2016 Design & Remodeling Trends

When it comes to home remodeling projects, upgrades to the bathroom continue to dominate. With so many resources and options available to the average homeowner, it can be overwhelming to sort through the choices and find the ones that are right for you. The year isn’t quite over, but the 2016 design trends are already making their appearance in magazines, look books, and design websites. If you’re curious about what the New Year has in store for your bathroom décor, check out some of the hottest design trends that are right around the corner.

Modern Metallics

In 2016, metals are expected to come back with full force. Although a little bit of brass crept into the bathroom in 2015, the upcoming year is the perfect time for homeowners to fully embrace metal. Do you have your eye on a metal faucet? Buy it! Always wanted to switch out your cabinet knobs for ones with a metal finish? Go ahead! Along with brass, you’ll also find gold, silver, platinum, stainless steel, and brushed steel explode in popularity. Take a bold approach and install an oil-rubbed bronze sink, or take it easy and replace only a knob or two. The design choice is yours, but remember- metal is back, and in a really big way.

Trough Sinks

Don’t let the name fool you- trough sinks are far more elegant than they sound. Some refer to them as “double sinks”, or an extra-long sink that’s big enough to serve both you and your significant other should you both be getting ready at the same time. In addition to being large enough for two people to use simultaneously, modern-day trough sinks are handy for those who wish to hand wash larger items, including wool blankets or king sized sheets. Trendsetters and early adopters were installing trough sinks as of late 2015, but the trend is expected to be welcomed by a more mainstream audience in the upcoming year.

Shower Seats

In the past, showers were designed for use by those standing in an upright position. Lately the trend of installing seats in the shower is picking up steam. Whether it’s due to the aging baby boomer population or the fact that most people shower in the morning while they’re half asleep, shower seats are as convenient as they are functional. If you’re installing a shower seat for the seniors in your household, don’t forget to install grab bars in the shower. Although grab bars can be installed just about anywhere, the shower is definitely one of the most popular places for them - especially since the bathroom is a common place for seniors to slip and fall.

Green Plants

Eco-friendly bathrooms made an appearance in 2015, but you can take that concept a step further in 2016 by making your bathroom greener- literally. While you can feature a plant or two in a beautiful vase on the countertop of your bathroom vanity, some prefer to take a bolder approach. If you’re renovating your bathroom (or building your own home) think about adding a full green feature to the space in the form of green walls or indoor gardens. Both are natural ways to improve the air quality of your home. For some advice on which plants are perfect for the bathroom, check out The Best Plants for Your Bathroom.

Technology

You’ve heard about Google’s self-driving cars and other advancements in technology, but did you know there’s new technology for your bathroom? If you love to sing in the shower, install a water-resistant music system. These Bluetooth enabled music players can be operated wirelessly, either from smartphones or other audio devices. Plus, there’s plenty of bathroom technology that will make your life easier. For example, Optum VorMax is a new flush system technology that’s being offered by American Standard- not only does it give a powerful flush to your toilet, but it scours and cleans the toilet bowl at the same time.

The Best Cold-Weather Bathroom Luxuries

Whether it’s adding a few extra minutes to your shower in the morning or relaxing in a hot bubble bath after work, there’s no better place to beat the winter chill than in your bathroom. If you’re already experiencing sub-zero temperatures or are just dreading its arrival, it’s time to face the facts- winter is right around the corner. If you’re considering a remodel or are looking to add a few luxuries to your bathroom this winter, here are some of our favorite cold-weather bathroom accessories and fixtures.

Heated Floors

If your toes curl at the thought of scampering across your frigid tile floor after a hot shower or bath, radiant-heat floors are the perfect solution. Typically manufactured as an electric heat mat that’s installed before putting in tile, heated floors are something to consider when remodeling your home- especially if you live in an area that experiences long bouts of cold in the winter. Besides keeping your feet warm as you exit the shower or bath, heated floors can actually help you cut down on your energy usage and save money on your monthly heating bill- just make sure you’re installing hydronic floors.

Heated Towel Rack

Do you love the warmth of clothes and towels fresh out of the dryer? With a heated towel rack, you can experience that same comfort and warmth every time you step out of the shower or bath. While heated floors or a fireplace in the bathroom are luxuries that will set you back, heated towel racks are a luxury that won’t require you to rip up your floor or invest thousands of dollars into your home. They’re easy to install, easy to find, and typically can be found for under $500. So, if you’re tired of cold towels pressing against your skin, install a heated towel rack and say hello to the comfort of warm towels.

Barrel Sauna

Whirlpool tubs are nice, but barrel saunas are even nicer. Although barrel saunas are technically intended to be installed outdoors, we’ll include it on the list as saunas go hand-in-hand with spas. Plus, you can always install a traditional sauna adjacent to your shower or tub if you prefer to enjoy your sauna indoors. While it would surely get the most use during the blustery winter season, a sauna is a year-round luxury that can add value to your home. Additionally, saunas come with their own set of health benefits- saunas can boost your immune system, detox your system, and help relax you from head to toe.

