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A Quick and Easy Guide to a Successful Bathroom Renovation

Design: Akihaus

Your bathroom may be one of the smallest rooms in your home, but it’s no less significant. In fact, we spend so much time in there that it should actually be considered one of the more important spaces at home. Whether you’re doing an overhaul of your old bathroom or building a new one, achieve a successful renovation with the following tips.


First things first: what do you need?

Is your bathroom going to be just a functional space just for your daily routines or do you want a hotel-style bathroom that you can retreat to at the end of a long day?

Do you have to create a child- or an elderly-safe environment?

How many people will be using the bathroom? Will it be for yourselves or primarily for your guests to use?

Design: DB Studio

This will determine the design, mood, materials to use, fixtures to install and eventually your budget. Whatever you decide, try to avoid changing up the layout too much. Unless you have plenty of cash to spare, moving plumbing and water pipes around can incur unnecessary costs. If you’re living in an HDB flat, do bear in mind that not everything can be approved to be done. Make sure you read HDB regulations before you take the plunge.


Above everything else, design for easy maintenance

In an ideal world, your bathroom would be a self-cleaning sanctuary where you won’t need to lift a finger. But since this isn’t an ideal world, you will want to design a bathroom that keeps maintenance to a minimum.

Design: Dots ‘n’ Tots Interior Design

Choose surface materials wisely since they are the biggest part of your bathroom. Recommended easy-to-maintain materials include tiles and quartz since they are non-porous. Avoid porous materials like marble or cement screed.

Design: Dap Atelier

If you’re going for tiles, choose ones that have no grout lines or large-format ones that have fewer of them. This applies to wall tiles. When it comes to tile flooring, tiles shouldn’t be too large and they should have grout lines for better grip. Smaller floor tiles also make it easier to create a slope to the floor drain, preventing water accumulation.

Design: Space Concepts Design

Go for clean and sleek hardware and fixtures rather than ornate ones that are easier to wipe down and less likely to have tiny cervices that collect grime over time.

Design: Zenith Arc

Glass shower doors may look beautiful but they are a pain to clean and they are a hotbed for soap scum. Do away with them or go for a smaller glass enclosures that just about keep out the splashes.

Design: Kuro +

Wall-to-wall built-in vanities, compared to standalone, also leave fewer corners and ridges to clean. You can also opt for an integrated sink that leaves no joints and seams between your vanity counter and sink.


Think about dimensions

While your contractor or interior designer are the best persons to seek advice regarding the exact measurements needed for your own bathroom, it helps to have a good estimate so you can get a proper plan going. As a gauge, here are the measurements to consider:

Toilets/Water Closets: 55 cm of passageway in front of the toilet. There should be at least 35 cm (measured from centre of toilet) to the next wall or obstruction like your cabinet. Wall-hung toilets should measure approximately 35 cm from the floor to the toilet bowl’s rim.

Design: Ideal Design Interior

Sinks: Sink height should be around 76 cm. 55 cm of passageway in front of sink. For double sinks, make sure there’s at least 150 cm of wall width to accommodate both sinks.

Vanity counters: At least 55cm in depth. Height is dependent on sink type and size.

Design: Imposed Interior Design

Shower areas: Accommodate for a 75 cm x 75 cm square space.

Shower heads: Fixed at least 190 cm from the floor.

Also take note of your bathroom doors, including entrance doors and shower doors, and how they will open. Make sure you account for the space clearance needed to swing open the doors.


Account for storage

To prevent clutter from growing over time in your bathroom, always plan for proper storage before your renovation begins. Don’t rely on freestanding storage later, as they tend to take up a lot of space in the bathroom.

Design: Innerestic Interior

Make sure they are enough closed cupboards and cabinets that can hide away clutter and unsightly items like extra toilet rolls. Open niches and recesses can help make it easier to reach for certain things. These wall cavities create a sleek look in the bathroom and they are great to install in smaller spaces.


Make sure your bathroom is well ventilated

Mildew and mould arising from moisture and humidity in the bathroom can be a big concern down the road. As such, you want to build a space that is well ventilated.

Design: In Interior Design

If you don’t have a huge window, invest in an extractor/exhaust fan. There are ceiling mounted fans that can be installed within a false ceiling or window mounted fans that can directly installed onto a window. Unlike the former, the latter doesn’t require a duct.

