Bathroom Pitfalls

Creating a new bathroom from scratch can be pretty daunting and overwhelming – especially as there is such a wide range of products available. If you’re building an extension or a new home, you’ll have a blank canvas from which to work – so you really have got so much potential to get it spot on, or it could go the other way if you don’t do your homework right.  Gerry Ryan, the showroom manager at SONAS Bathrooms, talks about the biggest bathroom pitfalls that he’s come across over his many years of giving expert advice.

  • A lack of communication. This is the biggest pitfall. Not talking to your architect about what you want and just letting him or her proceed with designing the bathroom without taking your needs into consideration. You need to sit down with them properly at the initial design stage and communicate to them exactly what you want and need in your home. Who’s going to be using the bathroom? What’s the age profile of the family members? All this will help decide the best approach to take. Are you a busy family that plays a lot of sport, for example? Are there teenagers coming and going throughout the day who need showers after football practice etc? Are you the type who likes to relax in a bubble bath in the evening? Talk to your architect. Tell them what you want and tell them about your lifestyle.


  • Talk to your plumber/installer. You may be surprised at just how soon you need to decide things like whether you’re having a wall mounted toilet or a floor standing unit. Whatever you choose will dictate the type of vanity unit, basin, toilet etc that you can have. Gerry said: “I’ve had people come into the showroom to pick items just as their bathrooms are ready to be fitted and they might fall in love with a particular type of vanity or like the wall mounted toilet range. But then they discover that their plumber has already laid the pipes for conventional toilets and it’s simply too late to move things around. It can be very disappointing for people. Talking to your plumber early on is essential.”


  • Trying to fit too much in. Know the space you’re working with. It might be hard to visualise it, especially if it’s not built yet. So get your measuring tape out and check the dimensions of the space you’re working with. Talk to our experts and your plumber/installer about what would work well. You might have your heart set on a big walk in shower and a luxurious freestanding bath and double vanity unit. But you might not be able to squeeze those in. Having products that don’t fit into your bathroom will make it impractical, cramped and not aesthetically pleasing.


  • Not getting products to suit what’s available to you. A common mistake people make when getting a new shower is not ensuring they have enough water pressure. A powerful shower will have a minimum operating pressure.  Gerry explains: “Any new build should have a pressurised system but you need to be sure that you have the minimum requirements for the products you choose.”


  • Another issue is having a really powerful shower and not having the hot water cylinder large enough. Gerry said: “People really want a great shower with plenty of pressure but they might not have the hot water capacity if their cylinder isn’t suitable.” A quick recovery cylinder will heat up water again within 20 minutes, whereas a traditional cylinder takes around 50 minutes. You also need to consider how many people will be showering at the same time. If you come from a busy household where more than one person will be showering at the same time in the morning, a three bar pump will means more than one shower can operate at once.

So the bottom line is: planning, planning and more planning. Communication is key – from the moment you sit down with your architect to speaking to your plumber and your SONAS Bathrooms retailer – BJ Mullen.  Our Bathroom experts will be on hand to advise at every step of your project.  Call in to our extensive showroom for inspiration and great advice.

Kitchen Tiles

Neutral Tiles

How to nail the neutral trend with tiles

Neutrals go with anything, that’s what makes them such a practical and safe choice in interiors. Adding colour to a space can be daunting, but it can be just as confusing teaming together neutral tones and textures. Whether it’s your bathroom, kitchen or hallway, you can still create a stunning look without committing to bold colours, here’s a few of our tips on creating winning neutral spaces.


You can’t go wrong with a simple white bathroom suite and classic fixtures and fittings. There is no shame opting for practicality, and in this sense, tiles are a bathroom’s best friend. If functionality comes first then go for large format porcelain tiles, as minimal grout lines make for less cleaning and maintenance. Here’s a few of our favourites:

OS-Westdene-Soberton-61.jpgNeutral leads to natural. Try a marble texture for a subtle twist
Original Style_Tileworks_Amelia White CS1061-9015, CS1061-9022, CS1061-9045_landscape.jpgMake it seamless with these Large Format Tiles
Original Style_Tileworks_Form_Couche CS1059-9030_landscape.jpgBring in texture and dimension

A neutral scheme is a great backdrop to any other colour, providing a base for decorating and bringing in future trends.

Living Areas

You might not naturally look to use tiles outside kitchens and bathrooms, but opting for neutral floor tiles is a great way to add warmth to a white interior. Take wood effect floor tiles for example, brilliant for bringing in that scandi-vibe, choose from cool ashy tones to warmer hues.


