Bathrooms, for a multitude of reasons, are one of the most important rooms in the house. They provide a sense of personal cleansing and relaxation, so the aesthetics, layout, and functionality are of paramount importance. How is a cramped and cluttered space supposed to provide a person with rejuvenation? Unfortunately, rectifying an unsatisfactorily designed bathroom isn’t as simple as purchasing new furniture and rearranging the items at will, such as what one would do in a living room. Though any room can be lightly spruced up, altering a bathroom’s usable space requires careful planning, expert installers, and a commitment to living with the investment you’re making.
Let’s start with the bathroom’s infrastructure. First and foremost, you need to recognize the plumbing and electrical limitations of the room. For instance, if the bathroom isn’t located in an area conducive to new vent construction, moving fixtures from their current locations may not be a viable option. Also, access panels should be factored into a redesign as they prevent extensive demolition in the event that maintenance or repairs should be performed on critical plumbing junctions. Boring? Yes, but it lays groundwork for all of the design that will ensue.
Now it’s time to determine what fixtures you’ll install. Will this be a half-bath or full bath? Traditionally, a half-bath will only have a sink and toilet while a full bath will run the full gamut of personal hygienic fixtures and storage solutions. With so many choices in bathtubs, showers, sinks, vanities, and cabinets, it can easily be overwhelming. Let’s examine each of these items and bring some clarity to your decision.
Tubs and Showers
The amount of room you have with which to work and flexibility in budget dictate this decision, but what is the main use of this bathroom? What are your typical needs for cleaning? If at all possible, a tub/shower unit will permit nicely for a balance between functionality, versatility, and aesthetics. If you have the space to install both a standalone shower and tub, consider incorporating the tub as a focal point (e.g. clawtooth) or as a means of relaxation (e.g. whirlpool). Should utility purposes be your main concern, a standalone shower unit with no tub will more than suffice and likely save costs. Acrylic/fiberglass tub and shower surrounds are the simplest to install and clean, but if a custom design is a must, glazed tile is the way to go.
The function of the sink depends heavily on its size and storage capacity. Are two people frequently rushing to get ready at the same time in your household? Consider a “his and her” setup with a counter that boasts dual sink basins. Self-rimming drop-ins, followed by undermounts, are the most common and cost effective, while the vessel variety offers a unique aesthetic twist. Can’t get enough of the eye-appealing pedestal? These sinks fit well in bright rooms without a demand for storage. One note of caution; pedestals are notorious for installation difficulties, mostly in the way of concealing plumbing.
Vanities and Cabinets
You have to both store frequently accessed products in the bathroom all while ensuring your appearance is up to par. The mirrored vanity cabinet, typically installed eye-level above the sink, is a perfect solution to these two needs. Vanities can either be flush-mounted to a wall or recessed. If a larger mirror is desired, such as for dual sinks, consider installing a separate storage cabinet for personal care products, towels, and other bathroom essentials.
With all the fixtures in place, you’re left to decide on a theme, mostly dictated through flooring and walls. Where a utility bathroom would benefit from inexpensive and easy to clean tileboard, properly installed ceramic tile will ensure ease of cleaning, moisture resistance, and endless color and design flexibility.