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7 Improvements to Consider for Your Next Bathroom Remodel

A renovated bathroom adds value to your home, updates its style, and makes it better adapted to your current needs. Renovations are the best time to introduce improvements that will serve you and your family for years to come.

If you’re spending money for a bathroom remodel this year, consider making one or several of these essential changes to improve the functionality, storage, and comfort of your bathroom.

A Low-Flow, Hidden-Tank Toilet

Tankless toilet in modern bathroom
Astronaut Images / Caiaimage / Getty Images

Toilets with hidden tanks—in which the water storage vessel is mounted inside the wall—have several benefits. They are worth considering if you are remodeling a bathroom, especially a smaller bathroom, where the design can save space.

Hidden-tank toilets (sometimes called hidden cistern toilets) save you precious space, and low-flow models help save water every time you flush. It’s a smart choice that increases the value of your home after the remodel. These are appropriate for all bathrooms styles, but they fit especially well in modern and contemporary decors. But be aware that routine maintenance can be difficult since there is usually no easy access to the tank if the inner workings need attention.

Another style of tankless toilet uses a pressure valve, such as those often found in commercial settings or public bathrooms. These are also options, although such toilets are noisy and tend to give a bathroom a somewhat industrial feel.

Small, Textured Tile Shower Floor

You’ll have tons of flooring, wall and tile choices to make during your bathroom remodel. The most important for safety will be the floor tiling of your shower.

Choose a small, textured shower tile. The texture and the extra grouting will keep your feet from slipping once the floor gets soapy and wet. Most modern bathroom tiles are easy to clean and they use grouts that resist mold, humidity, and stains.

Ceramic and porcelain tiles give you many style and decor possibilities. Mix and match different patterns and colors for maximum visual impact, or do something more understated for a harmonious look.

2-inch Plumbing Drain Pipes

This is a small, invisible improvement that will make a big difference in the functionality of your bathroom.

Typical bathroom drain plumbing is 1 1/2-, or sometimes 1 1/4 inch-diameter pipe, usually PVC plastic. This type of drain pipe can clog easily, especially if you have with several family members using the same shower and/or bath. Installing two-inch-diameter drains costs the same, and will dramatically improve the quality of drainage in your bathroom.

Install a Tub Only if You Actually Take Baths

Too many people add a tub to their bathrooms just because they feel like they “should.” But a bathtub is not always a necessity, especially if you never take baths. While there are still real estate professionals who argue that a bathroom with a tub offers greater appeal to prospective buyers than one with just a shower, this is much less true for today’s buyers than it once was. And your major concern should be with how you are going to use the room for the next few years. If you love baths, then, by all means, include it in your remodel. But if you rarely, if ever, take baths, you may be much better off installing just a large shower. A bathtub is indeed more appealing to future buyers who may have children. But if your house includes another family bathroom that does have a tub or tub/shower combination, there is no reason why your master bath can’t omit the bathtub in favor of a luxurious shower.

Of course, if you have a large bathroom, you get probably include both without worrying too much about space. But if you have to choose, you should always go with what is most functional for you at this time. And that may mean leaving the bathtub out of your plans.

Include a Window in the Shower

One of the biggest enemies of a clean bathroom is the humidity that stays trapped in the space because of bad or insufficient ventilation. Although a good bathroom fan will make a big difference, the best ventilation is always natural ventilation.

Adding a window in your shower is going to help keep your bathroom clean and free of mold and mildew. The natural ventilation is effective, especially if you leave the bathroom door open after using it. A window also benefits a shower by letting in natural light, which both an aesthetic and safety consideration.

Discuss the appropriate type of window with your architect or contractor, but remember to slope the sill downwards so that water doesn’t get stuck, and use frosted glass for privacy.

Add a Recessed Medicine Cabinet

Get more storage space and a sleeker look with a recessed medicine cabinet above the vanity. By installing it a few inches inside the wall, you save yourself some needed space and make your bathroom look sleeker and more modern. The extra wall framing job doesn’t usually cost much in the grand scheme of a full bathroom renovation.

This is especially useful when your vanity is on the shallower side: You give yourself extra space to bend over and use the sink by using a recess in the wall. There are fewer worries about banging your head on the edge of the mirror.

Improve the Lighting

Bathrooms tend to have little access to natural light, hence the need for excellent lighting. As you plan your bathroom remodel, consider changing or adding to your current lighting to improve the functionality and mood of the space.

The first important lighting change should be a dimmer for the main lights. If you like to take baths, you know that a leisurely bath in full artificial light isn’t much fun. A dimmer will let you set just the right mood.

Add recessed fixtures around the mirror to give you the best lighting possible when doing your hair, applying make-up, or,shaving—or any other task that requires lots of light.

You should also consider adding lighting in the shower, rather than around it. Surprisingly, you’ll find your showers more pleasant (and safer) when they’re lighted properly.

Remodel and improve

A bathroom remodel should make your bathroom more efficient, more functional, and more stylish. When planning what kind of work you want done to improve your space, consider some of these small yet important improvements.


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