There are a number of ways to ‘green’ your garage and create a more eco-friendly place to store your automobiles, sports gear, outdoor equipment, gardening, home projects and work tools. We have come up with some simple green strategies to ensure you and your family can enjoy a safe, green garage space.
1. When deciding on building materials for your garage think green and look for energy-efficient windows and doors, renewable and sustainable materials, insulated doors, light timers and sensors and low or no-VOC paints. According to the EPA, indoor air quality is considered one of the top five hazards to healthy home living and the paints you use contribute to that.
2. An environmentally conscious way to conserve water consumption in the garage is to collect rain water from the roof of your garage in a rain barrel and use it for washing your car, your dog or cleaning your garage.
3. If you’re thinking about placing an additional refrigerator in your garage, you may want to reconsider. Refrigerators consume quite a bit of energy, especially when they are working harder to compensate for the damp temperature in your garage. Unless you have a really large family or do catering out of your home, having a refrigerator in your garage is a luxury you can live without.
4. If your garage is attached to your house, you’ll want to make sure that your garage door is insulated to cut down on energy costs. Depending on your budget, you can purchase a custom-made insulated garage door or you can do it yourself. A great way to cut down on drafts is to weatherstrip the door that leads from your garage to your home.
5. Don’t store hazardous materials your garage, because the fumes can leach through the ceiling into your home. If you seal your garage correctly, then you are trapping the fumes from the chemicals in your garage and home. The smartest solution is to store them in a shed away from the house.
A fresh lick of paint and some new furniture isn’t always enough to transform a living spaces. Sometimes, you need to think bigger, bolder and deeper.
Adding space by renovating doesn’t just add financial value to your house; it adds real value to how you experience your home. Spend a little now for a big payoff later.
Extensions: Making New Rooms
A new room can breathe new life into your home. It’s not simply a way to alleviate a crowded house: a new room is a blank canvas and can fulfill any requirement you need — workshop, guest house, bedroom, dining room, you name it.
Extensions have become the most popular way to grow a property. It’s far less restrictive than converting a loft or basement, but there are still restrictions on planning permission, depending on the type of property you own. Not only does adding the extra floor space give you more freedom and control, it could also add over 10% to the value of your home.
Reduce risks by allowing a little buffer in your budget, and make sure you’re on the right track with your neighbors — especially if you’re building on boundaries or a party wall.
Usually little more than a poky space for a dryer and a freezer, a utility room with actual utilities tends to make more sense than a placeholder.
Routing in plumbing and waste pipes for a large sink, washing machine or dishwasher can transform a marginally handy space into a room you couldn’t live without. It also relieves your kitchen of some of its duties, making it a more relaxing place to stir up your senses by freeing up more workable space.
The heart of the home should never be neglected. Remodeling your kitchen is good for so many reasons — new, super-efficient appliances, a fresh look and clever kitchen storage are an amazing boost to your house all round.
Kitchens are happy places; they’re full of food, drink, music and laughter. The hardest working room in your home deserves to be its best, and sometimes just the smallest of changes can make all the difference.
Everyone has something about their kitchen that annoys them. That might be a tiny kitchen sink, or the lack of worktop space or a dishwasher. Maybe you just hate the tiling. Whatever your main gripe is, take it out of the equation — whatever makes your kitchen easier to run makes your life easier to live.
Open-plan living isn’t just a faux-zen fad that promises things it can’t deliver. It’s a big deal — one that can add up to 6% to the value of your home. Kitchens that flow into dining and living areas, whole rooms brought together into a single, homogenous sanctuary. Limitless living.
Open-plan living isn’t always possible, though. Those load-bearing walls aren’t just there to box you in; they keep your house up. And if you live in a semi-detached or terraced property, your neighbors’ houses depend on yours to stay standing too.
There are some clever (and beautiful) work-arounds, like giant indoor windows, internal sliding doors, arches and simple internal supports — ways to add a light, open-air feel without compromising structural integrity.
When you’ve built up and out as much as your property allows, where else is there left to go? Time to think on another level. Ambitious homeowners in cramped cities are taking their homes deeper underground, making the space beneath their feet work for them.
