Bathrooms buying guide

Updating your bathroom doesn’t have to mean ripping everything out and starting again, as there are plenty of ways to transform the look and feel of the room without breaking the bank. A new set of bathroom taps, for instance, will instantly refresh the aesthetics of your space, or upgrading your bathroom lighting will help you create a restorative and energising environment.

But if it’s a total makeover you’re after, we offer a wide range of both modern and traditional bathroom suites in several or our shops to help you achieve the look you want, with the quality and durability you need to build a bathroom that will stand the test of time. 

We also offer a fitted bathrooms installation service in those same shops where we'll take care of the whole makeover, from design to taps to tiling. Fitted bathrooms and our fitted bathroom service are currently available at John Lewis Oxford Street, High Wycombe, Solihull,
Milton Keynes, Bluewater, Cribbs Causeway and York

Showers

The right shower is integral to any bathroom, but before you commit to buying one, we'd advise you contact your plumber and make sure your plumbing is compatible with it. 

Different types of showers

Electric showers

Electric showers heat cold mains pressure water from your boiler. A key advantage is that they're more economical than other showers, as you only end up heating the water you use.

Thermostatic mixer showers

These use a valve to regulate the temperature of your water. As water usage elsewhere such as flushing a toilet can alter the flow of hot and cold water, this stabilises any sudden changes in water temperature.

Manual mixer showers

The majority of mixer showers available are manual. These mix the hot and cold water to a temperature of your choice. This then flows through a connecting valve, and is heated by your boiler.

Power showers

These suitable for houses with low water pressure. They use a pump to increase the pressure of the water, and mix both your hot and cold water like a mixer shower to give you the temperature of your choice.

Shower heads

Our showerheads come in both fixed and adjustable models. Some have rub-clean nozzles for hygiene and convenience, whilst others offer multiple spraying modes, such as ‘massage’ and ‘scatter spray’. Generally speaking, the larger the showerhead, the greater the pressure needed for it to work properly

Fixed models

Fixed models

Usually ceiling-mounted, and with some you can make minor adjustments. Best for an "full body" shower

Swivel models

Swivel models

Offer more flexibility as they're adjustable

Hand-held showerheads

Hand-held showerheads

Ideal if you’re rinsing off small children or pets, or cleaning; if your shower is over the bath, you might prefer to have an additional shower head on a hose attached to the bath taps

Shower features

Digital showers

Offer the convenience of turning on your shower remotely so you don't have to wait in a cold bathroom. You need a data cable, which runs behind the tiles

Temperature control

Some showers now let you save your preferred temperature, so you don’t have to fiddle around finding it the next time

Diverter

Offers the function of switching between shower and taps

Shower pump

Provide an extra boost to low water pressure households so your shower provides a strong performance. Only compatible with gravity-fed water systems

Shower and bath screens

Shower screens

Shower curtains

 

Our range of shower curtains has a wide array of designs made from high quality polyester, with long lasting nickel-plated eyelets.

Not all are completely waterproof, so you'll need to buy a waterproof inner liner if this is the case. Extend your shower curtain to dry fully after each shower to prevent the build-up of mould, and wash it regularly.

 

Shower screens

 

Shower screens ensure that your bathroom stays dry when you shower.

There are various shower screen designs, such as a towel rail on the outside, framed, frameless or concertina folds. Sailed half frames are good for small showering areas.

In hard water areas, lime salts can build up on glass. Try to squeegee off excess water after showering, and use a shower glass cleaning solution regularly.

 
 
Shower screens

Taps and wastes

 

Before deciding on the type of taps you’d like for your bathroom, consult your plumber. Apart from making sure they're right for your water pressure, there are rules and regulations to follow, such as a legal obligation to prevent contamination of the main water supply.

 
Monobloc

Monobloc

Basin mixers (or 'Monobloc' taps) are designed for basins with one tap hole. Hot and cold water flows through one pipe and you can mix to your temperature preference. Our basin mixer taps come in a high quality finish, with some offering 'anti-splash' spouts as standard and high quality copper pipes for smooth installation. Remember to check your pressure before committing to buy a basin mixer tap, as it needs relatively high pressure to work well.

We also offer wall mounted mixer taps, many of which come with flexible pipes for fast and simple installation.

