PROMOTION: Tips For Brightening The Bathroom
Master bathrooms, guest bathrooms, kids’ bathrooms, half- and full-baths: these essential spaces are often neglected from a design perspective. If this is the year to freshen up your baths and inject some personality into your powder rooms, a great place to start is to speak with local experts in bathroom remodeling, such as the Dane County professionals profiled here.
At DreamHouse DreamKitchens, Dream Team Sales Director Jerry Schmidt and Certified Associate Kitchen and Bath Designer Jenna Mattison have a lot of experience helping customers create a bathroom that looks luxurious and functions extremely well.
“The biggest reason for a remodel we hear is that the current bathroom is simply outdated,” says Schmidt. “As a house ages, many homeowners remodel the larger, main areas of the house, and bathrooms tend to be put on the back burner. Once we discuss the project with the client, there are usually many features they would like to improve upon in the new space. Common complaints include small showers, tub enclosures that are too large, and limited counter space.”
Mattison emphasizes the importance of making good use of every inch of space when laying out a bathroom. When she works with clients, her first step is to pose questions about how they use their current bath spaces: Do they take showers or baths? Do they need two sinks at the vanity, or would they prefer more countertop space? Do they need space for a separate toilet room?
Schmidt adds that the budget is important to consider when remodeling a bathroom. “Bathroom remodels add up quickly. Many times, people think since bathrooms are a smaller space, they will cost less money to renovate. That is not always the case,” he says. “There are a lot of skilled tradesmen involved in redoing bathrooms–just as there are in kitchens–such as plumbers, electricians, framers, and installers. Plumbing fixtures and tile are both high-price categories in bathrooms because the space demands a large quantity of those products.”
Mattison notes that whites and grays continue to be popular colors in bathrooms. “White, in particular, has a very clean look and feel, which a lot of individuals like in a bathroom space,” she says. “People tend to lean towards a spa feel for their bathrooms; they want a space that’s both relaxing and airy. This pushes color schemes toward the lighter end of the spectrum.” In addition, lighter colors can help the bathroom seem larger.
Proper lighting, too, is important. “Lighting also adds a lot to a bathroom both for function and for character,” Mattison explains. “Light fixtures are a great way of adding flair to a space. There are unique fixtures available in many finishes that help accentuate style.”
Schmidt adds, “Everyone needs adequate light around mirrors in the bathroom. Multiple light sources from the top and side brighten your reflection and eliminate shadows.”
New tile and flooring play a large role in bathroom remodels. “We are seeing people moving from standard-sized tile to different shapes and sizes of classic materials,” says Mattison. “The 12-inch by 24-inch and 6-inch by 24-inch tiles are popular for flooring and shower walls. Because shower floors need to have smaller-scale tiles to allow for the drain slope, we are seeing fun shapes and materials being used here as well.”
Many tiles popular for bathrooms are natural stone or tiles mimicking that look, whether limestone, travertine or marble. For a spa-like bath, Mattison suggests considering sliced river-rock tiles. “Also, small hexagon or penny tiles are fun on the shower floor,” she says. “These can be carried through by using the floor tile in a niche or up the wall as an accent.”
Schmidt says DreamHouse DreamKitchens offers many luxury touches that clients can choose to complement their baths, including unique fixture finishes such as Kohler’s Vintage Nickel or Brushed Gold. “Cabinetry in a bathroom can also be a fun and distinctive feature,” he adds. “Custom panels, flybys with puck lights, moldings and even custom storage pieces such as hair dryer and curling iron cubbies are great features to make a bathroom feel luxurious.”
Nicole Schreck, who specializes at Coyle Carpet One as a floor and home consultant and in cabinet and countertop sales, says clients remodeling a bathroom should think carefully about what they like and don’t like about their current bathroom. They should focus on changes that will help make the space more usable and better suited for their family’s needs.
Schreck says she sees a lot of white and neutral colors trending right now in bathroom design. “Painted white cabinets with a stylized Shaker door are really popular,” she notes. “Grays paired with white and other or neutral colors are still in demand, with brushed nickel or chrome plumbing fixtures.” She adds that furniture-style cabinetry–such as traditional wooden dressers turned into vanity cabinets–is also on the rise.
Schreck routinely tries to problem-solve bathroom design mistakes from the past. “A lot of 1990s and early 2000s-era homes have small showers and large corner bathtubs. Most clients with those large baths are removing them to make larger showers,” she says.
In terms of flooring, Schreck has been recommending larger format tiles of 12-inch by 24-inch in size. “We have also seen an increase in using luxury vinyl tiles for flooring in bathrooms, which include some newer 8-inch by 8-inch hexagonal or 6-inch by 24-inch sizes,” she says. “And of course people can always add more personal touches to their bathrooms through unique decorative details.”
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