Time to Redo Your Loo

By Adelaide Irene

The bathroom is one of the most frequently used rooms in your house, but it usually gets the least attention. The bathroom can be more than a place for a quick shower and shave, though; there are many ways you can redo the bathroom without busting your bank account.

1. Light it up!
You’d be amazed as to the power of a few updated lights. Upgrading to a brighter light will instantly make your bathroom seem more spacious. As you can imagine, dimmer rooms seem smaller, and the bathroom is generally the smallest room in the house. Why not optimize the space you’ve got and brighten up the place? Go for some brighter lights; even installing one more bulb around your mirror can go a long way to making things seem brighter.

2. Mirror mirror:
Mary Poppins said it best when, in looking at the tiny mirror in the nanny’s room, she would much prefer to see all of her face at once. If you have a small mirror in your bathroom, your bathroom will seem smaller. In addition, you’ll experience a great deal of aggravation, as much time is spent in front of the bathroom mirror on any given day. But you can do more than simply change up the size of the mirror; if you have a “naked” mirror over your sink – a fairly commonplace occurrence – why not throw a frame around it? You’d be surprised as to the touch of elegance a move like that can bring.

3. Fix the fixtures:
If your budget is really tight, why not simply upgrade the fixtures? You’d be amazed at the change a simple fixture upgrade will give you. Whether you upgrade the knobs on your bathroom cabinetry or redo the fixtures on your sink, the change – and the happiness you get from the change – will surprise you. An old, tired looking bathroom will suddenly have an upgraded, classy feel, and you won’t have lifted a paintbrush.

4. Mood Palette:
Your bathroom may be your haven from the outside world – the place where you can relax in a luxurious bath and soak in serenity before taking on the world again. Why not choose colors that reflect that? Choose colors that you find peaceful and relaxing and use those to brighten up your bathroom. The first thing you have to decide, though, is the mood you really want to generate from your bathroom. Do you want to be energized or relaxed? Hip and cool or edgy? Whatever the choice, find colors to reflect that and from there, go for it. Remember, it’s only paint – if need be, it can be changed very easily.

5. Tidy Up!
If you have a busy lifestyle and have a hard time keeping your bathroom in some semblance of order, finding some new shelving might be the answer. Whether it’s a shelving corner unit or a shelving unit you can hang with hooks underneath, there are a variety of ways you can find to tidy up your bathroom area.

If counter space is an issue, a corner rack for makeup might be an idea; this would allow you to stack everything you need so it’s all in easy reach, rather than having to root through several drawers and packages to find what you’re looking for. The thing to remember with shelving, however, is that if you have open shelving, you truly need to keep things tidy. If you and your bathroom partners can’t handle that, opt for shelving you can stash behind closed doors.

6. Functionality First:
Remember, regardless of what you choose to do to tidy your bathroom, it’s important to ensure you have things set up in a functional manner. Shelving in a corner isn’t going to work if it chews up too much of your counter space, and hooks for towels aren’t practical if there’s no place you can stash them that aren’t in the way. Ensure that when you go to remodel your bathroom – especially if you’re looking for something that will really modernize the room – you’re always considering the functionality of the room first. Not doing that will ultimately work against you and cause greater frustration in the long run.
There are many different ways you can upgrade your bathroom. While you may dream big and have great ideas, it’s important to keep in mind that functionality of the room has got to win out over any idea you may have. If there’s no functionality to this most used of spaces, it’s going to work against you in the long run. So, take your time, plan things out, and have a little fun with it. You’ll be glad you did.

About the Author 
Adelaide Irene is a writer who also works with a bathroom remodeling company called Ultimate Bath Systems.

Mobility Friendly Bathroom Ideas

How to Design a Bathroom for People with Mobility Issues  By Adelaide Irene

Mobility Issues

Bathrooms are such a necessary part of our homes, and of our daily lives. This is the space where we get clean, do our business so to speak, get ready for the day ahead of us and just the same get ready for our coming nights. The bathroom is one of the most widely used rooms in the house, so doesn’t it make sense that this space should be equally accessible by all? Unfortunately this is not always the case. For many elderly people, and other people who suffer from mobility issues, the bathroom can sometimes be quite user unfriendly and not as safe as it should be. There are issues with sitting down and getting up when using the toilet, climbing in and out of the bathtub as well as standing for long periods of time in a slippery shower. All of these actions can pose grave problems and unsafe conditions for those who have trouble with their mobility. If you live in a house with someone who has special mobility needs or have them yourself, read this article to see ways in which you can design your bathroom to better serve these mobility issues.

