Design Considerations When Renovating Your Bathroom | Shower Remodel
Bathroom renovations are one of the most popular type of renovation. If you are tired of your old bathroom and want to give it a face-lift, re-arrange the layout or maybe expand it a bit then a bathroom renovation is just what you need.
Renovating your bathroom can be a great way to improve your lifestyle and add value to your home!
While renovating a house, bathrooms are the first area that comes into the mind. Bathrooms, despite of being used very often, is a place of relaxation and stress relief; which makes it the most important areas to be taken care of. Well, renovating a bathroom is not an easy task, but it could be made much easier if you know some important aspects to be covered. This article is not a conclusive guide for bathroom renovation, but covers the major areas that should be noticed while renovating a bathroom. Once you go through all these aspects, you will have enough confidence to get started with your renovation process.
How to choose bathroom tiles
Choosing the surface for your bathroom is the first step towards renovating your bathroom. It might be quite challenging if you do not have any idea about flooring options. Well, don’t worry! This post is really going to throw some light. Considering the looks, safety, maintenance and cost, choosing the right tile is crucial to bathroom renovation.
First, let’s see the types of tiles commonly used in bathrooms:
- Ceramic of Porcelain: These tiles are made with mixtures of clay and pressed into shapes at high temperature in kiln. They could be glazed with high-resolution digital images printed to the surface.
- Natural Stone: Natural Stone tile are made from natural stones. They are rough, but are not impervious to water. They need a separate layer to avoid moisture.
- Glass: Glass tiles are so attractive considering its glazing and stock of colour range. They are impervious to water and do not undergo staining. But this kind of tiles is usually used at low traffic areas in bathroom, mostly on walls. This is because they are prone to faster damage.
- Marble: Marble is naturally formed by crushing of limestone and heating of it under earth with high pressure for millions of years. It could be fine polished and cut into shapes of any dimension. They come in a variety of natural colours and patterns.
- Decorative: Decorative tiles are made from a range of materials, both natural and synthetic. These are usually printed with decorative designs or images which add to its attractive looks.
- Granite: Granite is harder compares to all other natural stones. It is best to be used in high traffic area due its durability.
- Limestone: Limestone is another natural stone. It’s lighter compared to granite and marble. It is usually found in brown, beige and yellow colours.
- Metal: Metallic tiles are made from solid metal or from resin covered with metallic coating. Metallic tiles are used in conjunction with other tiles.
- Terra-cotta: Terra-cotta tiles are made at lower temperature. This makes it less dense and harder. More suitable for dry areas and low traffic areas. But they could be used at moist areas once glazed.
- Travertine: Travertine is basically a kind of limestone. It is formed by the dissolution of certain minerals to the groundwater. This gets pushed to the earth’s crust by water. It is multi-layered and comes in a variety of colours.
- Cement bodied: Made from cured sand and mortar mix. It is non-vitreous tile with durability. They could be made both rough and smooth.
- Saltillo: These tiles are dried but they are not fired. The come in low density and are non-vitreous. They usually look rough but absorb water. Best to be used at non-moist areas.
- Slate: Slate is a stone created from shale and clay. They are heated under high pressure. They have a natural rough texture which makes them non-slippery.
- Quarry: These tiles are extruded and fired at high pressure and temperature. They may be vitreous as well as semi-vitreous. It is usually fired and unglazed; comes in a variety of colours.
Now, having seen the variety of bathroom tile options, here are some tips to help you select the right one.
- Use smaller tiles on curves: Depending upon the design of the bathroom, there may be many areas where the basic shape of the surface would be curvy. Curves are usually so attractive and add to the beauty of the bathroom. To give a finish to these curvy portions uses smaller tiles.
- Better to choose smaller glass tiles: Some large coloured glass get moisture trapped in it. This may give an awful look to your shower. But this issue could be resolved by using smaller glass tiles. And most of the glass tiles come with arrow marks on them to give uniform orientation while installing them.
- Smaller tile for slopped ceiling: Slopped ceilings are usually built for steam showers and are so elegant looking. The best option for covering slopped ceiling is smaller tiles as they fill in with perfection.
- Never forget about cleaning: Cleaning is such a straining job. If you want to make cleaning easy for your bathroom, choose bigger tiles and glasses. Bigger tiles are easy to wash and maintain.
- Use water absorbing tiles on walls and non-traffic areas: Make sure that the areas of high traffic and water activity are not covered by water absorbing tiles. Choose water absorbing tiles on walls and other areas instead.
- Keep grip in mind: Be careful while choosing tiles for high traffic areas. These are areas where people walk frequently with so much of moisture. Make sure that these areas are covered by tiles which give enough grip. A polished and smooth textured tile will not be safe for such areas.
