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Bathroom Basics

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Every home has one but bathrooms are often overlooked when it comes to well thought through design and attention to detail. Apart from the kitchen your bathroom is the key room that needs proper planning as changing plumbing, lighting and fixtures is not only costly but also very disruptive to home life.

I truly believe that you can create a couture bathroom to rival any spa so long as you think carefully about what you want and need from the space and also think about the small details to evoke a luxurious feel.

Nothing kills the zen feel of a room faster than clutter so it is important that you think first and foremost about how you are going to keep all the items in your bathroom stored away out of sight. There are some many storage solutions on the market that you can add to cabinetry but if your budget can bear it commission a joiner to make bespoke cabinets for you...plus it helps support local tradespeople which is really important.

I believe the bath is the star of any bathroom and I actually approach it as I would a piece of sculpture thinking carefully about where it will be positioned to look its best and what elements in the space will complement it. Bathrooms tend to have hard clean lines so I often opt for tubs that are more curvaceous to add contrast and help soften the feel of the space.

That said, the linear nature of the bathroom makes it pretty straightforward to design. I play with lines in the space either in the horizontal or vertical plane through contrasting materials like different types of stone. In my own home I used dark Wenge wood as a sort of inlaid runner to contrast the white porcelain tiles on the floor. Texture is important in this space but I never use more than 3 materials (plus the mirrors and wall coverings) to create a sense of harmony and relaxation. I do like wood floors in bathrooms but if you opt for stone or tile make sure you put in under floor heating as there's nothing worse than a cold floor in the morning.

Mirrors are a necessity in the space but I keep them at eye level. Unless you have no hang-ups about your body stay away from full length mirrors in the bathroom!

Lightings is another important consideration as you want to look your very best when you're getting ready to start the day. Task lighting is really important but avoid having down lighting right near your mirror as it casts unflattering shadows. I think vertical lighting on either side of the mirror is the most flattering. Also, as your bathroom will be a space for you to relax include some great atmospheric lighting which you can switch on to unwind in the bath. When designing the lighting of the space make sure to have three circuits ( one for task lights, one for the main light and one for the atmospheric lights) to give you the most versatility in the space.

I never scrimp on the fixtures like taps and towel rails as they are really like the jewelry of the space making it seem polished and luxurious. Do your research with bathroom specialists and go for the fixtures that you love to look at and are still within your budget.

Finally, I always like to include a chair or stool in the bathroom if space permits to really reinforce the sense that this is a space to relax and spend time in.

For more great tips on transforming your home tune in to my new series Superior Interiors with Kelly Hoppen on Channel 5 Tuesdays at 8 pm.

Continue the discussion with me on my facebook page http://www.facebook.com/KellyHoppen