Whether you've designed for a tiny wet room or a family bathroom, you'll need to work out exactly what you need to buy to make it a reality – and how much you can afford to pay.
Best places to buy bathroom suites
In mid 2019, we asked 3,745 bathroom owners how satisfied they were with their experience of buying their bathroom, and what they thought of the bathroom itself.
The top retailer scored 80% while that at the bottom propped up the table with just 58%. The highest-scoring provider of bathroom products scored an even more impressive 89%.
To show you the range of options available, we've put together a picture gallery with a selection of bathrooms from the companies we've reviewed. It includes modern and traditional designs and a mix of top, mid and lower-priced bathrooms.
Click on the links in the gallery below to find out how each brand was rated and whether it offers value for money.
Making the most of available space in your bathroom is key. Take measurements before heading out to showrooms – you don't want to fall in love with a suite only to discover down the line that it just won't fit.
- When you measure, note down the location of existing waste pipes, boiler and electrical wiring. Relocating any of these will add a significant chunk to your costs.
- On graph paper, make a scale drawing of your bathroom, including the location of the windows, door and fittings. Take it with you when you go to the shops.
- You’ll also need to think about ventilation; if there isn’t a window, installing an extractor fan will help prevent mould and damp problems.
If you can, talk to a bathroom specialist who can help you design a practical space. Tell them your budget and, ideally, try to find a company that can show you 3D images of what the bathroom will look like.
Some companies also offer online bathroom planners you can access from home, which is really useful if you want to play around with designs before speaking to anyone. Our tell you which services and tools each of the major brands offer.
Whomever you opt for, we'd recommend plotting out the plan on the floor using tape or paper so that you can really get a sense of how the space will work.
New bathroom costs
We've spoken to thousands of bathroom owners about how they cut the cost of their bathroom and worked with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), which publishes average building work and repair costs, to bring you the average price of a new bathroom.
How much does a new bathroom cost?
These prices include the cost of removing the existing bathroom, installing a new suite and fittings, plus flooring, tiling and decoration.
Also find out what can increase the cost of having a bathroom fitted.
How to get a cheap bathroom suite
When we spoke to almost 4,000 bathroom owners in February 2018, 60% said they were able to reduce the price of their bathroom.
Bathroom suite sales
A sale can be a good way to shave hundreds of pounds off your bathroom, especially if you get a great deal on an entire bathroom suite.
However, make sure you don't get sucked in by seemingly unmissable headline prices or soon-to-end deals - you might not save as much as you think.
In 2019, we analysed promotional messages from the websites of 12 big UK bathroom and kitchen companies.
It showed that a number of well-known companies run almost constant sales, regular multiple offers and use countdown clocks.
How to avoid bathroom sale tactics
The most important concern with any sale or promotion is whether it makes you feel pressured to buy sooner than is right for you.
Below, we reveal that practices stores use to get you to buy there and then and how to side-step these tricks.
1. Countdown clocks
When we checked the bathroom companies’ websites in January and February 2019, we found that they weren’t always clear about when their promotions were going to end, especially if there were two offers running at once.
To avoid getting sucked in, make sure that you check the small print - when exactly will the offer end and what items the deadline actually apply to, particularly if there is more than one deal running.
You can sometimes find T&Cs at the bottom of websites, but you might have to do a bit of digging. If you can’t find the information, speak to a sales person.
2. Almost constant sales
A number of the companies we looked at had at least one promotion running a lot – or even all – of the time.
Stay savvy by not being taking a headline offer on face value. Shop around and compare prices. An attractive deal might make something sound too good to be missed, but your dream bathroom might actually be cheaper elsewhere.
Also, be assured that there will most likely always be some sort of deal or saving to be had, so don’t feel rushed to buy before one ends.
However, if you have your heart set on a specific product or range in the sale, it might be that buying sooner rather than later will bag you some savings.
So double check what’s in the sale and what isn’t. If you’re happy to be flexible and opt for a similar alternative, there’s bound to be other deals to be had.
3. Confusing multiple offers
As well as the regularity of the sales, we think that some retailers may have also confused shoppers with their mix-and-matched offers.
Make sure you check the terms and conditions or ask staff to find out what’s included in each offer and how much it will really change the final price.
With all of this, most importantly, don’t feel pressured to buy if you’re not sure – take your time to make the right decision for you.
Buying baths, showers, sinks and toilets
As well as asking people how satisfied they are with their bathroom and the company they bought it from, we also asked them to rate the different fittings individually.