Install a Walk-In Bathtub

One of the biggest issues in regards to mobility in the bathroom is the bathtub. The wall of the tub makes it difficult for those with mobility issues to get in and out of the tub safely. Once in the tub, it can be difficult to sit down and get back up when needed. Installing a walk-in bathtub system can eliminate this problem completely. Walk-in bathtubs are specialized tall tubs that have a water tight door that fully opens and closes, allowing the user to enter the tub easily without having to step over the bathtub wall. Once inside of the tub, the door closes behind them, sealing the water inside. There is a bench inside of the bathtub for the bather to sit on easily instead of trying to sit down low to the ground which can be difficult. From here the bather can bath or shower comfortably without the potential of hurting themselves. Exiting the tub is just as easy – simply drain the tub and then open the door to walk out.

Apply Grab Bars to Walls

Since bathrooms are smaller spaces, anyone who requires a walker to move around, or anyone who uses a wheelchair may not have the ability to move around properly inside of the bathroom. This is when grab bars are necessary to help support whoever needs to use the bathroom. Please keep in mind that towel bars are not to be used in place of grab bars. They will not support the same kind of weight and pressure that grab bars can support. Grab bars must be mounted to a smooth, hard surface. Consider placing one on the wall next to the toilet, as well as one on the wall surrounding the bathtub or shower. Anyone with mobility issues can use these bars to hold themselves up, as well as use them to assist themselves in sitting down or moving around the bathroom.

Get a Taller Toilet

Today, toilets are available in all sorts of styles and sizes. There are toilets that are lower to the ground as well as smaller sized toilets to accommodate smaller bathroom spaces. However, in a bathroom that accommodates a person with special mobility needs, you will need a taller toilet. By installing a toilet that is seated higher, the person needing to use it will not have to get down to a level that is difficult to move to. Less bending of the knees is required and less pressure is put on the leg muscles. If the user is seated in a wheelchair, they will be able to transition easier to a higher seated toilet, especially with the help of a grab bar as mentioned earlier. Remember that when designing a mobility friendly bathroom, the key is to make moving around and using the bathroom as easy as possible.

Use Non-Slip Materials

Bathrooms can become extremely slippery throughout the day, especially after someone has taken a shower or a bath. The condensation from the hot water collects on the bathroom surfaces. Since many bathroom surfaces are designed to be cleaned easily, the materials they are made from tend to be quite smooth, such as polished ceramic and porcelain. This creates for a very slippery surface, and it poses a threat to those with mobility problems. When designing your mobility friendly bathroom, consider using less slippery and perhaps more textured materials on the floor and in the tub and shower. Certain linoleum flooring can have slightly raised or textured patterns that can be easier to grip onto with the feet. As well, many stone tiles today are textured and less smooth and slippery – just make sure to use a sealant to protect the stone from absorbing any moisture. When it comes to a bathtub or shower, either use a non-slip mat inside that can be stood on, or choose a textured acrylic base or tub. This will help to prevent the person using them from slipping when the shower or bathtub becomes wet.

Keep Clutter Away and Keep Items Within Reach

Having a bathroom that is clean and organized will greatly benefit those with mobility issues. If there is too much clutter in the bathroom and odd items hanging around, it can make it difficult to move around and it could even pose a danger to those using the bathroom. Items left on the floor could cause someone to trip and fall. To prevent this from happening, keep your bathroom clutter free and keep the items you do need organized. As well, these items that are used on a daily basis should be kept in reach. It may be difficult for you to reach items that are kept on a high shelf or at the bottom of a cabinet under the sink if you experience troubles with your mobility. Keep shelves at a level that is within your reach or the reach of whoever else may have the mobility issues. As well, use hooks and special organization racks to hang things like towels and other necessary bathing tools. A properly organized bathroom will make using it much easier and much safer.

About the Author
Adelaide Irene is a freelance writer with specific interests in bathroom renovations and bath remodelling in Cambridge, Ontario.