Lighting up the room
Lighting is another important aspect of renovating a bathroom. So much of the beauty and elegance of the design could be lost by an improper lighting. The looks of a bathroom is incomplete without a carefully designed lighting arrangement. So, here are some important parameters that should be taken care of:
- Choosing the height of wall mounted bathroom lighting: If you wish to install mounting wall sconces on both side of your bathroom mirror, try to mount it by the centre of the fixture.
- Energy Efficiency: LED and fluorescent lights are a good option for power saving. Moreover, they last longer compared to Halogen and Incandescent lights. The life of the lights could be further extended using an appropriate dimmer.
- Wet Lighting: Bathrooms are often wet and it’s therefore important to choose lights which are waterproof. There are plenty of shower lights in the market which are water rated.
- Amount of glow: Too much of glare would be disturbing and poor glow would take away the charm of your bathroom. Design a layered lighting plan for your bathroom which could address the lighting needs at different areas of your bathroom.
- Colour: Keep in mind the effect of the coloured lighting. The colour of the light should match the overall colour combination of the walls, floor and the fixtures. For example, a darker floor and wall would need more glow compared to light coloured wall and floor surfaces.
- Preventing Vanity Shadows: Preventing vanity shadow is yet another important matter that is to be addressed with care. This could be prevented by using wall mounted fixtures on both the sides of the mirror. This creates cross illumination.
Yes, bathtub could be considered as the heart of the bathroom, especially if you wish to spend so much of time in it. A busy day with heavy work load and pressure- all the stress could be released by relaxing yourself in the tub for an hour. Now, here are some important things to be noted while choosing your bathtub:
- Dimension and Space: First of all decide the area that is meant for the bathtub. Choosing the right position for the bathtub would a really confusing. But this issue is resolved to a great extent if the bathroom is spacious. Once you decide the space for the bathtub, it will be easy to choose the dimension.
- Choosing the material: Bathtubs come in a variety of materials. It’s important to know the pros and cons of each material before choosing any. Cast-iron have longer life, but it’s costlier than other options. Fiberglass in cheaper and durable. Marble looks luxurious, but it’s prone to damages and cracks.
- Keep in mind the person using it quite often: While selecting the bathtub, make sure that it is comfortable for the person who uses it more often.
- Make quality your priority: If the bathtub is an important part of your daily life, make sure you choose the best quality product, rather than trying to find the cheapest one. Spending some extra dollars will not cost you much, considering the satisfaction you get.
- Massage system: Installing a massage system will be so helpful if you spent so much of time in bathtub. It can relax you like anything. Jetted Baths and Air Baths are the popular systems used nowadays.
Well, this is the area where most of the people find trouble. Usually taps are the first part of the bathroom to get complaints. Quite often do we encounter leaky tap in our household. And some taps are so frustrating, that we will have to keep repairing it more often. And a leaky tap would cost you more in terms of water consumption. So, here are some tips for choosing the right tap for your bathroom.
- Choose a reputable builder: Using a reputable builder ensures that you get the best quality products and that the spares are easily available in case of any repairs. And choosing a good plumber is important to make the installation perfect.
- Select the right style: The style of the tap should match the overall design of the bathroom. Though being small compared to other fixtures of the bathroom, the taps are noticed well due to the frequency of its use.
- Always buy the best quality taps: Taps are the most frequently used fixtures in the bathroom, and thus there should be no compromise in quality. Lest it would cost you more in terms of repair and frequent replacement.
- Maintenance shouldn’t be ignored: While choosing the tap, always bear maintenance in mind. Taps with intricate design are so difficult to clean up. It is advised to use polished brassware, as it is easy to clean compared to matt finishes.
Painting the Bathroom
Paint is another important aspect which determines the beauty of your bathroom. It is important to make sure that the painting of the walls and ceiling is in line with the overall design of the bathroom. Here are some important tips to help you decide the paint:
- Use light colours to give a spacious look: Light colours give a spacious look for the bathroom. Light coloured walls and ceiling are reflective, thereby making it look airy and open. So, make sure you paint with light colours, especially if your bathroom is small.
- Try to keep unity in Tone: This means that the painting should match the tiles one the floor and the walls. If your floor and wall tiles are darker, go for a darker tone. But make sure that it’s not too dark. At times you may wish to use different tones at different sections of your bathroom; even then, make sure that there is no major variation in the tones used.
- Make ceiling and the walls same colour: It’s not advised to use different colours for the ceiling and walls. Using the same colour lets the eye to travel through the bathroom without any effort.
- Using stripes: Using stripes is another optical illusion to make your bathroom look taller or wider. If you wish to make the bathroom look wider, go for the horizontal stripes. And use vertical stripes to make your bathroom look taller.