Neutrals don’t have to be browns and creams though, we love the effect these dark floor wood effect tiles create when teamed with deep earthy tones for a warm and cosy living area.

Original Style_Tileworks_Eco CS1055-12020_landscape_2.jpgTileworks Eco 



Original Style_Earthworks_Travertine New Umbrian Gold EW-UGF61x30-A.jpgEarthworks Travertine New Umbrian Gold 


Kitchens, like bathrooms, above all need to be functional so, if you’re lusting after an all-white kitchen, we don’t blame you. Timeless, fresh and clean, white kitchens are a popular choice. A  few ideas for you:

The Winchester Tile Company - Artisan - Helmingham Half Tile.jpgWinchester Helmingham Half Tile 
Original Style_Artworks_Daisy Satin CDA9002_2.jpgArtworks Daisy Satin 
Original Style_Earthworks_EW-GREYABSET Greyfriars Abbey portrait less highlight Grey.jpgPorcelain half tiles from The Winchester Company

Kitchen walls quickly get dirty without easy to clean tiling. Choosing white half, brick or bevelled metro tiles is another safe yet on trend choice. Make sure to seal the grout if it is white or it might not stay that way for long! Or try using a coloured or grey grout to avoid the problem all together.

The full range of Original Style tiles is available @ BJ Mullen.  Call in and speak to one of our staff.


Crown Paint @BJ Mullen

Crown Paint Colour

Choose Crown Paint colour for your home

Choosing paint colours for your home can be tricky and a lengthy process, but by taking some tips from this article you could be a few steps closer to picking your favourite colours from Crown Paint.

The Crown Paint room painter app is great for helping you visualise what the colours would look like in your home.

Simply download the app from the App Store, Google play or amazon apps and take a picture or pictures of your room and upload them. Once you have uploaded them you can choose from our incredible range of colours and start painting the walls with your favourite Crown Paint colours. The app lets you paint walls & ceilings easily my simply dropping your chosen colour over the picture. You can keep a note of your favourite colours by adding them to your ‘wish list’ within the app.

Once you have seen what colours work the best in your home and you’ve chosen all your personal favourites, call into BJ Mullen.  We have the full range of Crown Paint together with primers, fillers, brushes and other painting accessories.  Our team of expert staff can advise you on the best type and amount of paint for your job.

Oatmeal Rustic Stone

Tile Visualiser

Tile Visualiser from Original Style

Original Style have created their new Tile Visualiser to help you choose the perfect pattern for your tiling job. Choose from four different rooms in the style most suited to your home and experiment with various patterns to help you choose the perfect colour scheme and overall look for your room.

The new  Tile Visualiser has a sleek design and enables you to see how Victorian Floor Tiles can transform areas of your home, traditional or contemporary. Its functional design means the Visualiser is also accessible from smartphones and tablets, giving the option to use it at home as well as when out shopping or on the move. Once you have created your design you can simply download a PDF version with a breakdown of the tiles used and bring it to BJ Mullen to place an order.

Front Path

Each rendered image is based on a real life installation to provide an accurate representation of how Victorian Floor Tiles look in situ. The Tile Visualiser can help you decide if you want a simple black and white pattern or something with a little more detail, like the front paths shown below.

black and white front path.jpgTile Visualiser
Original Style - VFT - Dorchester in Black and Dover White.jpgReal life installation
beln pah.JPGTile Visualiser
OS-Maidenhead-008.jpgReal life installation


The hallway is a great area of the home for something a little different as we don’t tend to spend a lot of time there,  so committing to a bold and daring pattern makes for a timeless and stunning entrance  to your home. Try a classic red and buff pattern as pictured below, or for something a little more understated try a striking pattern in neutral tones. Many of these are available to view on the Tile Visualiser.

lindisfarne.JPGTile Visualiser


It’s often difficult to imagine how Victorian Floor Tiles can look on a larger scale, especially with detailed and more intricate patterns. If you’re decorating your kitchen and planning to use Victorian Floor Tiles the Tile Visualiser is the perfect tool to see the pattern repeat on a larger scale. It also displays how Victorian Floor Tiles work in both modern and traditional kitchens.

blue red kitchen.JPGTile Visualiser
19-Leincester-Road-067.jpgReal life installation

So what are you waiting for? Head over to the Tile Visualiser now and get started!  Original Style tiles are available from BJ Mullen, together with adhesives, grouts and tools and, of course, expert advice from our friendly staff.

