Most homes could benefit from an extra bathroom, whether the queue on a busy morning is too lengthy or you’d just like to upgrade an existing room into a show-stopping feature. Adding in a wet room or even a dedicated shower room will not only help your home run more smoothly but also potentially add value. Just before you dive in, take a look at our checklist; from incorporating the best of your bathroom storage ideas to the shower room ideas that’ll make you linger longer.
Wet Rooms Versus Shower Rooms
Doing away with the curtains and screens of traditional enclosed showers and transforming your space into a wet room gives a property an instant update. A modern walk-in shower is a desirable feature to buyers and if you have even a generous closet or underused box room you can create an en-suite shower room to take a standard bedroom to a sumptuous suite.
The key difference between a shower room and a wet room is the cost; wet rooms are, as you may imagine from the name, waterproof in their entirety, without dividers or screens. Walls and floors can be soaked happily and lend themselves to a minimal, pared-back style. A shower room may incorporate a shower in a traditional enclosure but not too much else; in terms of cost, classical shower rooms will have a shower tray and enclosure which are a cheaper solution as they don’t require waterproofing the walls and floor, but limit you, as room for doors to open or step in and out of trays needs to be considered. If you want small shower room ideas that will get you the wet room look without the cost, a fixed screen that covers the spray but opens on the side as you step in, is a good compromise and won’t require you to edge round an opening door.
If ‘spacially challenged’, the extra spend on a wet room shower that flows from the ceiling and gives you a rain effect can give you the illusion of extra space. Essentially, the whole room will be your shower enclosure.
Other tricks to create the illusion of more space include a wall hung toilet and wall mount sink to free up extra inches. A wall mounted cabinet hiding unsightly storage containers keeps your lines clean and minimal. And they’re easy spaces to keep clean with few corners for suds to accumulate or glass surfaces to polish.
Shower Or Wet Room Practical Essentials
For wet rooms or small shower room ideas, practical considerations need to inform designs. From drainage to purchasing water resistant bathroom blinds it’s essential to cover these off at the start.
The advantage of wet rooms is that they are so easy to maintain. But given the pernicious nature of water, it’s essential to get the build right in the beginning. Adequate drainage and ventilation is essential, plus, you’ll need the right gradient to be created along the floor so that water (especially from a powerful rainwater shower) easily channels down the drain. The room will need to be properly primed, tiled (or layered with sheet vinyl) then waterproofed to eliminate problems with leaking water, damp and mould. That’s the practical stuff, but at this point it’s essential to plan for luxurious touches. Underfloor heating for shower rooms or full wet rooms will help dry out water and keep tiles toasty warm underfoot, adding that sense of comfort to what could feel like cold space.
If you do have windows to work with, you’ll need to consider the style you want for the overall look. Remember steam will tend to turn into condensation when it hits cold glass, so you’ll need proper ventilation. Waterproof blinds are the next essential to consider, protecting your modesty but also able to handle the damp environment. Treated wood shutters or metal Venetians are clearly waterproof but fabric designs are possible too – look for a special coating such as Dustblock®. Blinds are also useful for locking in heat on chilly winter mornings. When considering temperature or browsing neat radiators for bathrooms, remember that energy-saving blinds prevent the up to 50% of the heat escaping, so look for window coverings such as Duette that incorporates Architella to increase your energy efficiency.
Wet Room Design Essentials
Materials that lend themselves naturally to wet room ideas that incorporate practicality and style credibility include stone, wood and concrete. A pale limestone can bring a softness to a space that lacks natural daylight, especially if combined with a pale wooden shower bench. Concrete is durable and surprisingly warm as a material. Try combining it with healthy houseplants that clean the air and bring some organic interest. A floor made of wooden slated panels that acts as a drainer can work with both looks, just make sure you keep the wood well oiled to keep them in good condition.
Dark colours instantly make a room feel more intimate, so this helps it feel more open again. Add in some well-placed vintage mirrors to create the illusion of space or even one long mirrored wall (a heated mirror will prevent it from steaming up so badly if you prefer long showers).
Before you begin, it’s important to take a moment to really consider the ambiance you want to achieve. Will you plump for modern, strong hues, or offset neutral schemes with pops of colour? Opt for a uniform finish, or a more bohemian look with earthy, mismatched tiles or salvaged materials? Whichever you opt for, keep our tips in mind and you’ll be sure to make a design splash.
As there are so few elements in these rooms, bathroom lighting ideas need extra attention. The slightly more arduous task of installing a sun pipe, for instance, will do wonders for bringing in natural daylight. Conversely, swapping daylight for sensual bathroom mood lighting can evoke the feel of luxury shower rooms you might enjoy in a slick hotel. Any shower or bathroom ceiling lighting ideas need to be designed specifically for damp rooms, and ideally allow for changing moods. A dimmer switch will allow for bright task lighting, for wintry mornings but also a more relaxing atmosphere in the evening.
Investing in a beautiful wall finish will help achieve the desired effect – exposed brick in bathroom designs work for both rustic and industrial schemes, but remember porous material needs to be sealed. Walls also add much more than structure. Consider backlit acrylic panels, laminate, polished concrete or even Tadelakt, traditional Moroccan plaster surface that not only looks good, but is treated with soap to make it water repellent.
Extra long shower curtains for wet rooms can be pulled back in a sweeping loop for a touch of louche glamour, or use a frosted wet room shower screen as a more permanent and modern fix.
With not too much kit in your wet room, it’s worth investing in the best shower head you can afford. There’s a bit to consider here; ceiling mounted can give you the effect of a rainfall, or you may want a series of jets set along the wall for a post-sport massage. And don’t just go for looks; the wide shape of a vintage looking fitting may be attractive but not give you the pressure you want. Most common shower heads come wall mounted on an adjustable rail, which may not give clean lines, but you can get this practical benefit with a fixed height fitting that can be removed to spray both you and the shower room clean. If you can’t agree, many shower heads have heads with adjustable settings so everyone can get their perfect drenching.
Sneaky Storage Tips For A Tidy Shower Room
Once you’ve settled on the design side of things, it’s time to consider how to organise a small bathroom so it’s easy to keep clean and tidy. A large family can mean heavy traffic and a lot of detritus to hide away, so begin by staging a ruthless clear out – make sure precious small bathroom storage isn’t cluttered with any expired products or unnecessary packaging. You’ll need to get creative with small bathroom storage ideas, thinking about how you can make use of every nook and cranny. Artfully display large items like towels up high on a simple floating shelf in contrasting colourways add a bit of practical softness but also keeps floor surfaces free, and products within easy reach without compromising on style. If you’re starting from scratch with your design you can create storage that can be recessed into your walls.
Neglected corners can inspire the best bathroom shelves ideas, for example using the gap between a column and a wall, to fit tailor-made display units. Double function furniture such as a freestanding ladder makes for great shelving, or you can buy stools with storage space hidden inside.
And finally, don’t fall foul of the classic planning mistake; a lovely radiator that doubles as a towel rail seems great until it becomes a choice between warming the room and warming your towel. Make sure you have enough heat for both; (your room size will require a certain size of BTUs AKA British Thermal Units, which measure the heat output). Now you just need to fit the lock so you can while away the hours disruption-free.
If you’d like more ideas for protecting your modesty read our guide to choosing the perfect bathroom blinds.