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Updated July 8, 2012, 1:48 pm betterhomesgardens
Building a new bathroom or renovating an old one can be costly. But the money you spend will increase the value of your home and, more importantly, give you somewhere to luxuriate.
Draw your bathroom to scale, and play with cut-outs of basins and baths to find your ideal layout. If you're renovating an existing bathroom, could you expand it into adjoining areas, such as a cupboard or hallway, to give you a few extra metres? Check that there will be enough bench space and power points near the mirror, etc, and don't forget about lighting and ventilation.
Once you decide on a layout and style, determine whether your wish list fits your budget. This is the time to get serious. Measure your bathroom area and create a floor plan for your shower, bath, toilet, sink, power points and any other features. Price accessories and get quotes from tilers, plumbers and builders. Only use licensed builders and plumbers, and check whether you need council permission for any major remodelling.
A three-colour scheme consists of a main, a secondary and an accent colour. Use the main colour on most surfaces, the secondary colour on cabinets or walls, and the accent colour in at least three places or on one major feature. To decide colour placement, select the main focus of your bathroom. The eye is drawn to the lightest colour first, so don't paint the walls the lightest colour if they're not your main focus. The accent colour is usually the brightest or darkest colour in a scheme.
If you have a hygiene fetish, then white's your colour. Choose between a warm white and a cool white, then select a specific hue so that your white or off-white elements don't compete with one another.
Dark cabinets require a spacious, well-lit room. Dark benchtops have poor reflective qualities and tend to show marks. Lighter mid tones, greys and beige benchtops tend to keep their good looks.
Generally, blue and white look clean and crisp; blue, yellow and white are good with wood; black and white are sharp, black is sexy, and dark blue looks rich.
If your budget looks like going down the drain, prepare to compromise. If you're renovating, try to incorporate existing fixtures and appliances into your renovations. Keeping plumbing in the same place will do a lot to curb costs. New tiles laid over existing floor tiles could halve the cost of replacing the whole floor. White fixtures are less expensive than dark ones. Save money by buying stock ceramic tiles from a retail outlet instead of more expensive tile. You can put the money you save towards a glitzy feature you really want such as marble benchtops or a spa. Remember, money spent on quality details is a wise investment. And look at water-saving showerheads and other water-efficient products - because they use less water overall, they'll cut your water and power bills.Regardless of style or budget, your bathroom must be user-friendly, hard-wearing and easy to clean.
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