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Making a big splash h in the bathroom; GabrielleFagan showsyouhowtogo withtheflowinthe bathroom.

THE bathroom might be the most private room in the house but it's currently under the spotlight.

These days we want this room to multi-task as both a retreat to soothe our spirits, and somewhere practical to splash around in, so we're ever more demanding of its decor.

There are limitless possibilities for kitting out this room, whether it's emulating the vintage style of yesteryear or being bang up to date and creating the ultimate contemporary spa room.

"While the sophisticated functionality of modern design is the most popular look, some people find it a little too minimal and feel it lacks warmth, decoration and expression," says Sally Cutchie, design consultant at Colourwash Bathrooms.

"Consequently, the mixing of styles is a strong, developing trend. It allows people to get the best of both worlds by pairing streamlined contemporary sanitary ware with a dramatic or romantic feature such as a free-standing bath. It's all about freedom of expression."

While showers had a surge in popularity, nothing beats an indulgent soak in the tub -and a property's also worth less without at least one bathroom with a bath.

Luckily, making a stylish splash needn't cost a fortune, as companies vie with each other to attract homeowners who are opting to improve rather than move.

There are easy ways to freshen up the room too, from replacing taps and regrouting tiles to fitting a mirror spanning the length of a bath to make the room appear larger, and replacing a shabby shower curtain.

PLAN YOUR MAKEOVER Get ideas from top-of-the-range bathroom showrooms, be inspired by holiday hotels and take photos of bathrooms you admire to help you copy the style.

Enlist the advice of a professional designer, or experienced builder, before you outlay on fittings and furniture.

Don't be afraid to negotiate package deals and discounts from bathroom companies, and ask about ex-display or cancelled order items, sold for reduced prices.

Set a budget and stick to it, and don't forget to factor in flooring, lighting, tiles and redecoration -and allow for hidden expenses, such as pumps and thermostats.

If you're strapped for cash, opt for a simple bathroom with classic white sanitary ware and plain tiles -that way it will never date.

FASHIONABLE MIX Be inspired by the style of times past and reflect today's cutting-edge bathroom style to conjure a vintage and modern look.

BATHING BEAUTY: Colourwash Bathrooms's free-standing roll-top Cleo bath, pounds 3,190, paired with a contemporary vessel-style basin which sits proud of a unit, pounds 134 each.

STYLE STEAL: Get the same look for less with a claw-foot roll-top vintage-look Amyris bath, pounds 809.55, and Chloe vessel basin, pounds 59.99, both from from Focus (DIY).

MAKE MINE A SPA "Bathrooms have evolved from being just a functional room in a home, to a sanctuary to escape from everyday life," says Craig Hadley, bathroom buyer for Focus (DIY). "Currently, the trend is to emulate lavish hotel bathrooms within the comfort of your very own home."

BATHING BEAUTY: Distinctive designs are a trademark of Villeroy & Boch, and it doesn't disappoint with the soft, curved lines emulating the shape of beach pebbles for the Stone collection. Washbasin, from pounds 579, vanity unit, from pounds 1,054. Team with an Aveo Bath Tub, from pounds 3,986.75.

STYLE STEAL: Don't ruin the wellbeing benefit of creating a home spa by stressing about the price. Frontline Bathrooms range is purse-friendly with a free-standing IXOS double-ended bath, pounds 995, and a Losan washbasin, pounds 410.

CLEAN & CHIC "We've seen a significant increase in demand for luxury bathing -partly because so many people are choosing to improve rather than move," says Heena Patel, product manager for Wickes Bathrooms.

"Baths nowadays are viewed more as a piece of furniture and there's a strong trend for making a statement with eye-catching free-standing baths in clean line contemporary shapes."

BATHING BEAUTY: Fired Earth's white, sleek Jura bath, pounds 2,995, is a design classic and can look stunning contrasted with Andalucia tiles in Hacienda deep blue, pounds 2.75 each.

STYLE STEAL: Wickes's oval white Organic Bath is bang on trend with a less hefty price tag of pounds 1,579.

