The Bathroom

The Bathroom

Chapter 5: The Bathroom

 

Having covered the kitchen, it’s time for us to talk about its close cousin, the bathroom. In this chapter, we will discuss the different remodeling trends out there so that you can find the most suitable style for you. We will also explore what a Jack and Jill bathroom is and what benefits this configuration offers. Additionally, we will look at some of the elements that will populate your bathroom, including the shower, the sink, and the toilet. At the end of the chapter, we will discuss your bathroom’s storage space and see how you can maximize it.

 

Bathroom Remodeling Trends

When it comes to remodeling your bathroom, you want to balance between two opposing forces: on the one hand, you want to make your bathroom trendy and fashionable. This requires you to keep up with the latest trends and know what’s in this season. On the other hand, you want to make something timeless because the alternative of redoing your bathroom every year can be very expensive. Additionally, whatever look you decide to give to your bathroom, you have to actually like it seeing as you’ll be the one using it. Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the popular trends for this year.

High-tech

One of the most prominent trends this year is to incorporate as much technology as possible into your bathroom, be it in your toilet, your shower, or the counter. For instance, you could install wireless speakers into your showerhead; imagine that, standing underneath your shower while listening to some of your songs pouring down on you along with the water. Moreover, you could install Bluetooth devices and docking stations in your bathroom space, and if you want more entertainment in your bathroom, you could set up a TV. With this set-up, you could watch your favorite shows while soaking in a relaxing bubble bath.

Image courtesy of pexels.com, licensed under CC0 Public Domain.

Apart from playing music, smart showerheads can now learn your favorite temperature. The toilets themselves have seen some major tech upgrades in the past few years. High-tech toilets come with seat warmers installed, automatic lid openers, and slow close features. You can also have them come with adjustable air dryers and built-in deodorizers.

Another addition found in high-tech bathrooms is in-floor heat. The basic idea is simple enough: a heating system is placed underneath your bathroom floor and is turned on when you’re in there, keeping your feet, and by extension you, warm during those cold months of winter. If the cost of an in-floor heat proves too steep for you, you can always revert to its distant relative towel warmers; you might not enjoy warm feet, but you can enjoy being wrapped in a cocoon of warmth instead.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, you can put a small fridge beneath a counter to keep your medication cool. This can be an excellent substitute for your conventional medicine cabinet, or it can supplement it. Plus, it never hurts to have a few chilled drinks lying around.

Natural

Juxtaposing simplicity with something organic is all the rage these days. The end goal is to make your bathroom feel as a part of nature while still being partially modern. Hence, wood and stone are meshed together to give off a stylish look.

Image courtesy of pixabay.com, licensed under CC0 Public Domain.

To start with, try using clean colors, those that lean towards the neutral part of the spectrum, like your whites, creams, and beiges. This will make it ideal for you to use hints of darker shades of grey and to give the overall color scheme some contrast. You shouldn’t be afraid to insert some organic colors in the mix as well, like organic brown and blue.

A big part of the natural trend is about the usage of materials, with a focus on wood and stone. Where you can use wood is entirely up to you, but the possibilities are endless. For instance, you can get a bath tub made out of wood; it will look luxurious and sensual. The same goes for the stone. You can also incorporate other natural materials, such as clay, and into the design of your bathroom.

Moreover, you can make use of different alternatives to natural wood as long as you give off the same look. For example, there are porcelain tiles on the market that look identical to hardwood flooring. They come in all shapes and sizes, giving you the versatility to turn your bathroom into a modern masterpiece or a homage to the rustic aesthetic. Since these tiles are inorganic, you never have to worry about them getting wet.

Should you feel the need to make your bathroom even more organic, you can adorn it with a few plants here and there. The good thing about plants is that they can go almost anywhere and they’ll look good: you could have plants hanging in the shower, you could have plants sticking to the walls, or you could sprinkle a few potted plants around the space. In all cases, the space will look livelier for it.

Practical

The third entry on our list is the trend towards making your bathroom the epitome of practicality. This trend is usually more suited for people who live in the city in cramped spaces. The main idea here is to reduce the size of the bathroom and increase its privacy without harming its functionality or sense of luxury. This mentality is applied to the entire bathroom.

So, how can space be saved? The first tenet is to focus on using every square inch as efficiently as possible. For example, you can put in a freestanding single-person tub in place of a regular tub. As a matter of fact, changing your bathtub for a walk-in shower would be a great move on your part. An even greater move would be to design a shower without borders, where the entire bathroom is used as your shower; it might be a bit messy, but it’ll save you a ton of space. When it comes to toilets and sink bowls, you can make do with small but effective ones.

