There is a whole raft of tricks and techniques that bathroom designers use to improve the appearance of a room. Some are used to make the room look bigger while others are used to pull the whole design together. A bath panel with matching wall panels is one such trick.
But whether you go with this technique will depend on a few factors. The most obvious issue is whether you are choosing bathroom wall panels in the first place.
There are many reasons to opt for this modern alternative to tiles and this site carries many articles highlighting their advantages. For example this blog post: Are Bathroom Wall Panels Better Than Tiles?
When it comes to the bath itself you have several choices:
- don’t use a bath panel (only suitable if you have a freestanding bath
- use the bath panel that comes with the suite
- buy a separate bath panel
- make your own bath panel
As mentioned above freestanding baths do not tend to use a bath panel.
With this in mind, all of the pipework will be exposed and on view. So you need to fit polished standpipes and chrome wastes to ensure the visible plumbing is visually appealing. These pipes are the ones usually hidden by a bath panel on a standard bath where you can use any type of fittings because they will not be seen.
Bath Panel Supplied With The Suite
In most cases, these will consist of a thin, moulded acrylic panel. Try to avoid any concave designs or patterns that protrude out into the room.
When you stand next to the panel it will flex if you push against it. Initially, this will not be an issue but with repeated flexing, it will eventually crack.
Very few designs have any reinforcing at all and will just be made from a thin sheet of material. This makes them vulnerable to damage but it also means that they are cheap and easy to replace.
Buy A Better Quality Bath Panel
Rather than using the acrylic panel that comes with the bath, you could buy a better quality bath panel.
These could be made from a reinforced material or they could be made from something intrinsically stronger. There are many wooden bath panels available on the market. The most common will be made from MDF and wrapped in a vinyl layer that can emulate wood or it could be a plain white. Usually, there will be a pattern routed into the surface of the panel.
Use Wall Panels To Make A Matching Bath Panel
This is actually very straightforward especially if you have an acrylic bath. These have a slot under the rim into which a bath panel will fit. They are usually the perfect thickness for wall panels too.
It is not recommended to install wall panels horizontally – it is more complicated and can reduce the waterproofing efficiency. You should also run them vertically when making a bath panel from them. This way all you will need to do is run a batten on the floor directly under the rim. You can then push the panel up into the slot and fix it to the batten. Sticking them with adhesive is the easiest method. The downside of doing it this way is that the bath panel will not be removable. Use screws or magnetic catches if you want to be able to gain access to the underside of the bath (recommended).
The bath panel at the top of the page was made from the same panel as used on the walls. This very light and attractive panel was called Naugeux Beige (which unfortunately has been discontinued). But it ably demonstrates how you can use wall panels on the bath to give a very coordinated appearance.