Another huge week on The Block Fans v Faves, with the teams revealing three rooms each on Sunday night – a guest bathroom, laundry and drying terrace. Very worthy winners this week were the boys, Brad and Dale, who delivered an outstanding bathroom, tucked away European laundry and used their drying terrace as an outdoor shower space. Hats off to them, the design and styling were impeccable and this was reflected in their score of 28/30. The other teams lagged behind this week and each had their own issues with the spaces, from layout and design errors to some rather questionable styling!
With at least one more bathroom to be revealed in each apartment, here are my top 5 things to consider when designing bathroom and laundry spaces:
1. Storage, storage, storage!
Yes, it was a guest bathroom and yes, it is an apartment designed for couples without kids but that doesn’t mean you should overlook the need for storage space in these areas. It’s always nice for your guests to feel like they have somewhere to put their toiletries bag when they stay with you so including some storage space, either behind a mirrored shaving cabinet or under the vanity, will allow them to tuck these items away when not in use. Equally, having a bit of bench space to spread out is always more comfortable and this was lacking in a few of the bathrooms this week, with the exception of Brad and Dale who had a generous wooden bench top.
European laundries are becoming increasingly popular, particularly in apartments where space for a dedicated laundry room (and access to an outside drying area) is limited. Given the target market for these apartments, it absolutely made sense to go with this option but that doesn’t mean sacrificing on storage space. A well designed European laundry should easily house your appliances, a small sink and cupboards above or below the bench for towels, cleaning products and all those little household items that need to be tucked away. If you have the space for a dedicated laundry, don’t be afraid to show it a bit of love – a decorative pendant or perhaps a fun artwork will make the chore of doing laundry much easier to take!
2. Let the light in
We don’t all have the luxury of a drying terrace off our bathrooms like the teams on The Block, but if you’re designing a renovation or a new home, placing the bathroom on the outside wall of a house that allows for a window will make a huge difference. Natural light and ventilation are important in any room, but particularly so in a bathroom to avoid the space feeling dark and damp. Of course you don’t always have this luxury so if your bathroom is in the middle of your house, consider installing a skylight to bring in some natural light – you’ll be amazed at the difference they can make.
3. Keep it simple
Bathrooms are at their best when designed with a simple selection of materials and a limited colour palette. It’s hard to go wrong with neutrals – grey, white, black – and touches of natural texture including stone and timber. Brad and Dale’s guest bathroom looks stunning fully tiled in the same tile on both the floor and walls – this is often a cheaper option than a feature tile, especially when using large tiles like the boys have done. Their timber vanity top and feature pendants work beautifully with the tiles to create a simple but luxurious bathroom.
The same goes for your laundry. It might not be as glamorous a space as your bathroom but sticking to a simple palette will keep it looking stylish.
4. Spend money on the important things
The most important thing to spend money on is the design of your bathroom. This is definitely an area of the house that benefits from professional advice from an interior designer or bathroom specialist. With the right planning and selection of fixtures, even the smallest bathroom can be highly functional and beautiful at the same time, so consider working this into your budget from the beginning.
Tap ware (taps, spouts and shower heads) can make or break a bathroom so this is definitely an area to spend a bit of money. On the flip side, a toilet is a toilet so there’s no need to splurge on this. Another big ticket item is tiling – a fully tiled bathroom not only looks great but is easier to keep clean than a combination of tiles and painted walls so think about this when setting your budget and selecting your finishes – large format tiles in a simple white or grey don’t have to be expensive but will look luxurious.
In your laundry, having a professional plan out your space to maximum effect is also critical to ensure you have storage space for all those odds and ends. If you’re on a tight budget, stick with plain and simple tapware and basins in the laundry and save your money for other areas in the house.
5. Have a feature
Maybe it’s an amazing pendant light, perhaps it’s an antique style tap set or a sculptural free standing bath – whatever your style, incorporating one show stopping feature in your bathroom is the perfect way to inject your personality into the space. And adding a pop of colour with accessories or perhaps a favourite print can be a great way to liven up your laundry.