However, just because something is smaller doesn’t mean that it’ll be harder to use. If anything, an important caveat of practical design is ease of use and ease of cleaning. And for something to be easy to use, it needs to be accessible, which is especially important if you’re planning to spend your retirement years there. Also, accessibility helps bump up your resale value. To make matters more concrete, you can increase accessibility by replacing a built-in bathtub with a combination of bathtub/shower wet room or utilizing floating vanities, as their heights are adjustable.

To top all of that, the bathroom’s small size shouldn’t preclude you from enjoying plenty of storage as long as you come up with smart solutions. You can make use of the vertical space by building your cabinetry on top of one another. You can also explore built-in cabinetry, open shelving, and an antique piece of furniture with storage space inside.

Bold

A bold bathroom is meant to stand out and pop. It should capture the user’s attention with its tiles, furniture, and decorations.

Let’s first talk about your tiles. Whether you choose to go with something playful or something that stands out by being mismatched (yes, that’s a thing), it’s important for your tiles to make a statement. You can choose to go with Mediterranean styled tiles that fuse old Spanish, Moroccan, and Portuguese sensibilities, such as in hand-painted terracotta, with more glamorous, modern day tastes, which tends to include plenty of metallics.

Image courtesy of  pixabay.com, licensed under CC0 Public Domain.

Alternatively, you may wish to try three-dimensional tiles, which exude a sense of high-style. These tiles can come in different shapes and patterns, giving you plenty of leeway on how you’d like the finished result to look like. Speaking of which, you can install tiles that have unique shapes and geometries, others that make fun patterns once they’re set-up, or perhaps tiles that combine their one-of-a-kind shape with a quirky pattern to give you the best of both worlds. As for mismatched tiles, you can put together several different types of tiles within the same space, presenting you with a cool looking, custom bathroom in the end.

When it comes to color, dark and moody tones seem to be on the rise. Be it dark flooring or grey cabinets, dark colors that contrast against natural textures, in the form of wooden frames and jut rugs, can produce timeless looks.

One further avenue you can use to try something dashing is the bathroom’s lighting. You can use groovy chandeliers or ornate pendants to make a statement. You can also place lighting fixtures in the cleverest of places, such as up-lights to illuminate the vanity and give it a dramatic flair.

A bold bathroom admits of numerous other features that make it stand out. For one thing, you can set up a ventless fire feature, which can keep your entire bathroom warm along plus add a touch of romance in the air. Another thing you might want to try out is a handsome throw rug instead of your run-of-the-mill bath mat. One third thing is to actually hang a piece of quirky wall art that is memorable in place of your boring picture of a goldfish with puckered lips.

Retro

Retro bathrooms are the final contenders on our list, and they are definitely in this season. They harken back to an older time with their use of vintage and opulent fixtures. Take for example how retro bathrooms use free-standing tubs like the claw-foot, a classic that has withstood the test of time. Furthermore, retro bathrooms use large round mirrors that make the space seem grander than it already is. This is an option that is definitely worth checking out.

 

Jack and Jill Bathrooms

Ever since the days of the Brady Bunch first aired on TV, the concept of a Jack and Jill bathroom has been popularized by the media. So, let’s see what exactly is a Jack and Jill bathroom and what it had to offer?

In short, when a bathroom accommodates more than an individual user by having separate sinks but shared bath/ shower and toilet areas, it is dubbed a Jack and Jill bathroom. This type of bathroom can be placed in one of two places: out in the hallway or between two rooms.

  • Benefits: To be sure, Jack and Jill bathrooms offer numerous benefits over your standard alternative. To start with, Jack and Jill bathrooms can save you money, space, and time. Bathrooms are expensive given all the required plumbing and fixtures. Therefore, letting one bathroom do the job can be a life-saver. Over and above, there is less to clean. A second benefit provided by Jack and Jill bathrooms is that although they offer a shared bathroom space for different individuals, they still grant everyone their own privacy. Also, Jack and Jill bathrooms that are placed between two rooms allow each room equal access to it, making life easier for the people in those rooms.
  • Drawbacks: The main issue that comes up time and again when it comes to Jack and Jill bathrooms is the privacy of its users. However, there are numerous ways to solve this problem, including locks, LED lights, and translucent panels.

