30 best bathrooms

30 best bathroom designs 2

The bathroom is one of the two big-ticket home improvements, close behind the kitchen in cost. Whether you are splurging five figures on a superlative spa-throom or keeping your budget well under £1,000, you want to know you are spending your makeover money wisely. So here’s the perfect starting point: our 30 best bathroom sources. From luxury brassware brands (that’s geek speak for taps and showers) to retailers of vintage French tubs, firms that sell custom-coloured, handmade tiles, and the most stylish budget suppliers.

30 best bathroom designs 5

Manufacturers tend to specialise in either traditional or contemporary designs, so begin by identifying your bathroom style. Classic roll-tops, by Drummonds and Catchpole & Rye, will never go out of fashion, but not everyone yearns for a bathroom that looks like an Edwardian interior. There are also plenty of contemporary gems, such as Nendo’s larch-wood collection for Bisazza Bagno and Mastella’s new bath with integrated bookshelves (available from Alternative Bathrooms).

Specialists in bathroom kit excel at advanced design, and if you take a geeky delight in new solutions, you’ll be enthralled by some of the tech available: Roca’s revolutionary In-Tank loo, with cistern incorporated inside the bowl; and Kohler’s colourful Moxie speakers, which pair with your Bluetooth devices to play music while you shower. Bathrooms are becoming ever greener, too: showers frequently incorporate water-saving devices and, though baths are unavoidably H2O guzzlers, some nod in the direction of ecofriendly: Water Monopoly offers the Delafon, cast from recycled brake discs.

So what’s the big bathroom design trend? Though the freestanding tub used to be an aspirational must, industry insiders report that the rise of the megashower threatens to knock the statement bath off its claw feet. The king of them all is Dornbracht’s torrential MEM Rain, but young pretenders to the throne are constantly emerging. The most exciting recent launch has been Nendo’s design for Axor, a spectacular cage-style shower head/light fitting hybrid. It’s almost impossible to describe — take a look at picture 14 in the slideshow. Fans of the tub can rest assured, though, that the ancient domestic device will not go the way of the roasting spit and the mangle. A powerful alliance of women, parents with young families and estate agents still insists on a bath. Where else can you float a plastic duck and flip through the latest edition of Home?

Tiles

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Emery & Cie
This Belgian brand, founded by Agnes Emery, has outlets in Brussels, Paris and Antwerp, and is available via Retrouvius in London. Tiles are handmade, vividly coloured and frequently customised in dimensions and colours. Highlights include Arbre (20cm x 20cm, £96 per sq metre), a cement tile designed by Emery and made in Morocco, and Primula Arborea (£14 each, 13cm x 13 cm). emeryetcie.com

Fired Earth
Fired Earth’s high-quality range of wall and floor coverings includes its much copied bevelled-edge Metropolitan tiles, inspired by those on the London Underground and named after Tube stations (£84 per sq metre or 96p per tile) and Iridescent Glass Mosaics (from £400 per sq metre or £36 per sheet). Bridgehampton white marble tiles are the current must-have (£105 per sq metre, or £22 per 45.7cm x 45.7cm x 1.2cm tile). firedearth.co.uk

Johnson Tiles
The prolific UK manufacturer also sources tiles from around the globe. More than 900 designs are available online, including a wealth of coloured and patterned options. Ceramic wall tiles, 40cm x 15cm, include Vivid White (£24 per sq metre) and Vivid Orange (£35 per sq metre). johnson-tiles.com

Piazza Tiles
This smart online shop specialises in contemporary-style porcelain tiles, including wood and stone-effect designs. Most are Italian-made. The firm keeps overheads low and doesn’t hold much stock, with the result that these premium tiles aren’t too pricy.piazzatiles.com

Luxury

Bisazza
An Italian brand that specialises in the splendid and spectacular. It’s famous for its tiles and the design-led Bisazza Bagno range, with collaborations from Marcel Wanders, Nendo and Jaime Hayon. The standout range is the virtuoso Nendo collection, in larch wood, featuring a bath, storage cabinet, basin, washstand and stool.bisazza.com

Dornbracht
One of the big bathroom names. The most famous product from the family-run German manufacturer of fixtures is the superluxe MEM Rain shower. Polished chrome shower heads cost from £985; the full monty, comprising the MEM Rain shower with wall fixing, Water Sheet cascade spout and hand shower set, thermostat and towel bar in cyprum finish, will set you back from £8,074. dornbracht.com