Shower enclosures add elegance to bathroom. Though the primary purpose of shower enclosures is to prevent water from spilling all around, it’s a great means to give the bathroom a luxurious look. Now, here are some shower enclosure options before you:
- Bypass or Sliding Doors: This kind of shower enclosures consumes so much of space. This is ideal for larger bathrooms with more space available. But it gives so much of comfort with its wide openings.
- Round Doors: These kinds of enclosures come with curved glass inside. This gives much space inside the shower by avoiding corner within. Best to be installed on corners. Moreover, round doors are so attractive in looks.
- Neo-Angle doors: It fits in neo-angle shower enclosures. It’s usually used in the corners considering its shape. The door usually swings right or left to open, rather than sliding.
- One-panel swing: Another swing type door, with just one panel for each side. It opens outwards and gives so much of comfort by wide opening. Could be installed anywhere, but are usually positioned at the corners to save space.
Though being a small part of the bathroom, the importance of shower head comes into play while considering the power saving and comfort of use. A lot of energy could be saved by properly choosing a shower head. First of all, let’s have a brief introduction of shower head designs:
- Wall-mount: These are traditional models which are mounted to the wall with a tap to adjust the water flow. Nowadays, these shower heads come with system to adjust the angle and spray modes too.
- Top-mount: These showers hang directly from the ceiling. A good option if you love the shower being sprayed from the top.
- Sliding Bar: These showers allow the height to be adjusted as it is attached to a sliding bar. If the entire family uses the same bathroom, this would be a great advantage.
- Handheld: Handheld shower heads are movable from the mounting and could be used in any angle and position. These shower heads can be used other than for bathing, like cleaning other things or bathing pets.
For saving water, try to choose shower heads with water consumption less than 7.5 liters per minute.
Not a single bathroom is exempt from moisture. And moisture makes the air more humid and sometimes stinky. Thus a proper exhaust system is imperative in making a clean and fresh bathroom. Here are some features you should know before choosing the right exhaust fan:
- Fan Sizing: The capacity of a fan to suck air is measured in Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM). A fan with more power has more CFMs and could work faster. Thus the area of the bathroom should be considered before choosing the size. So, if your bathroom is around 60 square feet in areas, a 60 CFM fan will be apt.
- Installation: Most of the fans are installed to the ceiling. But there are also fans which could be installed to the wall. In any case, it is always recommended to use a duct to vent the air into. And by the way, your home should have a properly designed duct system to take the air away from your home. Venting air into an attic would only transfer the air to another part of the home; and that is not a good practice.
- Features: Nowadays, fans come with a lot of features like humidity and motion sensors. A humidity sensor could keep track of the humidity in the bathroom and works automatically without any human intervention. A motion sensor detects when someone uses a bathroom and works accordingly.
- Noise Level: Too much of noise from exhaust fan may be quite distracting. The noise level of fan is measured in sone. Try to choose a fan below 2 sones for a quiet and peaceful bathroom.
- Efficiency: As the exhaust is used quite often, choose fans with good energy efficiency rating.
The toilet is another important component which is used very frequently compared to other parts of the toilet. While renovating the bathroom, changing the toilet may require a deep analysis and plan. This is because of the difficulty in switching the basic design of the toilet. Toilets are installed on to the wall or to the floor very firmly with attached drainage and flush system. So, there will be a considerable difficulty if you wish to change the position or design of the toilet. You will have to spend some extra money and efforts if you still wish to do that. Anyway, let’s see some important factors which need attention while choosing the toilet:
- Measurement: This measurement is the distance of the centre of the toilet from the wall. It is important to find a toilet with the same measure of the existing one. The standard distance from the wall is 12 inches; though it may vary from 10 to 14 inches.
- Bowl Type: Basically, there are 2 types of bowls: elongated and round bowls. Round bowls are round in shape with a maximum of 28 inch length. But the elongated bowls are 2 to 3 inch longer in the front. This makes its usual length around 31 inches. Elongated bowls have an oval shape with some added advantages. It is more comfortable for elderly and people with physical impairment. Moreover, the oval shape looks more attractive. But the round is more preferred when the bathroom is small for it saves some space.
- Height: This height is the length between the toilet seat and the floor. The standard height is 15 inches. There are toilets of greater height, usually above 17 inches. They are more comfortable as it is easier to sit and stand. The toilets of such heights are mostly preferred for elderly and people with physical impairment.
- Dual-Flush: Toilet flush is one of the major source for water consumption. Most of the old styled toilets come with a single flush lever. This means that irrespective of your need, there is only one flushing option. But, the amount of water required to clean the toilet may vary according to the use. Thus it is always advised to get a toilet with dual-flush option. This could save power and money to a great extent.
- Pressure-Assisted Toilets: In traditional models of toilets, the flush operates solely by the power of gravity. The flush tank is kept around a foot higher than the toilet. When the lever or the button is pressed, the water in the tank flows down to the toilet with gravitational force, which cleans the toilet.