When painting your walls or ceiling, make sure your paint is suitable for use in wet areas like your bathroom. Most of these would have anti-mould properties which would help to reduce mould growth. Both Nippon Paint as well as Dulux carry anti-mould paints.


Take water efficiency into consideration

According to PUB, taking a shower, flushing the toilet and using the bathroom tap take up approximately 57% of our total water consumption. Cutting down on water consumption therefore starts from your bathroom renovation. Consider investing in water-efficient taps, toilets and shower heads. Not only do they help you save Mother Earth, they are also helping you save money in the long run.

Image: Hansgrohe

Go for fixtures with a 3 ticks certification. They are designed to have a lower flow rate or a lower flush capacity. Also, opt for products with designs that save water. Take for instance Hansgrohe’s Axor Starck Organic basin mixer that comes with 90 individual nozzles so even at its lowest setting (3.5 litres of water per minute), you can still achieve a generous and voluminous flow of water.


Shopping for fixtures

When you’re shopping for your sanitary fixtures, know the different types available and find out which better suits your lifestyle and budget. Also keep in mind what can or cannot work in your layout.

Design: Story of Us

Taps: Before buying for a basin tap, make sure you’ve already selected your sink. Check to see how many tap holes there are in your sink to determine what sort of taps you can buy. Consider the distance from the edge of basin to the tap hole and make sure there’s room for hand washing. If you have overhead cabinets, you might want a faucet with a longer spout so that it won’t be too difficult to lean over.

Design: I-Chapter

Sinks: Wall-mounted sinks are suitable for smaller spaces, although they will leave you with fewer storage space. If you’re going for a hotel-style vessel sink, make sure your countertop height isn’t too high as vessels can be pretty deep. Top-mount sinks are the most common, and can work with most countertop materials. They are also often the cheapest to install. If you’re going for an under-mount sink, make sure your countertop material can provide the proper seal against moisture. Go for materials like quartz rather than laminate.

Design: Willis Design

Toilets/Water Closets: Find out the piping system you have in your bathroom. Do you have a S-trap or P-trap system? An S-trap has the discharge outlet on the floor, while the P-trap system has the discharge outlet at the wall. For the latter, you can go for wall-mounted toilets.

Shower heads: There are several shower heads to choose from, including handheld, fixed and rain. Handheld is the most versatile of the lot, allowing you to take it off the cradle or use it as a fixed shower head. Also find out the water pressure in your room to see what shower head to buy. For homes with low water pressure, avoid large rain shower heads.


Don’t forget about lighting

Make sure there are enough overhead lights to cover each zone—shower, vanity, toilet—in the bathroom. Avoid light pointing directly down at where you are standing as that will cast you in an unflattering light. Instead, place any overhead lighting above the passageways.

Design: Metamorph Design

Depending on the function of your bathroom, think about placement and types of lighting. If you’re looking to turn the space into your own private spa sanctuary, consider going for hidden lights under your cabinets or recessed shelves that can add an indirect soft glow throughout your bathroom. You can also include a dimmer that gives you more flexibility to turn down the lights at night to make it more conducive for winding down.

Design: Schemacraft Interiors

Task lighting is exceptional important in a functional room like the bathroom. Backlit mirrors are good if you use your bathroom for grooming. They provide an even light that won’t cast shadows on your face. Consider going for recessed lights in the shower area.

Design: The Monocot Studio

Because the bathroom is a humid environment, make sure you’re getting lighting that are rated either IP23, IP44 or IP65. The higher the IP rating, the more resistant to water the lamp is. For instance, you will require a higher IP rating for lights placed within the shower area versus a general illumination light.


Small bathroom? Keep it simple

Design: Fineline Design

The key to a space-challenged bathroom is not to have too many things. Keep things simple and streamlined to avoid a cluttered look. Go for simple colour schemes. Neutral works best to give the appearance of a spacious environment. Floating vanities and toilets provide a light and airy feel.

Design: The Local Inn.terior

Don’t cramp your style with double sinks or freestanding tubs if you can’t afford the space. They will only look nice if you have the extra floor estate to provide a visual balance. Instead, focus on enhancing little details like your hardware to up the luxe factor.

Read more: 12 Ways to Make Your Small HDB Bathroom Feel Less Squeezy


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