Redecorating your bathroom does not have to cost the earth. In fact, not only will renovating this room add value to your home but refitting it using energy efficient features can actually save you money in the long run through reduced energy and water bills.
If you want to make your money go even further, consider using energy- and water-efficient products such as LED lights and eco shower and tap fittings.
If you plan to replace the light fittings yourself, bear in mind that safety is paramount and any product you choose must have the right IP-rating. Be aware that you may need to use extra low voltage in certain areas of the washing space. To find out whether you need to use this type of lighting, consult the BS 7671 manual. If in doubt, seek advice from a reputable electrician.
LED fittings should be used where possible as they provide quality illumination and exceptional energy savings. A standard traditional bulb actually emits most of the electricity as heat, not light, whereas an LED light is cooler and most importantly consumes up to 90% less energy than a filament bulb.
To create an aesthetically-pleasing space, consider blending downlights with wall and feature highlights. A well-designed mix of downlight prismatic spreader lenses and soft white low voltage fittings can add sparkle to the room.
Another benefit of LED lighting is the long lifespan of the bulbs – up to 50,000 hours – which means that you can ‘fit and forget’. The planet will also gain as the huge reduction in electricity consumption every year means a much smaller carbon footprint.
Shower and Tap Fittings
It is surprising how simple steps like changing the taps can transform the look and feel of a bathroom. Old, marked and worn out taps can make a room look unloved, so investing in well-designed eco taps is a natural move in any redecoration project.
It makes sense to choose quality eco taps that blend style with efficiency. Reducing water consumption by more than 50%, eco taps from reputable manufacturers like Hansgrohe, work by cleverly mixing air with water flow to create a softer, champagne effect. For any home that is on a water meter, the savings will repay investment quickly and the household budget benefits from reduced energy needed to heat and pump the water.
There are also some stunning eco showers that are worth the investment for similar money-saving reasons. Eco shower heads should feel no different to traditional units while cutting the water consumption by more than half through smart air mixing.
The size of your bathroom dictates the kind of approach you take. For a small space, it’s best to keep things simple and uncluttered, choosing a basic colour scheme and fitting storage spaces for items not used all the time. Larger bathrooms can cope with a greater colour palette and more decorative items like plants and ornaments.
Think about a bathroom theme: maybe go beyond the seaside idea with a bold futurist look or a retro-Victorian design. Whatever the theme, it has to feel comfortable; after all, the bathroom is a place for relaxation and contemplation.
Take time to consider what wall surfaces would suit best, from full tile to mix of tile, paint and wood and even the newer moisture resistant wallpaper designs, which can have a truly dramatic effect. It’s a good rule of thumb to use wallpaper on just one of the walls to make room for contrast.
This is also the time to consider whether any current cabinets and other storage fitments have passed their “use by” date. Inexpensive cabinets with added effective LED lighting can transform the space and floor storage units, well chosen, provide clean lines and functionality. Again, if the budget is tight, they can be given a new lease of life with a lick of paint.
Long horizontal mirrors in bathrooms can give a sense of greater space while also helping to reflect both natural and fixed lighting – and LED strips or bulbs at either end add a dramatic effect.
For the flooring, absorbent materials are clearly a non-starter and any surface needs to be well sealed, especially wood. The floor surface can be accentuated with LED uplights, providing care is taken with heat. LEDs emit a fraction of the heat of traditional bulbs but even these effective fittings need to be comfortable on bare feet!
Before you begin your renovation project, remember that mistakes in lighting and plumbing can be easily avoided by asking for good, free advice from trusted suppliers.
Mark Sait is managing director of SaveMoneyCutCarbon.com, a full-service efficiency partner helping businesses and households reduce energy and water consumption, and cutting carbon emissions to improve sustainability.