I want my bathroom to feel spacious but also be practical, where do I start?
Whenever I design a bathroom I always like to start by selecting the tiles first and then the vanity colour and bench top to co-ordinate. If you want to create a spacious feel then I would generally choose a light to mid coloured tile and white vanity. I also like to use the same tile on the floor and walls to make the room feel a lot bigger. My top tip would be to tile the walls all the way to the ceiling so the walls appear higher. This is also very practical as it creates a water proof barrier.
Creating a bathroom with a feeling of space is all about smart placement of the key items and also selecting the right fixtures and fittings for the space provided. For example, if you want a smaller bathroom to feel spacious then using a 1.5m long bath instead of a 1.8m bath will make a significant difference. I always find freestanding baths feel like they take up less room than built in baths. Glass shower walls also help with the feeling of open space and are more cost effective than tiled walls.
The layout of the space needs to be considered carefully - thinking specifically about what needs to fit into the space e.g. bath, shower, vanity and toilet, if there is not a separate powder room. Where possible - the visual focal point of the bathroom should be the "features" i.e. vanity, or perhaps a free-standing bath for example. The toilet should also never be the first thing visible when you walk into the bathroom. Natural light is a huge plus in a bathroom to create the illusion of space - but if you don't have the benefit of natural light - stick with lighter colours on the walls, and a solid base colour on the floor, to ground the space.
How do I choose a colour scheme or materials that I know I'll still love in 10 years time?
Most neutral tones seem to last the test of time quite well. Whites and natural looking materials like stone tile features and timber accents will always be on trend. Avoid the trendy colours like the pale greens and pinks. Bring these trendy colours in with things like towels or small pot plants so you can change them in a year or two if your taste changes.
I believe good design is timeless and this is very important in bathrooms so they can be enjoyed for many years as they are very expensive to change. Therefore, I don't use trendy tile styles or colours that will date quickly but I prefer to choose tiles that have a look of a natural stone. There are many porcelain tiles that have a marble or sand stone look that have timeless style but are practical too. Bathrooms are a place for relaxation so I generally use neutral colour schemes like grey or beige because they are easy to live with and they stand the test of time.
The trick is not to be a "slave to trends" - spend money on quality fixtures and fittings, and keep things simple. I work with a maximum of three colours in a bathroom i.e. wall tile, floor tile and cabinetry. The more "neutral" the colour palette, the longer it will last and remain relevant.