Some key things to think about are: Is it a family bathroom? If so, you'll probably want to factor in lots of storage space. Do you always shower and rarely bathe? Consider a standalone shower or wet room instead of installing a bath you won't use. If you like baths and showers, a bath with a shower it gives you a flexible option. Is space at a premium? Think about how you could incorporate storage cupboards on the walls rather than floor – maybe above the bath or even built in underneath. Do you want to use your bathroom to relax in? Consider getting a freestanding bath for a luxurious feel, and having somewhere close by to store candles and magazines. Are you a couple sharing the bathroom? How about getting two basins to make getting ready in the morning less chaotic? If someone will be using it to do make-up or dress in, then you'll want to make sure there is plenty of light and a decent-sized mirror. Asking yourself these questions will help you refine the little changes to make or elements to incorporate that will make a lot of difference to your bathroom and your enjoyment of it.
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.
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