A basement dig is no mean feat, however. It’s a complex, costly and very time-consuming operation that can put large portions of your house out of action for extended periods. The spoils of such an endeavor are well worth it, with underground swimming pools, gyms and other luxury amenities becoming a staple addition alongside the additional living space
However, there’s a lot to think about before you decide to build downwards, even if it is rather à la mode.
No, not an outhouse in the traditional sense (unless that’s what you’re after, of course); a detached, fully independent new building isn’t an uncommon sight. The most common application tends to be that of a “man cave” — a term apparently still alive and well.
Not all outbuildings have to be new or extravagant. A greenhouse or shed might not warrant any renovations works, but a garage? Now you’re onto something.
A garage conversion can turn a resting place for oily rags and old tins of paint into a glorious living space. Just think: it’s all there already, an empty shell waiting for a new lease of life. As long as you’re not expanding the structure, planning permission isn’t usually required, so a garage conversion is a relatively quick and cheap way into renovation success.
As winter has approached you’ve gotten your sweaters out of storage and found your mittens and boots, but your house needs its own ‘winter coat’ as well. Things like leaky windows and a furnace in need of maintenance can cost you money and may be hazardous to your home. Here are some tips to help you keep more money in your pocket and your home cozy and warm.
Clean Your Gutters
After all the leaves have fallen, make sure to clean out the gutters so that rain and melting snow and ice can drain. Clogged gutters can help form ice dams where water backs up, freezes, and causes water to seep into the house. After removing the leaves from the gutters, hose them out and look for leaks and misaligned pipes. While you are doing this check the downspouts to make sure they are carrying water at least 10′ away from your home’s foundation.
Repair Air Leaks
The average American home has enough leaks to add up to a nine foot hole in a wall. All of this wasted energy seeping out of those leaks can make up about 10 percent of your heating bill. To find leaks, pick a breezy day and walk around inside your house holding a lit incense stick near the most common drafty areas (windows and doors), being careful around flammable items.
You should caulk leaks where necessary but you can also use door sweeps to plug leaks under the doors. Foam gaskets can easily be installed around electrical outlets that share the home’s outer walls, where cold air can seep through. Outside you should use weather-resistant caulk or masonry sealer, which will stand up to freezing and thawing.
Make Sure You Have Enough Insulation
One way to save money and energy in the winter is to add insulation to your attic. It’s not particularly expensive and you’ll get your investment back quickly. Regardless of where you live, you should have at least twelve inches of insulation in the attic. A general rule of thumb is that if you can see the ceiling joists you don’t have enough insulation (The average ceiling joist is between 10 and 11 inches).
Give Your Furnace a Check Up
Turn your furnace on to make sure it is working before the coldest weather descends. You might notice a short-lived odor the first time you turn the furnace on, but simply opening a window should dissipate it. However if the smell persists, shut down the furnace and call your technician.
You should have your furnace cleaned and tuned annually and change the furnace air filters regularly throughout the winter. A dirty filter will impede the air flow and efficiency, and in really extreme cases could result in a fire. It is also a good idea to check and vacuum your ductwork every few years.
Install Your Storm Windows
Now is the time to take down the window screens and put up the storm windows. Storm windows provide an extra layer of protection and are particularly helpful if you have older single-pane glass windows. If you don’t have storm windows yet and your windows are leaky or drafty you need to upgrade your windows.
Now, we know that windows are pricey. If you are replacing all the windows in an older house, you can budget to replace them a couple at a time and in the meantime use an insulator kit. Insulator kits are a temporary substitute for storm windows, and while not terribly attractive they will get the job done in a pinch.
Time to Inspect the Chimney
Spring is the ideal time to think about your chimney. Your chimney doesn’t need to be swept every year but it should be inspected. Any sweep will have lots of stories about all the strange things found in chimneys. It’s worth having a look now and again.
When you get your chimney inspected, ask for a Level 1 inspection, which examines all readily accessible portions of your chimney. Certified chimney sweeps usually include a Level 1 service with a sweep.
Your woodstove on the other hand should be swept more than once a year. When it comes to woodstoves cleaning should be performed for every quarter inch of creosote buildup max, to avoid fire hazard.
