PUBLISHED: 17:34 22 April 2008 | UPDATED: 15:07 20 February 2013
The importance of a beautiful bathroom should not be overlooked, both for your wellbeing in the present and the saleability of your house in the futureWords by Laura Hunt
Although the bathroom is one of the smallest rooms in the home, it can make a big impact. Make yours a luxurious, spa-like area to escape from the daily grind, and you'll feel the benefits in more ways than one.
Not only will you be able to unwind and relax at the end of the day, but the appeal of a five-star, hotel-style, de-luxe bathroom will have potential buyers banging your shower door down. Paul Batchelor, of KeySpaces Kitchens and Bathrooms in Ashford, says: "When renovating a bathroom, think about how you use the space. Do you want to create your own private sanctuary with a large bath, marble hand basins and underfloor heating, or would you rather have a light and airy, functional shower room?
"It is also worth keeping in mind what will sell well, if and when you move on. In the UK, most people still look for at least one bath in the house, no matter how many, or few, bathrooms are there. "
So what should you look for when choosing the perfect bath? Lyn Andrews, at tc bathrooms, suggests opting for a bath size that's suitable for all the family. "You need one that appeals to all members of the family. Although you can't please everyone, it's important to take into account the height of the tallest member of the family, otherwise the bath
could end up being too small."
In terms of material, shape and size, the options are endless. Lyn adds: "Most baths available in the UK are made of acrylic or a base metal, such as cast iron or steel coated with porcelain enamel. Buyers choose cast iron if they want to add a touch of character to a home.
"Although many people think of them as being heavy, the weight of a standard cast-iron bath filled with water is around 25 stones. This equates to 6.26 stones per bath leg - an average person weighs much more than this and doesn't cause a weight issue in a bathroom, so
neither should a cast-iron bath."
Acrylic baths are the current favourite, however, as they insulate well and are flexible, so can be designed in different shapes. Glass-reinforced plastic is sprayed on the underside of the bath to give it its strength, which means that an acrylic bath can look and feel like a traditional cast-iron bath, but is usually more affordable.
Freestanding, claw-foot style baths can make a dramatic statement in a large bathroom, but a fitted bath is a more practical option in a smaller bathroom. David Osborne, of shower manufacturer, Roman's, adds: "Some bathrooms will not allow for a bath and a separate shower enclosure. The ideal alternative is to install a shower over a bath, along with a bath-screen."
To achieve a spa-like experience each time you bathe, you could go for a whirlpool or spa bath. A whirlpool bath pumps water and air, providing a stronger, massaging affect, whereas a spa bath just pumps air, producing a gentler, more relaxing bubble effect.
Today's showers can make a real design statement and you can choose a variety of functions to create differing shower experiences, from rainfall to water jets. The Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom Specialists Association suggests that before you start looking into the different showering options, you will need to check with your plumber the type of system you can have now. As most UK homes have a water pressure of 0.1 to 1 bar, you may need a pump to be installed to increase the pressure so that your new shower performs at its best.