How to Choose the Right Bathroom Vanity

While it’s not necessarily the most glamorous part of a bathroom remodel, choosing the right bathroom vanity can make or break your bathroom design. If your vanity is placed in an awkward position, uses mismatched materials, or doesn’t have enough storage space, the rest of your bathroom will suffer. While a beautiful bathroom ensures you’re happy with your surroundings, functionality is just as important as aesthetics. Here’s some professional tips for choosing your bathroom cornerstone:

Size

When it comes to any type of remodel, working within your home’s established architecture is part of the equation. By evaluating your lifestyle, size of the bathroom, and the demands that will be placed on the vanity, the preferred size will become evident rather quickly. While your storage needs do impact the size of your vanity, taking the size of your bathroom into consideration is more important. While 32 inches is the go-to height for bathroom vanities, many modern designers recommend purchasing a vanity that’s between 34 and 35 inches. Ultimately, you should choose a vanity that will offer comfort and convenience to those who will use it, regardless of the size recommended by designers.

Placement

As far as placement goes, access and plumbing are the two areas of primary concern: your vanity shouldn’t disrupt the flow of traffic, and it should be placed near current plumbing. Additionally, homeowners should think about cleaning and vanity door swing space – if the surrounding areas aren’t accessible for cleaning and the cabinet doors would get in the way of foot traffic, another vanity design should be considered. While changing your bathroom’s plumbing in order to install a new vanity is a possibility, it’s going to account for a large chunk of your budget and, in most cases, is not ideal.

Materials

Since vanities are placed in hot and humid environments, it’s important that your vanity can withstand environmental stress. With that in mind, wood veneers, laminates and thermofoil tend to work well in bathrooms. Although hardwood is an attractive choice, hardwood vanities should be properly sealed and lacquered to prevent damage from wear and tear over time. Although lacquer can protect wood, it doesn’t make it indestructible. If a clear finish or lacquer is used, water will still affect the wood if it’s left standing on it. These types of vanities are recommended for use in guest bathrooms or bathrooms that aren’t used on a consistent basis.

Do Your Research

Although this applies to any form of decorating and remodeling, it’s worth noting once again: be sure to explore your options before finalizing a purchase. Keep an eye out for seasonal sales, such as Modern Bathroom’s Labor Day Sale, and remember that price doesn’t always translate to taste. If you can’t afford a designer edition of a bathroom vanity, look for an imitation in a local warehouse. Choosing the perfect bathroom vanity can make or break the look and feel of your bathroom, so take your time, be creative, do your research, and work with the space you have.

How to Make a Small Bathroom Look Bigger

Unless you live in a custom-built home with a luxurious bath and walk-in closet, chances are you wish your bathroom was a little bit larger. While a small bathroom can feel cozy and intimate, it can also feel claustrophobic and cramped. Did you know it’s possible to create the feeling of more space without being forced to add more square footage? With these changes in color, lighting enhancements and decorating tricks, you can transform your small bath into something that appears a bit more spacious.

Pedestal Sink > Vanity

When you’re tight on space, replace your bulky vanity with a pedestal sink – or two! While a traditional vanity provides plenty of storage space under the sink, it can also obscure shower entrances and take up valuable floor space. Replacing a vanity with a pedestal or wall-mounted sink is a fairly inexpensive way to provide functionality while opening up floor space. Additionally, don’t install tall shelving units or cabinets that reach from floor to ceiling – these will only make your bathroom seem shorter and smaller.

Paint the Ceiling

Painting your bathroom ceiling the same color as the walls is a great way to open up a room, especially if your ceiling is angled or oddly shaped. By painting everything a unified color, unusual shapes will disappear and the space will visually expand. But how? Painting the ceiling to match the walls will cut down on the number of transitions and intersecting planes, creating a cleaner, more expansive upper space in the room. If your ceiling is flat, consider painting it a shade lighter since ceilings tend to read a bit darker than the rest of a room.

