Bathrooms serve an integral role in the everyday life of modern families. Every morning, families use these rooms to prepare themselves for the day ahead, and they use them at the end of the day to unwind. Although key rooms, family bathrooms can become chaotic spaces and can create tension if not properly organised.
Liza Watermeyer, retail and display co-ordinator at Tile Africa, says there are a number of solutions that families can introduce to organise and de-clutter these shared spaces.
Get on the rails
The first solution relates to towels. Disorganised heaps of wet towels are arguably the most common cause of consternation in family bathrooms. The solution? Multi-rodded towel rails.
“Every family needs space to hang up their towels. We offer multi-rodded towel rails as well as five, seven and eight bar heated towel rails which can be conveniently hung vertically, out of the way of passing traffic, doors and cupboards,” says Liza.
“Heated towel rails dry the towels when not in use and keep the bathroom clean and organised. What’s more is that they’re safe when installed by accredited electricians, are energy-efficient and offset unnecessary towel washing – which lengthens the shelf life of towels and saves money to boot.”
Oversized vanities and “tall boy” cupboards are other useful space organisers, says Liza. “Big vanities are great for families as they can be used to pack away a large amount of items, a number of which the family probably doesn’t want on public display. They also keep bathrooms neat, which creates a good impression for visitors.”
Vanities are available in a range of fashionable designs and materials, and can be used to great effect to influence the character of a bathroom. Designs include floor mounted, floating wall-hung and u-shaped vanities.
For those who are keen on being super-organised in the bathroom, Liza suggests adding colour coded shelves, mini baskets or trays, cupboards and vanities. Each family member can then be allocated a colour in which to keep their belongings, which should cut down on time wasted hunting for belongings – as well as arguments.
The addition of a few floating shelves can also make a big difference to a bathroom’s layout and space capacity, as these can be used for spare or general-purpose items such as soap and extra towels. Alternatively, they can be used to hold decorative items such as candles, vases and pot plants.
“And what of the laundry issue? As any family knows, laundry tends to accumulate quite quickly and it can soon become an unsightly, even somewhat pungent mess. As such, laundry storage solutions play a really important role in family bathrooms and need to reflect the needs of the family.”
Laundry storage solutions can take numerous forms such as built in cupboards, fabric, plastic or stainless steel bins or wicker baskets. Whatever your choice in this regard, Liza advises selecting something that is durable, features removable inners, will make laundry sorting easier and is easy to clean. With this in mind, she advises against wicker baskets as they tend not to last and are prone to mildew.
Get the look
From a trends point of view, Watermeyer explains that up-cycling and retro looks are fashionable in bathrooms right now.
“There has been something of a return to “make do and mend”, whereby items are re-used and re-purposed. Nowadays, people are quite happy to take old or disused items such as a pine chest of drawers, sand it and give it a colourful lick of paint or whitewash to achieve a shabby-chic look. Old vanities, book cases and plywood boxes can also be re-purposed in this fashion. The result is a fresh “new” bathroom storage solution that doesn’t break the bank.”
In terms of the retro trend, Liza explains that this look is being achieved primarily through the use of subway style, rectangular metro tiles and brushed cement walls to create a minimalistic, almost gritty feel. For those interested in experimenting with this look, Tile Africa stocks a variety of metro tiles as well as glazed cement-like ceramic and porcelain tiles.
Do it your way!
Although these trends are popular, Liza is quick to explain that homeowners are experimenting and combining different styles and elements with great success. Indeed, many have taken to combining up-cycled and retro elements to create completely unique and modern family bathrooms.
“Old and new, encaustic patterns, Victorian geometric, vintage, wood, tribal patterns and laser cut blinds – these are but a few of the elements we have seen being combined or used separately of late. When tastefully and thoughtfully carried out, the effect can be striking,” she says.
Lastly, when organising a family bathroom, Liza advocates considering who the primary users will be. For instance, if there are children in the picture, robust pieces are best. She adds that it’s also best to buy the best quality you can afford and remember to avoid using storage items that could become waterlogged or ruined by steam.