Our top tips on installing and styling cladding in 2022
Bathroom cladding. We think it deserves a place in every home. Why? It’s so stylish, wipe-clean, and easy to install. We’ve assembled answers to all your questions, plus our favourite tips on styling your cladding, right here.
What is bathroom cladding?
Hundreds of years ago, walls were panelled for practicality. Large wooden panels were installed to insulate cold walls, which was vital in the days before central heating.
French interior designers introduced carved panels, which you can see in the grandest country homes – sometimes finished with a brush of gold leaf. After that, panelling went through a few more trends: pale painted panels for the Georgians; dark walnut for Victorian libraries; and wainscot panelling, which finished at mid-height.
In the past few decades, wall panelling – and particularly wainscoting, with a dado rail – has been almost consistently popular. Tongue-and-groove panels were easy to fit, and ideal for attic conversions and colder bedrooms and bathrooms.
What are bathroom cladding panels?
As you’ve probably noticed in the media, cladding has had a 21st century do-over. Now manufactured in lightweight panels, it’s available in plenty of stylish finishes.
You can still have the beautiful warmth of wood, complete with grain and knots. But you can also choose distressed concrete or Italian-style marble, and still convince your family it’s real; the modern finishes are surprisingly realistic. Made from light PVC, bathroom or shower cladding panels give you an interesting backdrop or a striking wetroom.
Why we love bathroom cladding panels…
- Choose from loads of finishes to make a stunning statement in your bathroom.
- It can be fitted by almost anyone, with no grout required.
- It’s watertight and wipe-clean.
How do you fit bathroom cladding?
If you have reasonable DIY skill then you can fit panels yourself. You don’t need to grout: modern bathroom and shower cladding panels are designed to be attached with nails or adhesive, giving you a really neat finish.
Many panels are manufactured to resemble planks or tiles, but they will arrive in large sheets, which are quick to fit.
Fitting – your FAQs
- How much bathroom cladding do I need? If you look at the product page, you will see how many square metres (1m x 1m) each panel covers.
- Is bathroom cladding easy to install? Yes! Bathroom tile cladding is easier to install than old-fashioned tiles. If in doubt, read the fitting guide to understand the process. It is wise to plan your layout before you begin in case you need to reinforce any areas of the wall.
- Can cladding go over tiles? Yes! There are panels which can be installed on top of old tiles as well as plaster, cement, breeze block, and brick. Check the fitting guide for specifics.
- Can you fit bathroom cladding panels horizontally? Yes. It’s completely versatile and horizontal lines can make a space look bigger.
- What can you cut cladding with? You will probably be cutting the panels to fit your walls, so you’ll need the appropriate saw. Check the supplier’s fitting guide for a recommendation – a standard saw is usually OK.
- How do you clean bathroom cladding? Bathroom tile cladding is easier to clean than real tiles, because there’s no messy grout. Even shower cladding is a breeze to polish. Simply wipe down with a mild detergent.
- What is bathroom ceiling cladding? This is used on sloping ceilings and attic conversions, and helps insulate the room. There’s no reason you can’t add it as a design element.
Designing a room with bathroom cladding panels
Before you add some gorgeous new cladding to your basket, here are some of our favourite design ideas to consider…
- Consider using cladding in unexpected parts of your home. It’s a wipe-clean surface that can be very useful in hallways, under coat hooks, and around boot-changing benches. Panelled offices are very sophisticated, and we’ve also seen it in bedrooms.
- Clad halfway up the wall (known as wainscoting). Perfect if you like a bit of vintage charm (especially with a freestanding bath); but this look can be ultra-modern, too.
- Add a shallow shelf along the top of your panels. This can be at any height and looks beautiful if it’s painted to match the cladding. (If you don’t like dusting, this design tip isn’t for you!)
- Horizontal tiling or lines draw the eye crossways, and make a space look wider – a great technique for smaller bedrooms or ensuites.
- You don’t have to pick just one style of panel! Think outside the box and combine two contrasting panels, like concrete with marble, or two tones of woodgrain panelling. You can use this technique to separate spaces in one room – consider a different type of shower cladding.
- Cladding the ceiling adds a barn or beach-hut vibe. In a bedroom with a sloping ceiling, or an attic, cladding is a traditional finish. It can also make a ceiling seem higher.
- Use large panels to create a dramatic sense of scale. This effect looks fabulous in a bedroom or a grand living room. Choose modern concrete panels or marble for a glamorous bathroom.
- Wooden cladding is very “Scandi sauna” with an elegant, rustic appeal; likewise, pale colours and off-whites reflect light and can have a relaxing effect. As it’s easy to clean, you don’t need to shy away from white cladding.
Design tips – Adding texture with accessories
Now you have a breathtakingly pristine bathroom, clad and floored: to make it super-luxe, add some textures.
- Luxury robes: White cotton waffle robes will make you feel like a spa guest. Tip: If you want to hang hooks from the cladding, it’s advisable to pre-plan (with reinforcement in the appropriate place).
- A stylish rug: Bathroom floors are usually hard, to combat splashes. But nobody said you can’t add a rug – removable carpeting, supersoft beneath your feet, and (if you choose wisely) washable too.
- Soft towels on chairs, ladder racks, or hooks: Plan the position for these before you install your cladding. For ultimate comfort, tumble-dry your towels.
We hope this has given you some inspiration for creating a wonderful new bathroom. We’d love to see your pictures! Tag us on Facebook using @bathroomcladdingstore and follow us for lots more design ideas or click here to get in touch to discuss your bathroom ideas.