Sarah Susanka's Bathroom Remodeling Tips

We’re delighted to have architect and author Sarah Susanka as a guest of Marvin Windows and Doors at this year’s Remodeling Show. Here are some tips from Sarah’s latest book, “Not So Big Remodeling,” written with Marc Vassallo.

Bathrooms are among the most expensive rooms in the house per square foot. Carefully consider personal patterns and preferences before determining the best remodling solution for the situation.

1. Positioning the Plumbing. Avoid added expense by leaving plumbing locations alone.

2. Control Costs. Before beginning, identify parts of the existing bathroom that can be saved, such as tile work, half walls, faucets and fixtures. Use available tools such as mirrors, reflected light, clear glass shower partitions and ceiling height variety to make the space look and feel larger. Identify ways to introduce natural light with glass block or frosted-glass windows, skylights and solar tubes. Do not overspend on bathroom tile or jewelry such as faucets and fixtures.

3. Express Yourself. Add simple, yet creative, deisgn flair with tile. Place a single, more expensive feature tile in a field of less costly tile to create a focal point. Or use only low cost tile, but several sizes or colors to create an innovative pattern.

4. A Tub for Young and Old. It is a good idea to have at least one bathtub in a house. Tubs are needed for bathing small children, and the elderly often prefer baths to showers.

5. Daylight in the Shower. When adding a window to a shower, make sure the window is installed properly, or it can cause moisture problems. If possible, use a metal or fiberglass covered unit and make the sill and surround out of tile or a solid surface material.

6. The Throne. For extra comfort in a bathroom or powder room, choose an elongated toilet bowl over a standard model. Given how much time we spend with this trusty fixture, it is worth a few extra dollars to make the experience a pleasant one.

7. Mirrored Gains. No room benefits more formthe use of reflecting surfaces than the bathroom. A wall-to-wall mirror can double the apparent size of a room without adding a single square foot.

8. Small Space, Big Effect. Powder rooms have the most impact per square foot of any room in the house. They do not have to be spacious to make guests feel well taken care of. What is important is the design and the attention that is given to the details, such as lighting, cabinetry and countertop design, and color. In this room, beauty matters more than you might expect.

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