Bathroom designers work with a client throughout a project to ensure that their wants and needs are met in the form of a refurbished (or brand-new) bathroom.
The designer assesses your tastes and requirements, finds out about your budget and what is allowed, the type of space you have available, and various other practical issues. This information is then processed and used to put together a design.
Some bathroom designers also fulfill the duty of project managing and might even recommend a team of contractors or arrange discounts with suppliers.
It’s not uncommon for a bathroom designer to start his/her career in related fields, such as plumbing or interior design. For this reason, a bathroom designer usually has a very good practical understanding of the building process.
There’s nothing wrong with trying your hand at styling up your bathroom, but remember that proper planning must form part of your design scheme. And should you not wish to contact a professional bathroom designer, at least avoid these common mishaps:
1. Too-trendy fixtures
A modern floating vanity might look perfect now, but will it still be “in” in five years? Opting for a material or appliance that’s very trendy can actually devalue a space later on. Of course this is another matter if you wish to sell your home very soon, as potential buyers are looking for stylish (yet not too trendy) bathrooms. Other fixtures to avoid include wall-mounted faucets and reclaimed wood accents (unless you live in a farmhouse or industrial loft, the reclaimed wood usually just looks out of place).
2. Centre-stage toilet
Lots of people want an open-style bathroom, but for reasons like privacy and ventilation it’s recommended to separate the toilet (i.e. a water closet). At the very least, try and not make the toilet the focal point of your bathroom, and rather let the vanity or tub enjoy all the attention.
3. Wooden floors
Although they look amazing, wood floors are not practical for a bathroom. Instead, opt for any kind of tile to avoid water damage and the inevitable expensive replacing job later on. (Read more: The 5 best water-resistant flooring options for South African homes)
4. Insufficient lighting
Like in any other room in the house, your bathroom must be sufficiently lit for you to see yourself clearly. When placing your light fixtures, don’t mount them too high. And try and place them very close to the mirror, otherwise you’ll end up with shadows on your face.
5. Inadequate storage space
You need room for toiletries, towels, extra toilet paper, etc. But unfortunately, far too many people underestimate the importance of storage in a bathroom. In addition to putting in cabinets and/or shelves, leave at least 75 cm of counter space. If you really don’t have the room, compensate with extra wall-hung storage. (Read more: The homify guide to choosing a bathroom cabinet)
6. Overdramatic décor
As a bathroom is meant to be a clean space, it makes sense to keep its decorating simple. Try and keep all décor items practical, such as pretty containers for Q-tips or a colourful soap dispenser. This allows you more room for things you don’t want to see on a daily basis, like extra rolls of toilet paper or cleaning products. Stick to unfussy styles and limit yourself to one bright colour.
Similar to searching for an Architect, Interior Designer or Landscape Architect, a bathroom designer must put your mind at ease regarding the forthcoming project. That’s how you know you’ve found the right professional for the job. These questions are considered vital during your initial meeting with a potential bathroom designer, and hopefully they inspire further queries with the person you’ll be interviewing.
And remember: if the bathroom designer is not willing to answer your question fully and honestly, they are the wrong person for your project!
1. How will my budget be managed?
Before doing anything, you must have a clear idea of how much money you want to spend on your bathroom’s design. In addition, you must know how much to set aside as a contingency fund for problems or changes along the way. Always make sure you receive a quote (a fixed, definite price) or an estimate (an educated guess of how much it will cost) from the bathroom designer, as well as an agreement on a payment schedule you’re both happy with.
2. How will we communicate?
Communication is key, even in a business relationship between you and your bathroom designer. Ask them how they keep in touch with their clients. If you prefer contact via email or phone, stipulate it. And make sure there’s a communication plan in place for emergencies. But also remember that this works both ways, so make your contact details available as well.
3. What will the work schedule be?
This entails more than the start- and finish date of the project. You need to be clear on the order of work, plus any particular milestones / deadlines. Also know that everything is subject to change.