However, the new models come with pressure-assisted flush technology. In these models, the water is kept under pressure by a tank within the flush tank. When you flush the toilet, the water in the tank flows down to clean the toilet with an extra air pressure produced by the inner tank. Thus the toilet gets washed efficiently.
One of the advantages of this system is that it uses less water compared to the traditional models, and cleans the water with much efficiency. But most of these models are costly, and the spares are barely available in case of break downs.
- Wall-hung toilet: If cleaning is a matter of concern for you, wall-hung toilet is the best option. Compared to the traditional models, a wall-hung toilet consumes less space. The main parts like the flush tank and the drainage system is connected through the wall. This makes the toilet compact and easy to clean up.
Vanity and Sink
Bathroom Vanity is yet another factor which contributes to the elegance of any bathroom. Apart from hiding the unnecessary mechanical setup of a sink, it gives a lot of storage space. This could be so handy for storing some essential items used in toilet. Now, let’s see some important factors to be considered before choosing the bathroom vanity.
- Dimensions: First of all, you have to find the space available for setting up the vanity. It’s better to go for the same dimension of your old vanity if you already have one. But that could be adjusted depending on the size of your bathroom; a smaller vanity would be appropriate for small bathrooms.
Height: This is the length from the floor till the top of the vanity. The standard height of vanity is 32 inches, though it could vary from 30 to 36. A shorter one is more preferable if the bathroom is used by kids.
Width: This is the side to side measure of the vanity. This depends largely on the size of the bathroom. The larger the width, it could contain wider drawers.
Depth: This is the measure from the wall to the upper edge of the vanity. This is to be decided considering the size of the sink. Moreover, a smaller depth is recommended for smaller bathroom.
- Number of Vanities: There are both single and double vanities in the market. But this depends upon the number of sinks you have in your bathroom. As most of the small and medium bathrooms have just one sink, the only option is to have a single vanity. Double vanities are preferred for larger bathrooms with more than one sinks. Double vanities give a luxurious look with a lot of storage space.
- Mounting: There are mainly three mounting designs for vanities:
Free Standing: It resembles a buffet and is the standard mounting. In this design, the vanity stands free on the floor with 4 legs. Free standing vanities give a lot of space and are more firm.
Wall-Mounted: This type of vanity is attached to the wall and does not touch the floor. Gives a compact looks and enough storage space.
Corner-Mounted: This is the best option for saving space. These vanities have 90 degree angle at the back of it and fits into the corner of the bathroom. Though the storage space is less, it could save lot of space for smaller bathrooms.
- Type of Sink: The style of the sink is a major factor which decides the type of vanity. The sink designs could be classified as 3 for this purpose:
Under-mount: These sinks are installed to fit under the counter. Since only the top of the sink appears on the counter, it gives a cleaner look with so much of ease in cleaning. The storage space in the vanity reduces with this design of sink.
Self-Rimming: These sinks are mounted to an opening on the counter.
Vessel: These sinks sit on the top of the counter as a whole and do not require any installation. These sinks are usually bowl shaped. These sinks give a lot of space in the vanity as there are no projections to the bottom of the counter.
Mirror is an integral part of the bathroom and it is so important to choose it with care. More than just a decoration, it’s a utility as well as a necessity. But when it comes to renovation of bathroom, mirrors are the easiest to be replaced. But choosing the appropriate one is important though. Here are some important tips to help you fix the right mirror:
- Space: The first step is to measure the space available for the mirror. This is usually the space available above vanity. But, if you wish you could fix mirror in some other space apart from the vanity.
Width: The width of the mirror should not exceed the width of the vanity.
Height: The height of a person does not usually exceed 6 feet. So the top of the mirror needn’t be above 6 feet. And the bottom of the mirror should be kept a few inches above the vanity.
- Shape and Style: Traditional mirrors are rectangular in shape. Oval, square and other shapes are popular though. Nowadays, the mirrors are cut to fit into the shape and space available in the bathroom. This is a better option for smaller bathrooms.
There are mirrors with and without frame. The frameless mirrors give a sleek and clean look. Fogless mirrors are a good option, especially if you have a steam bath in your bathroom.
- Position: The position of the mirror should be carefully chosen. There should be natural reflection of light from the mirror and the person standing in front of the mirror should not face too much glare, thereby distracting his or her vision.
Bathroom renovations are not limited to these aspects; there are many other aspects to be looked into before remodeling or designing a new bathroom. But these were some of the important areas where most of the people get confused. Once you can keep track of these areas, the bathroom makeover becomes much easier. Designing the bathroom of your heart is not a burden, but you should really spend a decent amount of time and money on it. You will then get the result and satisfaction that you desire.
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