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Designer or DIY?

Buyer's Guide

By Hayley Gilbert

When buying a new bathroom, the first thing to consider is the budget. This will largely dictate the quality and brand of products that will create your scheme and there are pros and cons when it comes to spend Vs save.

If money’s no object then the sky’s the limit and your bathroom can be lavishly furnished with the very latest designs, materials and gadgets. Spending more on quality products also equals longevity so you won’t need to update the bathroom for many years to come. This is especially true for brassware, so spend as much as you can afford on taps and bath/shower mixers.

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Axor Urquiola basin with highriser single lever basin mixer, both from Hansgrohe. A toothbrush tumbler and soap dish are also available


Consider what you and your family use the bathroom for most. If you all enjoy showering then go for a high-spec shower – the latest trends are for digital designs that come with remote control and shower cabins complete with steam, aromatherapy, chromotherapy and MP3. If bathing’s more your thing, choose a statement freestanding tub or whirlpool design with massage jets.

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The St Trop steam shower is designed by Philippe Starck for Duravit and features an overhead shower, handshower plus steam setting and a soft light together with beautiful white stool


The advantage of buying branded is that you can shop around at independent retailers and local showrooms, where you will benefit from their experience and expertise. Take time to look at all the products in situ and get a feel for their quality. Ask questions and play around with different layouts. Branded or designer bathrooms also have the benefit of good guarantees and excellent customer service and after-care. There’s also the option of handing over the project management to your supplier, where they will take care of everything from removing the existing suite to plastering, tiling, painting and plumbing in the new one.

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The new Recess Slider from the Matki ONE Collection combines elegant looks with impressive functionality thanks to its whisper smooth cushioned roller action and assisted stop


Buying more generic items from DIY stores and online retailers will save money and is ideal for those who are confident about measuring up and handling the installation side themselves. One way to add the wow factor is to choose a basic white suite with simple steel or chrome taps then add glamour with luxurious flooring, on-trend wall tiles or some standout storage.

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Cooke & Lewis Duchess modern bath and freestanding mixer tap with assorted Colours mosaic tiles, all by B&Q


By choosing off-the-shelf products, you can mix and match to keep costs down. Make sure you draw a floor plan with room dimensions and note the position of doors and windows. Check delivery costs and lead times and ask if they offer any customer support during or after installation. Keep an eye out for end of line sales too, as this can enable you to save hugely on the cost of the sanitaryware but splash out on a shower or a striking set of taps.

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Suitable for high and low pressure systems, this chrome thermostatic mixer shower from Cooke & Lewis is available at B&Q


Ikea shows how a simple white suite can be personalised with colourful accessories to create a fun, individual bathroom that can quickly and inexpensively be updated over time.

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For a huge choice of fittings, fixtures and accessories, Ikea has something for every budget

 

Designer or DIY?

Hayley Gilbert

Hayley has been an interiors journalist for 20 years and has written for leading consumer magazines, trade titles and Sunday supplements. Always keeping one step ahead of the latest trends, Hayley has researched, written about and renovated plenty of bathrooms, so she knows the importance planning and practicality.


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