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17 September 2014
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In recent years, Brits have been sidelining the traditional bathroom suite in favour of a more individual style. To create a characterful bathroom , Nina Campbell suggests combining the best of old and new.

Have a plan

modern chrome fitting, old-fashioned tap and contemporary glass basins

Even an eclectic style needs careful planning to avoid looking busy or messy. When designing your room, know which items you need and where they will go. And when combining old and new, stick to one era from the past such as Art Deco, Edwardian or Victorian.

The secret to mixing old and new successfully is getting the balance right. For example, an antique sink will look odd if the rest of the suite is ultra-modern. However, a roll-top bath can often work well in a modern setting.

Go for old

Reclamation yards, antique dealers and salvage companies are good places to go for roll-top baths, pedestal sinks, high-level wcs, old-fashioned mixer taps and shower heads.

Use your space well

For most of us the bathroom is still the smallest room in the house. The average bathroom is 2.4m (8ft) x 1.8m (6ft). A pedestal basin works well in small rooms as it takes up minimal floor area and gives the illusion of space.

Mirrors will also make a room seem bigger. You could even use mirrored glass to cover cupboards. The modern glass bathroom that Nina visits in the show belongs to her friend, contemporary aboriginal art dealer Jennifer Guerrini Maraldi. Because she uses mirrors over a large surface area, Jennifer has deliberately kept cuts and joins to a minimum to prevent the room looking too busy.

If you are lucky enough to have a large bathroom, consider adding an armchair to make the room feel more homely.

Make scents

wash basins

A bathroom should smell inviting but not overpowering. Soaps and scented candles create a more subtle and natural aroma than air fresheners, which can be too synthetic.

Nina's tips for bathroom bliss

  • If in any doubt, have a white bathroom suite. You can’t go wrong. Exceptions to this rule include glass or natural stone and even then, this only applies to sinks or (rarely) baths.
  • Make sure there is plenty of storage. You will use it. We all need somewhere to put towels, spare loo roll and other toiletries.
  • Don’t feel restricted by convention - modern taps can look fabulous on an old fashioned bath.
  • Finally, think super-comfort. The bathroom should offer a pleasurable experience so think about what would make you happy and relaxed when designing the room. Whether it's flowers, music, a television, choose your personal indulgence.

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