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If the kitchen is thought to be the “heart of the home”, then the bathroom could, arguably, be considered the “soul”. It's the place where our days begin and end, where we get ready in the morning, unwind in the evening, hopefully have a chance to think and most importantly, relax.

According to research, the average person will spend around 1.5 years of their lifetime in the bathroom, but there's definitely nothing average about the schemes designed by René Dekker. Big, little, beautiful or luxurious, they're all uniquely different, but have one key ingredient in common, they're all stunning.

René achieves this by understanding the needs of his clients, and using his expertise to interpret their thoughts and requirements into a perfectly balanced and stylish design. Regardless of the size of the room and amount of natural light, he is able to transform these functional spaces into a thing of beauty, an oasis of calm.

For any luxury bathroom design, a good interior designer knows that lighting is essential. Ceiling downlighters, decorative wall lights or sconces, and illuminated cabinets will help achieve the fundamental light sources needed for practical use. Add incidental touches such as alcove or shelf lighting, and a scheme is elevated from basic to chic.

To maximise this further, as well as make an area appear larger, reflective surfaces can be added to bounce light around the bathroom. These elements could comprise a mirror above a sink, a group of small reflective tiles, intermittent metallic finishes, or even an entire wall covered in glass for maximum impact and glamour.

The type of materials used for the walls and floors is paramount - the sheen from polished stone or marble for example is the perfect way to add a touch of cool luxury. Marble can also act as a link between an ensuite bathroom and its bedroom partner, particularly if the latter boasts a monochromatic scheme. The beautiful white stone streaked with grey acts as a colour segue for the two areas - different, yet united. This is a classic look that René has not only achieved to perfection, but is a theme he has adapted cleverly into other colour ranges and texture families.

In one project, the beauty of natural wood in the door and cabinetry is teamed with delicious tones of chocolate marble, the rich cream swirls of which are the ideal complement to the sanitaryware. The whole scheme is then punctuated with touches of glass and chrome detailing, to lift it visually.

For larger luxury bathrooms, there is the potential to create something extra special and totally unique. Decadent, freestanding baths in silver or copper, oversize double sinks; sophisticated technology and elaborate chandeliers all have a place here.

Meanwhile, softness and warmth can be introduced both literally, through underfloor heating and heated towel rails, as well as aesthetically. This is achieved by the addition of fabulous furnishings such as an elegant button-back sofa or an ornate window treatment complete with elaborate swags and tails. Softness can also be seen through the use of shape, such as the gentle oval of a bath rim or perfect circles in a cluster of mirrors, as well as carefully chosen pops of colour to prevent a scheme from looking too stark.

To finish creating that all important mood of calm and sophistication, a luxury interior designer will know that details are essential. Shelving units should display luxurious items that visitors might want to touch, and to tantalise our senses further, fragrantly perfumed candles complete the theme of relaxation. It's this consideration of everything from furnishings to the tiniest accessory that shows an owner, and in this case a designer, really cares.

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