By Manjul Misra
09th September 2012 12:00 AM
If you live in a home that was built many years ago, chances are that the bathroom will be lacking in many modern amenities. Or if you have just purchased an apartment, the bathroom may not necessarily be to your liking. In both cases, you will need to remodel the space to suit your needs. Building a bathroom from scratch is easy; rebuilding an existing one is tricky. Follow these pointers to know how you can save unnecessary expense and aggravation.
Before you begin, be sure to resolve your expectations in the planning stage, not during construction. Mistakes are costly in a bathroom because the commode, the basin, the shower and the tub are fixed permanently. In any other room, you can shift a piece of furniture if you change your mind about it; in the bathroom, you cannot move even a basin without spending considerable money.
A good way to start is by using a piece of graph paper and a straightedge. Make a floor plan of the bathroom on this, using the ratio of one inch equals one foot. Draw out the doors, windows as well as columns and beams. Next, take a plain paper and divide it into two columns: Pluses and Minuses. List out what you want to keep and what you want removed.
Once you have it all down on paper, it’s always better to consult an architect or interior designer. They will tell you how technically feasible your floor plan is and suggest changes and alterations to it. Also ask them to assess roughly how much the whole renovation exercise will cost.
Based on your resources, you will need to work out how much you can afford to spend. Determine a plausible maximum amount, because no matter how much you plan on spending, keep in mind that renovation costs always end up 20 to 30 per cent higher than anticipated.
Lifestyle and taste always work together to create a perfect bathroom. Give weightage to your style needs but remember that trends come and go, so carefully consider colour and fixture choices before you install them. Colourful tiles, commodes and basins may look great in a catalogue but before you order, stop and think if you can live with them permanently. Which is why it is always a good idea to opt for neutrals for the permanent fixtures and add pops of colour via accessories.
The market is full of interesting options. People are now moving beyond ceramics to include materials like glass, wood, steel and bamboo to create a unique personal space.You will need to study the pros and cons of each material before making your choice.
Small bathrooms are the most tricky to plan. But if you select the right fixtures—such as slim vanities, rectangular basins instead of round ones and wall hung WCs—you can manage to make that space look much larger than it is. If you have the luxury of space, you can put in a long, double sink vanity along one wall and include a bathtub as well as a separate shower area. Also, if there’s enough privacy on the outside, you can even have a huge window wall which will bring the outside greenery in.
Young couples and individuals who live alone are increasingly opting for open plan bathrooms. The shower and bathing area can co-exist with the bathroom in one space, divided only by a baffle wall or sliding doors. The basin and WC can be housed in a small attached space which is cordoned off by a screen or a cemented divider. This model works well in one-bedroom apartments where the single bathroom can be used daily as a master bathroom and when required, close itself off and function as a powder room.
If you live on the top floor, you can even consider a retractable roof which allows you to soak in the sky view and then step out into a terrace garden to bathe under an outdoor shower. Clearly, there are no limits to the kind of bathrooms one can have today.
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