Bathroom Lighting

bathroom remodeling torontoBathroom lighting is an important but often overlooked aspect of any quality bathroom remodel.  It’s very common for bathrooms to be inadequately lit, which makes the space visually smaller and also makes the bathroom harder to use.  Whether you’re interested in a full bathroom renovation or are after a simple touch up, these bathroom lighting tips will help you make the most of your bathroom.

A good bathroom lighting scheme is comprised of a series of layers, in which ample lighting is placed where it is needed, such as in the vanity or shower, and additional lighting enhances the room’s overall ambiance.

Vanity Lighting

Vanity task lighting is a top priority, as it is needed to illuminate the head and face for shaving and grooming.  A very common mistake is to place a single ceiling fixture directly over the mirror.  This casts shadows on the face and hair, making grooming very difficult.

Vertical fixtures mounted on both sides of the mirror are best for casting an even light across the face and hair.  If mounting lighting to the side isn’t an option due to space constraints, lighting can also be placed above the mirror.  Be sure that the light source spans the width of the mirror for nice, even lighting.

It’s also worth noting that fluorescent bulbs may make the skin tone appear washed out or drab.  Soft incandescent lighting may be the best choice for vanity lighting, as it efficiently illuminates the face and hair without inordinately washing out the complexion.

Shower Lighting

Shower lighting is another priority for task lighting.  In small bathrooms with clear shower doors, a dedicated shower fixture may be unnecessary.  However, in larger bathrooms or if frosted or opaque curtains or doors cover the shower, a dedicated fixture may be appropriate.  A recessed light with a glass lens works best here, as it is more durable and will not yellow, unlike plastic.

Ambient Bathroom Lighting

Ambient lighting substitutes for daylight, which bathrooms often lack.  Ambient lighting is typically supplied by a central fixture, which is ordinarily a surface-mounted ceiling light.  However, you can also get creative with options like pendant lighting or even a small chandelier.

Safety Concerns

Keep in mind that water and electricity are a deadly combination, and that the bathroom brings water closer to electricity than any other room in the house.  Be sure to consult with a certified electrician before beginning your bathroom lighting project, and discuss these concerns with your bathroom renovation contractor.

Fixtures that are close to the shower or tub must also be “wet” or “shower-location” rated.  Remember that this rating differs from the “damp” rating necessary for outdoor lighting.

Have you recently embarked on a bathroom lighting project, or are you upgrading your lighting as part of a bathroom remodel?  If so, please share your own bathroom renovation ideas and lighting insights in the comments section.

Kitchen Sink Selection

kitchen remodelGourmet kitchens are gaining increasing popularity, and today’s homeowners are seeking kitchen designs that are both stylish and functional.  There are a plethora of kitchen sinks available today, and the sheer number of options can be overwhelming.  Here’s a rundown of the most popular kitchen sink options with the pros and cons for each.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel sinks are both durable and affordable, so are a great way to cut your kitchen renovation cost.  Stainless steel sinks are also easy to maintain and clean, and come in a variety of finishes to best fit your kitchen’s design.  However, because stainless steel sinks are made of a thin sheet of steel, they can be somewhat noisy as dishes and other objects brush against the side.  Additionally, they may develop fine scratches with repeated use, and although there are a variety of finishes, the color will still be silver.

Enamel Sinks

Enamel kitchen sinks, which consist of either stainless steel or cast iron with an enameled finish, come in many colors, and are also affordable.  This could be a good way to customize your kitchen remodel without going over budget.  Enameled cast iron, while heavier, may also be more durable, so is the preferable choice so long as your countertop can support its weight.  However, both kinds of enamel sinks are prone to chipping and scratching, so should be used with care.

Composite Sinks

Composite sinks are made of either acrylic or fiberglass, and provide a sleek, shiny look.  They are moderately priced, and will cost a little more than stainless steel or enamel, but are cheaper than composite granite or integrated sinks.  However, composite sinks are prone to scratches from improper cleaning or knife usage on the sink’s border.  Because of their low tolerance for wear and tear, composite sinks may not be the best choice for diligent cooks.

Stone Composite Sinks

Stone composite sinks are comprised of either granite or quartz and acrylic.  Because they are part stone, they are more durable than standard composite sinks.  They will not chip or scratch with dropped pots and pans, although harsh abrasive cleaning can still leave scuff marks.

Integrated Sinks

Integrated sinks are manufactured along with the countertop, similar to most bathroom sinks.  Integrated sinks create a smooth, seamless look, and spills can be swept directly into the sinks.  However, integrated sinks aren’t available in all of the media described above, and are typically either composite or stainless steel.

