Bathroom Tips – Modern Bathroom Blog | Modern Bathroom

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

Bathroom Upgrades with the Best ROI

Over the past few decades, the kitchen was the average homebuyer’s focus when it came to choosing a future place of residence. In 2011, however, things changed – the bathroom became more important to buyers than kitchens for the first time in nearly thirty years, and the emphasis on bathrooms continues to this day. Whether you plan on staying in your home for a while or are looking to sell as soon as possible, here are some bathroom upgrades and renovations with the best return on investment.

Add an Additional Bathroom

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), adding an additional bathroom, or even half bathroom, can add significant value to your home. This is especially true in older homes where bathrooms are at a premium. If your home has less than one bathroom per two inhabitants, adding an additional bathroom could help you sell your home when the time is right. According to NAHB, a half bath can add up to 10.5 percent to a home’s value, while a full bath can tack on an addition 20 percent. If you’re on a tight budget and can’t afford the estimated $50,000 for a new bath, give your existing bathroom a facelift with the following tips.

Add an Extra Sink

Many homebuyers are looking for a master bathroom with two sinks, a shower, and great lighting. Not only will adding an extra sink increase the resale value of your home, but it’ll make getting ready in the morning easier for you and your family in the meantime. Unfortunately, not every bathroom has the space for a double vanity – before shopping for a vanity upgrade, be sure to measure the space and keep the measurements with you at all times. There’s nothing worse than purchasing a brand new fixture and, only after having it shipped and unpacked, realizing it’s too big for your space.

Remove Popcorn Ceiling

If your home has unsightly and outdated popcorn ceilings, it’ll be one of the first things a potential homebuyer notices. Fortunately, it’s surprisingly easy (and cheap!) to remove. There’s tons of tutorials available online and, in most cases, all you’ll need is a garden sprayer, water, drop cloths, plastic sheets, a window fan for ventilation, a putty knife, and a DIY-type friend to help you with the process. Please note: if your home was built before 1979, get the popcorn ceiling tested for asbestos before beginning the project. Simply set down a small area, scrape a sample into a plastic bag, and have a professional test the sample for traces of asbestos.

Install Eco-Friendly Fixtures

Eco-friendly everything is all the rage, and the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. If you don’t have the cash or the DIY spirit for the above upgrades, try replacing your faucets and showerheads with eco-friendly alternatives. Whether your prospective buyers are eco conscious or not, you can lure them in with promises of lower utility bills. Fortunately, eco-friendly fixtures can fit virtually every budget – those with a smaller budget can replace their sink faucets and showerheads, while those with more money to spend can replace their water-guzzling toilets with low-flow alternatives.

How to Decorate a Small Bathroom Vanity

More than just a place to wash up, bathroom sinks and vanities are a part of your bathroom you can decorate in your own style. From antique cabinets to modern designs, there are countless style options when it comes to the vanity itself – but why not expand your creative touch beyond the vanity design? If you’re concerned about decorating your bathroom vanity due to its small size, you can still pack a powerful decorating punch with the right accents and fixtures. Here are some tips for organizing, decorating, and keeping your small bathroom vanity a clutter-free and fully-functional extension of yourself.

Focus on the Essentials First

When it comes to decorating your small bathroom vanity, it’s important to pay attention to the essentials. Put your daily supplies out first, such as soap holders, toothbrushes, and cups. From there, examine how much space is left over. If there’s sufficient room, you can add a picture frame or a small vase of flowers. If the vanity looks cluttered with the essentials, adding more clutter to the countertops will only decrease the functionality of your bathroom vanity. Fortunately, there are ways to decorate small bathroom vanities without adding knick-knacks and accessories to the already crowded countertops.

Consider Small Accent Pieces

If you’d like to keep your countertops as clutter-free as possible, consider using small accent pieces as decoration. Switching up the knobs on your vanity is a great place to start. If you have an antique vanity, head to your local antique store for a selection of beautiful vintage knobs. Those with modern vanities can easily find glass, quartz, glass, silver, or metal bathroom vanity knobs online. Not only is decorating with small accent pieces an easy way to add personality to your bathroom, but it’s perfect for those on a budget: you can easily find vanity knobs for as low as $3 both in stores and online.

Backsplashes, Walls, and Panels

One of the easiest ways to decorate a small bathroom vanity without sacrificing space is to focus on the backsplash, walls, and panels surrounding the fixture. From pegboards and pennies to old maps and even chalkboard paint, a creative and fun backsplash is guaranteed to be a conversation-starter among family and friends. For creative inspiration, read our article about innovative and inexpensive backsplash ideas. When it comes to walls and panels, consider painting them in a fun or funky color – just be sure it doesn’t clash with your vanity or the rest of your bathroom décor.

Fresh Flowers and Natural Light

If you’re fortunate enough to have the luxury of a bathroom window, take advantage of the light it produces. While bathroom lighting fixtures are great solution for bathrooms that are low on light, nothing quite compares to the beauty of natural light and the convenience of fresh air. During the spring and summer months, consider keeping a small vase of daisies, roses, or lilies on the countertop of your bathroom vanity. During the fall and winter months, create your own seasonal displays with leaves, twigs, branches, bark, sprigs of holly, or a bit of evergreen straight off the Christmas tree.

