Planning a bathroom
Article 3 of 4
We've rated some of the top brands of bathroom furniture and give advice on choosing the right furniture for your bathroom.
Bathroom furniture is an integral part of any bathroom, and has to stand an incredible amount of wear and tear, water splashes and clouds of steam.
So, whether you're totally renovating your bathroom or sprucing it up with new furniture, it's important to ensure that the bathroom furniture you get will both suit your needs and stand the test of time.
That's why we've asked bathroom owners to rate not only the bathroom brand they bought their suite from (toilet, sink and bath) but their bathroom furniture too.
Below, you can find out what customers though of B&Q, Bathstore and Homebase bathroom furniture when pitched against online bathroom suppliers and independents.
Best bathroom furniture brands
The majority of people we surveyed (55%) bought their bathroom furniture from or through an independent company/DIY store or tradesman (ie a plumber or builder). But of those who bought their furniture from a well-known brand, most went to Bathstore, followed by B&Q and Homebase.
But how did these companies score when bathroom owners rated them on customer service, value for money, quality of products and finish?
|Brand||Customer Score||Customer service||Quality of products||Quality of finish||Value for money|
|Independent tradesperson or bathroom/DIY company|
|Online supplier of bathroom ceramics, furniture and fittings|
Table notes: Independent tradesperson or bathroom/DIY company is defined as independent builders and plumbers, DIY companies or bathroom companies not widely known outside your local area. Online suppliers are defined as ones selling bathroom ceramics, furniture and fittings predominantly online (they may have one showroom or factory outlet).
Planning your bathroom's layout
Your bathroom's layout will in part be determined by what storage and bathroom furniture you need.
Start by thinking about how you use your bathroom. What do you need space for and how much will you require? How regularly will you use different things and how easily will you need to access them? How much do you want to hide away or have out on display?
Answering these questions will give you a good idea of how much storage you'll need so you can better plan what bathroom furniture you should get.
Now you can think about the different types of furniture and storage options available to you. You can get built-in cabinets – for example, bathroom vanities that sit around the basin, which will make use of wasted space – or freestanding ones that give you flexibility to move it around.
The benefit of built-in bathroom furniture is that it makes the most of the space available, including awkward places that would otherwise be left unused.
Vanity units, which are essentially bathroom cabinets that sit around the base of a sink, are one of the most common types of built-in furniture. You can have one that covers the sink pedestal or, to make even more use of the space, consider having a 'floating' basin that sits on top of a unit or is embedded into it.
You can also get combination bathroom vanity units that adjoin a sink and toilet to create one large cabinet. These are good if your bathroom is small as they make use of often-wasted space between a sink and toilet.
Vanity units, depending on their size, can include various storage options. Think again about the questions above and what you'll be storing – would you want shelves inside the cabinets for pull-out baskets, or even drawers, for example?
Also think about what you'll need to make space for, such as a loo-roll holder and the storage of toilet paper, as some vanity units include space for these items.
Vanity units also allow you to play around with materials and colours. There are a lot of different worktop options, from marble effect to stone, that can bring another layer of design and a different feeling to your bathroom.
If you have quite a lot of space, you could have a much more expansive vanity unit that spans the width of a wall (like in the picture at the top of this page).
Most of the big-name brands sell a range of vanity units, but if you have the budget and want something very specific, you could also consider asking a builder to make bespoke bathroom storage for you.
Bathroom cabinets and freestanding bathroom furniture
Freestanding bathroom furniture and cabinets are usually cheaper than built-in, and often offer more flexibility. From full-length shelving units to mirrored wall units, the options are seemingly endless.
They also mean you can make use of your walls and the height of your room. Consider these different options:
- drawer units
- freestanding cupboards
- shelves with pull-out storage baskets
- wall cabinets with mirrors
- full-height units with shelves and/or cupboards.
And you don't have to stick to the well-known bathroom brands for furniture – many other stores, including John Lewis and Argos, sell freestanding bathroom furniture and bathroom cabinets. Just check that the furniture is intended for use in the bathroom, as it will be exposed to a lot of moisture and heat.
You also don't have to get bathroom furniture. Think also about small-scale solutions that don't involve furniture. For example, would getting a couple of pretty baskets or wire racks to store toiletries work just as well as a cabinet?
Again, think about what you will need to store and what space you have. Measure out not only the whole room size but also the 'leftover' space once you have a toilet, sink, bath or shower fitted. Then you'll be able to see what storage you will have room for, which will determine the type you get.