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Bathroom renovation tips with Alice and Caleb

Bathroom renovation tips with Alice and Caleb

Renovating a bathroom is not a straightforward project ... it requires careful planning and management. Alice and Caleb Pearson, winners of The Block NZ and founders of Pearson + Projects, offer some bathroom ideas for your rental property.

By: Alice & Caleb Pearson

13 May 2024

A whole lot of questions surface, some you didn’t even know needed to be asked, when you look at a bathroom facelift.

But it’s really no surprise when you weigh up how much you have to fit into and spend on one of the smallest rooms in the house.

Beyond the logistics of fitting everything into the bathroom, it’s a space that demands functionality due to high usage.

While there is no one-size-fits-all in any renovation, we are giving advice on key design questions when it comes to a bathroom renovation.

Baths are great for large homes with three or more bedrooms, but they do take up more floor space in the bathroom.

Baths - ideal for large bathrooms

For a house with three bedrooms or more, including a bath in the design is recommended. Larger homes are more likely to have more than one bathroom, and to be occupied by families, so we aim to include one in these situations.

When planning, it’s obvious baths do take up valuable floor space, so it needs to be considered against what space you have available.

If space is too tight to have a separate bath, a shower-over-bath is a practical outcome.

Many bathrooms simply aren’t big enough for a bath, and if this is the case then a shower slide with a flexible shower head is important for functionality.

Tiles are a great option for bathrooms, but they can be more expensive than other wall treatments.

Seperate toilet

If space permits, a separate toilet is a smart move and one we opt for when possible, especially in a single-bathroom home. The big benefit is it allows two spaces to be used at once when needed. A toilet does not require much space, and space for it can often be found through creative planning - possibly stealing a corner of your hall or adding in the access from an alternative direction.

We find the key reasons for including the toilet in your bathroom are due to lack of space and creating one larger, more open, bathroom. Some people prefer this option.

Top tip: If the toilet is inside your bathroom, position it out of direct sight from the entry.

Separate toilets are a smart move in single bathroom homes.

Tiled bathroom ideas

We are big fans of tiles. It provides the option to add some luxury and design into your bathroom, but it comes with a price tag. Tiles themselves can actually be found at a range of prices, and many are quite affordable. But it adds in another element of tradie costs to have waterproofing and tiling completed and potentially a builder to ensure level floors.

To find a middle ground, rather than tiling the full walls and floor, one option may be to tile your shower/bath only, with good tile over shower trays available. For a cost-effective approach, an acrylic liner provides a simple and safe option, although you are limited to one colour.

White bathrooms are extremely popular but introducing colour can add personality and style to your space. Fittings like taps and shower heads inject style into your home.

Bathroom lighting tips

A bathroom is a functional space, and the first priority for lighting should be to make sure you can function in the space. But from here, the lighting should complement how the space will be used. Specific lighting is most likely required around a vanity and mirror, be it for applying makeup or shaving.

Typical lighting in a bathroom is often ceiling lights, and positioned well can ensure you have all the lighting you need. While often not essential, a well-placed wall light will add an additional value for certain tasks and may not require too much extra cost.

The Fittings

There is a huge range and variety of plumbing fittings on the market. Whether you want cheap, or luxury imported options, New Zealand made, water efficiency ratings, specific colours or finishes. The answer to this may depend on your property’s value. We have learnt to avoid the cheapest options on the market, and firstly pick something of quality that will last.

We focus on finding quality fittings at the more affordable end that come with a warranty and will last. This doesn’t mean it has to be expensive.

Hanging baskets and other touches add personality.

Adding Colour

A bathroom does not have to be all white. Don’t shy away from colour. We always look for ways to add design into a renovation, and the bathroom is no different. With considered choices, it won’t date and can create a room with style and mood. Adding colour in a bathroom is about creating a space that complements your design, be it restful to set a relaxing mood or more modern tones to add sophistication or luxury.

For example, certain hues such as greys, blues and greens, will promote relaxation and a calming environment. If you don’t want colour on your walls, there are so many other options to bring in colour; tiles, vanity, bathroom ware, and even loose accessories such as towels, candles or plants.