Cleaning Up In Style

8th May 2009

If you look at new build houses there are significant indications that bathrooms are almost on a par with kitchens when it comes to creating that special wow factor. They are also in the ‘green zone’ – depending on the sanitary ware you choose, you can help conserve considerable amounts of our most valuable commodity: water.

“This is particularly important,” says Andrew Leech, Director of the National Home Improvement Council, “as the bathroom is increasingly becoming a focal point in people’s homes and less of a ‘utility’ room. Indeed, the frantic pace of life means we often feel the need to unwind at the end of the day… what better way to do this than enjoying a luxurious bath in your own stylish bathroom”?

Selecting the right bath in which to make the most of this precious time is an important decision and it is worthwhile doing a little careful research beforehand. Baths are no longer plain and standard and are available in a variety of sizes. Shapes differ too, as do materials and, of course, there is also the option of whirlpool, spa or combination systems.

Corner baths and double-ended baths remain popular – corner baths fit well in unusually proportioned bathrooms and there is plenty of room in a double-ended model for two to enjoy bathing together.

The choice is seemingly limitless… oval baths to suit the soft curved lines of a modern designer bathroom; contemporary interpretations of classic free-standing Victorian models; tapered versions that can encompass both bath and shower if you’re fitting out a smaller or en-suite bathroom… something to suit all tastes, shapes and circumstances.

The benefits of hydrotherapy are well documented and it is now easier than ever to experience the benefits at home. Before buying a massage bath, though, it’s important to decide which of the different basic systems available would be most suitable. A spa bath is perfect for tired bathers, breathing new life into the entire body via millions of pearl-shaped bubbles, created by air blown through an array of specially positioned small flat nozzles in the base of the bath.

For a more powerful, directional massage, however, a whirlpool bath is ideal. These incorporate water jets positioned around the sides of the bath, which can be adjusted to direct the water in order to massage chosen parts of the body.

While hydrotherapy baths are becoming more widely available, some are more effective than others and so it’s important to buy from a retailer who understands the principles of water massage. Correct positioning of the jets around the bath is extremely important, so that they work along the body, rather than against it in isolated areas.

Another vital consideration is hygiene, so look for a system that is easy to keep clean. Small and shallow jets and nozzles won’t harbour dirt or dust, and some models also have a self-drain system that ensures no water is left after the hydrotherapy session.

Some top-of-the-range systems also offer further sophisticated features to enhance the bathing experience. Multi-coloured underwater lighting, for example, creates a unique and relaxing environment, especially if combined with low-level lighting.

There was a time when washing facilities were restricted to one or two rooms in the home. Modern plumbing technology now means that you can have at least a shower and toilet virtually anywhere in the house and not necessarily adjacent to the main sewerage system.

And to fulfil your eco-commitments, visit the website of Waterwise, an independent not-for-profit NGO that has plenty of advice on saving water in bathrooms and elsewhere around the house and garden (see www.waterwise.org.uk). Its focus is on decreasing water consumption in the UK by 2010. If your plumbing is old and decrepit, then there’s every chance that investing in new products will save water… so what better excuse for a little bathroom luxury?

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