Whatever the reason, reworking a bathroom can go a long way toward making your home much more enjoyable — and valuable. We don’t live in an age of excess anymore (that was so last decade). What we want to do is be smart about what improvements we make, to invest our money wisely in the things that really matter, to create bathrooms that are wonderful retreats without looking like a room in Versailles.
To do this you’ll want to have a checklist of what’s possible. Then move forward with incorporating the stuff you really need to make your bathroom function — and saying no to the rest. Here are a few things to consider.
So ask yourself if you really want that tub. If you’re a bath person, ask yourself if the tub has to be in the main bathroom, or if you can do with a nice-size tub in the hall bath.
If a 36-inch vanity is too high for you, and you don’t want to invest in a custom vanity, consider a floating one. These can be placed at just about any height you’d like; simply adjust the space between the floor and the vanity. Just make sure to have enough support in the wall so that the vanity can easily hang without coming loose.
And while you’re at it, plan out the location of each of these elements. For example, consider placing a standard showerhead up higher on the wall if you’re tall. And if you plan on having a shower bench, why not make sure the handheld can be used while you’re shaving your legs?
And please don’t put the controls in a place where they can’t be reached without getting into the shower. Getting dowsed by that initial spray of cold water is something you can live without.
Make sure you provide adequate blocking in the walls if you do want to include grab bars in your project. These are not the kinds of elements that can be attached to a wall with a plastic anchor. You’ll want to make sure they are securely anchored into something solid so they will last for years.
As with a grab bar, you’ll want to make sure a folding bench is securely attached to the wall.
The trick to having these niches is coordinate their placement with the tiling pattern. It’ll mean selecting your tile early, not changing your mind, and having the wall framed to accept the niche.
Keep in mind: Steam showers can easily add several thousand dollars to the cost of a project. And don’t try to save money by undersizing the steam generator. Make sure you calculate the cubic volume, not just the square footage, of the shower space and then go by the manufacturer’s recommendation for size. Also, make sure the generator is located in an accessible spot, a place that workers can get to easily. Steam generators are machines, and any machine can fail, no matter what its age is.