How do you define luxury?
How does a bathroom qualify as luxurious? Does a freestanding bathtub determine luxury? Is high-end defined by award-winning products? Maybe it has to be grand and opulent or even the opposite of those things – completely minimalist – to elevate the bathroom to the status of luxury. Or maybe it’s simply that it’s the most expensive of its kind on the market.
The truth is, luxury is a subjective quality and – money aside – it’s completely dependent on your own taste and style as to what defines it. Here at Riluxa, though, there are three hallmarks of luxury that each of our products must meet before we decide that they are worthy to be offered as part of our collection. They must be:
- Stunningly beautiful
When you look at a bath, shower, basin, vanity or tap on our website, there should be no doubt in your mind that it’s one of the finest examples of its kind on the market. Even if a particular model isn’t to your taste, you can appreciate its qualities and know that it’s at the highest end of bathroom design.
- Designed for life
Whether you’re designing a downstairs washroom, your main bathroom or an en suite shower room, it should be functional and easy to use. Drawers should slide smoothly and have easy-close mechanisms. There should be no ‘movement sounds’ when using its fixtures and fittings. Compartments should be tidy and hidden away. It should be easy to clean and maintain. It should do what it’s designed to do better than its competitors.
- Built to last
Luxury bathroom products work perfectly throughout the duration of their lifecycle – they do not have a built-in obsolescence. People buy high-priced bathrooms not as status symbols but because they will outlast those designed by cheaper bathroom manufacturers. The best bathrooms on the market will come with lengthy warranties and performance guarantees. And, when the time comes to pass your home on to the next generation of your family, they’ll probably want to leave the bathroom just as it is.
Bathroom inspiration – how to create a luxury bathroom
The first step towards designing your dream bathroom is knowing your own taste. Check out as many interior design websites, blogs and online magazines as you can. Pin your favourites to a luxury bathroom board on Pinterest and check out what else is on Pinterest under that tag. Then start to identify the designer elements that you feel have real ‘wow factor’.
Do you have a thing for marble bathrooms? Are you excited by the easy-clean functionality and minimalist simplicity of Corian® and solid surface? Do you like the tough, durable quartz infused beauty of Silestone? Whatever your definition of high-end is, learn to understand it so that you can start designing a luxury bathroom with a full understanding of your choices and how they work with each other.
You might also want to start to identify your taste based on whether or not it corresponds to a particular interior design movement. Does your idea of luxury correspond to the opulent days of the early 20th Century with its Art Deco and Art Nouveau movements? Or are you more inspired by the clean lines, minimalism and brutalism of the Mid-Century Modern style? Perhaps you’re a Japani fanatic, with its minimal, harmonious approach to balancing functionality, tranquillity and beauty. Or maybe you prefer the cosier approach to minimalism offered by the Scandinavian or simply ‘Scandi’ style.
What does luxury mean to you? Here at Riluxa, we try to cater to all definitions of luxury with products that span the range of high-end styles. How you choose to mix-and-match the extravagant with the austere; the maximalist with the discreet; the lavish with the unobtrusive, however, is up to you.
Luxury bathroom products
If you’re going for the indulgent finish to your bathroom remodelling project, every single detail should be considered with the same sharp focus on high quality.
You cannot have a stunning, expensive bathtub with cheap tiles and expect the tub to have the same high impact it would have alongside designer tiles.
You cannot have an amazing Carrara marble washbasin with cheap taps and expect the marble to still have the same jaw-dropping impact on those who see it.
You cannot have a beautiful vanity top inside a cheap cabinet and still expect to feel like you have one of the most beautiful vanity units you could imagine.
Designing a luxury bathroom is about choosing every single element for its own merits and then making sure that it works aesthetically alongside each other element you’ve chosen. From the fixtures and fittings to finishing touches like the taps.
As we say, there’s no specific definition that can act as a guide to designing a luxury bathroom. Some people will think a freestanding clawfoot bathtub is the ultimate symbol of a luxury lifestyle while others will feel that high-end is not so much about symbols but a broader understanding of interior design and will opt for a recessed or built-in bathtub or they might even do without a tub and make their walk-in shower the ultimate feature of their luxury bathroom renovation.
When choosing bathroom furniture for a luxury remodel, the only rules are: beauty, usability and durability.
What are the most luxurious bathroom materials?
We touched upon this earlier. Again, luxury is all a question of personal taste and style, and that comes down to the materials you choose to build your bathroom, shower room, washroom or en suite in. What you find charming, another of our customers may well not at all. The general rule of thumb, however, is: the closer to being a natural material it is, the more luxurious it tends to be considered.
Natural materials like marble, wood, stone, quartz and quartzite are expensive to source, for starters. They often come from very specific places on Earth and sourcing is limited to those locations, so they may have to travel a long way to get to your home. They also demand high volumes of workers using expensive machinery to extract them. Then, the companies who produce them and turn them into bathroom products, have to spend lots of money ensuring that they do so responsibly and with minimal environmental impact.
But it’s not just the cost of producing natural materials that helps to define them as luxurious. There are other, more distinctly human, factors that help to establish particular materials as the height of extravagance.
How rare a material is, for instance, is one. The more difficult to obtain a material is, the more desirable it may seem. Which is why blue macauba, for instance, might be so highly sought after, coming as it does from one single quarry in Bahia, Brazil. More and more, nowadays, however, rarity tends to sit more comfortably alongside sustainability and responsible sourcing than it does as a solitary definition of luxury, which is why luxury material producers are more and more focused on those elements than ever before.
The other human factor that ties our definition of luxury to natural materials is that strange, indistinguishable need we all have to feel more connected to nature. More and more in the modern world, people feel driven to ‘get back to nature’ even in the most highly sculpted interiors of the world’s most architecturally stunning buildings.
It’s something about the human desire to tame nature and to make it work for us in the best possible ways that helps to shape our ideas about luxury. When we take something like a piece of wood and sculpt it into a core element of our bathroom design, we do something truly transformative and mind-bogglingly impressive. When we do it with passion, panache and true craftsmanship – well, that’s when we enter the realm of the truly luxurious.
Artisanal bathrooms and the importance of craftsmanship
Which leads onto perhaps one of the most important elements in helping us to understand what makes a bathroom luxurious.
Without artisans and craftspeople, product designers and architectural designers – and, of course, material scientists – there would be no luxury bathrooms. We would be thinking in terms of pure function and little else. Our ideas of luxury bathrooms are driven by those ingenious innovators striving for new solutions to the age-old problem of washing our bodies.
These are the people developing new material composites rooted in nature, like Corian® that allow us greater design flexibility. These are the people driving the interior design movements that have shaped our tastes over the decades and centuries, like the Bauhaus movement or the Brutalist architecture style. These are the people spending the time making sure that every last dovetail joint in every last piece of furniture fits together just perfectly so that our cabinetry will last a lifetime.
Yes, if there’s one indicator of a luxurious bathroom above all, it’s the fact that every single person involved in getting it from its source within the earth into your bathroom (from the quarrymen to the sales assistant and fitter) is a true expert with a passion for their trade. And that is something you should certainly be on the lookout for when developing your own high-end, beautiful, built-to-last-a-lifetime, luxury bathroom.
Best wishes for your ambitious and exciting project.