Read on for our advice on choosing different bathroom fixtures, or visit our reviews of to discover how our survey respondents rated different brands' baths, sinks, shower enclosures, toilets and taps for quality and durability.
Choosing a shower and shower enclosure
Depending on the space you have available, you can opt for a shower over the bath or a separate shower. Shower enclosures come in numerous shape and sizes, or you could choose to go for a stand-alone shower screen for a wet-room look.
Shower enclosure types
First think about the space you have and shape that would work best. There are four common types:
- Square shower enclosure - these are ideal for fitting into a corner.
- Rectangular shower enclosure – these can be great for larger spaces as they can be longer.
- Quadrant shower enclosures – a triangular-shaped shower that fits into a corner. You can also get an offset quadrant shower enclosures, which is slight longer.
- D-shaped shower enclosure – these showers are similar to quadrant ones, but they have just one flat side and sit against a straight wall in the middle of a wall rather than a corner.
Make sure that you consider your budget alongside this as shower enclosures can run into thousands of pounds if you're not careful.
Most shower screens and trays come in set sizes, but you can get ones made bespoke for a totally tailored design. As you would expect, this will cost more.
Before you decide on the shape and size, it's important to think about how much room you will need inside the shower - you don't want to end up banging your elbows every time you wash.
It is also tempting to go too big and make the rest of the space in your bathroom awkward, leaving you feeling frustrated. We'd suggest marking out the space to see how it will feel.
Think about the position of it too. Will it go into a corner, is there a designated space or walls it can go into, or would you like to have it in the middle of a wall with three sides, making a feature of it.
What type of doors you have will impact the position too. Sliding doors are great for saving space, while hinged/pivot and bi-fold doors will need enough room to accommodate them.
Don't forget about the thickness of the glass too. It ranges from around 4mm (curved screens tend to be thinner) to 10mm, and the thicker it is the more durable it's likely to be. Toughened safety glass is a particularly good choice if you have small children or a walk-in shower.
You can also get glass with a special coating to help reduce build-up from soap, and frameless glass will give you a sleek finish, although they can be more liable to chip, so not a great choice for a family bathroom.
We've reviewed and tested shower brands and electric showers. Check our to discover which brands have the most satisfied customers and avoid a disappointing trickle or wildly fluctuating temperatures by choosing a .
Choosing a bathroom sink
Bathroom sinks come in a vast array of shapes, sizes and designs, including:
- Freestanding sinks with a full pedestal
- Sinks that are fitted into a cupboard or storage unit - usually called vanity units
- 'Vessel' or counter-top sinks sit on top of a counter - this could be an open stand with shelving, a floating top or a cupboard, specially made or converted from other storage
- Wall-hung sinks that don't have a base, but you can choose ones with half a pedestal though.
Other practicalities to consider are the sink's height and position - you don't want to have to stoop down to it or have it awkwardly high, or for it to be somewhere that makes accessing and moving around your bathroom frustrating.
Also think about the material it’s made of – most are ceramic, but you can get ones in stone, marble and even treated wood. Don't just be swayed by the look - consider how easy it will be to clean and, particularly if you live in a hard water area, how visible water marks might be.
Remember that the taps you choose will have as big an effect on the look as the sink itself – statement taps can be an affordable way to make a feature of an otherwise basic sink.
Small bathroom sinks
If you have a tiny bathroom, the size of the sink is crucial, as is making the most of the space you have around it.
The first thing to consider is the size of the sink itself. Steer clear of wide sinks that take up a lot of room - slimline models start at about 30cm - and go for one that's not very deep, meaning it won't protrude into the room as much.
Make sure you think about how much space you will need though, as well as the placement of it. The smaller the sink it is, the more risk there is of you accidently splashing water outside of it, which isn't ideal if it's next to something less robust.
Also look at the thickness of the sink bowl itself - thinner sides will give you more useable space.
Wall-hung sinks - also called floating - can be particularly useful. The plumbing for them is often recessed into the wall, or the sink itself can be set into the wall or a unit, saving space.. They also allow you to use the space below them without having a sink pedestal in the way.
A vanity unit could also be a good option as it means incorporating the sink into a cupboard, which is great for added storage. If you like the idea of storage but don't want a vanity unit, consider a counter-top sink on another form of storage.
You can also get corner sinks that make the most of awkward shapes in your bathroom. These are also usually wall-mounted.
