Modern bathrooms have seen some wonderful advancements over recent years. It is almost an expectation that a bathroom has a back-to-wall toilet with a rimless pan. Open showers remain popular in rooms that permit adequate clearances, and there are plenty of back-to-wall freestanding baths on the market that provide a beautiful aesthetic while eliminating the problem of cleaning behind the bath.
Beyond the inclusion of these innovative items, we compiled a further checklist of must-haves for the modern-day bathroom.
It took several years for bidets to gain traction here in Australia, namely because of our strict plumbing codes and simply an unfamiliarity by locals for this much-loved European and Asian ablution.
Now that manufacturers have found ways to ensure adequate backflow devices are integrated into toilet suites, Aussies can easily install and benefit from a ‘smart toilet’. Rather than having a side-by-side toilet and bidet set, the smart toilet is an all-in-one suite with the ability to do everything you need without hopping pans!
We are seeing plenty of manufacturers compete for this space as the popularity of the smart toilet increases. If you want to check this out for yourself, we recommend the Roca Inspira, the Argent Evo or the TOTO Neorest, to name a few market leaders.
Shower For Two?
Showers have progressed from fixed arm outlets to those with adjustable arms, to rail showers and now dual shower systems.
Twin showers offer both overhead and hand shower options on one integrated rail piece. Alternatively, you can combine a separate overhead shower, either wall or ceiling mounted, with a hand shower; and this can be mounted together or up different ends of the shower if the enclosure is big enough.
Reasons we love a dual shower include ease of cleaning both the shower itself and the likes of children or pets. We also love that dual showers can cater to varying heights of people within a family.
Ventilation Is King
With the popularity of open or walk-in showers (those that aren’t fully enclosed with a shower screen), the need for decent ventilation is paramount for the longevity of a bathroom. While this applies to all bathrooms, it is particularly important for a home in a colder climate, apartment living or perhaps just a bathroom with limited external access for a window.
Heat lamps with built-in exhausts are good, however, they are generally placed in the middle of the bathroom ceiling. The most effective use of exhaust is placed directly over the shower to capture the steam before it dissipates into the rest of the room.
Our recommendation is to have both or at a minimum, keep the exhaust over the shower. Another hot tip is to crack any windows just a tiny bit – yes even in winter! This will have the exhaust draw fresh air through the space, which in turn helps to rid the bathroom of moisture, preventing mould from growing easily.
Underfloor heating seems to be perceived as an expensive addition to the bathroom and only for high-end fit-outs. However, this isn’t always as costly as people think.
Electric systems are more cost-effective and easier to install than hydronic systems, particularly in a retrofit or renovation scenario, however, the initial outlay of hydronic will pay for itself over the long term.
The reason we love this inclusion is the ability to provide residual warmth within the bathroom. Instead of relying on heat lamps that provide radiant heat only when on, or a heated towel rail that only warms towels, underfloor heating will dry out your towels, warm your body AND keep moisture out of the air. This will help keep the bathroom mould free and super toasty for those winter mornings.
Out Of The Shadows
Task lighting is as important in the bathroom as it is throughout the rest of your home. Not only can light fixtures provide decorative elements to a space, but they can also offer far better functionality when placed in the correct position.
A ceiling-mounted downlight directly over your bathroom vanity is certainly better than a central light, which means you stand in your own shadow. However, a light directly above is still going to cast a shadow down your face, which may not be ideal for shaving or applying makeup.
A better solution would be a wall-mounted LED light placed above your mirror or cabinet, angling down to one’s face, or wall sconces on either side of the mirror, again tilted toward the user’s face.
Other decorative lighting options include pendants above the bath or recessed LED strips in wall niches, however strict electrical compliance applies to these items and the fixtures must be rated in accordance with its application and the Australian Standards. Check this with your designer, electrician or builder prior to confirming your selection.
Top image via builder, Brilliant SA.
This article was written by Bronwyn Aldridge, principal designer of Bronz Designs and Consultancy, an experienced residential designer with qualifications in both Building and Interior Design. Her projects vary from standalone bathroom renovations to full home extensions and everything in between. The mission of Bronz DC is to share honest, reliable advice for clients and help builders understand client needs.
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