Renovating your bathroom can be a big investment but adds some major value to your home, so it is important to create a space that is functional and look fantastic for years to come.
I have put together some of the key factors I think are essential to consider when doing any bathroom renovation to ensure that you achieve an exceptional end result.
My best advice would be to start with the size of your bathroom. Are we dealing with something small? An odd shape? Or a generious open space? Draw a rough plan of your bathroom with dimensions and the placement of existing fittings and windows, or where the proposed new fittings and windows will be. By doing this, you will have a clear idea of the dimentions you have to work with and you can start to look at what size tiles may be suitabe for your space.
There are thousands of tiles on the market these days, how do we know which one to choose? If you walk into a tile store without a rough idea of what you are looking for, it can be completely overwhelming. By having that drawing, you are able at least start to narrow down your size options and make the task slightly less daunting.
There are a large variety of tile sizes on the market. Your standard size currently is a 600x600(mm) tile, but with developing tile technology tiles are now going up to 1200x2400, so anything is possible! I generally find that a 600x600 is a suitable size for most bathrooms, occasionally you have a very small WC where you can get away with a 450x450 or 300x600, but it is important to remember this rule of thumb: The less grout lines you have the bigger the space will look. Therefore, the bigger the tile the bigger your space will appear! Just because you have a small room does not mean you need to choose a small tile.
A lot of people are stuck in the mindset of a 300x300 or a 450x450 tile being the standard size, but truth is, that was 10 years ago. If you go into any tile store now, those sizes are dwindling. Some exceptions are made with feature, patterns and mosaic tiles, but that’s a whole other can of worms we will delve into later…
If you are wanting to make a point of difference with your tile size, you could go for something larger like a 750x750 or a 900x450, both look fantastic and can really make your room feel particularly spacious with those fewer grout lines. However I do think it is important to consider how many repetitions of that tile will fit into your area, if it is only one full tile and then the rest have to be cut around it, perhaps you might a find a smaller tile, such as 600x600, makes more visual sense.
Another popular option is the plank format tiles; these can look amazing when laid and really enhance the length or height of a room depending on whether they are laid horizontally or vertically. Be cautious if you have an older home though, as sometimes the walls can be slightly bowed, so it can make laying the tiles slightly more difficult, but there are plenty of levelling systems on the market to help work around this factor.
The last thing I want to talk about with tiles is cost. A common and very fair question is why are some tiles more expensive than others? They may not look particularly different, but it is all about what’s happening in the makeup of the tile - your money is going towards a better quality tile. Some major manufacturers of tiles include Italy, Turkey, Brazil, China, United Arab Emirates the list goes on! Chinese tiles tend to be the lower price point, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are a bad quality tiles, they can just be produced at a much faster rate as they are pushed through the kiln quicker and at a lower temperature; versus an Italian tile which would be in the kiln for a longer period of time and at a much higher temperature, producing a much denser tile. A denser tile equals a harder wearing tile and one that will last.
GROUT AND SILICONE
Grout and silicone might seem like a bit of an after thought but these two elements can make or break a bathroom, in my eyes anyway.
Once again there is a large range of grout colours on the market, so choosing the right one is important. Do you want your grout to blend in with your tiles and vanish to create that seamless feeling? Or do you want a charcoal grey to contrast with those white subway tiles to create some visual impact? Seamless equals spacious, high contrast will draw attention to the grout grid and visually will make things appear smaller.
The colour of the grout largely depends on the tiles that have been selected, so when you are in store, have a look at some grout charts and start to think about what colour is going to be the best match, or a complete contrast, don’t forget, you need not use the same grout colour everywhere! You can do different colours on different walls/floor if need be.
A great product to consider is Epoxy grout. Epoxy grout can be used anywhere that has direct water contact. That may be in your shower base and walls, or around the bathtub. It’s a product that is non porous, so it wont absorb any water or grow bacteria, which also means it will not discolour like a standard grout tends to do over time. Like your standard grout epoxy is available in a range of colours, but does tend to be slightly more expensive, but I think it is money well spent when you think about how much longer it will maintain its colour and have no mould to deal with.
Silicone is not as major a factor, but is still important. If you have a grey floor tile and a white wall tile, the last thing you want is a grey silicone line bleeding up into your wall tile. It can really draw attention to itself, and if it is not done cleanly it can look rough and messy. You would be much better off with a white silicone in that circumstance, one that sits in place discretely. It’s just something to be aware of and perhaps have the discussion with a tiler about what will visually look best.
WHATS ON TREND
Neutrals, Neutrals, and Neutrals. The thing with bathrooms is that they are an attached piece of your home, so if/when you move they cannot go with you. The reason I think neutral and monochrome bathrooms are great is because they cater to such a large variety of people, so if it ever comes the day where you want to sell your home, the next buyer wont be put off by that bright red bathroom. I think its worth considering how personal colours are, something you love, someone else may hate and having to replace that bright red bathroom can be seen as an expensive factor when searching for a new home.
Don’t panic, going neutral doesn’t mean a dull bathroom. You can get a range of textured tiles, vanities and counter tops that will add in that point of interest - and if you did want to add in some colour, there are some incredible bathroom accessories and towels on the market! Some of my favourite are Citta, Kip & Co (who also have fantastic bed linen might I add), Let Liv, Indie Home Collective and you may also occasionally score some awesome pieces at Briscoe’s and Farmers! The best part is when you tire of that colour scheme, it is easily replaceable, or you could have a couple of differing seasonal schemes you can swap out so you never get bored.
If you’re feeling brave, why not try a pattern? You can find some incredible patterned tiles out there. Moroccan inspired or a strong geometric, you can still get these in neutral tones but if you are going to put in some colour, here is the place to do it.