Double bathroom sinks
If you share your bathroom with a partner or family and have the luxury of being able to include two sinks, it's a handy solution worth opting for.
Double sinks come as one unit where the two bowls are part of the same mold (as in the image above), or you can get two separate sinks. The latter are usually counter-top sinks, mounted on a unit.
You could also consider an extra-wide, trough-style sink with additional taps for two people can use.
Choosing a bath
Nothing makes a bathroom design statement more than a freestanding bath. These come in a variety of designs, from traditional claw-footed, roll-top tubs to minimalist, modern styles. While they look unabashedly luxurious, you can actually pick up a freestanding bath for as little as £200.
Fitted baths tend to be more practical if you have less space, and it's possible to buy very cheap ones – we’ve spotted acrylic tubs for just £60.
Whatever type of bath you’re buying, always get in and try it out before making your decision. You may feel silly but you’d feel sillier if you spent hundreds of pounds on a bath you’re uncomfortable in. And shop around so you end up with the highest-quality bath you can afford.
If space is at a premium you may choose to ditch a bath entirely in favour of a large shower unit. Don't forget, though, that some people love a long soak, so think about whether this could affect the resale value of your home.
Choosing a toilet
It may not be the most glamorous aspect of designing your bathroom but, over the years, your toilet will get a lot of use, so it’s important to buy the right one.
A variety of shapes and styles of toilet exist: wall-hung (or floating), back-to-wall, close-coupled and corner toilets are all commonplace nowadays.
A closed coupled toilet is the most common type. It's essentially where the cistern and toilet bowl are together in one toilet - coupled as opposed to separate, as you see in traditional-style toilets where the cistern is sat high above.
These types of toilets come in a huge range of styles, including sleek designs for an elegant look to more traditional shapes. You could also consider a 'fully-surrounded' toilet where the base is one smooth piece, making it both modern looking and easier to clear.
A back-to-wall toilet offers a more modern look as the workings of the toilet are set into the wall, providing an uncluttered feel.
When buying one of these types of toilet, make sure you check whether the cistern is included in the price or sold separately.
Bathroom vanity units with a toilet
You could also consider getting a toilet built into a cupboard, sometimes called a vanity unit.
Toilets incorporated into these are essentially back-to-wall units, and allow you to totally hide the workings of the toilet but still give you an additional worksurface for storage.
Bathroom sink and toilet unit
As mentioned above, a sink can be enclosed into a vanity unit, but you can also get cupboards that hide both your toilet and sink together.
You can also buy soft-close loo seats that won’t slam down when you close the lid. Check whether your toilet comes with a seat when buying it, as not all do.
Consider the flushing mechanism – toilets can come with a dual flush, power flush or gravity flush to name but a few, and this will affect your water use, as well as how powerful and effective the flush is.
Choosing bathroom taps
An integral part of your bathroom suite is your taps. You'll need them for your sink and bath, if you're going to have one, and can make a big difference to the look of your bathroom and, practically speaking, can make it more user-friendly.
Bathroom mixer taps
Your first choice will be whether to go for separate taps for hot and cold water - called pillar taps - or a mixer tap that delivers both together.
There are two main types of mixer taps: an individual tap that has just one handle and automatically mixes the hot and cold water, and double handled taps that allow you to choose the amount of hot or cold water you run.
Other types of bathroom tap to think about include:
- Wall-mounted taps - where as opposed to sitting on your basin or bath, they are mounted on the wall.
- Freestanding tap - these reside on the floor or countertop, adding a sense of grandeur and drama.
- Waterfall bathroom tap - where the water flows over the top of the spout, for a contemporary look.
Your tap choice might be determined by the basin or bath you choose as some come with pre-drilled holes for the taps, so think about this when buying.
Also, check what your house's water pressure is like as not all taps will work with all systems, particularly low pressure (0.5 – 1 bar) ones.
Don't forget about your tap's spout too - get a large one that's too fierce on a compact basin and you'll have water splashing everywhere. Plus, think about how high the tap sits on the basin to ensure it's not too cramped when washing your hands.
Lastly, look for taps with ceramic disks instead of plastic washers - this newer technology tends to be more reliable.
Black bathroom taps
Most taps are chrome-coated solid brass, but you don't have to follow the crowd. Opting for a black tap can be a simple way to add a statement to your bathroom.
They are matt and come in all types and sizes, so the choice is endless. You could also consider other colours or finishes, such as copper or rose gold for a decedent look.