Pillar taps

Pillar taps

Basin taps (or pillar taps) are designed for basins with two holes. This separates the hot and cold water. Some of our pillar taps are custom-designed for houses with low pressure, so they may be worth considering if you have a gravity-fed water system.

Bath filler

Bath filler

This works well for baths with two tap holes. With a bath filler, one component is fitted over both tap holes which mixes the water internally. The water is then delivered through the spout. A bath filler tap is ideal for homes with lower water pressure.

We also offer floor-standing bath fillers for bathrooms with underground plumbing, but these need high water pressure.

 

Maintenance

Clean taps with warm soapy water and a small sponge; if you use a cleaning solution because of hard water, do check that it’s suitable for chrome taps but bear in mind that they can still tarnish the finish.

Wastes

When buying a waste it needs to be slotted, or unslotted, depending on whether your basin has an overflow or not - that's the small hole at the back of the basin, usually under the tap, which drains excess water to prevent overflow.

If you basin has an overflow, then it needs a slotted basin waste. The slots are connected to the main waste to help dispose of overflowing water. If your basin doesn't an overflow, then it probably needs an unslotted waste.

Types of wastes

Plug and chain

The traditional plug and chain
waste is still used widely.

Pop up waste

This type of waste is integrated into the tap, and works with the use of a small lever, usually located on the back of the tap. The lever is pushed down to raise the waste plug.

Toilets and bidets


We offer three different types of toilets in store:
 

 

Low level toilet sets

Low level toilets have their cistern attached to the wall, with a pipe connected to the pan. The cistern must only be fitted to a reinforced or solid wall, so plaster walls are not recommended.

Low level toilet sets are still a popular choice, and the cistern and bowl can be separated with the cistern concealed behind a wall.

 

Back to wall (BTW) toilet sets

Back to wall toilet sets are fitted against bathroom furniture and you can also fit them against false walls, with the purpose of concealing the cistern inside. This gives your bathroom a clean finish, as all the piping is hidden.

We'd advise you get a plumber to install your back to wall toilet, as the pipes will still need to be accessible after the installation.

Close coupled (CC) toilet sets

A closed coupled toilet set is where the cistern is attached directly to the wall, and sits on the pan which is fitted to the floor. They’re also very easy to install, as the plumbing doesn’t have to be concealed.

Flush Types

Push button cistern

Most of our toilets come with an easy to use push button, usually positioned on top of the cistern

 

Single flush lever

The simple, more traditional type of flush

Dual push button cistern

Some of our toilets have dual push button cisterns, designed to be more economical when using water.

They have two buttons, with one outputting 3 litres of water (liquid waste), and the other outputting 6 litres (solid waste). If used correctly, this feature can cut water use by up to 50%

Bidets

Bidets

We offer stand-alone bidets in store, which are more suited to larger bathrooms, but also attached bidets for bathrooms where space is at a premium.

Most bidets are best fitted next to the toilet, so consider whether you have the right amount of space to both fit it and use it.

Basins

As well as blending into the rest of the bathroom, size is a key consideration with basins, plus how much splashing about there’s likely to be – we’d probably advise you go as big as you can, meaning you’ve more space for basin-related toiletries. Measure up carefully before you choose.

 
 

Full pedestal sinks

Stand alone on a ceramic or stone pedestal. These are designed for bathrooms with room to spare, and are also handy for concealing pipe work.

 

Countertop basins

Mounted on top of a plinth or cupboard. If the countertop basin you select doesn’t have an internal overflow fitted, you’ll need to install an unslotted waste. 

 

Wall-mounted basins

Fitted directly onto the wall and perfect for smaller bathrooms, with space created beneath. If you’re installing this type on to a partition wall, seek a plumber's advice.

 

Semi-recessed basins

A semi-recessed basin is fitted into a storage unit so that only the lip protrudes, giving a spacious feel. This is a clean solution, with all pipe work hidden within the vanity unit.

 

Don’t forget…

Remember to buy an unslotted click waste if you find that your sink doesn’t have an overflow fitted, as it will prevent spillages occurring.

Baths

Most of the bathtubs we sell in store are freestanding baths with legs included, but we can also arrange to install an inset bath to match your décor, if you wish.

Measure up carefully. We offer baths with capacities between 200-240 litres.

 

Shower bathtubs

 

P-shaped

P-shaped bathtubs are a great space saving option, and also feature a smooth recess for showering.

