Bed + Bath

Dream Bathroom Checklist

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BLACK+DECKER B+D Contributor 3 Articles

Just because you're itching to update that lackluster vanity and unappealing wallpaper doesn't mean you have to go broke to create your dream bathroom. If the work is a bit out of your league, let the pros handle the complicated plumbing, electrical and major tile work. When they're done, put your spin on the space. The right tool kit, such as BLACK+DECKER’s 20V MAX* Lithium Drill/Driver + 68 Piece Project Kit, can help you complete your dream bathroom in no time.

Remodeling 101: Dream Bathroom Checklist

Update the Vanity

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Bring that bland vanity into the 21st century with a face lift. Even a laminate or melamine vanity can be transformed with just a couple coats of enamel spray paint. Replace the countertop with a remnant of quartzite, granite or other material, custom-cut by your local stone yard. Dated cultured marble vanity countertops can be repainted with off-the-shelf tub-and-tile paint. A low-flow faucet — newer ones go as low as 1.5 gallons per minute (gpm) — with a coordinating drain stopper can immediately upgrade the bathroom. Keep your plain plate-glass vanity mirror if it's in good shape, but freshen it up by framing it with molding and liquid adhesive or mosaic tile.


Redo the Hardware

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Exchange that old brass or countrified hardware for contemporary versions that coordinate with the vanity's hardware. Modern luxury bathrooms are simple and less ornate than those of the past. Clean, contemporary hardware offers a quick dose of updated luxury. Amp up the spa vibe with a surprisingly affordable luxury: a small wall-mounted or freestanding towel warmer, which can cost just a couple of hundred dollars for a quality version.


Modernize the Lighting

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Trash that outdated Hollywood strip light for an LED bath bar. LEDs, or Light Emitting Diodes, are affordable and are emerging as a major source of lighting thanks to their low maintenance and long life. Lighting fixture finishes typically match plumbing hardware finishes.

You can find an array of black or gray bath lighting fixtures to work with chrome or polished nickel faucet and other hardware finishes. Instill a contemporary feel by flanking the mirror with sleek vertical tubular sconces. Sconces over 20" tall are typically centered on each side for best lighting. Install smaller, more basic sconces of approximately 1' in height at roughly eye level. Eye level can be measured at about 65"-70" up from the floor. Hang mini-pendants following the same rule of thumb.


Add Better Storage

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Stop knocking over the clutter of bottles and makeup. It's time to rip out the old medicine cabinet that came with your home and plan for strategic storage. Take advantage of vertical space, especially over the toilet, with a wall-mounted storage cabinet, complete with doors, to streamline the space. Or hang a series of three deep and sturdy baskets on the wall over the toilet to hide small items and lightweight hand towels.

A vented, corrosion-resistant zinc towel shelf installed over the toilet holds about 10 to 30 pounds of terry, depending on the size of the rack. If you have an empty wall and you want to put some muscle behind your tools, build a shallow, full-length mirror storage case that stores more toilet paper rolls than you can imagine.


Enhance the Shower

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If replacing a shower rod with a frameless glass shower door is not feasible, there's another solution. Immediately upgrade shower space by pulling down that lopsided tension rod and replacing it with a curved shower curtain rod that securely screws to the wall. It effortlessly adds 5"-7" of elbow room inside your shower, depending on whether you install a single or double rod.

Behind the curtain, complete the spa effect by removing the aging showerhead and replacing it with a low-flow, high-pressure rainfall model. Newer versions offer flow rates of less than 2.0 gpm to cut down on water waste, while a showerhead filter reduces the chlorine in your shower water. For a handheld shower, opt for a model with an easy-release magnetic dock so you no longer have to struggle to put the wand back in place when you're done.


Accent with Tile

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If you're happy with existing tiling and drywall, add a splash of tile on the walls where it's least expected. Replace ancient ceiling border wallpaper with a band of light-reflecting glass mosaic tile. Give your bathroom sink a 2" or higher backsplash created with mini brick tile. Freshen up existing wall tiles by adding accent tiles in random spots around the bathroom.

Replace a damaged wall tile with mosaic pieces in similar or contrasting colors. Finish off existing exposed tile by adding cap molding or bullnose borders. Now, you're ready to use your tiling skills for other remodeling projects.