Lapicida
Lapicida specialises in bespoke stone baths and basins, carved from solid blocks of marble, limestone and even rock crystal, made in Europe’s largest stone-shaping mill. The price range runs from onyx basins (£494) to the extraordinary Italian Arabescato marble bath (£18,000). lapicida.com

The Water Monopoly
Think period opulence: antique French baths, vintage copper tubs, swan-neck taps and canopied shower units. As well as a menu of originals, there are reproductions including stone or resin tubs and cast-iron baths, manufactured in the UK. Stars of the London showroom include a reproduction of a French 1920s double basin in marble at £6,450, with nickel or glass towel bars extra. thewatermonopoly.com

Waterworks
This American luxury bathroom brand recently opened a shop over here, selling high-quality fittings and fixtures, lighting, accessories and tiles. Its new one-inch porcelain Penny tiles are sold in sheets measuring about 30cm x 30cm; they are available in 16 colours and a matt or gloss finish. £18 per sheet. uk.waterworks.com

Budget

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Bathrooms.com
Bathrooms.com offers traditional and contemporary designs at bargain prices. Don’t expect a cast-iron roll-top, but you can find acrylic corner baths, perfect for small spaces, from £159. August 4 sees the launch of the Metro collection: Metro Curve countertop basin, £49, and Metro close-coupled toilet, £119, are shown (right) with the Stirling tall basin and Monobloc tap, £59, Kaykan freestanding bath, £339, and Molise bath filler tap, £69. Get the look for £635. bathrooms.com

Homebase
Offering a range of well-known brands, including Aqualux, Ideal Standard, Mira and Triton, Homebase is a good place to start if you are looking for a budget or middle-range bathroom. Standout products can be found in the Ideal Standard range, which is perfect for a compact bathroom. The Ideal Standard Senses Space 45cm corner basin with a full pedestal costs £189 (was £379) and the Senses Space Compact flat-to-wall close-coupled toilet, with soft-close seat, is £424 (was £849). homebase.co.uk

Tile Mountain
The folks at Tile Mountain insist they won’t be beaten on price, and they also offer free next-day delivery. More importantly, they stock some choice products, including 30cm x 30cm solar-white Carrara marble-effect tiles (£18 per sq metre) and rectangular bevelled-edge Metro tiles (£19 per sq metre). tilemountain.co.uk

Traditional

Albion Bath Co
This company produces luxury freestanding and roll-top tubs, many in Albion’s own heat-retaining alternative to cast iron, called Iso Enamel. There are some excellent compact versions of the traditional bath, such as the 120cm long Tubby Tub. From £1,536. albionbathco.com

Aston Matthews
Selling mostly own-brand bathroom furniture and brassware, Aston Matthews is best known for its large selection of well-priced traditional cast-iron baths (from £835). Look beyond the roll-tops and you will find some smart and covetable contemporary brands as well, including Crosswater, Duravit and Kaldewei.www.astonmatthews.co.uk

Catchpole & Rye
Recognised for its traditional cast-iron British-made baths, Catchpole & Rye also crafts a lovely line in taps and showers in high-quality solid brass, such as the polished-brass Edwardian-style English bath shower mixer, £900. Should you require a colour-coordinated loo, C&R create bespoke cisterns, priced from £1,440, in the hue of your choice. catchpoleandrye.com

CP Hart
Combining in-house designs and a selection of smart brands, CP Hart also features some arcane designer collaborations. Has anyone heard of Antonio Citterio’s range Axor? Or the designs by Sir Norman Foster for Duravit? Discover all these along with the firm’s classic Kew collection (from £680 for a washbasin). cphart.co.uk

Drummonds
Drummonds is all about craft. Its top-notch iron baths (from £3,270) and brassware, which are often based on antique originals, are manufactured at the firm’s foundry in Poland. Opulent highlights of the collection are the freestanding shower cubicles (Severn, £21,540) and wall-mounted exposed-pipe showers with extravagant 30cm roses. drummonds-uk.com

Contemporary

Alape
Part of the Dornbracht group, this below-the-radar bathroom brand specialises in modular furniture for compact bathrooms, focusing on washbasins, taps and lighting. Designs are small, simple and aesthetically interesting, such as the latest launch, the Bucket Sink, a 3mm-thick glassed steel washbasin, at £111. alape.com