Most of our P-shaped baths are left undrilled, meaning you can install the type of taps you see fit. As most people use p-shaped baths for showering, several of them also come with a shower screen, and they come in both left hand and right hand builds to suit the arrangement of your bathroom.

L-shaped

L-shaped baths are more angular, but offer the same function as p-shaped baths for both showering and bathing.

Bathing bathtubs

Duo bath

A duo bath has taps on the side rather than at the end. Our duo baths also come with a convenient pop-up waste.

Mono bath

Mono baths with taps at one end are spacious on the inside and compact on the outside. Mono baths are easy to fit and can also be used as a shower bath too, as long as a shower screen is used.

Lighting

You’ll want function as well as form when you choose bathroom lighting,
but before you choose, here are some things you should know.

Zones

Bathrooms are split into zones, due to safety regulations when using electrical items:

 

Zone 0

Inside the bath
or shower

Zone 1

Up to 2.25m above the
bath or shower

Zone 2

For bathrooms with the same height as zone 1, but can extend to 0.6m around the bath or shower basin

IP rating

When buying a light for the bathroom you need to check the IP (Ingress Protection) rating.
The higher the rating, the more protected lighting is.

The first digit refers to the degree you’re protected from any contact with moving parts, and the degree the
light is protected from anything getting inside. This ranges from ‘0’ (no special protection) to ‘6’ (dust tight).

The second digit indicates how much moisture (drips, spray or jets) the light can withstand.
This ranges from ‘0’ (no special protection) to ‘8’ (protection from complete, continuous submersion in water).
For example, an IP44 rating means nothing bigger than 1mm can get in, and it’s safe from splashing water.

For bathroom lighting you need a minimum IP44 rating. All our bathroom lighting comes with a 2-year guarantee.

 

Bathroom Ceiling Lights

Spotlights

Ranging from single spotlights to ceiling bars which include several lights, spotlights are great if you want to accentuate any area of the room to create a certain ambience, or avoid shadowing. And because they’re individually adjustable, how your bathroom’s lit is up to you.

Flush fittings

We offer an array of flush fitting lights in different finishes. These include chrome, glass, metal and plastic.

Bathroom Wall Lights

Shower screens

Illuminated bathroom mirrors

 

Illuminated bathroom mirrors offer a beautiful solution to centralising light and illuminate shadowed areas to give you the best view possible of yourself. They can also be very heavy, so don’t attempt to install one without help.

Some mirrors are designed to be mounted on a flat surface on the basin, whilst others can be recessed within a wall.

Although they all work in a similar way, some have added features:

Demister - uses an integrated heat pad for a clear reflection even in a steamy bathroom 

Infrared on/off switch - just give the switch a quick tap

Edge-lit/backlit - both types of lighting offer great results, though backlit mirrors have the lights running around the edge to illuminate your reflection evenly

 

Over mirror lights

 

Over mirror lights  work well positioned above the basin. Shaver lights combine simplicity with convenience, offering a shaving socket integrated into the plastic housing of the light. This must be kept at a radius of 60cm from any taps for safety reasons.

Cabaret bars include 4 or 5 bauble-shaped bulbs, and can be positioned either above or to the sides of your mirror.

 
Shower screens

Heated towel rails

Heated towel rails useful in any bathroom, offering you the comfort of warm towels with the convenience of a standard radiator. We’d recommend a plumber installs one for you.

Types

There are three types to choose from when you buy your heated towel rail:

 

Central heating

is when the towel rail is plumbed into your hot water system, much like your radiator is. The pipes it connects to will come from either the wall, or the floor. Make sure your towel rail is fitted with valves so that it can work well with your central heating system.

 

Electrical heated towel rails

are filled with a fluid that's electrically heated. This component will need to be connected to your home’s electrical system by a qualified technician.

Dual fuel heating

The dual fuel type combines the best of a central heating towel rail and an electric one. For colder months, the towel rail can be run via the central heating system, but then can also be used electrically when you turn your heating off in summer.

The standard dual fuel format menas you can choose whether to heat your towel rail via the mains or electrically. Valves are sold separately, so remember to pick them up if you buy this type of towel rail.

If you'd like different heat settings, buy an adjustable dual fuel rail. Remember, for this type of towel rail you'll need to buy a specific central heating towel rail and a dual fuel kit too.