The bathroom is often the smallest room in your house, but
it generally gets the most traffic. It's also the room
that is visited by almost every guest in your home, so why
not spruce it up and give it style?
Bathrooms today are more than just practical, necessary
spaces. The bathroom is a place where you can renew both
body and spirit; it can be luxurious as well as functional
and efficient. Whether you are thinking of a quick
facelift, weekend project or total renovation, be sure to
plan your project very carefully. If you are thinking of a
major renovation, check with your local municipality to
see what permits are required.
What's your style?
Big or small, the size of the bathroom doesn't matter; it
is the style and personality that you create within the
space. Are you drawn to a romantic country look,
traditional elegance or simple, clean lines?
Do your homework -visit supplier web sites, read trade
magazines, tour showrooms and building centres. If the
project entails a change or additional fixtures and
accessories -sink, toilet, tub, steam shower unit or
custom cabinets -you will find loads of options available.
Next, decide if the job is something you can handle
yourself or if you need to enlist the help of
professionals. Redoing a bathroom can involve a lot more
than just plumbing. From stripping the existing room to
doing structural, electrical and plumbing work to
installing fixtures, cabinets and finishing touches, a
bathroom can involve many different trades whose work must
be coordinated and kept within your budget.
A professional can identify problems and solutions before
the work even begins: an uneven floor that results in
incomplete draining of your bathtub, for instance, or
rotted flooring from years of water penetration. An
experienced contractor will make sure that plumbing,
venting, electrical wiring and outlets all conform with
building codes in your area. Whether you hire a contractor
or have the skill to go it alone, you have many options in
terms of style, products, finishes, price and suppliers.
Begin your bathroom make over from the floor up. Since the
bathroom is usually smaller compared to other rooms in the
house, it is often affordable to indulge in a few
luxuries. For example, radiant heating under ceramic tiled
floors is a nice extra.
Think outside of the "traditional" bathroom box. The
bathroom is a room for living, so it needs furniture and
accessory items like all other living spaces.
Lighting your way
Lighting in a bathroom is one of the most important design
elements of the rooms. It is imperative to have good
lighting for the functional aspects of the space: shaving
and make-up application.
Good grooming demands adequate lighting. Plan for lighting
from above and from the sides of the mirror area. Mood
lighting is also nice for those quiet times, so put your
overhead lights on a dimmer switch and be sure to
accessorize with candles.
Changing the wall texture and colour is one of the easiest
changes you can make in a room. In a small powder room, go
for drama. Since this space is used for only short,
functional visits, you can be especially daring and
creative. The size of the space also allows you to use
materials that may be otherwise prohibitively expensive
-wallpapers, custom faux finishes or even fabric- or
metal-paneled walls. Darker colours create personality and
In a bathroom that is used by the homeowners and guests
for daily grooming, make-up application and shaving,
colour needs to be carefully selected. Skin colour needs
to be as real as possible, so take into consideration that
wall colour will reflect onto your skin in the room.
Neutrals, peach, mango, taupe, gray and soft yellows are
good choices to maintain "real" skin tones. Use additional
dramatic or vibrant colours as accents.
The next step in your bathroom make over is the detailing.
Small touches provide efficient storage and a feeling of
luxury. Is there room for a bench or chair? A seat
provides a place to sit and a place to lay clothing. Be
If you enjoy lounging in the tub but hate to miss the
morning news, install a wall-mounted television set, or a
shower radio. A clock is an important -but often
overlooked -bathroom detail.
Warming drawers and towel heaters are other excellent
pampering additions to the bathroom. Use baskets, glass
shelves installed above the toilet, or wine bottle holders
to store extra towels and bottles of shampoos,
conditioners and bath oils.