THIS time of year often encourages us to re-evaluate the design of certain areas of our home that come into play when visitors arrive.
Recently I shared my tips on creating the perfect guest bedroom, but what better way to provide your friends and family with a luxurious stay than with their very own bathroom?
No matter how much or how little space you have to work with, you can still make a bold impression with the choices you make to create an experience similar to that of a glamorous, boutique hotel.
The key is to make your guests feel at home and leave them wanting to come back again. Guests can often feel uncomfortable if they don't have an element of their own space, so allowing them free reign of their own bathroom helps them feel comfortable and relaxed.
A guest bathroom is likely to be limited on space, so it is important that you take the time to plan the layout carefully.
Appointing a skilled designer means that they will be able to help you find innovative ways of making the most of the space available to you. I would always recommend sticking to a fairly neutral scheme, which allows the bathroom to feel light and airy. The decor, tiles and sanitaryware will all influence the overall feel of the room and cause it to feel open and spacious or cramped and claustrophobic, so choose wisely.
Where space is tight, I would recommend adopting a contemporary approach with minimalist styling. Large format tiles with the appearance of natural stone will bring an organic feel and will replicate the calm and collected ambience achieved in luxury spas.
Tiles can be used as much or as little as you like, so depending on your personal taste, apply them to the floor and walls, or use them sparingly applying them just to the areas that need protecting from water damage including above the basin, in the shower or wetroom and along the bath.
Wall-hung sanitaryware will keep valuable floor space free and will help to create the illusion of your guest bathroom being larger than it actually is. However, for me, one of the best things about wall-hung sanitaryware is that it makes the bathroom so much easier to clean, meaning it will be sparkling ready for when your guests arrive! When it comes to choosing your sanitaryware, I would recommend opting for a fairly plain, white suite that will appeal to most tastes and will not go out of date after a short period of time.
Of course, it is possible to incorporate a more traditional scheme, space allowing. With contemporary sanitaryware you are likely to find more compact pieces, whereas a classically styled bathroom is likely to consist of grand, statement items. If you do go for the traditional option, just make sure you have enough space to do it justice and to create a wow-factor impression.
You will be surprised of the compact solutions now available when it comes to showering and you will probably find that you may be able to squeeze in a slim showertray and enclosure, or an open wetroom.
Not only will this make the space more practical, but you will probably find that it actually brings added value to your home.
For those of you that are spoilt with space, a freestanding bath is the most luxurious purchase you could make.
There are plenty of contemporary and traditional designs available, and if there isn't enough space in your guest bathroom, why not place it in your guest bedroom?
Be creative when it comes to choosing the decor. It may surprise you to know that you can actually use vinyl wallpaper in the bathroom. It isn't a good idea to apply it to an area where it is at risk of getting soaked by water, but it will be able to handle the odd splash.
Bring a boutique touch to your guest bathroom with a floral pattern or a damask or stripe design if you are going for a traditional look.
It is important that you keep your guest bathroom clutter-free and organised, so include storage systems wherever possible. If you are tight on space, it may be worth you investing in a basin with a built-in vanity unit to store any toiletries and cleaning products. A mirrored cabinet is also a practical addition as not only will it help to reflect light around the room, but it is another place to store any loose items.
Remember all those important finishing touches. Ensure your towels are soft and include fragrant candles to keep the space smelling fresh.
Interior designer and member of the BID Lesley Taylor is design director of Taylor's Etc based in Cardiff, 02920 358 400, www.taylorsetc.co.uk or http://blog.lesleytaylor.co.uk