One of the best preventive measures you can take for your chimney is to buy a protective cap. A chimney cap will keep out foreign objects from birds to tennis balls, as well as rain. Try to buy a cap based on durability instead of appearance.
Check Your Alarms
Now is a great time to install fresh batteries in smoke and CO detectors. Test your smoke, carbon monoxide, and security systems to make sure that they are functioning properly. Also make sure that your fire extinguisher is still pressurized and within its inspection date and that your family is familiar with the fire escape plan.
Winter can be a cold and uncomfortable time of year but with these simple steps it doesn’t have to be. Take the time to do these things now and you and your family will stay toasty, warm and safe all season long.
As perhaps the most traveled area of your home, your kitchen’s flooring needs to be carefully chosen. Not only does it need to withstand persistent foot traffic, but it should also stand up to the burden of spills and have the strength to endure dropped pots and pans. Since this is a room where strength and durability are key, you definitely want to pick a suitable flooring. With the options available today, your kitchen can feature anything from a sturdy bamboo to a majestic hardwood. Have a look at some of these fantastic floors that will hold up to your kitchen and look great doing it.
This seems like the obvious choice, but plenty of people are wary of investing in hardwood flooring for their kitchens considering the damage that can be done to them. When you choose hardwood for your kitchen, you want to try to find a species that has a higher Janka Rating, which measures its durability against wear and tear.
You can also protect your kitchen floor against water damage by making sure that it is properly sealed and finished. Prefinished flooring is especially hardy, but it can also have very small gaps between the planks compared to floors that are finished on site. Choose what you think is best for your situation, and remember that one of the great things about hardwood is that it can be refinished several times to renew its appearance.
Laminate flooring is a great solution for kitchens. With so many looks to consider, from different colors to floors with a natural wood grain detail, you will have a harder time deciding on which kind to install than you did when trying to figure out what should line your floor in the first place.
Laminate flooring is made to look like beautiful, natural hardwood, but the best thing about it is the no fuss, no muss upkeep. Resistant to scratches and stains, this might just be your perfect kitchen floor. Laminate also resists regular wear and fading, so it will look fantastic while providing the durable flooring you need.
In your kitchen, cork doesn’t have to be just for wine. Cork flooring is amazing because it is a natural, renewable product that is harvested from living trees without damaging them. It also has a cushiony feel that makes it a great choice for any room where you intend to do a lot of standing.
Cork is also a practical choice for your kitchen. It is very simple to clean in case of mishaps. Just make sure that it is properly sealed to protect against water damage, and cork will repay you with years of comfortable cooking. Like hardwood, cork can be refinished, so you can refresh the floor if it starts looking a little worn.
Bamboo flooring is very popular nowadays, and it is finding use in every room. The main reason for this skyrocketing popularity is its highly renewable nature, but it is also a great option where durability and value are concerned.
Bamboo labeled “strand” has been produced under intense heat and pressure to yield supremely hardy flooring, so it can stand up to what your kitchen has to throw at it. You can also choose handscraped and other distressed types to help disguise any damage that your floor eventually develops, but be assured that it will look amazingly aged rather than sadly worn. Bamboo is the best of both worlds—it has the natural beauty and durability of hardwood, but it is also highly renewable—so it will integrate seamlessly into your kitchen while giving you peace of mind.
Building a new home is both a rewarding and challenging venture, particularly when it comes to deciding on which windows to use. In new home construction, consumers will spend 15% or more of their home building budget on windows and doors. While aesthetics are certainly at the top of everyone’s list when searching for windows, they also provide warmth, light and energy efficiency.
Being well researched is the key to taking the stress out of selecting the right windows for your new home. You’ll want to take time to speak with window dealers, builders, architects and designers to see what they would recommend for the size and style of home you are building. Learn as much as you can about the various options, styles and energy-efficiency packages offered by leading window manufacturers.
Since windows are one of the most visible features of your home, you’ll want to make sure that the windows you select are complementary to your home’s architectural style. Work closely with your builder to select the style, size and shape of windows. Make sure that you consider what your windows will look like from the inside and outside. For added durability and low-maintenance consider fiberglass, aluminum or vinyl on the exterior and wood on the interior. If you opt for a wood interior frame, take into consideration your cabinetry, flooring and overall decor so that it matches the design of your interior.
