Having to share one small bathroom with two teenage daughters means that my husband and I are always last in the queue. Our very large bath quickly uses up all the hot water, and takes up a lot of space, whilst the girl's toiletries makes the room look cluttered and untidy. We want to totally redecorate the room and fit a new suite. Do you have any ideas?
Mrs Everick, Chelmsford, Essex
It sounds like a new walk-in shower is absolutely essential to your new small bathroom design, since this will speed things up in the mornings and cut down on water consumption. You may have to alter the layout of your room, but by reducing the size of your large bath, you may be able to then fit in a modern new shower enclosure. To keep a bit of luxury you could then install a shower panel - this combines both showerheads and body jets within one complete shower and you and your daughters will love the invigorating shower experience, whilst still maintaining economical water usage. A powerful pump hidden in a cupboard or loft space will give you the extra boost that you need in the morning.
Next, you need to think about storage. To create a pristine, tidy look why not install some fitted bathroom furniture to keep all their bits and pieces out of sight. There are many new designs which take up minimal space in your room as they can run the units behind the toilet cistern but still create that valuable drawer and cupboard space.
|You could save more space by fitting a corner shower enclosure.|
|Think practically when it comes to flooring - laminate wood floor could work really well with wood-effect unit surfaces.|
|A white finish on a heated towel rail is more efficient at creating warmth than a chrome one.|
|In a small room the temptation is to have everything white. Stop it from looking clinical with textured tiles and coloured borders.|
My mother, who is in her seventies, has got to the stage where getting in and out of the bath is too much for her, and I worry that one day I'll pop round and find that she's been stuck in there all day! She wants to hold on to her independence and dignity but some of the baths with chairs and lifts we've seen remind her of hospital! Is there an alternative solution?
Mrs B, Taunton, Somerset
If your mother doesn't have the strength to lift herself in and out of the bath, then the most practical solution would be to remove the bath in favour of a shower enclosure. She can still take care of herself each day and you don't have the worry of her hurting herself. There are a wide range of sizes and styles available, but perhaps a key point to look for is the height of the shower tray itself. A low-level tray stands only 80mm (3”) or so off the floor, which makes the step up very shallow and easy for the elderly or infirm.
|Be wary of inward-opening doors when considering a shower enclosure for the elderly or infirm, because if they slip and fall whilst in the shower it may be difficult to open the door to help|
|An enclosure with a curved screen and optional side panel, i.e. no moving parts, keeps it very simple and straightforward too. This will also help to stop the bathroom floor from getting wet and slippery when you open the shower door|
|When installing a new shower kit, think about the safety aspects. Check that the valve has a maximum temperature stop to prevent scalding and a safety shutdown device in case the cold water fails.|