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Guide to Bathrooms


Bathroom renovations, remodeling, design, alterations and decorating.



Below we will cover:


Bathroom Design

Bathroom Tiling

Low Budget decorating

Organising Ideas


Cabinets, shelving, storage

Marble, granite tops

Washbasins, Bathroom Sinks, pedestals

Bathroom Taps and faucets

Bathroom Suites

Toilets & Bidets

Toilet Seats

Bathroom Accessories

Heated Towel Rails

Bath tubs, Victorian Baths, Spa Baths

Showers, shower seats

Bathroom extractor fans

Bathroom Heating



Mold, preventing mold, cleaning mold


Bathroom Decorating Styles








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Bathroom Design


An effective bathroom design should address all your needs, physical and spiritual. Here are the most important tips to consider when updating your room.

Choose elegant fixtures.
A pedestal sink with graceful lines is more attractive than a blocky cabinet vanity. A classic claw-foot tub is like bathroom sculpture. Even enclosed in a deck, the simple lines of the lip have an inherent beauty that surpasses most acrylic versions.

Sit in a bathtub before buying it.
Bigger isn't always better. A 60-inch tub is fine for most people. It offers enough room to stretch out and provides a secure foothold, so you don't float into oblivion when the tub is full. Assess the angled back and lip for comfort and neck support -- a tub for two people slants at either end and has taps in the middle. If you only have enough space for a small tub, buy an extra-deep one.


Select durable flooring.
Ceramic, marble and stone tiles are all excellent durable and water-resistant choices for a bathroom. Subfloor heating coils will make these hard surfaces warm. Well-sealed hardwood floors offer natural warmth and act as a foil for the other hard, cold surfaces in a bathroom.

Hang a stylish mirror.
One beautifully framed mirror over a sink is more attractive than many surfaces covered with mirror. Supplement it with a wall-mounted adjustable makeup mirror, and consider installing a lighted, mirrored shaving niche in your shower stall.

Use found space.
Take advantage of space between wall studs by recessing a tall storage cabinet into the wall to maximize vertical storage while saving floor space. The cabinet should have an interior depth of at least three inches and a door flush with the wall.


Build a shower area.
Consider building an open-concept shower area that doesn't need a curtain or door and is less confining than a standard shower stall. In addition to well-designed drainage, a ceiling-mounted rain showerhead and/or a high wall-mounted showerhead that splashes less water will keep the area outside the shower drier.

Share space for added function.
In homes with back-to-back bathrooms, a shared shower with access doors to each of the bathrooms maximizes limited space. Or turn a closet located next to a bathroom into a small en-suite with access to the neighbouring bath.


Design lighting that works.
Good lighting is imperative. Combine halogen pot lights with wall sconces beside or over the mirror for lighting with no shadows. Always install dimmers.

Buy a quality toilet.
When buying a toilet, it's not necessary for you to spend big bucks, but you don't want to scrimp too much, either. Models with elongated bowls and seats are usually most comfortable.

Incorporate luxury into your room.
If you're fortunate enough to have lots of space to work with, indulge yourself with an expanded spa like bathroom that includes a dressing room -- a haven for privacy and relaxation. Outfit it with a television, fireplace, exercise equipment, makeup vanity and even a large comfortable occasional chair upholstered in thick white terry-cloth.


Bathroom Improvements


When it comes to home improvements, after the kitchen the bathroom is the one room that can really eat into your budget.  After hiring a professional plumber, one of the biggest costs when decorating a bathroom is tiling the walls.  Even if you "do it yourself" you'll still end up forking out a fair bit to pay for the tiles and materials - and it can be a time-consuming and skilled task.


However, there is an alternative.  Rather than going to the inconvenience and expense of re-tiling your walls, why not simply make the best of the ones you've got?  Ceramic tiles are generally very durable, so even if your bathroom tiles are old or outdated, the chances are they still have lots of life left in them.  Even if the odd one or two are cracked, you don't need to replace the whole lot - just replacing the broken ones is a much quicker and cheaper solution.  There are several ways to decorate bathroom tiles, all of which are relatively easy to do and can be very effective at transforming dull or unattractive tiles and giving them a vibrant and stylish new look. 


One method is to apply tile transfers to white or plain coloured tiles, which is an effective way of adding colour and pattern to an otherwise boring tiled wall.  The first step here is to give your tiles a thorough clean to get rid of dirty residues like soap scum and limescale buildup.  Use a non-abrasive scrubber and a good household cleaner, plus lots of elbow grease!  Then you'll need to soak each transfer in turn in a large bowl or bucket of warm water.  Once your transfer has had a sufficient soaking, you can remove it from the water and move it into position on your chosen tile.  Take care here to ensure it's level and central before peeling off the backing paper and sticking the transfer image to the tile. 