Fireplace in the Bathroom

Although fireplaces are traditionally found in living rooms, dens, and bedrooms, the idea of soaking in a bathtub while a fire glows nearby is gaining popularity. While a wood-burning fireplace in the bathroom may seem like it’s reserved for the ritziest of hotel rooms, it’s something you can easily add into the floorplan of your home if you have control over its design. If you’re purchasing a pre-owned home, don’t worry- there are plenty of gas and electric fireplaces available on the market that can be nestled into an unused corner. No matter what you decide, a bathroom fireplace is a premier bathroom luxury.

Bath Warmer

If you enjoy taking especially long baths, you’re likely frustrated when the water gets cold. While draining some of the colder water and replacing it with hot water is one way to go, don’t you with there was an eco-friendly alternative? Now, there is. Warm On pebbles are sensor-fitted, heat-radiating artificial stones that will maintain the same water temperature for a set amount of time. So, whether you’re taking a ten minute bath or indulging in a half-hour soak, the water will stay the same temperature from start to finish.

Gift Guide: Bathroom Luxuries & Relaxation

If your friend or family member enjoys nights spent relaxing in the tub, skip the spa gift certificate and gift them something a little more personal this holiday season. From bath pillows to monogrammed slippers, here are some Modern Bathroom-approved bathroom luxuries that your friend or family member is sure to love. While you’re at it, throw in a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne or a bottle of their favorite wine, because who doesn’t love to sip on some bubbly while relaxing in the tub?

Bath Pillow

If your friend or family member loves to read or meditate while in the bath, they already know there’s nothing worse than having to stop because of a crick in their neck. So instead of being forced to cut their bath time in half, why not purchase them a comfortable bath pillow? The Original GORILLA GRIP Non-Slip Bath Pillow features a powerful gripping technology, so the pillow won’t gradually slip into the water with use. Ultra-soft and sooth to the touch, the bath pillow is manufactured from more than 2” of luxurious padded foam. Designed with shoulder and neck support in mind, these non-slip bath pillows are guaranteed to fit any size bathtub.

Clarisonic

Clarisonic’s line of sonic face and skin cleansing and exfoliating brushes are the perfect gift for the men, women, or teenagers on your list. Available with customizable brush heads manufactured specifically for reducing dark spots, treating sensitive skin, cleansing deep into pores, prepping the skin for shaving, or treating acne-prone skin, there’s something for everyone on your list in Clarisonic’s line of products. Clarisonic also sells gift sets so you can gift your friend or family member everything they’ll need to get started. Plus, if you sign up for auto-delivery of replacement brush heads, you’ll receive 20% savings and complimentary shipping.

Monogrammed Slippers

If you’re looking for a truly personalized gift, you can’t go wrong with a pair of monogrammed slippers- just double check the spelling of your friend or family member’s first and last name first! (We’re looking at you, Catie spelled with a “C”!) This gift is especially perfect for a newlywed couple and can easily be paired with a matching, monogrammed robe. There are a wide variety of monogrammed slippers available for sale on Etsy, and some can even be purchased in bulk or with a matching robe. For a gift that screams “luxury” head to Nordstrom, choose a pair of premium slippers, and have them monogrammed separately by a local seamstress.

LUSH Gift Set

LUSH is a company known for their line of fresh, all-natural, and organic bath, shower, and make-up products. If the friend or family member on your list is vegan or staunchly opposes animal testing, click on over to LUSH’s website as many of their products are vegan-friendly and every single one is cruelty-free. A perennial LUSH favorite is their line of bath bombs- a ball that you toss in the bath and is exploding with essential oils, flower petals, and tons of fizzy fun. Plus, if you’re too busy (or lazy!) to wrap the gift yourself, LUSH has a huge selection of pre-wrapped gifts that come fully wrapped and ready-to-gift.

Gift Guide: Bathroom Tech & Fun

Everyone has at least one tech geek in their life, so why not surprise them with a techy Christmas present instead of the usual gift card? The gadget-obsessed spend a lot of time thinking about the living room, kitchen, and home security, but an impressive bathroom is just as important as state-of-the-art kitchen appliances. Here are some Modern Bathroom-approved bathroom gadgets and gift ideas for the techies on your Christmas list. If you’re tired of gifting American Express gift cards, surprise your friends and family with one of the hi-tech bathroom gadgets below.

Simplehuman Sensor Mirror

You’ve probably heard that natural light is the best type of light for the bathroom, but what if your friend or family member’s bathroom is sans windows or a skylight? The Simplehuman Sensor Mirror uses an innovative light system to stimulate natural sunlight so men and women alike can see their full color variation. Plus, the mirror automatically lights up when a user’s face approaches the mirror and, since the cordless mirror packs a long-lasting LED that can apparently last for up to 100 years, battery life won’t be a problem. With up to 5X magnification, the mirror will allow your friend or family member to see their entire face all at once or a specific feature in exceptional detail.

