Home Renovation Series: Bathroom Renovations Made Easy
Renovations are essentially revivals, and nothing can breathe new life into an old bathroom quite like a full-scale bathroom renovation. A fresh coat of paint, some shiny new decorations, a couple upgrades to the furniture and fixtures, and voila!
You’ve got a new bathroom.
Bathroom renovations are all about mixing aesthetics with function, but that doesn’t mean a bit of fun can’t be involved. If you can’t enjoy your latest home improvement project because you’re so busy stressing over it, take a deep breath and step back a little. If you work with a professional, set your expectations, and take all the necessary precautions regarding results, research, and resources, your bathroom is going to turn out fabulous.
To help you, we’ve put together this comprehensive overview. We’re going to talk about trends, tips, and considerations regarding bathroom renovations.
Before You Start …
Make sure that the remodeling contractor you’ve hired is someone you ultimately trust. We’re sure that there are dozens of local talented and professional contractors in your area. However, there’s a difference between finding the best company and the best company for you.
Every home improvement project is unique, and bathroom renovations are no exception. The remodeling contractor you choose should be someone who can turn your new space from what it used to be to what you want it to be.
Here are some qualities to look for:
- They understand your vision, can interpret it, and put it on paper for you to approve
- They can keep steady, consistent communication during design and construction
- They genuinely value your input
- They can give recommendations and professional opinions without belittling your suggestions
- They can accommodate your requests (within reason)
- They know your goal and they share it
- They are licensed, insured, and bonded
- They have a substantial portfolio
- Their company values are something you agree with
TRENDS & TIPS
1. Vanity Lighting
We’re not just talking lights around the vanity mirror, although that’s popular, too.
A rising trend in bathroom renovations that we’ve noticed among homeowners is investing in luxurious, high-end lighting. We’re talking lighting systems controlled by smart tech and layered lighting layouts using decorative wall lamps, pendants, beautiful overheads, and sconces.
The way we see it, this trend is as practical as it is pretty. Good lighting is key to maximizing visual value and minimizing risk potential. Well-lit areas mean less shadows and less time spent fumbling around, so investing in strong overhead lights and recessed LED lights is highly recommended. You can also install pendant lighting fixtures to add a touch of class and elegance.
What about mood and ambiance? Use dimmer switches with decorative lighting options like sunken tracks, sconces, frosted fixtures, wall lamps, and perimeter lighting to control the brightness and create a light setup that suits the situation. Alternatively, invest in smart technology so you can pre-program your lighting to suit multiple situations.
2. Tankless Toilets
In the past decade or so, more and more homeowners have taken to swapping out their standard toilet seats for sleeker, chicer models without tanks. And it’s not very hard to see why. Since they’re compact, tankless toilets take a lot less space. The simple, subdued silhouette is perfect for homeowners employing an elegant or minimalistic approach.
Aside from the design flexibility and visual appeal, tankless toilets are also apparently more environmentally friendly and economic.
Regular modern toilets (with tanks) are manufactured to use no more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush (gpf). That’s a lot of water. Tankless toilets, on the other hand, allow the homeowners to set the gpf depending on usage and situation.
That means you can stick with the preset 1.6 gpf, or you can get friendly with the environment and set it to just one (1) gallon per flush—or lower! Even using 1.3 or 1.4 gpf will result in 0.2 gallons saved per use.
In the long run, these decimals will count for a lot.
3. Heated Flooring
The old trend of dealing with frigid bathroom tiles—which are especially disheartening on cold, winter mornings—was to place large, fluffy carpets and bathmats in strategic areas of the bathroom (like right at the door, at the vanity area, in the walk-in closet, etc.).
While this approach certainly works, it’s far from practical.
Yes, carpets are beautiful. They can look cozy, comforting and classy—especially in bathrooms. But the problem is the very nature of the room they’re in dictates that they will, eventually, get wet. And dirty.
A quick dash in and out of the shower, accidentally turning the faucet on full blast, or even the toilet overflowing? These occurrences are common enough that they could happen to you and your carpets. And any homeowner knows that wet carpets invite dirt, grime, stains, and germs.
Unless you’re alright with cleaning and drying your carpets once a week or thrice a month, skip them completely and just opt for heated floors.
Floor heating systems are common enough nowadays that a full setup for even just the master bathroom won’t break your bank. What’s more, they can be used with almost any type of flooring; porcelain, ceramic, stone, baseboard, and vinyl … just to name a few.
Consider: Plumbing. For new bathroom renovations, we recommend checking your pipes.
Typically, 1 ½-inch pipes are used for residential plumbing. But in a residential setting, as you probably know very well, there are a lot of things that can go down the drain and clog up the pipes—hair, hair and body products, dirt, grime, and the like.
If you want to lessen the likelihood of clogging and potential flooding (if the clog isn’t dealt with immediately), try using 2-inch pipes instead. Larger pipes are less likely to clog since more space means more room to move and—ideally—flow. Give it half a year or so, and you’ll be surprised how much difference half an inch makes.
Consider: Storage. Rather than duplicate your kitchen situation and install counter cabinets, why not stick to sliding drawers for bathroom storage solutions below the waist?
Here’s the thing; storage options that use doors—like cabinets—can be clunky and hard to maneuver around when they’re (literally) underfoot. What’s more, the space in cabinets is very general and nonspecific. There’s a lot of room to just stuff things in there, but not a lot of options to organize.
Drawers, on the other hand, are easier for segregation and organization. They offer a streamlined storage approach that is a little more versatile than cabinets. What’s more, their generally smaller area means they can be cut out and moved around to accommodate for things like pipes or tanks behind the wall.
Consider: Ventilation. Even though a lot of homeowners often forget about this aspect during bathroom renovations, ventilation is a very important aspect that should not be neglected.
If your current bathroom doesn’t have an existing ventilation setup, you should get one installed right away. It doesn’t matter how clean, cozy, or classy your bathroom is if you don’t feel comfortable in it, and proper ventilation ensures quality comfort.
What’s more, proper ventilation also ensures that all the resources you invested in your bathroom renovation—from the fresh floors to the brand-new furniture and fixtures—won’t fall victim to an abnormal buildup of mildew and mold.
Some sound ventilation options: wall fans with timers, simple but quality ceiling fans, wall fans rigged with smart tech, or artfully arranged windows.
Your Takeaway: Design With the Future in Mind
In the end, the goal of most bathroom renovations is to improve the room’s use, value, and longevity. Whether you’re planning to make your current house your ancestral home or you’re going to be putting it up on the market in five, ten years, a bathroom that can withstand the test of time is always a winner.
So, pick pieces that you’re sure are durable and well-made. Pick a layout that you can navigate in thirty years just as easily as you can navigate it now. Pick a design that will inspire positive emotions regardless of who sees it. And make sure that every element, no matter what, flows cohesively with the rest.