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 Find the Perfect Contractor

Whether you’re thinking about renovating the guest bath or want to give the master bathroom the whirlpool tub you’ve always dreamed of, you’ll want to find the right contractor – because a home remodel is only as good as who you hire. As a result of the sluggish housing market, many Americans are staying in their homes for a longer amount of time, and many are choosing to remodel and renovate along the way. With these tips, you can be sure you choose the perfect contractor for the job.

Personal Referrals

Chances are, you have a few friends and family members who have recently remodeled or renovated their home. By asking those whose homes have recently gone through remodels their opinion on their contractor, you’ll be able to get personal testimonials from a trusted source. Also, be sure to keep an eye out for neighbors’ projects that seem to be going well. The advantages of personal referrals include opinions you can truly trust, the option to gauge the quality of work firsthand, and, in all likelihood, the referring friend or family member has already shopped around to find the best offer in the area.

Make Plans & Get Bids

Once you have a list of contractors whose track record is clean and work ethic seems responsible, you’ll want to stop looking back at their past work and start looking forward to your own project. A reliable contractor will not only want a complete set of blueprints, but a general idea of what homeowners want out of the project and what they’d like to spend. In order to best compare bids, ask each contractor to break down the total cost into the following categories: materials, labor, profit margins, and other expenses. Generally, materials should account for 40% of the total cost, with the rest covering overhead. A typical profit margin for home renovation work is 15-20%, depending on the size and depth of the job.

Don’t Let Price Be Your Guide

If an offer sounds too good to be true, chances are it is. In fact, many contractors and home design professionals urge homeowners to throw out the lowest bid, as it could be a sign of desperation or low-quality work. Beyond technical competence, homeowners should look for someone they’re comfortable with. The single most important factor in choosing a contractor should be how well the two parties are able to communicate. At the end of the day, it’s better to spend more and work with someone you’re comfortable with, then spend less and end up with a contractor who is difficult to work with.

Confirm Licensing and Insurance

If your state licenses contractors, you can typically do an online license check. As far as insurance goes, the Better Business Bureau’s website indicates what the insurance requirements are for each state – so that’s a good place to find pertinent information. At the minimum, all contractors should have worker’s compensation insurance, so you’re not financially liable if one of their employees injures themselves while on the job. To verify, ask to see a copy of the contractor’s certificate of insurance. Any reliable contractor should have these items on hand and will gladly provide them upon request.

Don’t Ignore Red Flags

With a large number of scam artists posing as professional contractors, homeowners should be aware of who they’re dealing with. If a contractor pressures you for a quick hiring decision, accepts only cash, wants to skip the building permit, tries to cut you a deal using materials leftover from a previous project, or quotes a final price without seeing the job, consider cutting all ties and moving onto your next option. Although some reliable contractors solicit door to door, be wary if they’re not local to the area.

Put Everything in Writing

Once you’ve chosen a contractor, be sure to draw up a contract that details every step of the project, including payment schedules, proof of liability insurance, a start date, a projected completion date, specific materials and/or products to be used, and a requirement that the contractor obtain lien releases from all subcontractors and suppliers. Lien releases will protect you if he or she doesn’t pay their bills. Insisting on a clear contract isn’t a sign of mistrust, it’s a sign of insuring a successful renovation from start to finish. Happy home renovating!

Is There a "Best Time" to Remodel Your Bathroom?

While a bathroom renovation can technically take place at any time of the year, planning to renovate at specific times can help facilitate the process. Any type of home improvement project can take a great deal of time to complete – from hiring the contractors to choosing and ordering the products, it can be upward of six months before a renovation project has been completed. Homeowners who time their projects just right can take advantage of slow times in the design industry while capitalizing on deals.

The Best Time to Purchase Products

The best time of the year to purchase products, such as plumbing hardware or tile, is usually in the winter, after the holidays. The fall is a busy time for the design industry, since many homeowners are trying to complete their renovation projects before the holiday season. By holding off on purchasing products until December through March, you'll enjoy emptier showrooms, more attention from design consultants, and you may even be able to get products at lower prices through negotiation.

In an effort to move products quickly, many showrooms hold winter sales or specials and some may even offer flexible pricing. During this time, showrooms tend to experience a decline in foot traffic, making it easier for homeowners to take their time and get extra assistance from sales people. Even if you don't plan on starting the bathroom renovation project until the early summer, ordering products in the winter can save valuable time and money. In some instances, specific products can take over a month to arrive, so by planning ahead you'll also have a greater selection of products to choose from.

The Best Time to Hire a Contractor

Obviously, planning a project during contractors' busiest times is not a good idea. If your contractor is juggling a few other jobs in addition to yours, they're more likely to make a mistake. Additionally, when every contractor within a ten mile radius is putting in orders for toilets or sinks, there's a greater chance orders will be postponed or mixed up, causing all parties involved to experience aggravation and delays.

Ask any contractor their schedule, and usually they'll be booked from August to November. Fall is the busiest time of the year for home renovations of any type, due to the upcoming holiday season. To ensure the best contractor is able to take on your project, consider waiting until the spring to begin renovating. Slow times for contractors could also mean a reduction in pricing. If you're planning on renovating during the late summer or fall, be sure to book the contractor well in advance. Waiting too long can mean being forced to settle for a contractor, or paying more for the services offered.

The Benefits of Spring/Early Summer

The benefits of remodeling in the spring or early summer are too great to ignore. In addition to contractors being available and products being easily purchased, the days are longer and the weather in most areas of the United States is cooperative. If you're planning for a spring or early summer remodel, remember it's not unusual to book a job as early as six months in advance. That way, you’ll avoid having to scramble to get everything done before the start date. Happy remodeling!

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.