A bathroom will be different things to different people. A large family will obviously make more extreme demands on the space than a single householder. A bathroom used mainly by the elderly or young children will involve radically different styling from a room that is used only by a young couple. Planning your bathroom involves assessing your lifestyle, needs a demands - both as they are currently and as they are likely to evolve over the years. It is necessary to ask yourself a few key questions before you start, to help plan the most effective space for you.
Who will be using this room?
Look at issues such as the number of people using the bathroom and how often. If you are catering for the demands of a large family whose members will all need the bathroom at the same time, consider installing additional fixtures like a second basin or a bidet to provide additional washing facilities which can be used simultaneously. Think about replacing an over-bath shower with a separate shower enclosure, or installing showering facilities and vanity units elsewhere in the house. You should also consider these adaptations if styling a bathroom for a busy couple who may both need it at the same time.
Consider whether the facilities are suitable for all the family. A step-up to the bath is ideal for small children, and also useful for a parent when bathing babies or toddlers. Think about height restrictions and safety - small children may bang their heads on low basins, and tall people will hate bending over low fixtures. If elderly people will be the main users of the space think about installing a special low-sided bath or shower. Elderly or less-able people will also benefit from a higher toilet or raised toilet seat. Consider your choice of taps, too - level-operated fittings will be easier for them to use.
If the bathroom will be used primarily by the very young or the very old, you need to pay close attention to safety features such as slip-resistant flooring, thermostatic shower mixens and anti-scald valves. Grab rails at key points in the bathroom such as near the bath, in the shower and next to the toilet are also a good idea. Carefully consider the needs of those who will be using the space and think about what you expect from a bathroom. Are speed and efficiency the most important criteria? Are relaxation and recuperation the crucial ingredients? Or perhaps it is essential to have both at different times, and create a space that is a sanctuary as much as a utility.
What type of fixtures: Take time to consider your choice of fixtures during a bathroom remodel, including flooding and wall covering. If children will be using the bathroom, make sure the materials you choose are child friendly. Remember that some materials need more cleaning than others. Lots of pretty bottles and lotions are basins and baths may create an eye-catching display but may not be practical if they are within reach of small children. What are your priorities? Style at all costs, or a hard-wearing, low maintenance environment?
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