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From design ideas to cleaning best practices, the Modern Bathroom Blog provides tips and tricks for creating or maintaining a beautiful bathroom.

Can a Bathroom Remodel Increase Your Home's Value?

There’s an old saying that kitchens and bathrooms sell homes, but can a complete bathroom remodel really increase the value of your home? Although it may seem too good to be true, most realtors agree that a well-planned and thoughtfully executed bathroom renovation can help boost the resale value of your home and could even decrease the amount of time it sits on the market. In fact, between 2006 and 2012, the return on an average bathroom remodel investment averaged around 62 percent – in 2014, the number hovers near 72 percent. Here’s some things to consider when renovating your bathroom.

Appeal to the Masses

If you’re remodeling your bathroom with a resale in mind, remember that your taste is your taste. Just because you think striped wallpaper and a DIY vanity will look great doesn’t mean potential buyers will agree. One rule to follow: mark your taste with objects that are easily removed, like towels, rugs, and other accessories. When it comes to permanent fixtures, like bathroom vanities or tubs, stay as neutral as possible. In doing so, the towels and rugs can easily be replaced with neutral colored alternatives during an open house and potential buyers will easily be able to picture themselves living in your space.

Stick to the Basics

When it comes to a bathroom remodel, you don’t always have to go overboard to make a lasting impression. If you’re confused about where to start or what to fix, stick with the basics. The most popular bathroom improvements include those that focused on convenience and luxury: showerheads with temperature controls and adjustable settings, bathtubs with in-line heaters, adjustable jet speeds, and foot massage jets, new filtration systems, and adding new tile if you have an outdated vinyl or linoleum floor. Sometimes all you need is a little extra oomph, especially if you’re on a strict budget.

Go Big, or Go Home

In 2014, the average bathroom remodel size was between 400 and 800 square feet, so don’t stress if your bathroom is on the smaller side! Instead of knocking down walls to add more square feet, you can create the illusion of more space with a few simple tricks. By adding large mirrors, additional lighting, or extra windows you can take advantage of natural light and make your bathroom feel more spacious. If you’re planning to undergo a major renovation, consider stealing square footage from an adjoining room or adding a completely new bathroom – it can only add to the resale value of your home.

Get Expert Advice

If you’re unsure about where to start with your bathroom renovation, make an appointment with a real estate agent. Since they interact with the home-buying public on a regular basis, they’ll have a better idea of what exactly potential home buyers are looking for in a new home. Once you decide on which particular bathroom renovations you’d like to complete, get in touch with a contractor. If you don’t know where to find a contractor, ask a friend or neighbor who has recently gone through a renovation for a recommendation or read our article on how to find the perfect contractor.

Christmas Gift Guide: Bathroom Tech & Gadgets

Everyone has at least one tech geek in their life, so why not surprise them with a tech-centric Christmas present? The gadget-obsessed spend a lot of time thinking about the living room and kitchen, but an impressive bathroom is just as important as a modern living room. Here’s some of the coolest gadgets and tech gift ideas for the techies on your Christmas list – if an American Express gift card just won’t cut it, surprise them with one of these hi-tech bathroom gadgets.

Withings Smart Body Analyzer Scale

Although you should think twice about the message you’re sending before giving someone a bathroom scale, this scale is perfect for that health-conscious techie in your life. The Smart Body Analyzer scale provides high-accuracy weight and body fat measurements, and allows you to track your weight and muscle mass over time from a computer, tablet, or smartphone. The scale has automatic user recognition, and can also track fat mass, heart rate, and indoor air quality. Whether they’re into running, weight loss coaching, cardio fitness, or activity or calorie tracking, the Smart Body Analyzer scale recognizes up to eight users and can sync with popular apps like My Fitness Pal and Run Keeper.

Weather Reporting Shower Mirror

If you’ve ever tried to research the weather on your phone while in the shower, you’ll understand the convenience of a mirror that delivers a current weather report while you shower. Now, whoever receives this gift won’t have to waste any time deciding what to wear – they’ll have an idea as soon as they set foot out of the shower or bath. The unit’s backlit LCD panel displays indoor/outdoor temperature, humidity levels, and a complete weather forecast. The Weather Reporting Shower Mirror includes storage space for two razors and shaving cream, and includes an alarm clock and calendar.

Squatty Potty

Although the Squatty Potty isn’t a piece of modern technology per se, this piece of equipment will redefine your gift recipient’s idea about healthy toilet posture. The product is intended to mimic the natural ‘squatting’ position which humans have used while using the restroom for millennia – until the advent of the modern toilet. In doing so, your colon is able to empty quickly and completely, without unnecessary exertion or strain. Touted by medical professionals and radio personalities alike, the Squatty Potty is one of the most health-conscious ways to use the restroom. The functional and durable product is easily hidden, affordable, and can be purchased in white or bamboo designs.

AquaNotes

Perfect for the deep-thinkers, busy moms, college students and aspiring writers in your life, the AquaNotes waterproof notepad ensures that no more great ideas go down the drain due to lack of a functional pen and paper in the shower. This convenient method of note-taking allows users to make notes during a shower or bath without having to worry about soggy paper. With AquaNotes, on-the-go families can leave notes for each other, artists can doodle while in the shower, and writers and inventors can quickly jot down any brilliant ideas that may come to them while relaxing in the tub.

