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Beyond bog standard

The humble bathroom can be a source of everyday luxury, David Schembri writes.

A shower needn’t be restricted to just a plain old shower head, with hot and cold water taps.

A shower needn’t be restricted to just a plain old shower head, with hot and cold water taps.

Bathrooms are a bit like food. They can be used to serve their function – much like food provides nutrition – as a place where to wash and to get rid of the aforementioned food. But this room, essential for our basic hygiene and our health, can also double up as a haven of sensuous luxury.

Despite their name, bathrooms do not always contain their namesake. But perhaps the only true starting point for a luxurious bathroom is a proper bath itself – a pool of water into which you drown your stress and relax. And set off that bath bomb that smells like candles. But although having a bath is perhaps a luxury itself, there are baths which take it that step further.

When it comes to luxury, more is more. A big bath into which you can stretch your limbs – or fit your partner – is therefore obviously better than a smaller one in which you have to crouch.

While on the subject of baths, nothing screams out luxury more than having a Jacuzzi-style bath, with internal jets providing a massage with no masseurs in sight.

Although space is, perhaps, the ultimate luxury, it does not preclude luxury and comfort in more restricted spaces. With baths themselves not being economical on space, water, and time, many practical bathrooms omit the bath altogether and go with a shower instead.

A shower, however, needn’t be restricted to just a plain old shower head, with hot and cold water taps. Again, when it comes to luxury more is more, and a bigger shower head you can install into the ceiling of your shower cubicle and rivals a small raincloud in terms of coverage displacement will add that extra touch of luxury to your shower.

This can often be accompanied by a smaller shower head you can use to direct the water to wherever you want. This option can be accompanied by side showers – which can give a similar immersive experience of a bath as you’re having a shower.

And although showers might not require as much space as a bath does, it doesn’t mean that you can’t make the most of the space your bathroom affords. Consider devoting a space to a walk-in shower, with a purpose-built inset shower tray for your shampoos, shower gels and what have you. Given enough space, a cleverly-designed, walk-in shower could also eliminate the need for a shower curtain or door – truly a luxury in itself.

Today’s world is increasingly dependent on digital technology. Given that our smart phones and tablets are not particularly waterproof, the bathroom, with all its water is the perfect place to escape from the 1s and 0s of 21st-century life. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Sure, you can still leave your phone outside and let the outside world out, but it doesn’t mean you can’t make the 1s and 0s work in your favour. Digital shower systems make it easy to control the temperature of the water running in your shower, with some systems even providing presets for each of your different areas of the bathroom – making the escape from the digital world better through digital technology.

Of course, not everyone views technology in the same way and some people might actually want to use their time in the bathroom to catch up with the news, check the weather and keep up to date with their social feed. In that case, the emerging market of TV or digital mirrors would be the place to go for these techno-addicts.

When it comes to luxury,more is more

HD-screens disguised behind a mirrored surface can double as a mirror and a television (provided you’re happy with having a morning TV host staring back at your naked body as you prepare for the day ahead), while the technology has been extended to enclose a responsive tablet computer behind a mirrored surface – obviously at a price to match.

For those less inclined to have pictures of other people in their bathroom but who still want their experience enhanced, a bathroom audio system might be the best way to go. This essentially involves water-resistant audio components which can function well in the humid environment of the bathroom. While you can opt for a simple FM receiver, consider using it as part of a home-wide controlled audio system which can cater for different moods in different rooms.

Luxury is also about comfort, and in the winter months there is little that is worse than waking up from your warm bed and stepping onto a frigid bathroom floor – unless you rely on that shock to your system to wake up. For the rest of us who aren’t into shock tactics, there are various options to consider.

Materials such as parquet add a touch of warmth even in their appearance alone, but for a full-on hug to your feet on dreary winter mornings, under-floor heating is probably the best way to go, turning the necessary chore of getting clean into something altogether more pleasurable. With under-floor heating taking care of the temperature, the bathroom can be decked in marble, granite or any other stone surface, providing the option of designing the whole bathroom – including features like the walk-in-shower – into a seamless whole.

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