Bathroom Light Bulbs: An Overview

Proper lighting in the bathroom is important for a variety of reasons. Not only do we need to see ourselves clearly in the mirror, but we need to make sure the room is well-lit for safety purposes. While each type of light bulb has its own pros and cons, certain bulbs work better in different areas of the home. While high color temperature daylight bulbs are great for kitchens and bedrooms, the bathroom benefits from lower color temperatures closer to the light of incandescent light bulbs. Below is an overview of the best light bulbs for the bathroom, in addition to valuable lighting tips and tricks that will help illuminate your space.

Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Not only do compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs match the incandescent light we’re accustomed to in bathrooms, but they consume a quarter of the energy and last ten times as long. Unlike traditional florescent lights, CFLs are quiet, turn on instantly, and have a warmer, color-corrected tone. This warm light is perfect for bathrooms, simply because our skin appears better under it. While they’re great for bathrooms, CFLs can be used anywhere you’d use a typical incandescent bulb. Since CFLs contain trace amounts of mercury, they should be handled with care. When they burn out, they should be recycled.

LED Light Bulbs

LED, which stands for “light-emitting diode”, is a long-lasting and extremely energy-efficient lighting technology. Unfortunately, these aren’t a direct substitute for other types of bulbs, as they don’t provide general light. Instead, these types of bulbs should be used for directional light – they’re a great lighting solution for under-counter task lighting or directed at an angle above a mirror. If you have a choice, it’s best to choose lower color temperature light bulbs, as these produce the best light.

Halogen Lights

If you prefer incandescent, halogen bulbs are also an option to consider. They give off the closest light to natural daylight, and colors appear sharper as halogen bulbs can be dimmed. Although they’re more expensive and burn at a higher temperature than incandescent lights, they’re more energy efficient and tend to have a longer life span. Ideal for under cabinet and recessed lighting, halogen light bulbs cast a bright light and last twice as long as standard bulbs. Just remember to avoid using your bare hands to remove halogen bulbs – in certain situations the oil of your hands can cause the bulbs to explode.

Bathroom Lighting Tips and Tricks

Having mirrors and other reflective surfaces in your bathroom can help distribute light throughout the room. While a mirror above the sink is the best placement for this type of reflective light, side mirrors elsewhere in the room can help. Although a mirror above the sink is ideal for reflective light, it’s important to avoid adding a light directly above the mirror. It’s ineffective for putting on makeup and shaving, and can visually add ten years to your face.

Like all rooms in the home, you can save money in the bathroom by installing energy-efficient bulbs. In addition to using energy-efficient bulbs and fixtures, you can save money and energy in the bathroom by placing your various light stations on different switches – that way, you’re only using the light bulbs you need while using the bathroom.

Hard Water vs. Soft Water

Most people assume that water is just water but, in reality, not all water is “created” equal. Typically, water falls into one of two categories: hard and soft. The difference has nothing to do with how it feels, and everything to do with the mineral content. Although both are safe for human consumption, some homeowners prefer soft water over hard water and vice versa. Knowing the difference between the two can save you money while improving your health.

As rainwater falls, it’s naturally soft. However, as water makes its way into our waterways, it picks up minerals, particularly calcium and magnesium. Since hard water contains essential minerals, it is sometimes the preferred drinking water. Although hard water tastes slightly better, soft water is preferred in most households for one reason: hard water is harsh. Hard water is to blame for dingy clothes, dishes with spots, soap scum accumulation, higher energy use, weak lather, and dried out skin.

Identifying Hard/Soft Water

The most common way to determine the hardness of water is by investigating the formation of suds when you use soap. There is less lather formation with hard water; instead, soap scum is produced. Additionally, hard water forms deposits through calcification that can clog plumbing. In swimming pools, a cloudy or milky appearance is a sign of hard water. While hard and soft water test kits are sold at most home improvement stores, the identification of soap suds is the easiest way to evaluate the hardness of your home’s water.

When it comes to hard water, it’s often classified into either permanent or temporary hardness. Hardness that can’t be “removed” via boiling is called permanent hardness. Since water hardness is caused by the presence of bicarbonate materials, boiling hard water can actually remove these materials – with the end result being soft water. If the water hardness can be “boiled out”, the water is classified as being temporarily hard. Note: permanent hardness can still be softened, just not through boiling.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Although soft water may be preferred for household chores, both types of water have their own advantages and disadvantages. Hard water typically has a more pleasant taste, and some people believe it’s better for your health because it provides the body with essential minerals. However, it can leave deposits and corrode pipes over time. Hard water tends to leave behind spots on dishes and in showers and bathtubs, and doesn’t produce much soap lather. In some cases, hard water can prevent water heaters and washing machines from working properly.

While soft water is better for the skin, better for cleaning clothing and dishes, and helps household appliances work more efficiently, the biggest drawback is that it does not taste as good as hard water. If you use tap water for drinking and cooking, expect a salty, flat taste.

How is Hard Water Softened?

There are several ways to reduce the hardness of water, including distillation, reverse osmosis, or, most commonly, the addition of a chemical softener. A high quality water softener system will give you well balanced water for your home. If you think you may have hard water, contact a commercial water filtration and treatment company for more information.


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