Field Tiles

Tile Patterns

Your Guide to tile patterns

Tiles @ BJ Mullen

Before you get stuck into your kitchen or bathroom makeover, have you considered the layout of your tiles? Playing with angles and patterns is a brilliant way to add interest and a new dimension to your design. We’ve put together some tips and ideas on laying tiles to make even the simplest of schemes stand out.
1. Herringbone
This style of tiling is becoming more and more popular and works well with both half tiles and brick style. Although this layout is fairly challenging to install it pays off, providing a simple yet beautiful visual interest, to make a space appear bigger try tiling from the floor to the ceiling to help draw the eye along the length of the room.2. Running Bond
This is another good method for adding the illusion of space and height. Really it’s just a brick bond but on its side, so installation is fairly straightforward. Try teaming a panel of running bond half tiles in between large format tiles.

1 herringbone and running bond @ BJ Mullen

3.  Offset
If you’re using field tiles on your wall but want to add some interest, try laying them out in an offset pattern. Brick bonding field tiles is simple; the tiles are offset by half the width of the tile and can be teamed with mouldings and skirtings for more detail.

4.  Basket weave
This classic pattern is made up of rectangles and squares to create a woven basket effect. Creating this look is easier than you think and can also be achieved with ready laid out mosaics.

2 offset and basket weave @ BJ Mullen

5. Straight Herringbone
This take on the herringbone pattern has a more contemporary vibe with the tiles laid at a 90 degree angle instead of 45 creating a sharper edge. Designers use the herringbone pattern to enhance the size of a smaller room, but laying tiles in this way also adds a visual impact, even if only used as a small splashback.

6. Octagon Dot
Octagon Dot is another classic layout often seen on floors using Victorian Floor tiles. This pattern is versatile and works well in kitchens, hallways and paths. Opt for a simple monochrome style or mix up the colours by adding a drop in tile in another shade.


3 straight herringbone and octagon dot @ BJ Mullen

7. Diamond
Add some elegance by simply laying square tiles in a diamond pattern; this is a widely used tiling layout which works well on both walls on floors.  If your wall or floor isn’t perfectly square, a diagonal layout like this will help hide any imperfections.

8. Chevron
Laying tiles in chevrons can be time consuming and tricky, so why not cheat and use Chevron Parquet floor tiles instead to achieve the same look but with easier installation. You have to get very close to this porcelain tile to appreciate that it’s not actually wooden blocks. Each tile measures 1200mm but has the look of pre-laid tiles, only it’s far quicker to install.

Tiles @ BJ Mullen

9. Large Format Brick Bond
Brick bond is also a popular layout and although using an oversized brick is not technically different from a standard brick, the overall effect is another interesting look. 600x300mm tiles from the Tileworks collection are ideal for this and using large format tiles will help minimize the visual impact of grout, and gives the tiles a more seamless appearance.

10. Stack Bond
If you’re planning to use metro, half or brick tiles consider the stack bond layout. This is one of the most straightforward layouts; the tiles are aligned to form a basic repeating grid. The overall look is a clean modern look that will bring any kitchen or bathroom up to date.

6 large format brickbond and stack bond tiles @ bj mullen

11. Grid
Like the stack bond only with field tiles this layout is another classic. Bring the style up to date by teaming grey grout with white field tiles and this look will work anywhere and everywhere.

12. Modular
Create a farmhouse style using a variety of sizes, the geometric pattern repeat adds detail without chaos, creating the effect of perfectly balanced puzzle. This layout works best on an expanse of floor, so try using our Earthworks Grey Friars set, the undulated natural stone adds a rustic and homely feel.

4 grid and modular tiles@ BJ Mullen

For inspiration, call into BJ Mullen’s Tile Showroom and speak to one of our staff.

Bathroom Furniture @ BJ Mullen

Child Friendly Bathrooms

Visit BJ Mullen for Child Friendly Bathrooms.  The smartest and most desirable bathrooms can still be child-friendly

It’s very tempting to be rather selfish and adult-orientated when planning a new bathroom. But … even if you don’t have children, or maybe having kids is still a vague future plan, it’s still possible to future-proof your main bathroom so it can still be suitable and practical to use when kids arrive (or come to visit.)

