Turning an outdated bathroom or an unused room in your home into a shower room not only gives you a useful addition to your existing facilities, but can positively influence the resale value of your home. The shower room's design will be determined by the space and money available. To achieve the best and most cost-effective result possible, it is worth spending time researching your options and comparing materials for function and cost. To keep plumbing costs to a minimum, the area to be used for the shower room should have, or should be close to, existing water pipes.
Check magazines, television shows and bathroom design stores to get an idea of current trends, prices and the products available. The avocado bathroom suite has been consigned to the 70s, and modern shower rooms favour simple lines, white fixtures, stainless steel accessories and natural stone-tiled floors and walls.
Measure the space available carefully. Draw a simple floor plan to help you lay out your design. Note where water supplies enter the room, where windows and doors are located and if the doors open into the room. All these elements are important in determining what will fit into the space most efficiently. A shower room should contain a shower and basin. It is not necessary to include a toilet if you do not have the space or your budget will not cover any additional plumbing involved.
Decide if you want a shower enclosure or a walk-in shower or wet room. If you choose to have a shower enclosure, it will become the feature of the room and you will then have decisions to make about walls and doors. A walk-in shower will require a shower tray and a frameless glass room divider. A wet room is ideal for a small space and allows ultimate freedom, since the only enclosure is the walls of the room itself and the water flows away through a drain in the floor. This option can be more expensive, since the floor of the room must be raised to facilitate efficient drainage and the entire room must be waterproofed.
Select the type of shower you want. Rain shower heads are popular, as are power showers, hand-held heads and tower showers that provide multiple shower sprays at varying heights. Choose faucets for the basin that match the shower. There is plenty of choice to suit all styles, including stainless steel, brushed nickel, chrome, gold-plate and polished brass.
Choose wall and floor coverings. Light, neutral colours will help small spaces feel more roomy and will also stay fashionable for longer. Ceramic tiles are a good choice since they are durable, easy to clean and safe to walk on when wet.
Tips and warnings
- Run your ideas by the plumbing experts at your local home improvement store. They may identify important issues that you have not considered.
- Get quotes from a number of contractors in your area. Check their records and ensure they are licensed to complete the shower room installation.
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