A bathroom at its most basic consists of an enclosed space and some plumbing fixtures. Sounds simple, right? And yet, bathrooms can be among the most complex and challenging parts of a house to design and remodel. Yesterday’s gloomy water closets have evolved into today’s appealing cleansing and relaxation rooms.
Recent trends include sunnier spaces; whirlpool tubs; luxurious showers; two sinks; barrier-free design; improved lighting; and supplies; more storage for bath accessories and even twin bathrooms in master suites. The best new and remodeled bathrooms reflect the way people live today. Life has speeded up considerably in recent decades, and family members are now under more pressure than ever to get up and out of the house quickly. Smart bathroom design can smooth your way by making efficient use of every available square foot while adding visual interest and beauty. Renovating or adding a bathroom is one of the best home improvement investments you can make. The main benefit is the added enjoyment and pride of ownership you’ll feel while you continue living in your house.
You’ll also realize benefits if you should decide to sell. An adequate number of eye-catching, fully functioning bathrooms is one of the first things people look for when shopping for a house. Upgrading an old bath or adding a new one may be just what you need to ensure a quick sale. The dollars you spend on a bathroom facelift, expansion, or addition almost certainly will increase the value of your real estate investment. The key to a successful remodeling is planning. That’s what this book is about. It offers you a systematic approach to the phases of bathroom design, materials selection, and construction. Follow the steps in this article, and you can make your dream bath a reality.
Assess Your Wants and Needs
Before rushing into drawing your floor plans and choosing the fixtures, step back and determine exactly what you want and need in a new bathroom. You probably have general ideas about this already, but the more thorough and specific you can be from the outset, the more satisfying the final results will be. Start by taking detailed stock of your present bathroom situation. Consider everything from surface materials to more fundamental issues, such as layout and location. Perhaps new flooring, wall coverings, countertops, cabinetry, or fixtures would do the trick. Or maybe you’ll need to rearrange the layout of an existing bathroom, add onto it, or create an entirely new one. Sometimes a bathroom doesn`t work well because it has too much space. This happens most often in houses that were built before the advent of indoor plumbing. When the outdoor privy came indoors, it often was placed in a bedroom or some other space that lacked the right proportions or scale to function as an efficient bathroom. These old-fashioned bathrooms may contain all the essentials yet look and feel awkward in actual use, so they offer many opportunities for improvement. Wants and needs must always be balanced against the budgetary bottom line.
We’ll deal with budget matters again later in this article and more fully on further articles. For now, just remember not to let your planning decisions get out of touch with financial realities. If you’re updating a bath in order to make the house more marketable, don`t overdo it. You could lose money by over improving (spending more than you can realistically hope to recover on resale) or by installing unconventional products or materials. lf on the other hand, you plan to live in your present house for the next 10 years, indulge yourself a little. Remember the trade-off strategy: By choosing, say, stock ceramic tile from a retail outlet as opposed to specialty tile, you’ll save money and retain a high resale value. Simple choices can save money you can apply toward a feature you really want, such as a nice whirlpool tub, a marble vanity top, or deluxe shower hardware. The following list of questions will help you analyze what you need in a new or renovated bathroom. Understand that these questions are only a beginning a springboard to get you started in evaluating your particular situation.
Take stock of your existing bathroom
Can two people comfortably and conveniently use the bathroom at the same time?
Do you use the tub for relaxing soaks?
Is the bathroom just for kids?
Do they like using it?
Why or why not? Is it child-safe?
If this is the main family bathroom or a children’s bath, is it close to the bedrooms?
Does the bathroom relate to adjacent rooms the way you would like it to?
Are there frequent traffic jams in or near the bathroom?
Is there a door that swings into the traffic path?
Is the room primarily a shower/bath/toilet area, or is it also a place to shave or apply makeup?
Are you forever bumping your elbow on a side wall when you brush your teeth?
Is the toilet visible through an open door?
Are there enough electrical outlets near the sink and mirror (are they ground-fault circuit interrupter, or GFCI, outlets)?
Are there places for a towel and a bathrobe close to the shower and/or tub?
Are there allotted spaces for such items as a laundry hamper, a bathroom scale, towels, bathrobes, and a toilet brush and plunger?
Is there ample, convenient storage?
Is the sink of adequate size? Or would two sinks be better?
Are the lighting and ventilation adequate?
Is there a grab bar next to the shower or tub?
Is there enough counter space?
Is the bathtub or shower big enough?
Are there signs of water damage anywhere?