Color Selection

Pale, soft color schemes tend to great the illusion of more space. “Cool” colors, like light pinks, pale blues and sea foam greens, give the feeling serenity while strong, exciting colors can actually make your bathroom appear smaller. If you’re set on hot pinks or dark reds, consider using these colors for accessories, towels, and accent pieces. For the walls and ceilings, stick to pastel tones, neutrals, and whites. Additionally, keep everything the same tone/value as much as possible – avoid the contrast of dark walls and light tiles in favor of a more uniform color scheme.

Use BIG Mirrors

When it comes to mirrors in small bathrooms, the bigger the better. Nothing can make a bathroom feel larger than a mirror that reaches to the ceiling. When trimmed out in wood or tile and with lighting installed on top of it or in front of it, an oversized mirror will double the impact of the light and make the space grow. Note: don’t use double mirrors over side by side sinks, as this will chop up the space and have the opposite effect. Additionally, be sure to use clear glass in your shower – although textured glass promotes privacy, it can make the already small space feel like it has an extra wall.

Take Advantage of Natural Light

If you’re fortunate enough to have windows in your bathroom, take advantage of them. In many cases, windows are covered with shutters, shades, blinds or curtains in an effort to create privacy. Instead, cover a window with a translucent window shade or a light-toned stained glass window – this way you can have natural light while still enjoying your privacy. If you don’t have a window, consider installing a skylight, as natural light is one of the easiest ways to make a small bathroom appear larger.

The Best Plants for Your Bathroom

Whether you’re looking for an innovative way to add color to your bathroom or are seeking clean-air solutions, bathroom plants are a natural way to bring life and clean air into your home. Although the minimal natural light and high humidity in bathrooms aren’t ideal for some plants, there are a lot of houseplants that thrive in your bathroom’s tropical conditions. In order to choose the best houseplant for your bathroom, you should consider the environment your bathroom offers: some plants thrive in low light, while others may require lots of space. Here’s a list of popular plants you may wish to incorporate into your bathroom décor, along with the ideal conditions and basic care of each.

Aloe Vera

Widely grown as an ornamental plant, Aloe Vera is a succulent plant species suitable for a bathroom environment. If you buy a plant that’s already established and add water only after its soil has completely dried, Aloe Vera should be extremely easy to grow. Although Aloe Vera prefers bright, sunny conditions, the plant can burn under too much sunlight, making it an ideal candidate for the bathroom. An added bonus: Aloe Vera can be used to treat minor abrasions and burns. Simply snap a leaf, and squeeze the juice directly onto minor wounds. The extract will moisturize and speed up healing time.

Snake Plant

Tolerant of low light levels and irregular watering, the snake plant is a popular plant for the bathroom. Although the plant is considered by some authorities as a weed, it’s widely used as an ornamental plant both outdoors in warmer climates and indoors in cooler climates. A study performed by NASA ranked the snake plant as one of the best plants for improving indoor air quality – the plant passively absorbs toxins such as nitrogen oxides and formaldehyde from the air. Ideal for those lacking a green thumb, a snake plant is one of the hardest plants to kill, and prefers to be watered every 7-10 days.

Orchids

This beautiful, tropical plant will produce brightly colored flowers that are sure to liven up even the dullest of bathrooms. Although this plant can be difficult to cultivate and may die in other areas of the home due to dry air, the humidity of the bathroom creates an ideal environment for this plant to thrive. With over 20,000 species, orchids are one of the largest families of flowering plants. Since all orchids are perennial herbs, you’ll only get to enjoy them for part of the year, so keep that in mind before purchasing an orchid for your bathroom.

Spider Plants

Characterized by long shoots of thin foliage with off shoots at the ends of many leaves, the Spider Plant is one of the easiest houseplants to grow. Spider Plants only require light watering, and will only need to be watered once every two weeks. Although Spider Plants prefer natural light, they should not be placed in direct sunlight and should be removed from sunlight if their leaves turn brown. If the plant is kept within five to eight feet of a window, it should thrive in a bathroom environment.

