Make Your Bathroom Beautiful

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 impact.

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 creative. Conveniences

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.