Alternative Bathrooms
As well as inventive own-label designs, Alternative Bathrooms offers a good collection of creative contemporary brands, including Alape/Dornbracht, Crosswater, Duravit, Hansgrohe/Axor, Kaldewei, Laufen, Majestic and Mastella, whose latest launch is the KellyBook bath, a tub with integrated bookshelves built into the side panel, £7,585.alternativebathrooms.com

Duravit
Duravit’s clean, modern designs cover territory from “guest bathroom” to spa-style luxury. The new Vero furniture collection features wall-hung compact cabinetry, in timber or white gloss finish, which are combined with integrated LEDs so the piece appears to float against the wall. The Vero vanity unit in Mediterranean oak costs from £630. duravit.co.uk

Laufen
This Swiss manufacturer is best known for its sculptural shapes in SaphirKeramik, a strong, light ceramic that allows for extra-thin profiles. The company’s latest range, Kartell by Laufen, combines brightly coloured plastic and ceramics in a stylish alternative to the clichéd clinical white bathroom. Prices range from £1,044
for a shower tray, £180 for a stool and £348 for a washbasin. uk.laufen.com

Roca
From Spain, this bathroom firm majors in brassware, baths, loos and basins for compact contemporary homes. Designs are sleek and technically advanced. Roca’s real advance was the In-Tank Meridian WC, a wall-hung loo that combines the cistern into the pan rather than hanging it on the wall (£1,149). Products with spa-style luxury include the Essential hydromassage shower column, from £927. uk.roca.com

Zucchetti Kos
This highly innovative Italian label was set up in 1929 by Alfredo Zucchetti and is now in the hands of the third generation. Zucchetti Kos creates fresh, contemporary reinventions of the classic bathroom furnishings. The star of the range is the Morphing Collection basin, from £2,580. zucchettikos.com

Brassware

Czech & Speake
Czech & Speake of Jermyn Street is as traditional as it sounds, but also the place to find one of the most appealing modern tap ranges. Look past its (perfectly nice) Edwardian-style brassware to the DCA fittings, with a simple cross-handle design. Created by the Sterling prize-winning architect David Chipperfield, the range comprises bath and basin taps, bidet spout, shower mixers and hand showers in polished chrome or platinum finish. The DCA wall-mounted bath or basin mixer, in polished chrome, costs from £624. czechandspeake.com/bathrooms

Hansgrohe
Axor, the designer arm of Hansgrohe, is famous for a directional collaboration that has become a classic: the Axor Starck range, by Philippe Starck. Its most audacious new launch is the Axor LampShower by Nendo, which costs from £1,236. hansgrohe.co.uk

Samuel Heath
This long-lived British brand majors on quality and old-fashioned craft. Founded in 1820, the firm still manufactures brassware in Birmingham, and the ceramics used in its accessories are made in Stoke-on-Trent. Typical traditional designs include the Fairfield three-hole basin filler in antique gold with clear geometric crystal levers, priced at £1,373. samuel-heath.com

Accessories

Balineum
Balineum specialises in opulent finishing touches for the bathroom. Towels, mats and robes, brass accessories and — its hero products — washstands. Handmade in Italy, the Firenze washstand in Carrara marble and chrome costs from £4,750. balineum.co.uk

Kohler
A bathroom brand with a smart modern range of baths, basins, showers and brassware, plus a knack for novelty. The Moxie, for instance, is a shower head and wireless speaker that pairs with Bluetooth-enabled devices for music while you bathe. Coloured speakers cost £109, white ones £99. kohler.co.uk

Moustache
Moustache produces original, refreshing products by a group of likeminded, mainly French creatives. The tiny but useful beechwood bathroom shelves by Inga Sempé are a highlight of the range, available to UK shoppers from madeindesign.com, from £23 each or three for £60. moustache.fr

Villeroy & Boch
Perhaps tableware comes to mind first when you hear the words Villeroy & Boch. But the German-based company also produces a range of smart modern designs for the bathroom, such as the distinctive Subway 2.0 collection of compact wall-hung furnishings. Its most recent launch is the Architectura ultra-slim metal-rim shower tray, V&Bs most slender to date, at 1.5cm thick, from £163. www.villeroy-boch.co.uk

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