Things to Take into Consideration

Here are a couple of things to remember when doing your bathrooms:

  • To ensure the user’s privacy, it’s imperative to install locks where they are needed. For example, if a bathroom is shared between two rooms, there should be locks on either door of the bathroom as well as on the room doors. What’s more, everybody using the bathroom should get in the habit of locking all the necessary locks when they enter the bathroom and unlocking the locks the minute they are done.
  • An extra way of giving the toilet and shower an extra sense of privacy is to put them in a private space of their own. In such a manner, an individual could be using the shower while another would be using the sink.
  • Each user of the bathroom should have their own storage space. This would help them feel that they own part of the bathroom. Ideally, they should each have their own vanity mirror as well.
  • When designing the bathroom, you should let the individuals using the space have some input in how the finished project will look like.
  • Should you wish to give each individual using the bathroom even more space, you can put a dedicated vanity in each of their rooms, giving them as much time as they’d like without being hassled by the other person.
  • Removing the bathtub in favor of a shower will give you more space to work with.

 

Bathroom Fixtures

Bathtub/shower

Despite the unique look and feel of a bathtub, people have begun to flock towards showers due in the most part to their smaller size and water efficiency. Nevertheless, here are some pointers you should keep with you when installing a shower.

  • Even though you might want to have a shower replace every bathtub in your house, this is a bad idea; you’re better off leaving at least one bathtub in the house. This is in order for you to preserve the resale value of your property seeing as most people expect the place to have at least one tub, if nothing more than for the children.
  • The majority of building codes agree on the fact that the minimum dimensions for a shower stall should be 30 inches by 30 inches. Better still, you could install a 36 inch by 36 inch stall and follow the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s recommendation.
  • When installing a shower door swing, bear in mind that there shouldn’t be any obstacles in its way, particularly the toilet and vanity. An easy fix in order to avoid this problem completely is to use a sliding glass door.
  • There are several types of shower doors out there, each with its positives and negatives. For example, rounded doors give you plenty of shower space, whereas sliding shower doors making cleaning a relatively easier job. Pivot doors open outwards more often than not but might be problematic due to how wet it can get the rest of the bathroom.
  • A big part of your shower’s style and cost is the shower floor, which needs plenty of attention during the design phase. You have two choices: you could have a shower stall with curbs or you could have a curbless shower stall. The former type is cheaper and easier to install, whereas the latter offer you a more elegant look at the expense of their cost and intricacy of installation.
  • When removing your old tub and getting ready to put in your new shower, you should check on the condition of the plumbing in the wall that you’ll be using and have it replaced if need be. Also, given that your shower will be using the same plumbing used by that of your tub, you should be positive that your shower will get placed in a spot where the pipes can get to it.
  • If, at any point, you would like to upgrade from your conventional shower to something a little bit fancier, you can always try a deluxe shower. A deluxe shower usually comes with all the bells and whistles: his and her showerheads, body sprays, water jets, and steam generators. You can add a bench to sit on while enjoying your steam shower for good measure. It’s like having your own spa and the only guest there will always be you.

Types of showers

There are four main types of showers you’ll come across when shopping for the perfect one for you.

  • Instant electric. This is probably the most popular type of shower that can give you instant hot water out there. You can buy one of two types of electric showers: one that gets its water from the main water supply and the other gets its water supply from a storage tank somewhere above it.
  • Mixer valves. All mixer valves work by mixing cold and hot water in their valve and then giving you the result. The hot water can come from a water heater, for instance. Unlike the instant electric shower, you have to wait for hot water a bit.
  • Power showers. They may look like an electric shower, but they resemble a mixer valve in the way they operate. The difference between them and mixer valves is that they are equipped with an internal pump that helps increase the water pressure that you receive as a user.
  • Pumped showers. Rather than having the pump inside the shower unit like power showers, pumped showers separate the showerhead from the pump, placing the showerhead in the shower stall while situating the pump anywhere else, maybe even out of the house.

Sinks

Image courtesy of pixabay.com, licensed under CC0 Public Domain.

When picking a sink, there are several options to choose from.

  • Pedestal sink. This is an affordable option that adds to your bathroom a sense of style. Its small size makes it very popular in small bathrooms and powder rooms. The negative here is that it gives you neither much storage space nor any deck space.
  • Vessel sink. It is a bit pricier than your pedestal sink, yet it offers a touch of eloquence and uniqueness. They also come in a wide array of materials, giving you plenty of options to choose from. The look is simple enough: a bowl rests on a counter, offering you storage space below. The downside is that they are a bit difficult to clean.
  • Drop-in sink. Out of all the sinks on our list, this one is the easiest to install and set-up. It is also cheap, so you don’t have to worry about paying through nose. It is also present in several colors and materials.
  • Undermount sink. This alternative is a higher quality sink over the drop-in sink, yet you pay for the higher quality. Nevertheless, it is not more expensive than the vessel sink. It is durable, doesn’t require too much care, and gives off a sleek look.

