For an ultra-modern and very practical effect, you could even use concrete. Underfloor heating adds a really cosy touch – as well as helping to dry the bathroom, and prevent damp and mould from forming – if you have hard floors. If you're considering underfloor heating, visit our guide to get an idea of the costs involved. As well as possibly using tiles for your floor, you'll need to use tiles on the walls around the shower or bath, which should be added after they're fitted. You can also get the same tiles for your bathroom walls and floor if you want a streamlined look. Options for wall-tile types include glass, ceramic or natural stone. There are matt or gloss tiles, and you can have small mosaic ones right through to large tiles, which can make a space-limited bathroom feel larger. Tiles can also be used to make a statement – bold colours or different finishes can have a big impact. If they're used sparingly, such as just around a shower or even statement tiles as a strip running through plain white tiles, it doesn't have to be expensive.
If you're not sure you can afford an entirely new bathroom, there are ways to give your existing one a fresh new look on a budget and without replacing the sanitary ware (the toilet, bath, sink and shower). First, you'll need to do a thorough clean. If the grouting is mouldy, try using a specialist cleaning product, available from supermarkets and DIY stores. If that doesn't work, buy an anti-mould grout-reviving pen, which you can get in black or white depending on the colour of your grouting. If you choose to redo the grouting altogether, use a sealer that will help prevent staining and mould growth in the future. To help prevent the mould coming back, try to leave the bathroom window open after showering or, if there isn't a window, install an extractor fan and leave the door open when you leave the room. If you are lucky enough to have a cast-iron bath but the ceramic covering has started to crack, consider buying a resurfacing kit or hiring someone to do a professional job for you, rather than replacing it. When you come to sell your home, buyers tend to rate period features.
The Inkstone bathtub by Steve Leung is another example of a product which impresses through simplicity and quality. Its design is refined and elegant and it's easy to imagine all sorts of sophisticated bathtub surrounds and chic bathroom decors that go with it. We suggest a casual-chic approach. The Burlesque tub designed by Giorgio Silla has an ovaloide shape which in itself is enough to make it stand out from other similar products. In addition to that this tub is carved out of a single solid block of stone. Its exterior is quite sculptural but in a simple and elegant manner. Kalla bathtub, its design is a harmonious balance between the intrinsic beauty of marble as a material and the rather special shape which suggests a rectangle but with curved corners for a more delicate and pleasant look.
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