Holiday Decorations for Your Bathroom

If you’re one of the millions of Americans who love the holiday season, there’s a good chance you love decorating your home with festive décor. Just because your bathroom might not be the most popular room in the house, doesn’t mean it doesn’t deserve a bit of attention during the holidays. Although you might not have given it any thought, there’s plenty of ways you can decorate your bathroom for the holiday season. From holiday-scented hand soaps and embroidered hand towels to Christmas wreaths and seasonal scents, here’s some easy ways you can bring a bit of holiday cheer to your guest bathroom.

Festive Hand Towels

If you’re feeling festive but don’t want dancing elves or Rudolph the Red Nosed reindeer adorning your hand towels, consider purchasing solid colored towels in Christmas colors, like red and green. Similarly, many companies manufacture simple towels with only a small amount of “Christmas” displayed, such as a simple snowflake or small pictures of penguins. Depending on where you shop, you should be able to purchase an entire Christmas set, complete with matching hand towels, full-size towels, and washcloths.

Seasonal Scents

Christmas just isn’t the same without the aroma of evergreen trees or gingerbread cookies wafting in and out of the house. No matter what your favorite holiday scent may be, there’s a candle, soap, or room spray to match. Fragrance has a powerful effect on mood, so keep your guests in the holiday spirit by treating them to a delectably scented bathroom. Whether you choose to use a gingerbread scented room spray, display a pot of cinnamon potpourri, or light a Christmas tree scented candle, a seasonal scent is the perfect way to keep the holiday season alive in your bathroom.

Trim the Mirror

If you have leftover holly or greenery trimmings after decorating the rest of your house, why not save a few sprigs for your bathroom? Frame the bathroom door, medicine cabinet, or bathroom vanity with an evergreen garland, twinkling lights, holly, or miniature ornaments. While you’re at it, hide an iPod dock and speakers in one of the vanity drawers and create a playlist of your favorite Christmas tunes – because who says the Christmas party has to end every time a guest uses the restroom?

Holiday Wreaths

A wreath is more practical than flowers, which can take up valuable counter space and requires TLC. Some Christmas boutiques sell wreaths made for smaller rooms and bathrooms, so finding a perfectly-sized holiday wreath shouldn’t be an issue. Once you decide where to hang the wreath, use a small picture hook that holds a lot of weight but will only leave a tiny mark. You can take the aesthetics of your wreath a bit further by coordinating the ribbon with the rest of the bathroom’s décor, or by adding a few simple ornaments to the wreath.

Smaller Touches

If you’re short on time or cash, don’t worry – you can still include your bathroom in the fun of the holiday season. Hang a stray ornament on the doorknob, or add cheer to the countertops with a bowl of shiny ornaments or holiday potpourri. If guests are staying the night, expect them to forget something and keep the basics in stock just in case: take it a step further and purchase soaps and shampoos in favorite holiday scents your guests are sure to enjoy.

The Deadly Sins of Bathroom Renovations

When it comes to home improvement projects, renovating your bathroom can add significant value to your home – but only if done correctly. While renovating any part of your house is no easy task, kitchen and bathroom renovations tend to be the most difficult - water and electricity, when combined, are forces to be reckoned with. The main causes of botched bathroom renovations are the unwillingness to spend the time and money necessary to construct a bathroom properly, and inexperienced individuals handling the work. Here’s a list of the deadly sins of bathroom renovations you should look out for.

Improper Installation

Even if everything is installed perfectly, the bathroom is still one of the most dangerous rooms in the home. When you combine water, electricity, slippery surfaces, and breakables together in one room, it’s no wonder that the majority of home accidents happen in the bathroom. Now add an improperly installed electrical outlet or a poorly mounted mirror to the mix and you can put your safety (and life!) at risk. From putting your family at risk for electrical shocks and exposing them to mold, improperly installed bathroom fixtures can cost you. If you aren’t an accomplished DIYer, get professional assistance from an experienced contractor who can help make your bathroom beautiful and safe.

Inadequate Waterproofing

When it comes to bathroom renovations, every aspect of the planning and construction of a bathroom should take water exposure into consideration – after all, bathrooms are functional spaces first and design showcases second. If the waterproofing aspect of your bathroom renovation doesn’t account for at least 5 to 10 percent of the total cost, then someone is cutting crucial corners. Inexpensive building materials and poorly constructed shower pans can lead to major water damage down the line. Additionally, carpeting in the bathroom should be avoided at all costs – while it may have once been trendy, it’s now an easy way to invite dirt and bacteria into your bathroom.

Avoid Open Storage

While open storage might seem trendy, do you really want to put your prescriptions, ointments, acne medication, and fungal cream on open display for your guests? In a day and age where 70 percent of house guests admit to snooping through other people’s bathroom cabinets and drawers, do you really need to make it easier for guests to look through your personal toiletries? If your heart is set on open storage, consider mixing it with closed storage solutions – put hand towels, tissues, and other innocuous bathroom essentials on display and hide anything that might embarrass you in closed storage.

Bad Math

Math is important in bathroom renovations, especially since space is usually at a premium. Errors in math and projections can lead to tile-layout problems, shower stalls and toilets that don’t meet code minimums, faucet handles that collide with backsplashes, and large gaps between the toilet tank and wall, to name a few issues. If you’re renovating the bathroom yourself, check and double check your measurements; if you’d like to be extra careful, ask your spouse, roommate, or a friend to look over your measurements before using them to order bathroom renovation materials.


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