Use a clean, dry cloth to smooth out the transfer and remove any air bubbles.  Transfers are really easy to apply and give you the freedom of designing your own patterned tiles for a tiny fraction of the cost of buying new tiles.  However, you will need to remember to use a non-abrasive cleaner when you clean your bathroom to avoid damaging the finish.


Another idea for decorating bathroom tiles is to paint them.  You can be creative here and come up with your own design by painting selected tiles in different colours, or stick to one colour - the choice is yours.  As with any type of painting, the secret is in the preparation, so in order to achieve a professional-looking finish don't rush this bit.  You'll need to make sure your tiles are totally clean and dry, then use a very fine sandpaper to gently sand their glossy surface.  This helps the paint to adhere better.  You'll then need to clean the tiles again to get rid of all the dust.


Once the tiles are prepared, use a synthetic bristle brush to apply primer to each individual tile.  Use vertical brush strokes and don't put too much primer on the brush, to ensure a neat even finish.  It's important to allow the primer enough time to dry properly before you apply a second coat.  Again, let this dry before you apply your chosen paint.  Use an oil-based gloss paint for the best results, as this type of paint is better suited to the high moisture levels in bathrooms.  Use at least two coats to achieve a tough and durable finish.



Low Budget Bathroom


If your bathroom looks like it's seen better days, but you don't want to spend a small fortune on remodelling (or go through the upheaval that involves), there are several cheap and easy things you can do to give it a makeover.  Here are some bathroom decorating ideas that are possible to implement on a low budget:


1. Change the colour scheme.  It's amazing what a difference a lick of paint can make!  A well-chosen colour can totally transform a dingy bathroom and give it a light and bright new look.  Although specialized bathroom paint is not quite as cheap as standard emulsion, it's well worth the extra few dollars, as it will look good for much longer.  Bathroom paint is formulated especially to cope with the high moisture levels in the bathroom, and is designed to prevent mold forming - so those unsightly mold patches won't return to ruin your fresh new paintwork!


It's important to remember that the key to a professional-looking finish is all in the preparation, so don't skimp on this.  Scrape off and sand down any loose or flaky paint, wash down the walls with sugar soap, fill any holes and sand down the woodwork.  Thoroughly wash off any mold with bleach, which will kill it and stop it growing.  When you're ready to start painting, lay a dustsheet over all your fixtures and surfaces, and work from the top down.  Start with the ceiling, then move onto the walls, leaving the woodwork until last.  You will probably need at least two coats.  A thrifty tip if you're painting over a dark colour is to give it an undercoat with standard white emulsion, which is cheaper than coloured bathroom paint.


2. Decorate your tiles.  Replacing bathroom tiles is a costly, messy and time-consuming job, which also requires a certain degree of skill.  However, if you want to save money, there are several ways you could spruce up your existing tiles.  The obvious thing to do is to give them a good clean and get rid of any limescale build-up.  You can refresh dirty grout by using a touch-up paint.  Another option is to use specialist tile paint to change the colour of your tiles.  Or, you could liven up plain tiles by using tile transfers to add colour and pattern.


3. Evaluate your storage facilities and have a good old clear out to get rid of all those nearly empty toiletry bottles that are just taking up space.  Give your vanity and cabinets a clean, and if they are still looking shabby, you might want to consider sanding them down and giving them a lick of paint.  Changing the handles is another simple but effective way to give an outdated vanity or wall cabinet a stylish new look.  If, after you've decluttered, you're still short on storage space, select the most decorative toiletries (the sort you get in gift boxes) and display these on your open surfaces, such as your shelves.  You could arrange them in pretty wicker baskets to make them look more attractive.


4. Add new accessories to enhance your décor and create a welcoming atmosphere.  For instance, replacing a faded or moldy old shower curtain with a colourful new one will only cost a few dollars and is a really simple way to improve the appearance of your whole room.  Other tips include buying an inexpensive set of coordinating accessories such as a toilet paper holder, soap dish and towel ring, adding a fresh new bath rug, and adding candles or pot plants to create a relaxing ambiance.


All these ideas are relatively straightforward to carry out, and each job can easily be tackled in a weekend, or as and when you can afford it.  It may surprise you how these little changes can make such a big improvement to your bathroom's look and feel.