Kolibree Smart Toothbrush

Perfect for younger children on your list, the Kolibree Smart Toothbrush makes brushing teeth an enjoyable experience with games, coaching, and real-time feedback. The toothbrush syncs with free Android and iOS apps to keep kids motivated with games, collectable badges, and score levels. Plus, the app will actually teach the child how to brush their teeth properly using built-in 3D motion sensors. Weighing in at less than 2.5 ounces, the Kolibree Smart Toothbrush is compact enough to fit even the tiniest hands. Good brushing habits can limit trips to the dentist and cut back on costly dental expenses- something the child’s parents will be grateful for.

CTA Digital Pedestal Stand for iPad

We all have that one friend who takes their iPad with them everywhere- the bathroom included. To cut back on the ick factor, purchase them a CTA Digital Pedestal Stand for iPad- it’ll keep their hands free and even includes a built-in toilet paper roll holder. The elegant chrome pedestal won’t be an eye-sore in the bathroom, and is sure to seamlessly fit in with all types of décor. The Bendable 10” gooseneck tube allows for multi-directional adjustment, so your friend or family member can adjust the placement of the iPad accordingly. Note: this particular iPad holder is compatible with 2nd-4th generation iPads, and isn’t compatible with iPad Air or Mini.

Kohler Moxie Showerhead + Wireless Speaker

If your friend or family member enjoys listening to music in the shower, the Kohler Moxie Showerhead + Wireless Speaker maybe the perfect gift for them. It delivers up to 7 hours of music, news, and more by pairing wirelessly with a Bluetooth enabled device. In addition to providing great sound, the spray face features 60 angled nozzles that deliver the full-bodied spray that’s virtually expected from a Kohler showerhead. For the eco-conscious, the showerhead is available in a water-saving spray that lets you save water without sacrificing performance (or sound!) The attractive, streamlined design of the Kohler Moxie Showerhead is the most chic and useful way to listen to music while in the shower.

Four Common Toilet Problems (& How to Fix Them)

Overflowing, constantly running, and sweating toilets can be an annoyance for homeowners and renters alike. Sometimes you’ll have to call a professional plumber for a quick fix, but there are quite a few toilet problems you can fix on your own. Whether you’re on a tight budget or are a DIYer at heart, sometimes it just makes sense to roll up your sleeves and take control of the situation on your own. From phantom flushes to leaky seals, here are some common toilet issues and how you can fix them with your own two hands.

#1: Phantom Flushes

If you hear your toilet begin to spontaneously refill in the middle of the night or when not in use, it’s not a ghost- it’s what plumbers refer to as a phantom flush. Caused by a very slow leak from the tank into the bowl, the problem is usually caused by a bad flapper or flapper seat. If you think your toilet has this problem but want to make sure, you can run a quick diagnostic test. To do so, add food dye to the tank after all the water has stopped running. Wait ten minutes and check the bowl water- if it’s colored, you do in fact have a leak. Replacing the flapper and flap seat is easy- replacements are available at most hardware stores. When purchasing a replacement be sure to take the old one with you to find a replacement that matches correctly.

#2: Bowl Empties Slowly

Also referred to as a weak flush, a bowl that empties too slowly is usually the result of clogged holes underneath the rim of the bowl. You can use oversized toothpicks or a wire coat hanger to poke gently into each flush hole to clear out any debris. Be careful not to scratch the bowl while cleaning. If the problem persists even after this cleaning, a muriatic acid wash may do the trick. Mix one part acid to 10 parts water and use a funnel to carefully pour half the solution down the overflow tube in the toilet tank. You should hear fizzing right away. Be careful of the fumes- open a window, and run the fan. Let the acid work its magic for half an hour and pour the rest of the solution down the tube. Wait another half an hour and flush the toilet. Note: if you have a septic tank, do not do this. You’ll have to disassemble the toilet completely and do this process outdoors.

#3: Overflowing Water

If your toilet is about to overflow and your usual trick of shutting the lid and crossing your fingers won’t work, there are a few things you can do. As soon as the water level starts rising, reach into the tank and prop up the fill valve (or the ball that floats on top of the water.) This should stop the flow to the toilet, avoiding an overflow but, in case it doesn’t, keep a plunger nearby. If the overflow is caused by a clog there are several tools available. A force-cup plunger is more effective than a standard plunger for cleaning minor clogs and, for serious clogs, purchase a closet auger. Insert the end into the drain hole and twist the handle as you push the rotor downward. Be sure to use caution, as scratching the bowl could leave unsightly, permanent scratches.

#4: Leaky Seals

A standard toilet has at least five seals and, unsurprisingly, each has the potential for leaking. In each case, the solution is to identify the broken seal and, depending on the level of damage, either tighten it or replace it. A break of the largest seal, located between the tank and bowl, will be the most obvious, as water will shoot out from underneath the tank with every flush. The others won’t be as noticeable, as they’re smaller. Regardless of the location or type of seal, they’re all replaced the same way. Drain the seal, remove the tank, turn the tank upside down for better access, remove the seal, and pop on a new one. In some cases, tightening the bolts or mounting nut is enough to stop the leak. Try this method first and, if the seal is still leaking, replace the seal altogether using the above steps.