Utopia Bathrooms @ BJ Mullen

This cleverly-planned bathroom is Symmetry in Teal and Midnight-Grey Gloss by Utopia

One of the vital components of a children’s bathroom is floor space … it won’t just be one person in there, it will be little ones plus at least one or two supervising adults, so elbow room is essential! A bath really should be included, don’t think you can get away with a shower alone, having an easy-access bath is a great way of ensuring at least half an hour a day of contained playtime for little ones.

Bathrooms @ BJ Mullen

This gorgeous grown-up bathroom, Geo furniture in Parchment Gloss and Aragon Flint, adapts seamlessly to the practical needs of a child-friendly household

Storage, storage, storage … cupboard or drawer space is vital, not just for the children’s bubble bath, but for all the other bits and bobs. It’s nice to be able to tidy away the bath toys and pop them in a drawer or cupboard.  A net bag is useful, put everything in the bag in the bath to drain and transfer to the drawer later – line the drawer or cupboard with a guest towel to soak up drips. We’re also keen on a double basin layout for the kids … great for teaching proper teeth-brushing and face-washing techniques!

Halo Bathroom Furniture @ BJ Mullen

Halo modular furniture in Eton Oak is teamed up here with the new Miro sit-on basin for a cosy and practical family bathroom

If children have the run of the bathroom it’s quite likely that you’ll be thinking about re-painting every couple of years or so … choosing a neutral colour or finish for your cabinetry allows you to keep the options open regarding paint colours. If you’re fed up with this rather tasteful blue-grey in a couple of years, go for a deeper, indigo blue or perhaps a rusty shade of ginger-brown to co-ordinate with the tiles. Just be sure to choose an emulsion that’s suitable for bathroom (or kitchen) use; it will be more hardwearing than standard emulsions and also have more resistance to mould, which can be a potential problem if the walls get splashed a lot. However, a properly ventilated bathroom with an extractor and regularly opened windows shouldn’t suffer from condensation and associated problems.

Roseberry Bathrooms @ BJ Mullen

From the latest furniture range, Roseberry … this is Utopia’s modular freestanding bathroom in London Grey

A double-ended bath (this is the Sensuelle freestanding bath) is a good choice for a family bathroom – it means a two-for-the-price-of-one bathtime with no moaning as to who gets the tap end, plus a central position makes it easier to attend to little ones. We love the extra-wide basin – it means that there’s plenty of room for mum or dad to supervise, and the idea of using plain door panels on the wall is rather special too. As far as colour schemes go, London Grey is another flexible choice, it could work just as well with a selection of brighter shades in the future.

Utopia Bathroom Furniture @ BJ Mullen

A cloakroom is an essential addition to your home, if space and budget allows. This is Roseberry from Utopia in London Grey.

Creating a gorgeous family bathroom is very enjoyable and satisfying … but realistically, you don’t want everyone trooping up and down the stairs whenever there’s a play date for the kids. A cloakroom avoids other children’s sticky hands trailing up and down the bannisters. The ground floor cloakroom is also the perfect space for a cupboard that can be used for first aid kit and cleaning stuff.

For the full range of Utopia Bathroom Furniture, call in to our showroom where our staff will be happy to help.

Kitchen Tiles

Tiles for a Small Kitchen

Tiles for a small kitchen

An open spaced, well lit large country kitchen might be a dream for many of us who, in reality, have a slightly smaller space… However, even if your kitchen is small it doesn’t mean that you can’t think big, what small kitchens lack in space can be made up for in style, so opt for plenty of storage, good lighting and clever use of tiles

1. Reflective Surfaces

Using reflective tiles really is a brilliant way of adding the illusion of more space. Mirror tiles are the obvious solution and provide a stunning look to any kitchen, for a striking look consider using these platinum tiles from the Artworks collection, their reflective qualities have the same effect in making your kitchen look bigger than it really is.

Reflective Tiles @ BJ Mullen

2. Small Details

Introducing a small amount of pattern can be a brilliant focal point, try incorporating a patterned splash back like these tapestry tiles from the Odyssey collection. Introducing detail through tiles is a great way to add style without sacrificing any space!

Patterned tiles @ BJ Mullen

3. Consider Colour

It might be tempting to fill a small kitchen with different colours which of course can be beautifully striking but it might overwhelm a space too. Choose one or two colours and keep it simple with some classic field or brick tiles like these Rioja Brick tiles from the Winchester Tile Company.

