Bathroom Suites – Your Quick Buying Guide
Buying a bathroom suite is simple, isn’t it? You just pop along to your favourite internet site or bathroom retailer pick the one which appeals to you the most and arrange to have it delivered, don’t you? If only it were that simple. You just have to spend five minutes looking online to see that the choice of different types of bathroom suites on the market and the huge range of designs to see that your decision might not be quite as straightforward as you might have hoped.
Thankfully we’re here to offer a helping hand. Just take 10 minutes out of your day to read over this guide and you should be a little more confident in finding the right bathroom suite for you.
Bathroom Suites – The Terminology
A bathroom suite consists of a toilet and a washbasin, although in the bathroom industry this is referred to as a 4 piece! The four pieces are the toilet pan (or WC) the cistern, the basin and the pedestal.
Toilet units come in a wide variety of types close coupled cistern, the most common type, is where the cistern sits on the back of the toilet. The cistern can be separated from the toilet pan in a high-level cistern which is a very traditional design, popular with victorian or Georgian style designs. The cistern can also be hidden behind the wall and activated by a push button (or even a hands-free sensor). These toilets are referred to as back-to-wall or, if they are lifted off the ground, wall hung toilets.
When it comes to the washbasin there are still quite a few choices to make! The basin itself will often come in a variety of widths so it’s important to select a basin that will fit into the available space but still give you the most useful washing space. The next decision with the basin is one or two tap holes. If you want a traditional hot and cold tap then you need a two tap hole basin, but if you prefer a more modern single monobloc mixer tap then you need to go for the single tap hole option.
Finally the pedestal, these come in standard, (full height) pedestals which run from the base of the basin to the floor and semi-pedestal designs that are fixed to the wall and do not reach the floor.
Of course, to confuse things further there are also furniture units which will hold the washbasin or the toilet cistern. You will find those in our bathroom furniture section.
What Sort of House Have You Got?
When we’re designing a particular room in the house it can be tempting to think of it in isolation and not consider it as part of the overall house. If every other room in your house is very traditional, with lots of floral fabrics or chintz, it is going to look very odd if you suddenly install an ultra-modern bathroom suite. If you’re not planning on selling at any point in the near future then of course you can install whatever sort of bathroom you like, but as the average bathroom will only be replaced once every 20 years or more, it’s always worth to have one eye on what might happen in the future.
Bear this in mind when you’re looking at the latest trends in bathroom suites or the most fashionable designs, as what looks cutting edge in 2017 might look very old hat by 2030 or 2040. It’s always better to look for a classic, plain design which will stand the test of time. Minimalism usually works well.
Main Bathroom, Shower Room or Loo?
Your decision about what sort of bathroom suite you will need will also depend on what size of room you are working with and what purpose it is going to serve. If you are lucky enough to have lots of space in a main family bathroom, then you can look at large freestanding baths, big walk-in shower enclosures and vanity units with lots of storage underneath. If you are on the other hand trying to shop for a loo and sink for a tiny downstairs cloakroom which has been created out of a cupboard or space under the stairs, you will need to shop smart for much smaller space-saving toilets or sinks which will fit in a restricted space.
Before you become dazzled by the array of suites on offer, get out the tape measure, take accurate measurements of your space and make sure you only look at things which will actually fit in your bathroom. This will save you a lot of time in the long run.
In an ideal world none of us would have to worry about minor details such as paying for a new bathroom suite, but in reality it’s something which has to be considered from the earliest planning stages. Be realistic about what you can afford to spend, write it down, and then plan your shopping accordingly. Setting an overall budget rather than a budget for each separate element will enable to offset extra spend on the bath, for example, to put towards a more expensive vanity unit.
Remember though that you will probably get a better deal when buying a complete suite from the same retailer rather than buying each element individually. Shop around, never buy the first suite you see however perfect it appears, and try not to get carried away.
Shower or Bath?
Obviously the ideal answer to the question of shower or bath is both, but if you haven’t the space then you might have to prioritise one over the other. There isn’t a right or wrong answer to this, it will depend on both the space available and your family make-up. A family home where there are young children living will benefit enormously from a bath, whereas a city centre flat lived in by young professionals would probably be best suited to a shower. The best solution may well be to fit a bath but with a shower – either electric or mains fed – over the bath so that you have the option of both. This is definitely worth considering if you are planning on selling your property in the future.