Building a luxury and functional bathroom on a budget

How to add a touch of luxury to your room without sacrificing functionality.

Last week, we talked about being truly honest with yourself and practical, when it comes to planning a new bathroom. Make a thorough list of your dreams and desires, all tempered with a regretful touch of reality, and with budget in hand, work out what’s essential – then decide which luxury features you can afford to add. So, now you’ve got a plan – but what happens next?

If you have the money, things will be a whole lot easier, because it means you can afford to hire a professional bathroom planner. These experts know a thing or two about coming up with a layout that works for you and your family, as well as helping you source the best materials for your budget.

Bathrooms are expensive and you want them to last for a long time, so professional input can be invaluable. Added to that is the fact there are certain aspects of the Building Code your bathroom must conform to. Hiring a planner will make this easier for you, since they will know all the ins and outs of the code like the back of their hand.

Build on the basics

Like it or not, white is still a builder or renovator’s friend. Just thank goodness we’re not still in the 1960s and 1970s, when there was a bit of a revolution in the bathroom arena and hapless home owners found themselves being swept along on a tide of baths, basins and loos – or, at least, loo seats – in garish shades, such as avocado, pink, peach and yellow. To their dismay, years later, when it came time to sell the home, many found these avant-garde bathroom colours were not quite to buyers’ tastes. You have been warned!

It’s all online

Even if you’re planning to engage an expert, there’s nothing to stop you doing a bit of a preliminary planning, using the online tools provided by most big manufacturers and retailers. Better still, sites such as Resene allow you to experiment with paint colours, so it’s possible to have a good picture of the end product in mind before the work actually starts!

Let there be light

Lighting companies are usually happy to send experts out to assess your needs and offer advice that fits within your budget. While most will suggest keeping your scheme simple, if you have tall ceilings there’s nothing wrong with installing a chandelier or other fancy light fitting – only don’t forget more practical concerns, such as having adequate lighting around mirrors to make shaving and applying makeup as quick and easy as possible.

Call the plumber

Although having a professional planner is optional, most plumbing is not a job for the home DIYer and must be carried out by accredited plumbers in order to satisfy building regulations. It makes sense when you consider the types of drainage and pipe work that are involved.

Call your local plumber for advice and a quote, but don’t be afraid to shop around for a better deal, as these services are quite competitive. It’s currently a relatively quiet time, with building consents down because of the recession, so the total cost might come as a pleasant surprise.

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