Big bang for bathroom remodeling

August 6, 2012

Bathrooms have replaced kitchens as the most remodeled room in the house, mostly because they're smaller and don't need all those pricey appliances.

Updating a drab bathroom usually starts with a new paint job then replacing the sink and countertop. Swapping the cabinet for sleek glass shelves rounded out the more modern look.

Consumer Reports says if you shop carefully, you can really spruce up your bathroom on a $1,000 budget.

"If your bathroom has no major problems, like leaks or loose parts, but is in need of a facelift, there are some inexpensive things you can do that really go a long way," according to Dan DiClerico of Consumer Reports.

A new vanity is a good place to start. A stone countertop can add some flair, and putting in a new mirror is an easy way to update the look. So is a new faucet. Double sinks have long been popular but having just one gives you more counter space, saves the expense of an extra sink and faucet and because there is less plumbing involved, gives you more storage space in the cabinet.

"You can also dramatically improve the lighting in your bathroom by adding sconces around the mirror or medicine cabinet. Put the sconces on either side, not overhead, to provide flattering lighting without casting shadows onto your face."

Switching out a standard showerhead for one with multiple settings will make for much more enjoyable showers.

You also can jazz up the space by making low-cost improvements like getting new holders for your towels and toilet paper.

"You may not be able to get a glamorous space like you see on home decorating shows, but little upgrades can go a long way and really brighten up your bathroom," according to DiClerico.

Also, conceal the toilet. Setting the toilet apart from the rest of the bathroom with a partial wall or door of its own provides privacy and also makes for a more attractive bathroom. Even if your toilet is one of those new water-saving models. Consumer Reports says another nice bathroom improvement that doesn't cost a lot of money is adding a combination light and exhaust fan. It gives your bathroom better lighting and improves the ventilation, too.

You might also want to try to choose soothing colors. Updating the accessories, such as towels and the shower curtain, and repainting the walls is an inexpensive way to bring color into the bath. Although stay away from dark green, it can give your skin a sickly hue.

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