Whenever you remodel any room in your home, you’re making a significant investment of time and money. And since once the project is done you won’t be repeating it any time soon, you want to do it right the first time.
The problem is, how do you determine what’s “right?” It seems everyone has an opinion about how to remodel your home, from your contractor to realtors to your mother-in-law. While in most cases professionals have a great deal of knowledge about the trends and best practices in home design, some still abide by old rules — and if you heed their advice, there’s a chance you’ll end up disappointed.
When it comes time to remodel your bathroom, avoid these myths to ensure you’re happy with the results.
Small Bathroom, Small Fixtures (and Other Lies)
“A small bathroom can’t be painted a dark color.” “There’s no room for a vanity in here. You have to use a pedestal sink.” “Bathroom lights always go over the sink.” These are a few of the statements that well-meaning builders and designers (or others who think they know about design) make when advising clients on their bath remodels; however, they can be wrong. The right shade of dark paint can make a small bath cozy and welcoming, not claustrophobic. Lights above the sink might create unfortunate shadows. When you’re planning your remodeling project, explore all of your options and find ways to incorporate what you love, regardless of the “rules.”
Everything Must Match
Once upon a time, it was trendy for everything in the bathroom to be the same color, from the walls to the toilet. These days, though, matchy-matchy is out. Instead, think “complementary” when choosing the fixtures, walls and flooring for your bath. For example, a wooden vanity, cream toilet and sink and stone-tiled shower are beautiful and stylish. If you must have coordinating fixtures, go with neutral or cream to allow for maximum versatility in flooring, paint and accessory choices.
Racks and Holders Come Last
In the past, the last things to be installed in the bathroom were the most important. The result? In many homes, the toilet paper holder is practically inaccessible and the towel bars are across the room from the shower. Instead of leaving these important items for the end and installing them as an afterthought, think about them early in the process — and test their placement — so they are properly placed.
Going Green Is Expensive
One of the biggest trends in home design and construction is going green. More homeowners are incorporating ecofriendly materials and techniques into their homes to conserve resources; however, some people resist the green trend, thanks to the perception that environmentally friendly is not wallet-friendly. Granted, some green materials can cost more than traditional materials, but going green can save money in the long term, particularly in reduced energy costs and tax incentives. If your budget is a concern, even small steps can make a big impact. For example, use low-or-no-VOC paint, and install a programmable thermostat and LED lights.
It’s Not Worth It
With the housing market stalled, many homeowners are looking for low-cost ways to make their homes more appealing to buyers. Many experts have compiled lists of suggested projects that will increase the value of a home — and most of those lists caution against spending a lot of money in the bathroom. And while it’s true that an updated bath is not going to completely offset structural issues or an inefficient kitchen, spending a little money to give your bathroom a facelift before selling your home will pay off; by some estimates you can recoup nearly 90 percent of your investment. Even if you don’t plan to sell your home, a bathroom remodel that makes you happy is always worthwhile.
At the end of the day, it’s your home and your choice how you want to update your bathroom, so don’t allow outdated myths to get in the way of your dreams. And when your mother-in-law says how much she loves the deep purple walls in the powder room, you can smile with the satisfaction that you followed your heart.
About the Author: Pauline Gregory is a licensed interior designer. She blogs about home design and décor while maintaining a busy schedule of creating beautiful spaces in the Pacific Northwest.