With home owners still feeling the economic pinch, many are tackling improvement projects instead of moving. The kitchen and bathroom are the most popular rooms for renovations and are also the first rooms scrutinised by potential buyers.
This year sees some bold trends influencing bathroom and kitchen design, but not all trends are a wise investment. Here are some of the key décor trends for 2012 with practical advice to incorporate certain elements without breaking the bank.
Neutral colours remain a firm favourite for the bathroom. The majority of bathrooms are currently decorated with tiles and accessories in natural stone shades that create a calming atmosphere in this room dedicated to relaxation.
A subdued colour palette is right on trend and with colours such as murky greys and muddy greens, it sits comfortably with stone colours in the bathroom.
Black is making a bold design statement in the bathroom, from scattered mosaics to all-black feature walls.
“For those who can’t quite see themselves entirely surrounded by black, the sensible use of silver, soft pewter, matt and gloss white are all ways of introducing a lighter touch,” says Kate van Niekerk, marketing manager for Tile Africa.
Pantone named Tangerine Tango, an energetic reddish orange, as the colour of the year for 2012. If you are looking for something bold and exclusive, a zesty orange mosaic feature wall might be the perfect fit for your bathroom.
Vivid mosaic tiles create a dramatic effect if used as a solid block of colour behind the bath and vanity or in the shower.
“If you’re not brave or flamboyant enough for an orange feature wall, try adding mosaics as an edging or border to deliver a quick colour punch,” she says.
Wet rooms are gaining popularity and transforming the bathroom from a practical room into a spacious area for the ultimate shower experience.
With wet rooms, the shower is no longer contained in a cubicle with a shower tray, but spans the whole room and water drains away through one drainage hole.
“The shower is the focal point of a wet room, therefore consider investing in an over-sized shower head and contemporary mixer set,” says van Niekerk.
Careful planning is necessary to ensure that this room fulfils its function. Make sure that the walls are properly waterproofed before you start tiling. Leaking water can cause serious damage to the walls and damp can affect adjacent rooms. To prevent water from pooling, slope the floor slightly.
As a wet room’s shower no longer consists of a glass enclosure, remember to fit towel rails within easy reach of the area now reserved for the shower, but not to close as towels can get wet. The basin and toilet completes the wet room layout.
Considered as the soul and the social hub of the household, kitchens now boast stylish appliances and gadgets. With entertainment as one of its key functions, the kitchen is fashionably designed with custom-made doors, sleek taps and mixer sets and granite, wooden and quartz counter tops.
If you’re renovating on a shoestring budget, invest in durable tiles and quality taps to enhance your kitchen investment. Tiles are hard-wearing and low-maintenance therefore ideal for a kitchen floor as it experiences high footfall.
Ensure that you purchase a tile with the correct wear rating, such as a tile with a PEI (Porcelain Enamel Institute) rating of three that will be able to withstand the scuffles of everyday family life.
Decorative mosaic tiles are ideal to add colour and texture behind the stove and sink splash backs and allow for a unique style and creativity. These small tiles may be slightly more expensive than regular tiles, but there are ways to keep the creative feel without blowing the budget.
"Use mosaics as a feature, perhaps on one wall. If you have a limited budget, cut glass mosaic sheets into narrow strips and add a narrow row as a horizontal border above the existing wall tiles," concludes van Niekerk.
Change outdated fittings such as the kitchen sink and mixer set with modern versions to update the look.
For more information on Tile Africa contact their toll-free number 0800 002 783 or visit www.tileafrica.co.za.