Second to the kitchen, the bathroom is the busiest room in the house. With daily demands and tight schedules, it is important to have it organized to optimize space and utility. If you are renovating a bathroom, research what’s new and designed to make your life easier before you start. Quality products and the best choices for your lifestyle will vastly improve your mood each morning and evening. Proper lighting, safe bathtubs and showers, and comfortable flooring make all the difference. Accessible bathrooms are a great investment for everyone, with safety at the top of the list.
Let’s start with the bathroom sink. There are so many styles, from utilitarian wall mounts and pedestals to artsy cabinet-top vessel sinks. Kohler has a new offering, the Brockway, which is a 3-foot-wide cast iron, wall-mounted wash sink. Two faucets and two drains help the handwashing lineup, and it can be mounted to suit your family’s comfort zone. The bottom is an unpainted ground coat surface, shown here in black, but easily painted to complement your decor. Think about top levered taps that can be pushed on and off rather than turned, and look into an anti-scald feature that prevents hot water burns.
Manufacturers are attuned to water conservation for showers and toilets. This is an easy fix. Note that a comfortable height for toilet seats is 17 inches to 19 inches. They are actually called comfort toilets. A few inches higher than the standard 14 inches or 15 inches, this upgrade is much appreciated when bones get creaky, no matter what your age.
Bath lovers needn’t give up their relaxing soak when getting in and out of the tub becomes unsafe or impossible. Walk-in baths can be an expensive addition, but worth the cost when it is your best option. Kohler’s Walk-In Bath pampers you with back, neck and shoulder surfaces that are heated, keeping you comfortable while the tub fills and drains. There’s an extra wide door, a low 3-inch step and easy-grip handrails inside and out. Hydrotherapy air jets gently massage at the press of a button. All dials and taps are easy to reach and manage.
As always, lighting is a key element. Brighter is better when you are shaving, applying makeup, etc. It’s also safer. Daylight is optimum, so you are lucky if you have a window or two. If not, think about installing a skylight or Solatube. For ambient light, uplights and recessed downlights reduce glare. And for the bathroom mirror, install lights on either side to eliminate shadows on your face. As lighting requirements vary depending on the task, use dimmers. For nighttime, have a motion-activated night light that will show you the way without the blinding glare of any of the other lights.
Flooring is an important design feature for the bathroom, but the material needs to be waterproof and skid-resistant. Your best option with a vast number of designs available is good quality vinyl sheeting. It’s durable, waterproof (as long as seams are properly sealed), warm and soft underfoot.
A rubber floor is non-skid and warm, but more costly and with fewer design choices. Porcelain and ceramic tiles are popular and very on trend, but they are cold and hard underfoot, and slippery. If you choose this route, pick small tiles with lots of grout for traction, or matte, textured tiles. A big “no” to wall-to-wall carpet. If you want the feel, go with mats that can be washed and hung to dry.
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