Bathroom Sink Considerations
Two vanities, each with a sink and a mirror, or one long vanity equipped with two sinks are common design elements for today's master baths, allowing two people plenty of space for morning routines.
Above-counter basins and vessels are popular choices for adding elegance to otherwise ordinary vanities. These sinks work equally well in master bathrooms with contemporary, traditional, Asian, or eclectic styles. Note that vessel sinks may require tall or wall-mount faucets.
A water closet offers privacy in a shared bathroom -- add a pocket door with frosted glass to allow light in while still keeping the space separate. If you are short on square footage, try concealing the toilet behind a half wall.
Shower benches and shelves don't have to be elaborate. A piece of tile cut into a triangle and mounted a few feet off the floor in a corner can store shower supplies or give you a leg up when shaving.
Showers shared by multiple users can benefit from customized sprays. Many high-end shower systems offer a single-control, programmable push-button module for selecting water temperature and specifying the operation of showerheads, body sprays, and pulsation intervals. For more affordable customization, try handheld showers and slide bars that make shower height optimal for each user.
Many homeowners are choosing luxury showers over whirlpool tubs in bathroom remodels because the showers take up less space, provide multiple types of water massage, and remove the hazard of stepping up and into a tub for aging homeowners.
Master Bathroom Showers
The flexible design options of open showers continue to inspire homeowners wanting to remodel a master bathroom. If you choose this kind of shower, plan ventilation in the shower to prevent humidity from affecting other bathroom surfaces.
If you're adding the relaxing power of a steam shower to your bathroom, the key is finding a place for the steam generator, which requires its own cold water, electrical supplies, and drain. The generator must be within 50 feet of the shower but can be located in a closet, vanity, basement, or heated attic. Costs vary based on installation and shower features, but to include a steam shower, you should plan to allocate at least an additional $2,500 to a bathroom remodeling project budget.
A soaking tub -- often sized to accommodate two people -- can be the focal point of a rejuvenated master bathroom. To ensure plenty of hot water, the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) recommends a water heater at least two-thirds the size of your tub's capacity.
Some whirlpool tubs and power showers require a plumbing upgrade. Designer or European fixtures often require 3/4-inch pipes instead of the standard 1/2-inch. If you buy a luxury shower, which can use 9 gallons of water per minute, you may need to buy a second water heater as well.
For a more budget-friendly update, you can reface an old tub in a day with an acrylic liner. At $850-$1,000 for an average tub, refacing costs less than remodeling jobs that disturb plumbing, tile, and flooring.
Accent tile is the perfect way to get bang for your buck. Use large inexpensive tiles on the floor and in the shower, then accent the room with a row of beautiful mosaic tile behind the faucet or add a horizontal or vertical accent in the shower to get big impact. Accent tile is also a great place to add a splash of pattern or color. Like jewelry, accent tile can be the finishing touch to your bathroom.
Many homeowners are choosing to install separate mirrors above the vanities rather than one large unframed mirror. Separate mirrors add a custom look to the bathroom, and they also give the homeowner another place to infuse style and personality. Go beyond the bathroom section of stores to look for your mirrors. Often those mirrors intended for living rooms work perfectly in a bathroom and have more interesting details and style.
Faucet choice is more than simply a function of style. Finish quality, valve quality, and warranty length should also factor into your purchase decision. Solid-brass fixtures might cost the most, but they last the longest. Zinc is durable and less expensive but may corrode if the plating wears off and water reaches the zinc. Plastic-bodied faucets are the cheapest and least durable option.
Wall-mount faucets are gaining popularity both as a stylistic complement to above-counter basins and as a way to free countertop space for personal items.
For a personal touch, you can customize fixtures to fit each user. For example, dual showerheads can be installed at different levels, and vanity heights can vary up or down from the standard 32 inches.
In a recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders, prospective homeowners ranked ceramic tile as their top choice for bathroom flooring. Stone tile, laminate surfaces, and vinyl flooring are also good options in the bathroom.
An easy way to add luxury to a bath is by installing a radiant floor heating system, which costs $4-$6 per square foot. Adding a timer lets you set the heater to provide a warm surface for the first footsteps of the morning.
Believe it or not, wood can work in bathrooms. Wood tubs and sinks are possible thanks to special stabilizing and polishing processes, epoxy resins, and the use of water-resistant woods such as teak. Check each product's fabrication process and warranty. Wood is also a great flooring option, but you'll need to prevent puddles and expect some shifting of planks.
Wall color plays a vital role in determining whether your bathroom lives large or small. Soft, airy hues open up a room significantly, while deeper, rich tones can make the space feel cozy. When choosing paint, remember that latex paints are easy to use, quick-drying, and durable. However, oil paints are sometimes preferred because of their superior adhesion and stain resistance.
Master Bathroom Extras
A dressing room between the master bathroom and bedroom lets an early riser shower and get dressed without disturbing a late sleeper.
Squeezing laundry features into a master bathroom allows you to wash clothes right in the room where they tend to pile up. A stacked washer-and-dryer unit is a space-savvy way to make a bathroom double as a laundry room. These units require a space about 27 inches wide and 27 inches deep.
The design concept of work zones is as practical in bathrooms as it is in kitchens. Thinking of bathroom space in terms of a toilet area, bathing area, and sink area leads to plans that let multiple users utilize different parts of the bath concurrently.
If you're looking to expand your master bathroom, you might not have to look far. Designers often turn to seldom-used closets and bedrooms when seeking space for a bathroom expansion.
Artificial lighting from above often casts shadows that make shaving and applying makeup a challenge. If your light fixture must dangle over the mirror, choose a small track system that diffuses light uniformly across the mirror and throughout the space. Mirror-flanking swing-arm lamps also cast light conducive to grooming.