A popular trend is to incorporate a wall of windows into the home design that mixes fixed and operable windows to maximize light, efficiency and of course, take advantage of the view. With so many styles available, take advantage of mixing and matching so you can maximize natural light and enhance curb appeal.
If you’re looking to save money you should select standard-sized windows that offer the highest efficiency and quality for your budget. However, if money is not a major consideration and you really want to set your home apart from your neighbors, try customizing your windows with some creative upgrades like interior wood frames, grilles, between-the-glass window fashions and premium screens. And don’t forget to take advantage of energy-efficient upgrades like frame construction, glass options, insulation and sealing. Almost every window manufacturer has an ENERGY STAR® rating, but make sure they include the latest energy-efficient features like triple-panes, a high R-Value (the higher the number the more efficient the window), low U-Value, low emissivity (Lo-E) coating and argon gas-filled panes to ensure maximum insulation and efficiency.
For years of peace of mind make sure that you research the warranties, which is why it is wise to purchase from a reputable window manufacturer that has solid product warranties. Be sure to read the fine print for exceptions!
If you want to add an extra point of interest to your home, have you considered embellishing your ceilings or vaulted spaces? Wood beams are the perfect solution when you want to add a little oomph to your interior, whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to build on an established design. You might think that beams have to be drawn into house plans or at least considered during the construction process, but that definitely isn’t the case! The realm of possibilities is wide when it comes to overhead beams, so be ready to let your imagination create a custom look for your home.
Beams for Every Style
While exposed wood beams have a history in traditional architecture, nothing’s stopping you from including them in more modern designs. As the structural necessity of large, visible beams diminished with more efficient building techniques and products, they naturally became obsolete and ceased to make a statement in most new construction, but our appreciation for them never really declined. In fact, you’ll find there are plenty of people who go out of their ways to buy or build a home that shows off beams in finished spaces, no matter what style they like.
Once you’ve established that you want beams, spend some time thinking about how they should look. Perhaps a rough, hand-finished appearance would be fitting for a woodland cottage. Something more polished or cut with precise machinery is the natural choice for the updated, contemporary genre, but it isn’t always an automatic association; older homes with updated interiors look great with refined beams, and there are plenty of staunchly modern designers who seek out the most rustic option available to offset the rest of their design. The great thing about overhead beams is that they’re in a layer of their own, so they aren’t in a position to compete with your décor and you can really go with what you like!
Making an Overhead Beam Design
What you can do with your beam design depends on what you have to work with. If you have standard height ceilings, you can lay beams in a horizontal striping or crisscrossing lattice pattern. Be sure to take the shape of each room into consideration—a simple square layout that lines up with the walls is classic, of course, but you can tilt the angle of the pattern to better fill in hexagonal or octagonal nooks. The less-is-more approach is also totally viable if you feel like this would crowd your ceiling; just pick a single beam to run across the space and it will make its own statement, mimicking an old-fashioned main support that you typically see in houses that are at least a century old.
Vaulted ceilings create wide-open spaces inside, so you have a greater opportunity to accent with beams. Some prefer to keep that airy ambiance and focus on arranging them flush against the ceiling, and in this case, the natural choice is to install a beam across the highest point like a main support, and if that isn’t enough, to radiate more down the sloping wall(s). This is essentially what the space would look like during framing, so it is a fantastic architectural highlight to consider.
If you would like to fill some of that overhead space, build a truss system instead. The possibilities are potentially endless, as you can design your own pattern! These wedge-shaped frames fit into a pitched ceiling and the beams can be arranged to create all sorts of looks. Something with large, simple triangles of negative space better suits modern, open floor plans in any type of home, while older and more rustic styles are complemented well by thicker beams and intricate designs that might even include obtuse angles—something that old-fashioned craftsmen would be proud to show off. In any case, a truss system uses repeating elements to give structure to emptiness, and it allows you to instill some personality where it wouldn’t exist otherwise.
