The low down on bathroom splashbacks!
A bathroom splashback is usually limited to a panel of plain tiles stuck behind the washbasin in order to stop the painted walls beyond getting wet or damaged. It’s often an area not many of us consider in bathrooms, even when it comes to a re-design, as the premise is so basic and uncomplicated. Indeed, it’s very much the norm for splashbacks to be created using leftover tiles from the shower or bath area with no further consideration given.
That said, just because something’s the status quo doesn’t mean it needs to be a given for you and your home. There are different options when it comes to bathroom splashbacks, so you may wish to consider the following…
Tiling is very much the standard material choice for bathroom splashbacks, but there are other choices available.
Splashback panels in uPVC cladding, often provided in adhesive sheets, are a popular option that can stick directly onto the wall (or onto tiles to cover) to protect it; and while these are often a fairly cost-effective option, some of these sheets do show up smears and fingerprints quite prominently. Solid timber cladding is another popular choice, particularly in bathrooms featuring natural and wooden tones, but needs proper treatment to ensure it doesn’t deteriorate with continued moisture exposure. Glass and mirror are also well-favoured options but may not be appropriate for busy family bathrooms as they smear easily and require a lot of cleaning in order to look tip top.
While traditionally bathroom splashbacks have been blocks of squared, plain-coloured tiles, this needn’t be the case for modern and contemporary designs.
Why not opt for unusually shaped or patterned tiles, or a darker or coloured grouting to make lighter tiles ‘pop’? Tiles or panels can be installed in a pattern behind the sink; such as herringbone placement, mosaic patterns or an oversized rectangle or semi-circle to draw the eye and create more interest.
Create a statement wall with a whole side of splashback rather than just a small panel.
To really create a curated aesthetic, pick a bold pattern or alluring shade for the splashback, with plain fixtures and fittings. The contrast from striking to simple will make it really stand out and it’ll look more like an interior design feature than a practical function. It will cost a little more to take this approach as you’ll be using more material, but it works beautifully with porcelain tiles for an all-round interesting look.
While you may not immediately link ‘bathroom’ and ‘wallpaper’ in your mind, there are now specialist products available that are designed specifically to adhere to walls and stay put even in moist spaces.
Bathroom wallpaper is usually made from PVC or is coated with a treatment to render it impermeable to water and moisture, and make it heat resistant. It needs to be cut to size and stuck on (not pasted like conventional wallpaper!) to dry and clean walls; and can work well as a splashback, too. It is, however, really key that you stick to a specifically-designed wallpaper product as anything without the relevant finish will quickly end up a peeling and mushy mess on your walls!
Of course, why install a splashback at all when your sink can do the job?
Known as ‘laboratory’ sinks, there are basin designs that incorporate a splashback into the form of the unit, negating the need for anything separate to be installed at all. This all-in-one solution will cut down on your time cleaning the room as well as maintaining it as there’s no grout or joins to redo – and often the units include shelves and built-in towel rails, too, so you’ll need less fixtures.
For a striking look that won’t break the bank, borrow a little hotel luxe style with monochrome.
Large format plain tiles can be bought cheaply and used for your splashback, and when teamed with dark grey or black grout (pens can be bought to colour and cover up your existing white rather than re-grouting entirely) and brass fixtures and fittings, gives an easy and opulent – yet very cost-effective – look. Things don’t need to be complex, so don’t overcomplicate them.
Wooden panelling can provide a striking splashback and is a popular choice amongst homeowners right now… but it needs to be treated right before it can be effective.
Wood – or any porous material – need to be treated with chemicals or sealants to ensure it doesn’t absorb moisture and become damaged over time. This can be done either through the application of a specialist oil or sealant, or painted with waterproof paint. If this is too difficult, too expensive, or changes the look of your wood more than you’d like, consider instead installing faux wood tiles (these are just printed with a pattern on to look like wood) or a moisture-resistant MDF panel.
Your bathroom can never have enough storage; as it’s all-too-easy to find yourself inadvertently leaving bottles and tubes on empty surfaces and adding clutter to the space.
Add a storage shelf to your splashback, or just above it, to offer another place to pop your essentials. You may find you need to build a stud wall (which may be happening anyway if wall-hung sanitaryware is being installed) and be sure to place your shelf onto a moisture resistant material so as to avoid it getting damp trapped behind it, which could compromise its stability.
Looking for more ideas for your bathroom refit or redesign? Refresh Renovations work with bathrooms of all types, shapes and sizes – from luxurious spa-style spaces to small but fun but functional family bathrooms. Get in touch with your local Refresh office today to come up with concepts!
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If you would like to find out how Refresh Renovations can support you with a high quality, efficient home renovation, get in touch today. Your local Refresh consultant will be happy to meet with you for a free, no obligations consultation.