Whether it's for inspiration, practical know-how, or simply a fresh pair of eyes on a project, we're big believers in getting expert help when it comes to bathroom design. But what form should that help take? Especially for tricky, ambitious projects, the input of an interior designer can be very welcome. But it's not the only way of tapping into valuable design expertise.
Here, we'll take a closer look at how interior designers work, and the type of situations where their approach might benefit you. We'll also uncover alternative ways of bringing a "trained eye" to your bathroom renovation project.
Common perceptions of interior designers can sometimes result in a pretty unfair image. Perhaps you know it: the kind of pushy individual with supposedly impeccable taste who basically takes over the home refurb project for you. Without you having to think about it, they'll fill your bathroom with bold, trend-focused stuff leaving you to pick up the bill at the end of it all.
In reality, the work of interior designers is much more grounded and useful. As the British Institute of Interior Design puts it; "Interior designers strive to improve the environments where people live, work, relax and socialise". Put simply, it's about making a space work.
Ergonomics is a big part of it: the applied science of arranging a space so that people can interact with it safely and efficiently. Tied up with this is spatial planning - working out the best possible layout for the room -and you begin to see the value of an interior designer.
That's not even taking into consideration aesthetics. The feel of a room whether traditional, contemporary, or themed is just as important as its function rather than shoehorning you into a particular trend, an interior designer can help you achieve the style you are aiming for. At its best, the creative side of interior design is about helping you to achieve what you want rather than buying into someone else's vision.
A lot happens in a bathroom, making it one of the most important spaces in the home. Yet especially here in the UK, not all of us are blessed with acres of space to work with. This makes the bathroom a prime area for interior designers to do what they're good at - focusing on unlocking the potential of a space.
Taking into account your budget, any space limitations, the practical needs of you and your family - and of course, your style preferences, a good interior designer will seek to make your bathroom "work" - on every level.
So, you're about to revamp your bathroom. You've leafed through the style magazines and brochures and perhaps been inspired by some amazing images on Pinterest; it's time to make something special. There's just one problem: when it's time to translate these ideas into reality, you don't know where to start.
An interior designer can help you bring it all together. As well as full and frank advice on what's likely to work and what won't, the designer may be able to flag up design possibilities that you hadn't yet considered.
If you are working with lots of curves and angles, it can be sometimes be hard to visualise the look you want. So here's another situation where an interior designer can be useful; helping you to work with the characteristics of the space rather than against it. What are the merits of transforming that awkward alcove into a shower space? How do you work around that sloping ceiling? Is there anything to be said for knocking through the wall? A designer can give you the pros and cons and help prevent you from making costly mistakes.
And especially if it's a complete bathroom overhaul, or if it's part of a wider home refurbishment job, an interior designer can also take on the role of project manager. Co-ordinating trades people, making sure everything arrives on time, monitoring the progress of the job: the designer can be just the person to take care of all of this for you.
Many designers offer a complete 'turnkey' service, where you can put the entire project in their hands. Alternatively, there's the usual option of paying for the design work, with additional charges for project management. None of this comes cheap, so it's always worth asking the question: how much real value can an interior designer add and is it worth the cost?
Also, consider this: there was a time when sourcing really good quality items for our homes could be a hit and miss process. Designers were among the few people in the know; however, this is no longer the case. There's so many online resources and materials out there that it's so much easier to find sources of inspiration and get hold of the items we want ourselves.
But even if you're comfortable with putting together your own style, you might still be nervous about the spatial planning and ergonomic side of things. Won't the WC be a little too close to the vanity? Would the shower unit be better somewhere else? Is there really enough room for a towel cupboard in here?
This is where a combination of technology and old-fashioned design know-how can be just what's needed. One such service is used right here at iflo: using 3D virtual modelling, our experts can recreate your bathroom space, complete with all of its nooks and crannies. It means you can explore possible options from across our entire range to build precisely the bathroom you are looking for. It lets you check the feasibility of your plans before they actually have to start.
Great interior design is all about taking inspiration and making it a reality. And while they can be valuable on specialist, complex projects, hiring an interior designer isn't the only way to tap into what's possible. If it's still new ideas you're seeking, explore our Inspiration & Design centre. Alternatively, to discover how your bathroom space could be transformed, feel free to book an appointment at your local Bathroom Showroom today. We're confident our colleagues can put you in the right direction.