When designing a bathroom you generally want to make it more than purely functional, you want to make it look good too! One of the key design philosophies in this industry is to make the plumbing look nice, or to hide it entirely.
Once upon a time, if the plumbing in the bathroom needed to be hidden, it was put in a floor standing unit for the basin, under the bath for the taps and the shower sprouted directly out of the wall from wherever the existing outlets were. Nowadays, designers and fitters utilize a range of techniques and products to both hide plumbing entirely whilst placing fittings wherever you want, and also to make visible plumbing aesthetically pleasing.
We’re going to primarily talk about your options for hiding your plumbing entirely. But there are options for having the exposed pipework add to the look of the room rather than detract, such as with plated and painted bottle traps for the waste, and the same for cistern outlets on toilets as well as floor standing tap options.
The first option for hiding a lot of your piping is simple, put it inside the furniture. But furniture has come a long way! You can not only hide the tails from your taps, and the trap from your waste, but also your cistern for the toilet and even mount the flush mechanism directly onto the furniture! This is often the simplest option for hiding plumbing and doesn’t require a lengthy building process as the furniture is normally ready-built and just needs to be fixed in place.
The other popular option is to build out a stud wall to create a cavity. This method takes up a bit more space in your room as you lose a few inches of space overall by building out a faux wall and it’s more labour-intensive, but it gives you a bigger range of options for fittings.
The same method can also be used just to create boxes to house the frame for a toilet, to hide the shower plumbing etc. rather than covering an entire wall. The key thing this method lets you do is mount items directly to the wall without having to run a visible pipe to them. Fittings like shower outlets, wall mounted taps, handles and adding recessed storage spaces.
Sometimes you need to use both methods! Wall hung furniture is a great way to make cleaning easier in the bathroom as you can get underneath, and you can add things like LED strips. But it also often requires a stud wall to be built out behind to both mount the furniture to and let the plumbing run out into the wall as it can’t go straight down into the floor.
Finally it’s worth mentioning plinths, in particular for shower trays. A plinth kit which comes with legs and edging, or a custom plinth built by the fitter is an excellent way to conceal the waste pipes for your shower but not have to interfere with the floor. Of course it is possible to lay a shower tray flat on the floor but you would need to have the waste travel into the floor, either under floorboards or by carving a channel in a concrete floor, which can be quite labour intensive.