Hanging Plants

Although hanging plants aren’t a specific type of plant, hanging plants are very popular and appreciated among those who grow plants in their bathroom. Hanging plants above the bathtub or from a hook on the ceiling is a great way to add greenery to your bathroom without taking up too much space. Ideal for bathrooms low on space, you can experiment with hanging plants and find interesting ways to display them in your bathroom. If possible, find a way to hang the plants in front of a window where they’ll be exposed to the most natural light.

Note: Many houseplants are poisonous to children and pets. Please research any houseplant before incorporating them into your bathroom.

Black is the New Black: How to Incorporate Black into Your Bathroom

Although black is not a favorite for use in home interiors, it can be an amazing idea if executed properly. When applied wisely, the color black can transform your bathroom into an elegant, dramatic, and trendy room. By incorporating black into your bathroom you’ll have the unique opportunity to create a room that’s the perfect mix between drama and elegance. Keep in mind the following basic rules and you can creatively use the color black when decorating your bathroom.

Use Black to Add Depth

One of the biggest misconceptions about using black is that it can make a room look cramped and small. While including black into a person’s outfit can make them look slimmer, black in the bathroom can actually add depth and make the room appear larger. One way to ensure your bathroom doesn’t look cramped as a result of using black Is to be mindful of how you’re incorporating the color – if you don’t have a large bathroom, consider only painting one or two of the walls black. If you’re still worried about using black on walls, consider opting for a black tiled floor or accent pieces instead.

Don’t Forget About the Lighting

There’s no denying that black works best in bathrooms with a large window and lots of natural light. If your bathroom doesn’t have large windows or is completely lacking natural light, you can still incorporate black by paying attention to the lighting. By adding contemporary light fixtures or a large mirror into your bathroom, the reflective surfaces will help light bounce through the room. If you’d really like to take it to the next level, consider installing a mirror with surrounding spotlights.

Don’t Feel Restricted

When incorporating black into the bathroom, many homeowners may feel restricted to painting the walls completely black. While this can work well when executed properly, it’s not the only solution. For those a bit less adventurous, there are a lot of fantastic wallpapers incorporating black and white patterns. Additionally, chevron stripes using two different shades of black can be a great way to add black to the bathroom without going overboard. Finally, don’t be afraid of experimenting with different textures. The use of materials like stone, granite, and slate can work brilliantly.

Consider the Ceiling or Trim

One more substitute for black walls or black floor tile is to paint your ceiling black. While ceilings are typically painted white, there is no great cause or reason for this. A black ceiling is a great way to draw attention upwards, and can make a bathroom look very chic and cohesive, especially when combined with black accent pieces, like rugs on the floor or knobs on the bathroom vanity. For those a bit wary about black ceilings and walls, coloring the trim and other accents of the bathroom in black is also a unique and interesting style statement that carries far less risk.

Classic Color Schemes

Black, when incorporated with white, is a classic color scheme perfect for virtually any size or style bathroom. One of the best things about this color scheme is that you can hardly ever go wrong with it – the color combination has survived centuries and has never seemed to go out of style. Whether you opt for the classic black and white checkered tiles or black and white striped wallpaper, you’re sure to enjoy the classic black and white color scheme we’ve all grown to love throughout the years.

How to Transform Your Bathroom into a Relaxing, Spa-Like Retreat

If you’re as busy and stressed out as the rest of America, you probably don’t take time out for yourself very often. Although personal pampering has known stress relieving benefits, we don’t all have the time or financial freedom to book a spa day at a high end resort. Instead, you can transform your bathroom into the relaxing, spa-like retreat of your dreams. By following these tips, you’ll be one step closer to feeling just as pampered and relaxed as you would after a day at the spa – except without the costly bill.

Ensure Privacy

One of the most important parts of any home spa experience is ensuring you have uninterrupted time just for you. If you have to jump out of the tub to answer the ringing doorbell or soothe your crying toddler, you may end up feeling even tenser than you did before entering the bath. By making arrangements for uninterrupted solitude you’ll be fully prepared to indulge in the luxury of a bath. Keep your cell phone out of the room, let the phone go to voicemail, and consider taking a bath while the kids are in school or are otherwise occupied – you’ll thank yourself later!

