Make Your Bathroom a Sanctuary

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We talk to experts to find out how to turn your bathroom into your favorite room in the house

Bathrooms, like kitchens, can be a main selling point in a home. But it’s also great to make the most of the space while you live there. ’Cause let’s face it: A nice bathroom can act as a true sanctuary. To help with your next home improvement project, we’ve tracked down some of the latest ideas in bathroom remodeling.

“If you want to know the latest in bathroom style and trends, look at the hospitality industry,” suggests Maria Stapperfenne, president-elect of the National Kitchen and Bath Association in Hackettstown, New Jersey. “Many of those spa-like features aren’t that difficult to replicate in your own home. They’re a great upgrade for you and your family — and will help increase your comfort as well as your home’s resale value.”

Shower…or Bath?

If you’re searching for bathroom remodeling ideas, look to remodelers who are pulling out shower-tub combos to install walk-in showers, they’re also installing standalone tubs where room allows, Stapperfenne says. “They are all the rage because they help maintain the large look of a space in what is usually not a huge room. They also are really beautiful now — with artful form and lines.”

But bathtubs aren’t typically for daily use. “Not everyone wants to take the time to pre-fill a tub and then spend a long time soaking,” Stapperfenne says. So be sure your shower provides a stress-relieving experience by adding features and accessories like multiple showerheads or a rain head, which “gives you the experience of a standing bath,” she explains.

Rain heads sometimes come straight down to hit your eyebrows, which triggers a blink reflex, according to Stapperfenne. She recommends supplementing a rain head with a more standard showerhead angled out from the wall or a handheld device, “which is also great on an adjustable slide bar for younger users who might not want such a dramatic cone of spray coming right down on them,” she says. Handhelds are also great for washing pets and cleaning the shower.

Steam showers remain popular, but work best when the ceiling above is slanted up so you’re not getting the condensed cold water dripping on you, Stapperfenne suggests.

Heat Things Up

No one wants to come out of a hot shower and step onto a cold floor. Heated flooring is a great option for the bathroom.

“People don’t want just the warm feel but a warm texture, too,” Stapperfenne says.

Tile is still the favorite choice for bathrooms, but because people want that visual warmth, tiling that looks like wood has become more popular.

Stapperfenne puts soft-close toilets in every design, but for real luxury, some clients are going for heated seats, smart seats and European-style bidets. Keep in mind that these multi-functional toilets need electrical outlets installed behind them.

Lighten the Mood

In a room that spotlights your reflection, don’t forget the importance of lighting. Always make sure the lighting is in front of your face, Stapperfenne says, suggesting sconces or a lighted swing-away mirror.

“Lights coming from high above your head make you look scary,” she cautions. A lot of people are opting to eliminate medicine cabinets and just have mirrors on the wall flanked by good lighting.

Other bathroom light ideas include adding touches like a mini-chandelier.

“The bathroom is typically on a smaller scale, so you’re drawing the eye to something very detailed,” Stapperfenne says. “A mini-chandelier can dress up a powder room and make it look fresh and new or upscale.”