Tile is another material that you touch and feel each day. While you can find quality options for $5 per square foot, super cut-rate tiles may have slight size inconsistencies. The results will be crooked lines that make a bathroom look shoddy. So where can you save? Light fixtures tend to perform the same across most price points—it's the high design that costs more. You might also find that opting for a basic finish on faucets and fixtures saves you hundreds of dollars without compromising quality. And you definitely don't need to blow your budget on a luxury toilet, like Kohler's $6,390 Numi, with its motion-activated lid and built-in bidet. Those are cool features, but toilets costing as little as $300 delivered the best flush in our tests.
With the traditional mirror dressed up in elegant frame, you might want to move the medicine cabinet out of the way. Find a convenient closet or cabinet to hold necessities. Or hang a mirrored, framed door over the cabinet. Elegant clear or etched frameless glass doors are replacng the traditional shower curtain. But some of the shower stalls or tub areas are draped with luxurious fabrics and trims. Elegant sponged paint or textured wallpaper provide a luxurious background for any art or prints you may decide to hang in the bathroom. Display treasured collectibles on display shelves or on a dressing table. Not many people will be entering your private retreat, so the pieces will be safe there. Even the sightest amount of creativity and imagination can help to change a usually bare, cold space into a luxurious personal retreat. Elegance and luxury are not hard to achieve with all the products available for today's new bathrooms.
Since grooming is the main task at the vanity, it's important to have plenty of surface area to put things down. While the his-and-her double sink configuration has been popular in the past, it often makes sense to have a single sink and more counter space. “Couples I work with usually realize that the second source of water is less important than the additional countertop,” says Carolyn Cheetham, president of Design Works by Cheetham in Alberta, Canada. Besides maximizing the counter space, opting for a single sink vanity saves you the expense of the second sink and faucet. And eliminating a set of plumbing expands the available storage space inside the vanity. Moisture not only breeds mold and mildew, it can take a toll on finishes and painted surfaces. A bathroom fan is the best defense. Guidelines from the National Kitchen and Bath Association call for a ducted system that's at least 50 cubic feet per minute, though you may need twice as much ventilation if the space is larger than 100 square feet or if you plan to install a steam shower.
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