Toilet

When getting a toilet, you first want to check its capabilities, the same way you would check how strong a car’s motor is before buying the car. A toilet’s strength is measured by a MaP (Maximum Performance), which measures the amount of solid waste removal. This strength is measured by qualified individuals in third party laboratories. With this in mind, you can set your minimum threshold of MaP at 350 grams, and just to be safe, you can raise that minimum threshold to 500 grams.

Once you’ve decided to get a strong toilet, the next thing you want to do is find a toilet that is comfortable to use for you and your family, which is dictated by its shape and fit. For instance, toilets with elongated bowls tend to be more comfortable, whereas round bowls are cheaper and more conservative space-wise. Also, for taller family members, they might enjoy toilets that are higher than the standard 14 inches off the floor.

Image courtesy of pexels.com, licensed under CC0 Public Domain.

An important distinction you should bear in mind is the difference between a one piece and two piece toilet. What is meant by one piece versus two piece is whether the seat base and the tank are a single entity or the seat base and tank are two separate things that are made to fit together, as in a two piece toilet. Even though one piece toilets are easier to clean and give off a seamless look, two piece toilets are cheaper and easier to transport from one place to another.

A pricier option still is that of an in-wall toilet, where the tank is hid inside the wall. They require more construction work than your average toilet, and it may not always be possible to erect one, especially if the wall is too thin. Having said that, their unique look and dramatic flair are felt in any bathroom they are in.

You also ought to look at a toilet’s flushing mechanism. Some toilets flush using the simple force of gravity, called gravity-based toilets, or utilize a little pressure to help with the flushing process, aptly named pressure-assisted toilets. Besides flushing mechanism, look at how you can activate the flusher in the first place. There are numerous mechanisms out there, but the two most commonly used are push buttons, which exude a modern feeling, and levers, which are cheaper and more classic.

 

Storage Space

In a world where we’re all scrambling for that little bit of extra space, here are a few ideas that can help you maximize the amount of space have in your bathroom.

  • As an alternative to over-crowding your shower space with plenty of toiletries, you can make use of a recessed cubby to put all your shampoos, soaps, and conditioners.
  • Vanities with sinks can present you with plenty of storage space, on average a 30 inch vanity can offer 15 cubic feet to satisfy all your storage needs. Just be sure to clear a path for the vanity’s cabinet doors. Moreover, adding pullout shelves to your vanity only increases its utility and makes your stuff more accessible. As for your cosmetics, jewelry, and other items, you can use drawer dividers to help you keep things organized and segregated. Speaking of drawers, you can try out a vanity with tilt-out drawers that can carry your hair brushes, combs, or tooth brushes. Also, try to find a vanity with a hamper for dirty clothes.
  • If your bathroom is smaller than usual, you can still install compact vanity cabinets.
  • Medicine cabinets are a staple of most bathrooms. Simply put, they are cabinets with narrow depth hiding behind a mirror. Stock your bathroom with one.
  • If you’re looking for a place to store your cosmetics, you can purchase countertop level cabinets. This is a good solution seeing as the packaging of plenty of everyday cosmetics makes them hard to put on an exposed shelf.
  • Given that your family goes through its fair share of towels and bed linens, you need a space to store all these pieces of cloth. This is where something like built-in linen closets with shelves can be of great use to you.
  • Wondering about where you can put a few extra shelves in your bathroom? Well, anywhere you want is the answer. You can affix shelves to a wall to use for your grooming products along with your towels, magazines, and other bathroom must haves. Shelves can even go on to the back of the door should you want so.
  • Additionally, the door can offer you storage space if you were to hang up a few hooks for bathrobes on its back.
  • In the event that you can’t find a place to put your shelves, you can buy freestanding furniture that offers you all the storage space you’ll need. You can buy etageres, which give you open shelving to do with as you please, or storage benches, which look fashionable, give you a place to sit, and allow you to store some of your things inside them.
  • One final idea is to use baskets or crates to help store and organize your everyday essentials. And you don’t have to worry about them being unsightly; with a little bit of creativity, you can color them to make them fit with the entire bathrooms’ style.

 

Throughout this chapter, we’ve delved into everything bathroom related. In the next chapter, we’ll see how you can arrange the living room with the goal of exploring how you can make it comfortable and practical, while retaining its beauty.

For a full list of chapters, click here.

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