5 ‘don’ts’ to avoid in a bathroom

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There are some fantastic trends in bathroom remodeling on the market right now. It’s easier than ever before for eager homeowners to find a style that speaks to them and re-create their bathing space into a beautiful staple of their home’s aesthetic. 

While most home renovators have a good sense of what they should do when putting their vision in place, a common mistake is not looking into what they shouldn’t do. Bathrooms in particular can be tricky rooms to redo because not all home materials will work as well there as they would in other rooms. The moisture that condenses in a room with a bath or shower can be a game-changer when deciding what should be used in a bathroom remodel.

Here’s a look at five “don’ts” home remodelers should steer clear of when updating their bathrooms:

Don’t…

…Use materials that require a lot of maintenance if this is a main bathroom. Natural stone tiles are beautiful, but do require some upkeep to resist staining. Natural stone must be sealed periodically in any room, but even more so in the bathroom where there is hot steam and heavy duty cleaners breaking down the protectant. Marble is especially tough to maintain in this environment as it is the most porous and softest of the stones. You may quickly end up with scratches, dings, rust and stain spots in a bathroom that was gorgeous when brand new. Same goes for countertops that are made of natural stone. The good news is there are many options that will give you the look you long for without the upkeep. Quartz has come a long way from the chunky particulates of the past and porcelain can rival the look of even the most exotic marble.

Don’t…

…Assume your bath remodel will give you more water pressure. Actually, the opposite is true. There have been many laws put into place in recent years restricting the amount of water that flows through shower heads and faucets. Manufacturers are required to cap the flow sometimes as low as two gallons per minute (even less in California and some other parts of the country). You may be replacing shower heads that ran five or six gallons per minute. Toilets are also required to use much less water to flush. The standard now is 1.28 gallons per flush (gpf) down from as much as seven gpf 30 years ago. The good news is that many of the major manufacturers of toilets and/or faucets, such as Kohler, Moen or Delta to name a few, have been researching and developing ways to make those lower flows seem like much more. Kohler has its Aqua Piston flushing technology which ensures enhanced flush capability. Moen and Delta both have innovative technology in their shower heads that don’t use any additional water, but provide optimal water pressure. Be sure to educate yourself on your options when shopping for fixtures.

Only use properly sealed and slip-resistant materials for floors to prevent water damage and fall risks.
Only use properly sealed and slip-resistant materials for floors to prevent water damage and fall risks.

Don’t…

…Be penny wise and dollar foolish. Many times people try to work around existing problems when planning the space in the bathroom. For instance, getting a custom sized vanity to fit into a space when moving the doorway a few inches may allow for a standard size allowing you more space, storage and better function. Some people pay thousands of dollars for custom shower doors to avoid moving a toilet or window to gain a bigger shower. Work with a professional that can give you the most bang for your buck. Many bathrooms are simple and there’s no changes necessary but when you have a larger space, a very small or an odd space, chances are there are better ways to design it.

Don’t…

…Skimp on lighting. Natural light is extremely important in a bathroom, otherwise it will feel like a cave. If privacy is a concern use wide horizontal windows that are short and set them at eye level or above. There are also windows that come with blinds inside the panes or obscure glass. In addition to natural light you will need general light, task light and ambient light if you want to make the bathroom a cozy retreat. In larger bathrooms you may want to use high hats or a pretty ceiling fixture as the main light. You will need ample lighting in the mirror/vanity area for applying makeup or shaving, etc. with a light over the shower or tub for safety and convenience. As far as ambient lighting, having everything on separate dimmers allows you to control the mood.

Don’t…

…Be afraid to inject your personality into the design. Unless you plan to sell within a year, keeping the bathroom plain for resale is like buying a dress for someone else. You don’t know what their style is, they may hate it anyway and you are stuck living with something you don’t love in the meantime. Let’s be clear, we are not talking about inlaying your name in mosaic tile, but go with your gut.  If you love a particular color try to incorporate it into your bathroom, especially if you don’t overdo it, you will love it for a long time.