Pull the plug on outdated design

Cooke & Lewis's Rosalind range - bath �249 and semi-pedestal basin �249, B&Q.

Cooke & Lewis's Rosalind range - bath �249 and semi-pedestal basin �249, B&Q.

An old wheelbarrow makes an ideal planter near the house for immediate colour

BRIAN KIDD: Everything including a kitchen sink for an instant colour splash

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If there’s one room in the house where you should make a splash it’s the bathroom, as leisure is just as important as lathering.

This space should double as a practical area for the daily wash-and-go, and also as a sensual home spa where we re-energise or de-stress.

‘Bathrooms are no longer regarded as utilitarian, purely functional spaces but tend to be seen as havens of relaxation, taking inspiration from hotels and spas,’ says Laura McCormack, bathroom category manager at Fired Earth.

‘There’s an increasing demand for luxurious, eye-catching finishes, such as marble, polished nickel and hand-decorated tiles. Clever storage solutions really come into their own in the bathroom too, since unsightly clutter isn’t conducive to a spa-style environment and space tends to be at a premium.’

A recent survey by bathroom specialists Villeroy & Boch confirms that view, dubbing the space the ‘spathroom’.

It found that almost half of Britons say they consider their bathroom an important private space where they can relax.

There’s no need to spend money like water to enjoy a wealth of innovative and luxury fittings and enhancements, as increasingly, these feature in collections offered by high street and online companies.

They can range from touch-pad controls for state-of-the-art showers and baths, through to fibre optic lighting, built-in televisions and surround-sound music systems.

Taking the plunge and redoing a bathroom is undoubtedly a sound investment, points out Trevor Kent, former president of the National Association of Estate Agents.

‘Alongside the kitchen, bathrooms are key to the sale potential of a property. Interestingly, these are also the rooms clients most remember after they’ve viewed a property. They often leave a far stronger impression than living rooms, and can add as much as £15,000 to a home’s value,’ he says.

Tap into expert advice to achieve a bathroom to boast about.

Soft shimmery gold 
and bronze tones will conjure gilded luxury in bathrooms this year, predicts Cheryl Gurner, creative director at Bathrooms International.

‘I believe minimalism, with cool white, chrome and stainless steel fittings, is waning, as people seek 
more cosseting spaces, 
particularly as we battle tough economic times,’ she says.

‘This year, a classical influence is making an impact on contemporary settings, featuring antique gold and bronze finishes in fittings. This works well with a background colour palette of grey, silvery black, deep creams or even rich chocolate.’

Wood and stone and the beauty of grain and texture will also reign supreme, forecasts designer Laurence Pidgeon (laurencepidgeon.com).

‘Wood tones combined with softly curved white sanitaryware has a simplicity which never dates. Grained woods, rather than glossy lacquers, are now more fashionable, and we’re using more stone than ever before, particularly limestone and marble.

‘This is a room where we strip off and are at our most vulnerable, so whatever the choice, this room should fit you like a glove and suit your style and mood at different times of the day.’

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