5 Ways to Update Your Bathroom for Less

By Barbara Pronin

“These days,” says California bathroom designer Ted Reedy, “you can spend $15,000 or more to remodel an outdated bathroom. But while a trendy bath appeals to buyers and ultimately adds value to your home, you can achieve a fresh new look and improve functionality while spending whole lot less.”

Reedy suggests five ways to improve your old bathroom without spending any more than you need to:

Reface vanity/cabinets –
You can give bathroom cabinets and/or vanity a whole new look by refacing – not replacing – the old, tired-looking front surfaces. Refacing will cost just a third of the replacement cost and add new life to the room.
Add a stylish sink – Consider an integrated sink, which has no edges or hangovers from the countertop to the sink, or a bowl sink, which sits above the countertop, for between $150-$500. Even installing a shiny new chrome faucet and/or porcelain handles can be a smart and stylish small investment.
Change the lighting – Improve your bathroom’s look and feel by replacing those glaring overhead lights. Accent lighting, such as canister lights installed in the ceiling, or track lighting installed over the sink, will improve functionality and appearance at a very reasonable cost.
Update the flooring –Replacing vinyl tiles or linoleum with porcelain, ceramic or natural stone tiles is a cost-effective and savvy investment. Choose simple tile designs you can install yourself or have professionally installed.
Change the shower head – Turn your shower into an oasis you will enjoy by updating your shower head with a rain head. They can cost as little as $100 and the small investment can be a real turn-on to buyers when the time comes to sell.

Home Staging for a Modern World

Tangerine Tango (Paint with a palette knife)
 (Photo credit: Hailey E. Herrera Art Journey)

By John Voket, RISMedia Consumer Confidant

A recent visit to the Academy of Home Staging (theacademyofhomestaging.com) revealed some of the latest home-staging trends and how they could translate into selling your home faster.

The academy blog about 2012 design trends reveals a couple of key points about color and accessories.

According to the site, 2012 interior design trends regarding furnishings will favor seating that is much lower to the ground. Home furniture manufactures are debuting chairs and sofas that offer lower seating arrangements than standard products.

There is also a growing trend to incorporate the industrial look into furnishings, not just kitchen and bathroom spaces. With all shades of grey remaining favorable within interior design, it can be expected to see more yellow integrated into furniture to enhance this color pairing.

Also, rustic wooden furnishings will be popular this year, the academy advises.

We touched on this earlier this year, but it bears repeating – the accent color of 2012 is bright, bold and orange. The Pantone Color Institute recommends the reddish orange Tangerine Tango to replace last year’s pink Honeysuckle.

The Academy of Home Staging explains that this color has a lot of depth, being dramatic and simultaneously seductive and sophisticated. It’s important to be conservative in the use of a vibrant color, however, otherwise it can overpower the surroundings.

Selecting patterned trimmings that incorporate this color will give an edge to pillows, bedspreads, or tabletop accessories. For a more bold approach, painting an accent wall in a hallway, kitchen or entrance can create a dynamic burst of energy, the academy advises.

Finally, never as well overlook ‘dynamizing’ – giving the room in your house that special look. Make sure that each room clearly conveys its function and purpose.

For the bathrooms or toilets, the academy advises displaying fresh towels and toiletries like they do in hotels. For the living room, put a vase of fresh flowers on the coffee table.

Say Yes to an Inexpensive Bathroom Remodels

Repairing shower stall with grout applicator(ARA) – Looking to revamp your bathroom but worried about a monumental price tag? Want to freshen your space and still be able to afford that trip to Hawaii? We don’t blame you. The average cost of a bathroom remodel tops $16,500, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value report. But you don’t have to spend the average to achieve above-average results when it comes to updating a bathroom.

Generally, people renovate or remodel bathrooms for two main reasons: to boost their home’s resale value, and to enhance their own enjoyment of the room. A bathroom renovation yields a 62 percent return on investment at the time of resale, Remodeling Magazine’s report indicates. How much more will you enjoy that ROI – and the improved livability of your bath – if your initial investment was just $1,000, rather than tens of thousands?

Fortunately, the bathroom is one room in the house where you can accomplish a lot with $1,000. Here are four updates and upgrades that cost less than 10 Ben Franklins, but can leave you feeling like a million bucks when you step into your new bath.

1. Redo walls and floors
The key to bringing this job in under $1,000 is to do the work yourself. The actual materials – paint for the walls and tile, stone or vinyl for the floor – can be purchased for a relatively low cost. By doing the work yourself, you avoid high labor charges. Most bathrooms require only a gallon or two of paint, so you can easily stay on budget even if you purchase a high-end brand. It’s also possible to find plenty of cost-effective flooring options, from luxury materials like marble to more economical ones such as ceramic tile or vinyl. After the materials, your second biggest investment for this project will be the time it takes to learn how to do the job right. Fortunately, you’ll find plenty of educational material online and many home improvement stores even offer free classes in how to lay new floors.

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How to Deal with Bathroom Problems

Water tap
Water tap (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whether it’s just the annoying drip of a leaky tap or the horror of a blocked drain, every homeowner will be forced to deal with a bathroom problem at some point or another. Here are some tips for common bathroom problems:

Blocked Toilets
A blocked toilet can quickly become an extremely messy problem, but luckily there are a few ways to sort out the problem before it builds up. Attaching a mop to a plunger makes it easier to reach all the way into the toilet bowl and a quick backwards and forwards pumping motion should dislodge any shallow blockages.

A cleaning wire is another useful tool for stubborn blockages, or a chemical cleaner can be poured into the bowl to help break down any foreign objects that are preventing waste from flushing away.

Blocked Drains
Most drainage pipes have a curved section near the bottom end, which are liable to trap hair, dust and dirt. When these solid particles meet bathroom products such as shampoo and cleaning products, a mass begins to accumulate that can cause a blocked drain.

A wire coat hanger can sometimes be used to remove a blockage, but a plunger may be needed if the mass isn’t visible. The water supply should be switched off beforehand and the plunger covered with a wet towel to increase its suction. Again, chemical solutions can be applied as a last resort, but homeowners are recommended to protect their eyes against any corrosive back-splash.

Leaking Taps
A dripping tap can be highly irritating, but this bathroom problem can often go ignored for months on end. Homeowners should shut off the water supply and lay old towels around the sink before attempting to tighten the tap with a wrench. If the base of the tap is leaking, a washer may need to be replaced. Leaving corrosion and rust to develop can permanently damage a tap, but it can be easily removed with a steel wool pad if found in time.

Homes in hard water areas are liable to suffer from limescale accumulation in the bathroom. Unfortunately these hard mineral deposits cannot be removed with ordinary bathroom products, but abrasive cleaners can scratch bathroom surfaces and appliances. A natural solution of lemon juice or vinegar is a gentler alternative, while a water softener will help to prevent limescale from building up again once it has been removed.

Source: www.dyno.com