The Benefits of Synthetic Beams
If you think overhead beams would be a great addition to your home, you’ll be glad to know that synthetic beams make it easy to install them where they aren’t already detailed in your house plans! Most houses no longer use visible beams as load-bearing supports, and that allows you to select lightweight, less expensive materials to serve the aesthetic function.
With a little guidance from the professionals, you’ll be well on your way to building a more unique home with an amazing design from the floor to the ceiling!
Don’t be unprepared when you start looking for your new kitchen appliances. There are tons to choose from and it can be overwhelming if you don’t already know what you want. Before you shop, know your needs, style preferences, and budget. Here are some helpful tips to get you off to a good start in choosing ovens, cooktops, ranges, refrigerators, ventilation systems, and dishwashers for your kitchen.
Your appliances should blend with the design of your kitchen. You can order appliances that are specifically designed to be built into your cabinetry and paneled to match your kitchen décor. Stand-alone appliances can also make a decorative statement. A fancy decorative vent hood is not only useful, but can create quite a classy look in your kitchen. Appliances in stainless steel or brushed chrome make a big restaurant quality impression and keep the kitchen bright and open feeling. Placement of the appliances will need consideration in your kitchen design plans. Where they are will affect the cabinetry, counters, and any utility requirements the appliances need, such as electric, gas, or water.
There are several styles available for your appliances. You can get built-in, paneled, freestanding professional-style, freestanding restored or reproduction antiques or standard freestanding models. Stainless steel appliances are neutral and do tend to keep that new look much longer with care and it works very well in all styles of kitchens, from Old World to contemporary to Mediterranean to traditional. Brushed chrome is the latest new trend and is considered equal to stainless steel, but is a little easier to keep clean. A quick helpful tip for those of you who do choose the stainless steel: many people fear stainless steel because it is very difficult to keep clear of fingerprints, but with a very light coating of lemon pledge every once in a while, it will resist prints for up to a week without wiping.
To get that professional or restaurant feel to your kitchen, know ahead of time that it will be costly. Increasing the normal cooking and storage capacity of your kitchen, as well as adding fancy exteriors, can almost double the average cost. Commercial units that you find in restaurants are not rated for use in a residential kitchen because they have special venting requirements for safety. Pro-style appliances are available to give residential kitchens the next best thing. You can get that restaurant quality of greater durability, more precise cooking, and spiffy exteriors and still have a safe kitchen. Some people are avid chefs and spend a lot of time in their kitchens for the love of cooking and food, so some extra cost now may save a lot of frustration in the kitchen later.
When it comes to your stove, you can make a big statement by buying one that has bright colored knobs or a 1930s-style range complete with porcelain enamel surfaces accented with nickel-plated trim. Knowing the look you want will narrow your search rather quickly and set you on course for the more important task of determining what you need from your appliances to effectively and efficiently run your kitchen.
Know your cooking needs
You should be able to increase your cooking speed and precision with the appliances you choose. Consider whether you need a pro-style or standard kitchen and if you will need gas or electric. Also consider where will they be located in your kitchen?
Pro-style vs. standard
Know in advance if you need more cooking capacity and capabilities or if you spend less time in the kitchen and can be happier with the standard features of a less costly model.
What are the differences between pro-style and standard?
With a pro-style range, you will get four or more burners with at least 15,000 BTU. A standard range has burners that range from 5,000 to 14,000 BTU. In many standard models, you will get a boost burner most commonly found in the front right hand that will get hotter than the others, for instance it will boil water much quicker than the other burners and a simmer burner that will go down to a lower BTU than the others to keep sauces warm without burning. Pro-style often has cast-iron continuous grates where standard has individual steel grates over each burner. Pro-style usually has large control knobs, but standard will have smaller knobs or a digital control panel. Pro-style ovens will have more oven racks and space, measuring 36 to 60 inches.While standard is a 30 inches.
Gas vs. Electric
Gas allows for more precise temperature control than electric. Electric tends to be lower cost and offers the sleek glass ceramic surface. The ceramic surface is much easier to clean and keep clean than gas burners or electric coils.
You have some options available on the placement of your oven. You can go with a cooktop that can be placed separately from the oven, you can choose a range that has both the oven and cooktop together, or you can have a wall-mounted oven.
