Is a bathtub really necessary?
For many years homeowners have been told that they have to have a “garden tub” in a main bathroom. It didn’t matter that no one would ever use it. What mattered was resale and having that tub to make sure the house could be sold. 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 your home is more than a few decades old, your bathroom vanity is likely 30 inches high. While that height can be great for smaller children, it really doesn’t work for adults. The standard now is 36 inches, which is comfortable for most adults.
Today’s showering experience has almost unlimited possibilities. Standard showerheads are just a starting point. There are body sprays, handhelds, rain heads and more. Keep in mind that each of these items will increase the cost of your project, as each will increase both your rough and trim plumbing costs as well as your fixture costs. Consider placing a standard showerhead up higher on the wall if you’re tall. Make sure the handheld can be used while you’re shaving your legs. Put the shower controls where they can be reached without getting into the shower and getting sprayed by the initial spray of cold water.
There are many designs that are quite striking and, when placed judiciously, can be beneficial to anyone raising themselves from the tub or shower bench. Make sure you provide adequate blocking in the walls if you 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.
A shower seat isn’t just a comfy place to relax; it can also be support for shaving your legs. For a small shower where you don’t want to have the seat permanently taking up much-needed floor space, consider a folding bench, which runs a few hundred dollars. As with a grab bar, you’ll want to make sure a folding bench is securely attached to the wall.
Find your niche.
A great way to provide space for shampoo bottles, conditioner bottles and even things like candles is to create a niche or series of niches in the wall of a shower or bath area. These niches are a welcome alternative to a plastic shower caddy or the shower floor, and since they are inexpensive to construct, there’s a lot of value to be had. The trick to having these niches is to 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.
Do you shave in the shower?
I’ve always found the shower to be the best place to shave. If you do too, consider spending a few hundred dollars extra to add proper lighting, a fog-free mirror and a place for a razor and shaving cream.
Getting your game face on.
Do you stand at the vanity to put your makeup on? Would you rather have a place to sit to do so? A place with a big mirror and all of your cosmetics stored neatly at hand? If so, consider a makeup desk. If you choose to integrate one with your vanity, you’ll have to recognize the height difference. While a vanity for an adult tends to be 36 inches, a makeup desk is usually 30 inches. If you really want a large, uninterrupted counter, you’ll want to look into a seat that’s stool height for the makeup desk.
Forgo the threshold.
While creating a zero-threshold shower during a renovation can cost extra, it could well be worth the added expense to create a shower where you can gracefully age in place. And the cost, depending on structural issues, could be as low as a few hundred dollars — a small price to pay to not have to ever trip on a raised shower sill, something you’ll appreciate every time you get in and out of the shower.
Time to get steamed.
While there’s less demand for steam showers today, you should always consider one, especially if you have a home gym that you use regularly. Steam showers can easily add several thousand dollars to the cost of a project. And don’t try to save money by under-sizing 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 it easily. Steam generators are machines, and any machine can fail, no matter what its age is.
Keep reading material nearby.
Why not have a place for books, magazines, newspapers etc. that always seem to find their way to the throne room? This is a fairly inexpensive thing to do and a way of keeping the room neat and tidy.
Hooks, towel bars and the T.P. holder.
When planning your project, think about where the hooks, towel bars, toilet paper holders will go so that you can get that all-too-often-overlooked blocking installed in the wall. Seems that the placement of these things, always a necessity, is the last thing to be considered. They really shouldn’t be an afterthought, especially when they can be such fun design elements.