The foremost issue to be addressed is indisputably surface finishes, the materials that go on your toilet floor, walls, countertops and storage facility. These determine how your washroom works in terms of convenience, maintenance, feel, look, smell. Materials that withstand exposure to moisture or humidity, hot and cold conditions and are friendly to work with and maintain are ideal for washroom surfaces. While ceramic tiles for walls are tried and trusted, we certainly do not require limiting ourselves here. A little imaginative, careful planning can make some exciting options work.
Arguably the most popular choice; ceramic tiles offer easy workability, maintenance and are available in a boundless variety. Choose a non skid or textured finish for the flooring while avoiding an overtly porous surface, which can make cleaning difficult. While bigger sized wall tiles create a spacious look, smaller floor tiles will be easier to lay with more grouting to create more texture. Vitrified tiles, being stronger and easier to maintain, work well in big sizes for the floor too. The most interesting aspect about ceramic tiles is the amazing variety in design and colour available to play around with. They can be used to create accents or splashes of colour in a dominantly sober scheme or along with other materials like stone. Porcelain or hand printed tiles can also lend a fancy touch.
Stone, available as slabs and tiles, is more expensive than the look alike ceramic tiles and not very easy to maintain either. Still, it lends grandeur to design and has become a popular choice for bathroom walls and flooring. Granite, marble, kotah, limestone and sandstone slabs and tiles are available in a variety of colours and textures like cleft, tumbled and sandblasted.
Crushed stone agglomerate compressed with adhesive into convenient, pre-cut tiles is referred to as engineered stone. Being strong and durable with enhanced looks, it can be used for walls, floor or counter tops, provided technical expertise in laying and careful maintenance.
A composite of acrylic polymer and bauxite ore component produced by Du Pont as a solid surface for kitchen and bath surfaces, it is a high end product requiring a company approved fabricator for installation. Gaining popularity in India lately, it comes with a ten year warranty and lends itself beautifully specially to curvatures in design.
This option is more a necessity in cold countries where it is used popularly. In Indian conditions, it can be used in the dry areas where one steps out of a bath, as a foot rug in front of the commode, simply to add a splash of colour and warmth. Fixed carpeting would require precautions to be taken in laying and maintenance.
Storage cabinets in the dry area are classically made from marine plywood and finished with laminates or paints. Using wooden slats woven into a raft as the shower floor, slightly raised and placed over a waterproof, drainage trough is an exciting way to use wood and add warmth to bath decor.
Special bathroom paints are being developed by almost all reputed paint manufacturers in the market. These are essentially acrylic-latex based waterproof paints with anti bacterial/ fungal additives. The range of lovely colours these are available in makes them a very tempting choice for a cheerful bath decor scheme.