Country Style Bathroom Decorating


If your hectic life makes you yearn to escape to the countryside, why not create a little "get away" in your own home? Believe it or not, the bathroom is a prime candidate for a country theme. This is the room you use to shower or soak away the day's dirt as well as prepare for the day ahead. Why not give it a relaxing, country feel?


The easiest way to give your bathroom a "down-home" country feel is to add rustic accessories. Wooden pegs are a clean, simple way to add a country feel to hanging towels and bathrobes. Pine baskets are a charming way to hold guest towels, and a large wicker basket on the floor keeps bath towels handy as well as adding a country-life touch.


If your bathroom is shared by many people, you might want to consider using wire baskets instead of wood or wicker. The large amounts of steam created by numerous people showering can create the perfect environment for mold on wooden or wicker baskets. Either make sure you seal the baskets before using them, or substitute the kind of wire baskets used to gather and store eggs on a small, country farm.


Glass canning jars make great storage containers in a country bathroom. They are great for holding all the little miscellaneous things that float around a bathroom. You might have toothbrushes standing head up in a tall jar, and use progressively shorter jars to hold things like combs and hairbrushes, hairpins or barrettes, and cotton balls. To give your bathroom even more of a country feel, look for "bail-lid" jars with a glass top on hinges that clamps down tight. These are especially good at keeping cotton balls clean and dry until they are needed. Browse antique and "collectible" stores and you'll find beautiful antique canning jars that will add an authentic feel to your country bathroom.


You may find that these simple touches make you want to go "whole-hog" and add country style bathroom fixtures. Home improvement stores and bathroom showrooms have an amazing range of faucets, sinks, and tubs to meet your county bathroom design needs. A claw foot bathtub and pedestal sink will take your bathroom back to a simpler time. Need storage? A pine armoire fits the country theme perfectly, and is easy to find either finished or unfinished. If you choose to finish the piece yourself, products are available to help you give it an old, crackled or distressed look.


Whether you opt for just a few flourishes or completely redo your bathroom, your time will be well-spent. Your new accessories not only improve the functionality of your bathroom, they create a peaceful place to escape the frantic pace of everyday life.



Bathroom Organizing Ideas


If you're short on space in the bathroom, there are a number of ways you can optimize the space you do have to work with. Here are some ideas that have worked great for our family:


- My daughter and I don't have a lot of jewellery, but we keep the jewellery we do have in the bathroom. Something I found that's really neat to organize your jewellery is a coffee mug holder. We've found several very inexpensive at yard sales. They look like miniature coat racks. They're small stands that have posts sticking out of them to hang coffee mugs on. These work great for hanging necklaces and bracelets on. We have one in each of our bathrooms.


- Small corner shelves that are meant to go on the wall fit nicely into the corners of your bathroom counters. These are easy to find at yard sales and give you several shelves to put makeup, knickknacks, etc., on. I keep a small pottery bowl on one of my shelves to keep my good rings in one place (so I'll know where they are). My daughter and I have fun shopping for little one-of-a kind finds like these at local craft shows.


- My husband came up with another neat idea for organizing jewellery. If you have a big mirror in your bathroom, you could place several suction cups with hooks on them on the mirror and hang your necklaces or bracelets on the hooks.


- The bathroom is a great place to keep your bathrobe. Place a self-adhesive hook on either the back of your bathroom door, or on the wall behind the door. Hang your bathrobe up after each use, and it's ready for next time. Put up one for each family member in the bathroom they most often use.


- My daughter always forgets to get out a towel before she gets in the shower. We bought a ring-shaped towel holder (they take up less room), and put it on the wall right by the edge of the bathtub. Now when she's in the shower she just has to reach out to grab the towel.


- A way to organize the clutter on your bathroom counter is to buy a plastic tub with a handle on top. Place all your bathroom accessories (hair sprays, lotions) in the tub and place under the counter. When you're ready to use, just take the tub out. When you're done put the tub back under the counter.


- Shower caddies are an inexpensive way to organize your shampoo, conditioner, razor, soap, etc., in the shower. We got the kind that hooks over the shower head and it kept slipping down, so we eventually ended up screwing it to the wall. It works great and keeps everything in one place.


- If you have shower doors that tend to get water/soap scum build-up on them, keep a water squeegee (like you use on the windshield of your car) handy to wipe down the doors every time you take a shower. We keep ours in the shower hanging on the wall from a suction cup.


- We don't have a whole lot of cabinet space in our bathrooms, so we bought some small shelves to put above the toilets. On these shelves we keep washcloths, hair spray, toothpaste.



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