To save space and allow more cooking at one time, you can opt for two wall ovens. They can be placed one on top of the other, side-by-side or in two completely different areas in the kitchen.
If you do not use both of the ovens on a regular basis, consider purchasing one of them to use as a combination oven. A combination oven is both a microwave and convection oven.
You can now read the energy efficiency rating of all new major household appliances when you are looking at them on the sales floor. The Federal Trade Commission requires the bright yellow and black Energy Guide labels to be displayed with the annual energy consumption and operating cost information of each appliance.
It can’t hurt to take time to find ways to make your appliances more accessible, like raising your dishwasher so you don’t have to bend down to load and unload it. Check out all the wonderful options available like warming ovens, refrigerators and dishwashers. If you’re a pizza lover you might enjoy creating a crusty pizza pie in a pro-type brick oven or if wine is your passion you might want a beverage chiller or storage unit – some even come with a cigar holder. If you’re considering a trash compactor, consider moving it to the garage to free up space in the kitchen.
You’re building your dream home but you want to be prepared just in case you need to sell it in the future. There are many ways to improve your home’s resale value from the very start. Not only will these upgrades drastically improve your home’s resale value but they can also benefit you while you are living in your home. Here are some of the elements that are high on potential homebuyers wish lists.
Invest in Energy-Efficient Materials and Appliances
You can’t go wrong spending on energy-efficient building materials or appliances no matter what project or upgrade you are considering. More than ever, homebuyers are moneywise so if you can make your home more efficient, you should.
You can build a home that is ENERGY STAR® rated for your area. Or you can invest in building materials that will aid in your home’s energy efficiency. From doors and windows to roofs and appliances there is an energy efficient solution for every aspect of your home.
Enhance Your Entryway
Don’t forget that potential homebuyers will be entering your home through the front door. A front porch, portico or overhang to shelter arriving guests from the weather can mean a lot to an interested buyer.
A State-of-the-Art Kitchen
The kitchen is one of the most popular rooms in a home and it is no surprise that renovating or upgrading your kitchen will earn back most if not all of your investment. Consider adding things like high-end tile floors, premium appliances, islands, and undermount sinks to attract attention and increase the value of your home.
One thing that is consistently popular with homebuyers is hardwood flooring, especially as your home’s main flooring. Hardwood floors are durable and can be easily sanded and refinished should you decide to sell your home.
Add a Finished Basement
Finished basements tend to rank high on buyer’s wish lists. If you are building a new home, considering insulating the basement so that it adds to your home’s living space. A finished basement could become a rec room, or maybe even a spare bedroom depending on your home’s layout.
Upgrade Your Master Suite
In recent years the master suite has become an oasis for homeowners. Master suites can include things like fireplaces and sitting areas as well as spa-like bathrooms. Giving your master suite little luxuries such as a whirlpool or air jet tub, separate tub and shower, or a rainshower head are upgrades that you and any future owners of your home will enjoy. Heated floors and double sinks are other features that potential homeowners love.
Open Floor Plans
When you are building your new home, an open floor plan that has a sense of flow is a must amongst choosy home buyers.
Tame Your Landscape
Landscaping can make or break a home’s curb appeal. Tangled trees and vines can obscure street views and even darken your home’s interior. Investing in your landscaping is a place where you could see the biggest return. Properly maintaining and manicuring your home’s lawn isn’t difficult and really helps at the time of resale. Making sure the trees around your house are in optimal health could save you and future homeowners on home repairs.
Overhaul Your Lighting
Thinking about your home’s lighting can improve its resale value drastically. Windows are a large part in making sure your home is effectively sunlit and attractive during the day. For the evening hours considering adding light switches with dimmers to increase efficiency and adjust the mood at night.
You can also adjust the atmosphere in your home through careful lighting choices. High-output bulbs make your small spaces feel larger, whereas lower wattages will give a warmer feel.
Address Regular Care and Maintenance
Once you build your home, be sure you address the basics of home maintenance consistently. Maintain exterior surfaces, repair plumbing leaks, inspect your furnace and septic systems and check your windows and doors regularly for leaks. These tasks maintain value and prevent costly repairs or surprises later.
