Showers for the slim and sleek bathroom

As homes get smaller, a lack of space is becoming a growing issue in bathroom design. The trend is for ever more slimline bathroom fixtures and fittings, but shoehorning everything a homeowner needs into a compact bathroom can be a challenge. Chris Tranter, Senior Product Manager at Bristan, provides installers with the lowdown on the latest sleek bathroom options.

Today, Britain’s houses have never been smaller. A new report shows that homes are nearly a third smaller than equivalent properties built in the 1970s. In fact, the average living room is now 17.09 square metres – that’s a 1.64 square metre drop in a decade. Bedroom size and the number of bedrooms on offer has also decreased.

The findings of this study should come as no surprise. For years, research has shown that the UK’s newly built homes are lagging behind most of the Europe by floor area. These trends have inevitably resulted in the emergence of innovative and creative ways of maximising space. And, while the bathroom may be one of the smallest rooms in the house, there’s no reason why it can’t make a big impact.

To meet demand, installers need to ensure that they are up to speed with the latest space saving products in the bathroom market. Here’s some clever solutions that should be top of the list.

Shower valves
When customers are searching for the best shower valve to suit their needs, they will need to take into consideration a few things. Will they want to use an overhead shower or a hand shower? Or both? Does the home have hard water or soft water? The space and size of the shower is also an important factor for choosing the right valve for the ultimate shower experience.

UK homeowners love a concealed shower valve, which can be combined with a host of options from overhead showers to hand showers and body jets.

This is reflected in the latest MTW’s market research which shows the sector outperforming the shower market as a whole, with double-digit growth predicted up to 2022.

The reasons for this, aside from obvious aesthetic considerations, link to wider minimalist bathroom trends, for example frameless shower enclosures, wet rooms and low profile trays.

Traditionally, however, concealed valves could be challenging to fit, often leading to delays and frustrations for installer and customer. This is essentially because of the difficulty in judging how much space is available behind a cavity wall and dealing with particularly tight cavity spaces.

Fortunately, there are now solutions available on the market which cater to even the slimmest cavity areas. When choosing a concealed valve, installers should look for options such as those offered by Bristan which can be fitted into cavities as small as 35mm, as this is the tightest space which is likely to be found in a UK home. Valve adjustability is also an important feature, as this provides the necessary flexibility to ensure the perfect fit every time.

Minimalist designs
In most small bathrooms (around 5ft long), having the shower above the bath is a common design. Even without a separate shower enclosure, a luxurious space to relax and rejuvenate in can be created. Opting for a glass panel across the bath rather than a shower curtain, and increasing the size of mirrors will let in more light and increase the sense of spaciousness.

Consumers are becoming more trend-aware when it comes to their bathrooms. With spas and well-being retreats more popular than ever, some consumers are keen to replicate this feeling in their bathroom. Style and ambience can make a big difference and uncluttered, minimal designs are ever-popular.

A good shower is a key part of the bathroom experience and this year we’re seeing demand for oversized shower heads, as well as showers which provide features such as waterfall settings and LED mood lighting, which create a sense of total relaxation.

Finding the right mix
The basin is one item which can be downsized without any loss of style or convenience, particularly as there is now a great choice of smaller taps to suit.  A corner or pedestal option works brilliantly if you’re struggling for room, as the open area below gives the impression of more space. A statement mixer tap can add the finishing touch with a sleek, streamlined design.

The challenge of incorporating a bath, shower, basin, and toilet into a bathroom – whilst leaving enough room to manoeuvre – relies on finding the right mix of innovative fixtures and design inspiration. Space will continue to be a challenge as our homes get increasingly smaller, but installers have an important role to play in meeting consumer demand for space-saving products.

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