Brick Tiles@ BJ Mullen

4. Think Big

Another way to add a sense of space is by using large format tiles. This works for both walls and floors as laying large tiles together reduces the amount of grout lines; this creates a seamless effect with nothing to distract the eye when you enter a room.

Large Format Tiles @ BJ Mullen


Maybe you just need some inspiration on colour schemes or tile ideas; whether you live in a small city flat, tiny farmhouse cottage or even a stately home, take some time to decide on what would make your perfect kitchen.  Call in to BJ Mullen where our friendly staff will be happy to help.

Colourful Bathrooms @ BJ Mullen

Colourful Bathrooms

Colourful Bathrooms @ BJ Mullen.

An all white, flat surfaced, super shiny white bathroom can seem a little bit clinical.  For a bathroom that’s full of character and personality yet fulfils all the practical needs of such a room, look no further than the images below for your inspiration.

01 Set-3-Clotted-Cream-3365-Final-Toilet-not-CC-

What catches your eye first? The fabulous, period style of the furniture? Sumptuous-looking bath that you just want to get in to? The dark budgie and butterfly walls? All of the above? The reason this bathroom works so well is that all the elements are balanced – strong colours, big furniture, glamorous finishing touches that sit together all equal in the overall scheme.

This is a bathroom which is not overwhelmingly bathroom-y, instead it has an identity and proud stance that’s usually reserved for living areas in a home. The big storage piece has the look of a dresser more usually seen in a dining room or kitchen so that immediately gives the room the edge. And think how much storage you have in there with cupboards at the bottom and top to keep all toiletries, loo rolls and cleaning products secretly hidden away from view, and the glass fronted doors mean you can have gorgeous things on display from perfumes bottles through to vintage glass (always be on the look out in charity shops and car boot sales).

03 Set-3-Clotted-Cream3458-Cameo-6-Dresser-open

Yes it’s big but it’s enviably practical too and if your bathroom’s a bit smaller and this would fill a whole wall then that would look amazing too. Don’t assume you can’t have a wall of furniture in a bathroom because you can and it can look wonderful.


The shape of this bath is both modern and traditional.   Charcoal grey is warm and classic and proud – more so than neutral tones and makes this the statement piece that it deserves to be.


Don’t be afraid to use colour and pattern in a bathroom. It’s not done that much (which will make you stand out from the crowd) but the deep colours make pale furniture and fittings stand out beautifully and it adds a cosy feel without being dominant. Avoid hanging wallpaper where it will get splashed and wet constantly as this will damage it, but use it as a backdrop to add immediate charm.


This deep coloured paper lets the large pale units be eye-catching – if the walls were pale it’d all mush together into a neutral nothingness. Add bold lighting, crystal cupboard handles and luxurious solid countertops and you will be amazed at how the effect makes you smile every day. For advice on all things bathroom, call into BJ Mullen and speak to one of our Bathroom Advisors.

Coastal Style bathrooms @ BJ Mullen

Coastal Style Bathrooms

Coastal Style Bathrooms – Bathrooms are the perfect room for a beach inspired style, whether you will soon be jetting off to a beachside location, or just wish that you were, who wouldn’t want to emulate the feeling of freedom and relaxation in their bathroom?


The obvious choice for a beach inspired bathroom is blue, from dusky duck egg blue to inky indigo and turquoise, you can mix and match different shades how you please. Neutral shades also work well, try a sandy beige floor tile like Acropolis Sand from the Tileworks collection for a contemporary edge. Mosaics are also brilliant for creating a coastal style, jewelled blue Crystal Mosaics coordinate with sandy hues perfectly. For something a little different try teaming shades of blue with a soft yellow to add the suggestion of natural sunlight.


It’s a given that certain materials lend themselves to a coastal theme, driftwood, pebbles and weathered shells add a sense of a natural environment. For a real feature wall try Cimento Wave from the Tileworks collection (as pictured above) , the grooves in these tiles work well on walls adding depth and interest. Whilst natural wood looks fantastic it isn’t always suitable for bathrooms, try wood effect tiles instead. They are hardwearing and durable making them great replicas to the real thing – not forgetting that they are much lower maintenance.


Accessories are brilliant for creating any style, if you want to opt for simple white brick tiles from the Winchester collection, you can create a coastal style by introducing simple beach motif accessories. For a subtle touch try a panel of Mother of Pearl Mosaics or a Carthage border (as pictured below), these natural shell tiles add a touch of luxury to a coastal style bathroom.

For our full range of tiles and accessories, call into BJ Mullen or take a look at our galleries.