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Seven important safety features for your new bathroom

Unless specifically designing for the disabled or the elderly safety is not something that is always automatically factored into a bathroom design – but perhaps it’s time that designers were reminded that the tickbox of the criteria for sound bathroom design should always include it.          

So how can a designer ensure that the requirement for ‘safety’ is not going to get in the way of the  ‘wow factor’ that most designers want from their designs? The answer here is that far from upsetting things it can sometimes be the case that a design feature introduced for safety reasons can, by default, enhance and lift the whole design.

See here what we mean:

1 Lowered baths & surfaces

Lowered baths can be a real asset as regards safety as a standard bath that is fitted direct to the floor, instead of being fitted on the usual 100mm high cradle, is infinitely safer at the lower level –especially when the user is getting out. Injuries involving a fall in the bathroom can often be caused by poor planning.

2 No trip points

The main advantage of eliminating ‘trip-points’ in a bathroom is of course to make it safer but, quite often, there is a advantageous spin-off when say an awkward step up into a shower is eliminated to make the shower level entry. What happens here is a major safety advantage, that is quite obvious, but the bonus is that a more spacious feel is generated as the shower blends into, and becomes a ‘part of the floor’, instead of being a platform that is standing on the floor.

2 Anti-slip tiles

These are an obvious asset as regards safety so are well worth seeking out if elderly, or even ‘not so nimble’ younger folk, use the shower – the point here is that a tile doesn’t have to be bought as an anti-slip tile – all you need to do is to seek out a slate, or other textured, effect and avoid a highly polished tile. Alternatively use Karndean or similar high quality vinyl flooring.

Grab handles

These can be an attractive accessory that enhance the function but in no way compromise the form. Ask your designer for designer grab handles – don’t just accept the NHS alternative J

4 Accessable storage

Being able to access all you need without struggling can be more than just a convenience – it can be useful safety feature when everyday items are reachable at eye level without bending or needing a step-stool. Thus say a mirror fronted bathroom cabinet over a basin is not only easier and safer to reach but if only 100mm deep and fitted with an LED light can make an attractive addition to any bathroom.

5 Rads/towel ladders

The positioning of these must be carefully considered such that a hot radiator is not positioned in the pinch point of say a shower entrance. Sometimes it’s better to have just a towel rail handy for the shower and then an attractive designer towel radiator where there’s more space.

6 Lighting

Secondary lighting when properly designed can really bring ‘wow’ to any bathroom and if it’s movement activated then late night trips to the loo are made a lot safer if no switch or pull-cord to feel for and of course there’s no loud click to disturb light sleepers.

7 Seating

It’s not always easy to add seating in a bathroom but what you can do is to consider the position of the loo and sometimes it can be a real asset in the safety department if say it’s positioned next to the bath as then the ‘not-so-nimble’ have an aid for getting in and out. Another idea is to have a ‘perch height’ shelf or seat in the shower as here it can be a great help for anyone ‘wobbly on their feet’ and very handy for a pedicure for anyone.

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