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Interior Designer: Bathrooms – choosing and positioning your fittings

bathroom plans_24_07_12Kent Griffiths is the founder of Kent Griffiths Design, an Interior Design company based in London and working in the residential and commercial design sectors. This week he reveals how to choose and position the right fitting for your bathroom.

Bathrooms can be the most difficult room of the house to get right. The amount of choice out there for bathroom products and fittings can be overwhelming.

The main constraint that influenced the design of my bathroom was space. My bathroom is quite small, so I had to choose every item carefully.

As with kitchens, when drawing the bathroom layout, I always draw in the position of all items when they are open (doors, drawers, windows). This will allow you to see if there are any elements that clash or block circulation, and is particularly important if the bathroom is small. I have seen many bathrooms where the door hits the WC, but with some forward planning this kind of situation can be avoided.

I needed to maximise storage space in my bathroom, so I chose a basin unit with built in cupboards underneath. I used a mirror cabinet above the basin for additional shelf storage. Even a shallow cabinet can provide valuable storage.

Wall-hung fittings such as WCs and basins increase the feeling of space in a small bathroom because they don’t take up floor space. It also makes cleaning much easier.

Tiles are one of the most popular and practical materials for bathroom floors. If your bathroom is small like mine, try using the same tile on both the floor and the walls. This makes the room feel bigger by not creating a visual break between the horizontal and vertical tiles.

Bathroom lighting is very important. In my opinion, the best option for bathroom lighting is recessed downlighters. Make sure you consider the task lighting around the mirror. If the mirror does not have integrated lighting, place a downlighter above the basin so that its position is in front of your head and not behind.

Shaver sockets are not expensive and are very convenient for charging shavers and toothbrushes. My builders have installed mine in the back of the mirror cabinet so that it is hidden away.

Check with your electrician before you purchase any electrical items for your bathroom. This will ensure you buy items with the correct ratings and avoid costly mistakes.

When planning your bathroom, be sure to work out the positions of small fittings such as towel rings, rails, toilet roll holder and robe hooks from the beginning of the planning stage. This will ensure there is a position for everything.

Finally, brassware (taps, shower head and shower mixer, wastes). I think it is worth investing in good quality brassware because these items are in use every day. In the past I have tried to save money by buying cheaper brassware, but I have usually regretted it because they don’t last as long as better quality fitting.

When your bathroom fittings arrive, check everything immediately for damage, missing pieces and incorrect items. About 3 weeks after delivery we discovered my shower screen was missing two components. It took many more weeks to get the replacement parts, by which time my builders were pulling their hair out.

4 weeks after that incident, I found that I had been supplied with a different toilet seat than the one I ordered, by which time my builders had already fitted it and it was too late to exchange it – so always open the boxes straight away and check everything over.

Next month, I’ll be talking about what to consider when choosing flooring for different areas of your home.

About the author

Kent Griffiths is the founder of Kent Griffiths Design, an Interior Design company based in London and working in the residential and commercial design sectors. The company also provides drawing/drafting services to architects, surveyors, property developers, builders, landlords as well as other interior designers and the public.

Kent is midway through the renovation of his own Victorian terrace house in east London, and this column is based on the project diary he keeps during the building work.

With each column he will share the progress of the project, design tips and advice, things to consider when undertaking a design or building project, pitfalls to avoid, and the problems he encountered on his own house.

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