Zopa’s hassle-free loans have helped 100,000s people do up their homes (Representative APR 17%). But while we make managing your money feel good, we’ve asked to the experts to show you how to spend it to make your home look good. Here, Tracy Cole, from Hello Flora, gives us tips and inspiration for a bathroom renovation for £10,000
Finding design inspiration
Modern bathroom design doesn’t just have to be functional, it can also be fun. Design inspiration can come from anywhere; a restaurant, a gallery, even a piece of art. Your own house is a good place to start for a direction on style; is your home full of classic calm minimal design or do you like bold shapes and pops of colour? Let this be the focus of the design but don’t let the fact that it’s a bathroom tie you to what’s normal or expected; you can have a budget and still get a stunning room if you follow a couple of easy steps.
Functionality & layout
The first thing to look at when designing the layout of a bathroom is to really plan how it’s going to be used. Do you need a single basin or will more than one person be brushing their teeth at the same time? Can you save space by putting a shower in over a bath? How much storage do you need? Once you’ve got your requirements and layout defined you’re all set to get sourcing.
Tiles are one way you can get maximum impact on a budget. Simple square coloured tiles laid in a graphic way can add instant WOW factor. Think about splitting your room horizontally with tiles and paint, or tile your shower area in a different colour to the rest of the room. Always brief your builder before they quote on the idea you have for tiles; different patterns can be costly to lay like herringbone; it’s gorgeous but it will add days and days to your tilers’ time.
Taps are where I would splurge if you can afford it. You can honestly tell the difference between solid brass basin taps and gold plated dupes. But before you throw away what you already have can they be re-used? Sometimes this is an easy way to save money during a renovation. If you do buy new one tip I’ve learnt over the years is to double check and measure the height and projection of the taps you like, so many people make the mistake of having huge taps on small basins. Check and double check the sizes are going to work.
Bathroom vanity: £300-£1000
Well-designed bathroom vanities are notoriously hard to find, and for some reason ridiculously expensive. Could you recycle a vintage chest of drawers and mount a basin on top to keep costs down? Or look out for all in one units with basin and storage underneath.
Bathroom lighting is getting better and better. They must be IP44 rated but that doesn’t mean they can’t be a real feature. Do your research and get your electrician involved early on to plan in any extra light sources, think about more than just spotlights can you introduce wall lights too? And put them on dimmers for mood lighting.
Sanitary-ware can be mixed and matched from different suppliers, don’t be fooled into thinking you have to buy a matching set from one source. This also enables you to shop around and perhaps save on a new toilet but splurge on a luxurious bath. Whatever you do avoid plastic shower trays or baths; they may feel like cost savings but they always feel thin and cheap.
Bathrooms need just as much accessorising as your living room. I know it sounds crazy, but by adding artwork, plants, mirrors and candles you can turn an ‘ok’ room into a spectacular room. Don’t be afraid to be bold with your ideas here, if you want to hang a planter from the ceiling or fill a window ledge with candles do it.
As there are lots of squares & rectangle shapes in a bathroom (bath, shower, basin) a round mirror can help soften the feel of a space. Always oversize your bathroom mirror, it will give even the smallest room scale and grandeur.
Plants are transformative; they will literally breathe life into your room. Choose plants with different shaped leaves to add texture. And mix real and good quality artificial plants, sit them right next to each other and no-one will spot the fakes.
Objects like candles, art, pots and trays are essential bathroom styling items now. Using trays to ground objects is a good styling tip, and if the trays are brass or marble it’s a great way to introduce more luxurious materials into the room.
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Tracy Cole is London based interior designer and botanical stylist. Married with 2 children, she runs Hello Flora, a design studio and online shop for her faux botanicals. She’s passionate about creating beautiful interiors, events and spaces. Her style is high end mixed with high street so its aspirational but affordable. And her interiors exude warmth with an eclectic style.