CALMING SPACES Clutter's the enemy of serenity and relaxation -two essential ingredients for a home spa - so adequate storage is absolutely vital.

Free-standing units are a fashionable choice and easy to add to a bathroom. Boost storage capacity further with extra baskets and boxes.

BATHING BEAUTIES: Marks & Spencer's handsome range of oak veneer free-standing units, includes a clever Tallboy, with four open shelves and cupboard, pounds 299.

STYLE STEAL: Get the luxury of storage and a double washbasin -a boon for a family bathroom -with Ikea's compact Norrviken basins, paired with a Godmorgon washstand with two deep drawers, all for pounds 309.

BATHROOM TREATS Thick fluffy towels in jewel-rich colours and well-designed accessories such as soap dispensers and scented candles will transform a bathroom into a truly pampering retreat.

BATHING BEAUTY: Bring on the brights with Linea's Passion towel collection in zingy ocean blue, coral, raspberry and sunshine yellow, pounds 22 each, from House of Fraser.

STYLE STEAL: Next's stunning Stripe collection of bathroom goodies, includes towels from pounds 7, bath mat and shower curtain, both pounds 18 each, and matching containers for toothbrushes, soap and cosmetics, set of three, pounds 12.

Right, Villeroy & Boch Stone collection: Pure Stone toilet, from pounds 659; washbasin from pounds 579; vanity unit from pounds 1,054; mirror cabinet from pounds 1,139 and shelf from pounds 75 stockists Asda.co.uk/0203 003 6555 B&Q: diy.com/0845 850 0175 ColourwashBathrooms.co.uk/020 7586 1441 DigetexHome.co.uk FiredEarth.com/0845 366 0400 FocusDIY.co.uk/0845 436 436 FrontlineBathrooms.co.uk/0845 470 2427 HouseofFraser.co.uk/0870 160 7270 Ikea.co.uk MarksandSpencer.com/0845 302 1234 Next.co.uk/0844 844 8000 ParisCeramics.com/020 7371 7778 Tau Tiles: tauceramica.com/01427 874 242 ToppsTiles.co.uk/0800 023 4703 Villeroy-Boch.com/020 8871 4028 Wickes.co.uk/0845 274 1000 tile-tastic FULLY tiling walls and floors is a practical approach but can be costly. Cut corners by simply tiling a wall nearest the bath or sink, or use decorative tiles as a feature for a splashback or a bath panel.

"As minimalism has shown signs of waning, coloured tiles have increased in popularity as a way to add depth and contrast for bathrooms," says David Portales Mananos, for the Association of Ceramic Tile Manufacturers of Spain.

"Injections of bold colour create a bold statement, while subtle splashes of vibrant colour on a splashback, tile border or feature panel will work well combined with a neutral palette."

Stone-effect tiles, he points out, are a budget way to introduce an element of natural luxury and contrast well with white sanitary ware.

BATHING BEAUTIES: Paris Ceramics hand-distressed Pierre du Mont tiles, pounds 164.50 a square metre, replicate the look of antique reclaimed stone.

STYLE STEAL: Spanish tile company, Tau's excellent selection includes vibrant green Chebbi tiles, pounds 63 a square metre; while B&Q and Topps Tiles also have design standard, affordable ranges.

Alternatively, take the plunge with an ocean wave water-resistant mural, pounds 159 from Digetex Home (below).

CAPTION(S):

Hand distressed Pierre du Mont limestone flagstones, pounds 164.50 per square metre, from Paris Ceramics Fired Earth''s Jura bath, pounds 2,995 and hand decorated Andalucia wall tiles in Hacienda, pounds 2.75 each Losan wash basin, pounds 410, Razor mono basin mixer, pounds 295, back to wall toilet including soft clo pounds 995 and Kubix mono bath shower mixer and stand pipe, pounds 690, all from Frontline Bathroom om ose seat, pounds 565, IXOS freestanding double ended bath, ms Top, bath towels, pounds 22 each, from the Passion range by Linea for House of Fraser. and above, Helena bathroom suite and Illusion Mocha marble effect ceramic wall & floor tiles, all from B&Q
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 24, 2010
Words:1323
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