the existing plumbing.
Practical bathroom design: flooring tiles and other ideas
Tiling is the traditional flooring of choice for bathrooms, mainly because it's waterproof and easy to clean. However, it's easy to slip on well-glazed, smooth tiles. To reduce the risk of slipping, put a non-slip mat by the tub or shower, and make sure you wipe up any puddles of water on the floor. Some people prefer to step onto warm carpet instead of cold tiles when they get out of the shower; if you're one of these people, you'll probably still need some kind of mat, or the carpet around the shower will rapidly become soggy. Dark colors are best if you want carpet on your bathroom floor.
Practical bathroom design: lighting
Soft lighting creates a relaxing atmosphere, but nobody wants to shave or apply make-up without being able to see properly. A practical compromise is the best solution to interior design dilemmas and having a soft, pearly bulb in the overhead light and a brighter, sharper light over the mirror is a good arrangement. It is possible to buy bulbs that mimic daylight, which is a great idea for avoiding make-up mistakes.
When you're planning your bathroom interior design, remember that you'll need somewhere to put the linen cupboard. Storage is a boring but essential aspect of bathroom design; you'd be surprised at just how much we keep in our bathrooms, including medicines, toiletries, stacks of towels and sometimes the laundry basket too. Don't be tempted to skimp on storage to save space. This is a false economy, because the mess has to go somewhere, and a bathroom with little storage is a cluttered bathroom - not spacious or restful at all. Don't be shy with ideas: matching your storage receptacles to your bathroom's theme will make you feel less resentful about devoting space to it. A minimalist bathroom will look great with a traditional white bathroom cupboard, while a rustic-style bathroom will be enhanced by a pine cupboard, perhaps with stenciling.
Safety precautions in bathroom design
One of the most important safety precautions to remember is that water and electricity don't mix. Light switches should either be the cord kind or be situated outside the bathroom itself. You should also make sure that the electrical outlets for items such as hair dryers are safe, especially if those outlets are positioned near water sources. Old or damaged outlets may cause electrocution, or overheat and present a fire hazard. If your outlets are showing signs of wear and tear, get a qualified electrician to replace them. A good way of reducing your risk of electrocution is to install ground-fault circuit interrupters, which detect faults and stop the power supply when there are any electrical leaks in a circuit. The U S Consumer Product Safety Commission (www.cpsc.gov) produces a fact sheet about these.
If you have children, your safety precautions for the bathroom have to be much more extensive. There isn't room on this page to discuss everything you need to do, but you will probably need to include more storage in your bathroom design. You'll need to keep medicines, cleaning products and sharp objects such as razors out of the reach of climbing children. If you usually keep such items in your bathroom, you'll have to install extra cupboards high up on the wall. When you've read up on child safety in the bathroom, you'll discover that a lot of child safety measures can lessen the stylish impact of your bathroom. For example, the effect of a Roman palace is somewhat spoilt when you have locks on the toilet seat and a non-skid mat in the bath. Just remember, these measures are only for a few years until your child is old enough to take care in the bathroom.