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The evolution of bathrooms

Bathrooms have evolved from functional spaces into luxury retreats, but don’t overlook practicality if you’re getting a new bathroom designed and installed

Until thirty years ago, bathrooms were largely functional spaces, bereft of imagination and rarely styled. You probably grew up assuming a stained enamel bath and noisy toilet cistern were as good as it got. Your parents probably fitted carpet in their bathroom in the mistaken belief it was luxurious, when it was actually a perfect place to hide skin follicles and damp. Your grandparents probably told you stories about the outside toilet they grew up with, or how their freestanding bathtub in the kitchen brought the whole family together every Sunday night.

Meanwhile, here in 2023…

Modern bathrooms have evolved into statement rooms and pamper suites – a peaceful haven away from the stresses of daily life. Best of all, most bathrooms now have locks on the door, guaranteeing you precious moments of peace. However, just as decorative fashions are constantly evolving, so too are bathrooms. If you’re planning to refurbish the smallest room/s in your house this year, here’s what’s in, what’s out, and what’s easiest to clean. Even if you call on Queen of Gleam’s bathroom experts, fiddly features and clutter will slow us down – reducing the time we can dedicate to other rooms…

What’s in

Old is the new new. From mosaic tiles and half-height timber panelling to Victorian-style suites, traditional wallcoverings and sanitaryware are big business as pastel blues and greens re-emerge…

…Or go ultra-modern. Shallow sinks, matte black taps and fully integrated sanitaryware are the antithesis of Victorian retro chic, better suited to modern homes and providing integrated storage.

A night on the tiles. Full-height tiling creates a dramatic backdrop, with two contrasting patterns in vogue. They’re easy to clean, moisture-resistant and (with grey grouting) very low-maintenance.

Japandi design. This dubiously titled blend of Scandinavian and Japanese influence is all about light slatted timber or painted black wood, odd geometric shapes, soft shades and low-key lighting.

What’s out

Integrated TV sets. These enjoyed a brief honeymoon during the Noughties, but the advent of tablets and streaming media mean there’s little point installing a waterproof screen by the bath.

All white on the night. We’re not advocating a return to avocado bathroom suites, but the clinical all-white aesthetic of the last decade has peaked. Pastel colours break up monochrome monotony.

Old gold. Joining white on fashion’s naughty step is gold, which has fallen from grace alongside other coloured metals like copper and brass. Taps and finishes are increasingly black, chrome or white.

Studied minimalism. Gone are the days of bare shelves and sills. Modern bathrooms celebrate towel units, patterned wallpapers, house plants, open-sided wooden cabinets and asymmetric mirrors.

What’s practical

Keep off the glass. The glass tub in the photo above looks spectacular, but it would take ages to achieve a smear-free finish. Full-width mirrors can also be time-consuming, so stick to smaller ones.

Storage facilities. Queen of Gleam staff will work quicker and more effectively if we don’t have to move items off sinks, baths and windowsills. Find a home for everything, and de-stress your suites.

Exposed wall shelving. If integrated cabinets and recessed cupboards aren’t an option, wall-mount non-essential items like reed diffusers, candles and spare soap bottles on stylish display units.

Ladder radiators. The taller the better! Ladder radiators don’t just provide a visual feature – they provide plentiful heat in a minimal footprint, and are great for cheaply drying towels and laundry.

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