Soak up tranquility
Wed 05 Aug 2015
One in five Britons never has a bath and those who do say it is to enjoy some peace and quiet rather than to get clean. Most prefer to shower, saving time and water, which makes you wonder whether it is worth having a bath tub at all.
Yet luxury bathroom suites have never been more popular, with modern natural stone-look ceramic tiles creating a boutique hotel feel at home.
While kitchens will always be the most important room, developers are putting just as much thought into the design of modern spa-like bathrooms.
A survey on our bathing habits was commissioned by online retailer bathroomtakeaway.co.uk. Managing director Julian Smith says sales are up 20 per cent, month on month, of P-shaped shower baths, which have extra room under the shower area for stretching out.
Television's Property Ladder stylist Maxine Brady, founder of the website WeLoveHomeBlog.com, says: "People are treating themselves more to boutique hotels so they are used to having lovely baths and big showers and they want to bring that back home. They are looking for more of a deluxe space."
Cheap plastic baths are out and porcelain sinks are in says Maxine, who adds: "There's been a
massive resurgence in demand for roll top baths, but in a more modern, almost Japanese-style."
Although white is still a must for baths and sinks, wall and floor tiles are key and, according to B&Q's tiling buyer Carmine Riches, digital inkjet high definition finish imagery on ceramic tiles has made them more versatile than ever.
Wood and concrete effect tiles have become increasingly popular over the past 12 to 18 months, he says, for floors and walls: "If you put wood effect tiles on the floor you would never know they weren't wood, except that they are harder wearing than real wood," he adds.
There is also a move away from expensive natural stone tiles for floors, because technical advances have produced ceramic tiles that look like natural stone but cost much less.
"Our customers are liking wall and floor matching tiles in the same size," says Carmine. "You don't have to seal them or treat them because they are not real stone products, and they are much more affordable."
It is a trend that fits with new developments by Bloor Homes (bloorhomes.com/01373 887401) whose Collection at Fortescue development near Bath, in Wiltshire, includes five-bedroom detached Knowle House.
The high-spec home is for sale at 1,450,000 and has a bathroom that not only features same size wall and floor ceramic stone-effect tiles, but also a modern roll top bath, albeit in copper not white. "The freestanding copper bath is a timeless classic, and the perfect centrepiece to our luxurious bathroom at Knowle House," says regional sales director Michele Rose. "The bathroom is overtaking the bedroom as a haven in modern homes and we've adapted the design of our homes over time to reflect this."
It is not just new-build homes that have the ceramic stone and roll top bath look though. Knight Frank (knightfrank.com/01242 246959) has a 1989-built contemporary design property with both: a four-bedroom family house in Charlton Kings, Cheltenham, on the market for 850,000. The wood effect floor and wall tiles look equally stunning in a three-bedroom flat for sale in Earls Court, London, for 1,999,999 with Marsh and Parsons (marshandparsons.co.uk/020 7835 0620).
If achingly modern concrete and wood effect tiles with Japanese roll tops is not your style, though, John Lewis bathshop buyer Zoe Brady has more colourful news.
"Coastal is a huge trend this season for bathrooms, with a traditional palette of blue and white and red featuring as a key accent colour," she says. "Easily achieved through simple accessory updates, this trend offers a fresh interior to the room and is an ideal scheme for the summer months."
So now you know what to do this summer: spend a few nights on the tiles.