Don’t Forget the Tunes

If you can arrange to have music in your bathroom, you’ll be glad you did. Whether it’s a soothing, classical record or an acoustic performance by your favorite band, music can work wonders to melt away stress and remove you from reality. Additionally, if you share a space with others, music can help drown out the sounds of everything that’s going on elsewhere in the house. Some use their phones to stream music, while others opt for waterproof, Bluetooth enabled speakers. Whatever the method, music shouldn’t be overlooked when transforming your bathroom into your own personal retreat.

Pay Attention to Details

Did you know eliminating labels can help you relax? By transferring cotton balls and Q-tips to clear, glass jars you can reduce the stress caused by clutter in your bathroom. If shower space is an issue, consider using a curved shower curtain – it’ll create space and ensure your showers are relaxing. Another easy way to create a relaxing atmosphere in your bathroom is to trade colorful towels for white, fluffy ones – they’re clean, simple, and won’t act as a distraction. When’s the last time you went to a spa and were given a striped or brightly colored towel? Spas use white towels for a reason, and so should you.

Take Advantage of Your Senses

If the lights are on, your eyes will wander and your brain will follow suit. Lighting the room with candles is ideal, since the flickering of the flame when combined with the soothing scent of a candle will do wonders to relax your body and mind. By using lavender-scented bubble bath or aromatherapy bath salts you can take advantage of the soothing effects scent can have on your body. Many spas incorporate fresh flowers, so why not include a vase of fresh cut flowers in your bathroom?

Create a Chic Bathroom on the Cheap

Although the cost of a bathroom makeover can be daunting, there are plenty of ways to save. One smart way to save money during a renovation or bathroom upgrade is to focus your efforts on smaller, more commonly used areas of your bathroom instead of replacing large, expensive, fixtures. Make your project even more affordable by selecting lower-priced fixtures over their higher-priced alternatives. The less need there is to relocate plumbing and electrical, the lower the renovation bill will be. Here are some inexpensive ways you can improve your bathroom while staying on track with your budget.

Coordinate Accents

An easy way to give your bath a designer touch is with matching accessories. If your medicine cabinet has a silver frame, find a faucet with a similar finish. Similarly, if you have an accent wall painted a particular color, make sure any rugs, carpets or towels in the bathroom are of a corresponding color. By using colors that clash with each other, you’ll be detracting from the visual aesthetic of your bathroom. Certain colors can be used for different purposes – blue-green hues and yellows create a peaceful sense of tranquility, while deep reds and blues can create an almost majestic atmosphere.

Add a Natural Touch

Although a bouquet of flowers in the bathroom may seem unexpected or out of place, incorporating a small vase of yard-cut greens is a unique way to add freshness to a bathroom. If you plan on purchasing flowers for your bathroom, be sure to take into consideration the location and amount of light your bathroom receives before making a trip to the nursery. Those looking for a natural way to deodorize can slip a perfumed tablet of preserved cranberries and orange slices into the drawer of a vanity.

Brighten Up

In many cases, homeowners decide to replace bathroom tiles on a whim – without ever actually taking the time to find out if they can be salvaged. Just because the tile in your bathroom looks old and worn, doesn’t mean it can’t be brightened up with a bit of elbow grease. By purchasing an eco-friendly acid etcher, you’ll be able to remove ground-in dirt from the surface in addition to grout lines. Spend some time with the etcher, and you may be surprised by the difference it can make – old, worn out tile can be transformed to something lighter and brighter before your very eyes.

Make Investments in Your Future

Installing a shower door is a very popular renovation and can typically be done for as little as $150. Although the price may seem high for a simple shower door, think of it as an investment: you won’t have to continually replace your shower curtains, and you won’t have to worry about children or guests making a mess on your bathroom floor. Additionally, many shower doors come with built-in towel storage, so you can create room on your walls for a mirror, photograph, or other type of accent piece.