Think Function First
A bathroom, like the kitchen, is one of the hardest-working spaces in the home. If it’s not functional, everybody suffers. Keep all of its functions in mind — it’s a workstation for preparing for the day ahead and a refuge for resting and recovering from the hectic day — when choosing the sink, tub, shower, toilet and other pieces. Consider what other functions you can incorporate into the bath with a little clever planning; perhaps you’d like a seat in the shower, a steam room or storage for linens.
Map the Space
Plumbing considerations will impact where you place showers and tubs. Yet, you also need to think like an industrial engineer when making a bathroom floor plan. Walk the space with your contractor and imagine the tasks required to get ready for the day. Consider the length of your arm’s reach. How far away do you want the soap dishes to be? Do you want to store objects in a vanity and, if so, would you mind bending over to retrieve them? The objects used most often, as a rule of thumb, should be closest at hand.
Choose Color and Motif
How do you want to feel when you’re in the bathroom? Is it a formal space (consider a black-and-white scheme) or a casual area (try neutrals)? The motifs associated with baths often are water oriented. Seashells, boats, piers, blue colorations and sandy beach colors are frequently used. But it’s OK to think outside of the box. Choose a motif that relates to the area in which you live (city or country?), a style of architecture (classic 18th-century English or New England cottage?) or a style that you’re personally attached to (bohemian or Asian?). Remember: A bathroom motif doesn’t have to (and probably shouldn’t) knock you over the head.
Know Your Surfaces
When selecting products for the bath, such as tile or marble, be sure that you know the inherent qualities and the drawbacks of each material. Will the marble or tile stand up to heavy wear? (Watch out for veins in marble, which often indicate weak points.) Do you want a polished marble floor or a natural marble? Shiny floors may not be very slip-resistant; natural materials may have a pitted surface that is more slip-resistant, but may also be more likely to collect residue. Also think about the difficulty to clean the surface, many home owners complain about how they wish they had chosen a surface that was easier to clean & maintain.
Add Drama With Fixtures
Plumbing fixtures are the jewels of the bathroom because they’re metallic and can add a dramatic effect to any space, just as jewelry can to an outfit. There is a plethora of finishes and styles offered by today’s manufacturers, from brass to stainless and all metals in between. Keep in mind your motif and maintenance as you choose your bathroom fixtures. Elaborate gold fixtures probably won’t jive with a beach-inspired bathroom and may also require more cleaning than you’re up for.
Choosing the correct lighting is critical in the bathroom, where mirrors are present and mood is important. Consider the appropriate task lighting for sink and shower areas. Keep in mind that fluorescent lighting casts a bluish light, as opposed to the yellowish radiance of incandescent bulbs. Combine blue wall paint and blue-hued fluorescent lighting and you may look like Frankenstein’s bride in the mirror.
Naturally Aromatic Tablescape
Don’t forget to incorporate plants and greenery in the bathroom. The asymmetrical nature of growing things (in design lingo this is called fractal) will help offset the square edges of the tiles or marble.
Other Quick-Fix Tips:
•Remove your shower curtain and have a nice glass shower door installed.
•If you don’t like the look of your current shower tiles, but can’t afford to have your entire shower re-tiled, why not install a one piece shower surround for a fresh clean look.
•Would you like the feel of a spa in the comfort of your own home? Have a walk in bathtub installed. You’ll have the benefit of the muscle relaxing jets without having to go any further than your bathroom.
•Replace your vanity / sink combo with a small linen closet. Then install a decorative pedestal sink. A linen closet, no matter how small, will come in handy, even if it’ll only hold your bath towels and some toiletries.
•Remove your medicine cabinet and replace it with some wall cavity storage compartments. These can be built in between the wall studs in the cavity of the wall. If you have enough space, you could even build one on each side of the mirror.
•Wood flooring is great, but unfortunately it doesn’t do well in wet areas. So why not install some vinyl that looks like wood flooring. There are many styles available that rival the real thing in the way they look and feel.
•Have you ever considered changing the hardware on your toilet? This is something most people never think about. However, a decorative toilet handle can really help add a nice touch to your bathroom.
•Do you need extra storage in your bathroom? If so, you can simply add a shelf over the door. This makes for a great place to store things you’ve purchased in bulk like your toilet paper, your paper towels or your cleaning supplies.
•Did you know that there’s a wallpaper that looks just like wainscoting? This makes for a great look and if you add some chair railing, you’ll never be able to tell that it’s not real.
•If you really want to add some luxury, why not install some radiant flooring to keep your toes nice and warm on those cold wintery nights.
It really doesn’t take much time or money, depending on your taste and style, to turn your existing bathroom into a luxury spa retreat. You’ll be surprised how much of a difference it makes on how you feel about the time you spend there.
Updating your bathrooms really makes a difference in increasing the value of your home, ask your Realtor for more tips.