Making sure all your home’s systems are in top working order matters. Buyers will want all of these systems to function correctly and keeping them that way from day one is not just good for your home’s energy efficiency but it is a big advantage in the market.
As you build your new home, remember that your home is your most valuable asset. Making initial investments that will increase resale value are always a good move but they alone are no replacement for regular care and maintenance.
When you design a bathroom around convenience, you’ll never want to return to basics. While the most user-friendly bathrooms are specifically designed to serve people with mobility concerns, anybody is free to draw inspiration from them. Universal design is only growing in popularity as more homeowners plan for their own futures and for resale, so a convenient bathroom is a fantastic investment no matter your situation.
Here are some ways to increase the usability of your bathrooms, including everything from fixtures that are easy to use to surfaces that are easy to clean. Take a look at the whole picture—what does this space do for you and what do you do for it? Consider convenience from both sides to find the best design solutions for your wants and needs.
A Handheld Shower
Everybody can appreciate the ease of use and maneuverability of a handheld shower—that’s why you’ll find them attached to bathtubs and installed in standalone stalls, independently or in conjunction with a regular stationary showerhead. A targeted water stream is ideal for people who have difficulty moving themselves under an overhead shower and for helping those who need assistance to bathe but you’ll find that there are plenty of benefits beyond necessity, too.
Handheld showers make it possible to wash your feet without getting your entire body wet, rinse more efficiently to save water, and give the family dog a comfortable indoor bath while decreasing the risk of a mess. Some of these showers even come with hydro massage settings to introduce a dose of luxury to your everyday life, so be sure to explore the options and find one you’ll really like.
For those who prefer showering over taking a bath, a shower seat can help relieve the strain of standing. You’ll find a ton of choices out there, including shower and combination stalls with built-in seating, stools that can be moved into place when needed, and folding seats that can be mounted in any kind of shower configuration. Folding seats are the most convenient by far, because they are permanently installed in place and thus can be used at any time, but they are also easy to push closed when you don’t need to sit. This gives you the best of both worlds—a chair that is always at the ready and still makes all your shower space available.
Low Maintenance Countertops
Anything that minimizes the time and effort needed to clean and otherwise maintain the bathroom seems like a great decision to most homeowners, but it can often leave much to be desired in terms of aesthetics. Now, engineered stone products offer the beauty of coveted natural materials with exceptional advantages for the people who have to take care of them.
Top your vanity with engineered stone if you want a durable counter that is practically impossible to damage. The extremely high density of this product helps it resist chipping and scratching, completely repel water, and reduce the potential for staining. Better yet, the surface possesses these qualities inherently, and that means you never have to seal it. Just wash it with soap and water—it doesn’t get much easier.
A Hands-Free Faucet
Wouldn’t it be nice to have your sink faucet turn on for you automatically like it does in so many public bathrooms? This technology was developed to promote better hygiene in shared facilities, and now it’s becoming available for residential use. Of course, these fancy faucets still have functional handles if you can’t help but reach to turn on the water yourself, and that means they will still work if their batteries run dry or the power goes out. A touchless faucet expedites the handwashing process and you won’t need to clean it nearly as often, so the time it saves will add up.
The Perfect Caddy
Depending on your bathroom, who uses it, and how they bathe, you might find that you could use some kind of extra storage. Take a look at various kinds of caddies to find one that matches your needs to help keep the shower organized. For example, a bathroom that serves multiple children should probably have a multi-tiered tower to hold their collection of shampoos and products. And for a bath connoisseur, a tray caddy is a game changer. Imagine having a place for any drinks and entertainment you like to partake in and say goodbye to balancing things on the edge or leaning over it to place them on the floor!
Be sure to take general safety measures into account, too. There are plenty of attractive grab bar options available that make it easier to move around the entire bathroom, and you should probably invest in some kind of nonslip mat for the tub/shower if young or elderly people will be using it. Find some good bath rugs that quickly wick water to prevent wet spots on the floor, and think about how to make nighttime navigation easier—glow-in-the-dark and light-up toilet seats are no longer things of the future! Design a truly convenient, safe, and just plain amazing bathroom and you’ll always be glad to have it.