Ultimately, your kitchen sink selection will depend upon your home’s décor, your projected wear and tear level of your kitchen and your budget.  A reputable home renovation professional can help guide your decision, and can also ensure that your new sink is properly installed.  For kitchen renovation Toronto-area homeowners have many well-qualified contractors available.

Are you currently remodeling your kitchen or looking to replace your kitchen sink?  If so we’d love to hear your own thoughts.  What kind of sink did you ultimately select, and what impacted your decision?  Tell us all about it in the comments section.

Four Common Bathroom Renovation Mistakes

bathroom renovation torontoBathroom renovation is very rewarding, and updating your bathroom can create an enjoyable space and increase your home’s value if it’s done correctly.  However, it’s a big job, and can be a daunting task for your average homeowner.

It’s easy to get distracted during the course of bathroom remodeling and to become overwhelmed with unanticipated expenditures and stumbling blocks.  Avoiding these four common bathroom renovation mistakes will keep your bathroom renovation on track to deliver the anticipated results.

Insufficient Budgeting

Realistically speaking, bathroom renovation is expensive.  If you don’t allocate a sufficient budget to the project, you’ll end up knee-deep in unanticipated expenses and likely with a subpar bathroom remodel.  Get a quote from a reputable bathroom renovation contractor, and discuss how to cut costs without compromising quality.  A competent professional will set a realistic budget, and will be honest about which aspects of a remodel are necessary and which are optional.

Cheaping Out on Materials

You should absolutely shop around to find the best possible deal on fixtures and materials for your bathroom renovation, but it’s critical to avoid compromising quality.  Shoddy fixtures, cabinetry, flooring or other materials will only need to be replaced in a few years, so it’s much cheaper to buy the right materials in the first place.

Hiring the Lowest Bidder

You’ll also want to hire a quality contractor, and keep in mind that the lowest bidder is often inexperienced, poorly qualified and likely to cut corners.  Choosing a reputable contractor experienced specifically in bathroom remodeling will save you heartache and repair costs down the road.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions or request customer references.  For bathroom renovations Toronto homeowners have many excellent contractors available; just make sure you hire the right person for the job.

Being Trendy

There are many intriguing bathroom renovation trends on the market currently, and although some of them may be the ticket to your dream powder room, others are impractical and overly expensive.  Additionally, some of these trends will quickly go out of style, meaning that your bathroom will be outdated in only a few short years.

A newly renovated bathroom can be a sanctuary for your family to enjoy for years to come, and increase your home’s appeal on the real estate market in the future.  If you carefully plan your bathroom remodel and avoid these common mistakes, you’ll be well on your way to a successful bathroom renovation.

If you’re currently involved in your own bathroom renovation project, we’d love to hear about the potential stumbling blocks you’ve addressed, and your personal insights on bathroom remodeling.  Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section.

Bathroom Renovation Tips

bathroom renovationsBathroom renovation is a big job, but it is manageable with proper planning.  These bathroom renovation tips will help you keep your project running smoothly to create a beautiful new bathroom that you’ll enjoy for years to come.

Have Everything On Hand Before you Begin

Some items such a vanities or custom-order tiles can take a while to arrive, but you’re best off waiting for everything to ready before beginning.  Bathroom renovation can be inconvenient, as your bathroom is difficult or impossible to use in the midst of a heavy remodel.  Waiting until everything has arrived minimizes the time that your bathroom will be out of commission.

Allow for Shower Storage

 Shower storage is an important but often overlooked bathroom design feature.  Planning for built-in storage in recessed nooks or ceramic shelves creates an attractive and practical design.

Choose a Curved Shower Rod

The shower rod is a seemingly trivial detail, but a curved shower rod allows a surprising amount of additional shower space.  It may be a little more expensive than a standard straight rod, but the extra space is more than worth the cost.  Additionally, a curved shower rod is screwed into the wall rather than relying on tension, so it can’t be pulled down easily.

Upgrade Your Lighting

Lighting is relatively inexpensive compared to other components of bathroom renovation, but it makes a big difference.  Select bright lighting that makes a bold statement and coordinates with your finished bathroom’s design.  Recessed light over the shower is an added bonus; just make sure that it’s rated for bathrooms.

Call a Professional When Necessary

If any aspect of your bathroom renovation is out of your comfort zone, don’t be afraid to call in a professional.  This may cost a bit more at the outset, but an improper job could cause damage to your home or even compromise your personal safety, so a contractor can save you money and heartache in many cases.  Fortunately for bathroom renovation Toronto homeowners have many excellent contractors in the area.

A well-done bathroom renovation is rewarding, and creates a space that you and your family can enjoy for many years.  Just be sure to plan carefully and you’ll be well on your way.  If you’re currently planning a bathroom remodel, we’d love to hear your own bathroom remodeling ideas in the comment section.