Bathrooms that add value

Washrooms are the other rooms in the house that people are prepared to spend money on to bring up the value of their home.

Like the kitchen, a washroom has to be functional and clean but with the vast choice of different showers, bathtubs, wash basins and faucets that there are nowadays, a bathroom can be individualistic and make a style statement.

Scott Elliott, sales associate with RE/MAX says, “People are spending on their showers and bath tubs. They really like different types of showers that create things like rain effects.” Another thing he has noticed is that older people, especially, are adding seats or benches in the shower area so they can sit while having a shower.

Double sinks are also popular, especially with couples.

Matthew Rivas from the Bath & Kitchen Gallery at A.L.Thompson’s agrees that different kinds of showers are hugely popular.

He says what people are looking for in a bathroom is to replicate the spa experience in their own home.

These types of showers are not just about getting yourself clean, they are able to replicate all sorts of water experiences from subtle rain effects to concentrated jets that massage.

Rivas says, “Custom built showers are really popular, people are building the shower rooms they have always dreamed of with different types of shower heads, which put the spa into the shower.”

Rivas says people will go for two or three rain heads, which produce different types of ‘rain’; they might then add in a body spray shower that can act as a massage.

It’s easy to see why people are going for these in a big way. The hydro science that goes into these modern shower system is serious.

The way they are placed, the direction of the jets and the power of the jets means the showering experience becomes therapeutic, delivering similar effects to a full body massage.

Rivas says, “people install these because it means instead of having a back massage once a week they might only have one once every six weeks.”

In fact some of these showers can target acupressure points on the body.

The KOHLER BodySpa system has jets that are strategically placed on either side of the spine at key acupressure points.

Instead of a sharp stream from a narrow opening, each BodySpa jet propels a wide cylinder of water that is dispersed across the shoulders and down the centre of the back in the style of a Swedish massage.

The jets can be adjusted using a control pad depending on how much pressure or massaging action one wants.

The most up-to-date shower rooms are custom built to include different shower heads but you can also just install the showers in an existing shower area. The trend for the absolute latest in shower technology is echoed in how people perceive the rest of the bathroom.

Rivas says, “What is interesting about Cayman, compared to certain places in the States, is that people in Cayman really go for an ultra modern look rather than a more traditional look.” In the bathroom this means the choice of faucets and wash bowls.

While the drop in sink – a sink that sits in a cabinet – is still the main choice, Rivas says the vessel type of wash basin is growing in popularity.

This is of course the round type of bowl that sits on the top rather than the more traditional drop in basin.

The bowl is actually a 1,000-year-old design from China, but has been given a modern make-over.

The advantage of the vessel type of basin is that it comes in various designs, dimensions and looks to match practically any bathroom design and style imaginable.

Also it can give the bathroom that individual look as it can be made from materials such as glass or metal rather than just porcelain and does not have to fit in a standard-sized hole inside a regular counter.

The disadvantages are that it tends to be smaller and shallower than a traditional drop in sink.

Elliott says he has also seen an increase in the use of these types of bowls.

As far as taps or faucets go, people are spoiled for choice. In the last few years bathroom taps have got seriously funky as well as functional, ranging from waterfall type effects to sleek futuristic taps with very clean lines.

Things to consider when choosing faucets is that you are picking the right size and that it goes with the style of your bathroom.

Rivas says, “We have many different designs and there is something for everyone and if we have not what they want in stock we can usually order it.”

Designing your bathroom

The trick is to decide on a colour scheme and a visual theme and then use them consistently throughout the room.

For instance, you can play it safe with all white or all beige fixtures and walls but then use colour in less permanent elements.

To create a coherent look, employ the decorating “rule of three” and repeat each major colour in your setting at least three times.

Plan for the long term.

Consider using as many universal-design products and layout ideas as possible for when you decide to sell.

When selecting accessories, remember all the stuff that naturally accumulates in a bathroom, keep the lines clean and the decorating clutter down.

The neat, ordered open shelves in home-decorating magazines look good but only if you can keep them tidy. Better with storage space where things can be tidied away.

Deploy your dollars cleverly.

Consider a vanity made of large marble tiles, not a whole marble slab; a less fancy toilet, but one that offers pressure-assist flushing; or plain ceramic tiles in most places, accented by hand-painted ones for borders and backsplashes.

If you like a sleek, modern scheme, make sure the items you choose are made of heavyweight, top-quality acrylic, plastic, metal, or glass.