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Choosing the Best Bathroom Vanity Material
Posted on Tuesday, September 30, 2014

There are a number of things to keep in mind when selecting a bathroom vanity, not the least of which is its material. Vanities come in a variety of materials, allowing them to meet any sense of style while keeping within a budget. It is important to remember however that material will impact things such as diverse as eco-friendliness and longevity.

The four most commonly used materials for the main frame of bathroom vanities are solid wood, rubberwood, plywood, and MDF (medium density fiberboard). Of these, solid wood and rubberwood are the sturdiest, better able to withstand daily use and water exposure, and capable of producing years of consistent beauty. Rubberwood is typically more eco-friendly as it is made of materials that would otherwise go to waste. There are eco-friendly solid wood options available as well.

Plywood and MDF are more cost-effective than solid and rubberwood options. When moisture-controlled, plywood can be resistant to water damage and may last for a good amount of time. MDF vanities are the least expensive option, but cannot be relied on for extended use. Both plywood and MDF are more likely to warp and crack, and will require replacement sooner than more sturdy alternatives.

It is possible to find inexpensive vanities that are built to last, but cost should not be the primary concern when looking for bathroom fixtures. Looking at a range of vanities within a specific price-range can give you the opportunity to find one that meets all of your requirements without breaking the bank.

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Heating an entire house can be incredibly expensive and, if you have floor-board or radiator heating, eliminating or reducing heat in some rooms is often a necessity. One of the easiest rooms to reduce heat in is the bathroom, but this can lead to serious discomfort when the room is needed. This makes finding alternative (and less expensive) heat sources a very attractive prospect.

No matter if you reduce heat to your bathroom intentionally or your home simply doesn’t heat it appropriately, there are a number of steps you can take to increase comfort in this important area, starting with an inspection of the room itself. Take time to look for cracks leading both into the home and outdoors that may allow precious heat to escape. In some cases, simply sealing cracks with caulking, weather stripping, or even covering windows during the winter months is all it takes to make a space cozier. However, this is certainly not always the case.

Simple additions that can increase heat output without requiring significant amounts of electricity include:

  •         Space heaters – not always the most attractive of options, space heaters do come in a variety of styles and can be complementary to many bathroom designs. Just be sure to keep these units away from water

  •         Heated towel racks – these bathroom accessories serve the dual purpose of heating towels and radiating heat into the bathroom. Free-standing and wall-mounted styles are available along with a range of power options

Advanced Options

If you are comfortable with electric work, consider an infrared lamp. Common features in hotel bathrooms, infrared lamps are relatively easy to install and can produce enough heat to warm even medium to larger sized bathrooms.

Finally, if you’re due for a bathroom remodel, consider installing radiant floor heating (RFH). RFH can use electric heating coils or water tubing to produce a heating effect that, as the name implies, radiates from the floor. This can help ensure warm feet and a warm room even in the coldest of temperatures.

Your bathroom is likely the first room you use in the morning and the last one you use at night. You deserve a space that is aesthetically, physically, and economically comfortable and inviting. These steps can be used alone or in combination as space requires, and can help produce luxurious comfort without breaking the bank.

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Contemporary vs. Modern Bathroom: What's the Difference?
Posted on Wednesday, September 24, 2014

While often used interchangeably, modern and contemporary – so far as design goes – are not the same thing. This does not mean the words cannot be used as synonyms under other circumstances, but when it comes to design themes, they enjoy some very clear differences.

When a style is referred to as contemporary, the implication is that it’s happening right now. Pulling from a variety of inspirations, contemporary style often aims to create new and innovative permutations of Art Deco, Futurism, and Deconstructivism – frequently blending these elements with designs from different cultures and communities. 

Currently, contemporary design is trending towards a green focus with renewable and reclaimed surfaces, eco-friendly lighting and fixtures, and environmentally neutral paints. The eco-trend is constantly evolving, much like contemporary style, allowing for a number of new designs to become available every year.

Whereas contemporary design is constantly evolving, modern style is static. In fact, this style has not changed much since the mid-20th Century. Modern style has specific characteristics that work to make a space look futuristic, open, and even minimalist. Simple lines and bolder colors complement chrome accents and high gloss finishes that often elicit a sense of luxury. In bathroom design, modern style may incorporate floating vanities, glass showers, and fixtures made of molded plastic or metal. All of this combines to create a look that is at once futuristic and classic, a combination that comprises the very heart of modern design.

Modern and contemporary design can be complementary and even combined into transitional themes. However, it is important that you choose a style that is consistent with the other features in your home to produce a sense of continuity throughout.

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Has your vanity been damaged by water? There’s no need to scrap the entire thing just yet. In fact, many vanities can survive water damage and those that are impacted may still be repaired with simple fixes.

First off, solid wood vanities are a very good investment. Not only do they tend to hold up to daily use better than medium-density fiberboard (MDF), they tend to withstand significantly more water. However, just because solid wood is less likely to warp, swell, crack, or bubble following exposure to excessive amounts of water doesn’t mean it is impervious to damage. 

Cabinetry and shelving may require replacing following water damage, though surface areas can often be treated by sanding and refinishing the affected areas.

To remove water stains from a solid wood vanity:

  •        Sand the areas to be treated
  •       Apply a wood bleach containing oxalic acid
  •       Sand again, this time with 220 grit sandpaper 
  •       Apply a matching finishing coat

Unlike solid wood, MDF can easily warp, crack, and bubble. However, making repairs to MDF may be slightly easier. So long as the foundation of the vanity has not been compromised, you can often repair MDF by simply peeling off the veneer and reaffixing it with a strong carpenter’s glue. Be sure to protect the outer surface with wax paper and to tightly clamp the veneer for at least 24-hours for optimal results.

If a vanity is damaged beyond reasonable repair, it may be time to consider a new one. This option can even provide you with an unexpected opportunity to upgrade other parts of your bathroom for a redesign more suited to your current tastes.

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Easy Bathroom Upgrades that Increase Your Home Resale Value
Posted on Wednesday, September 17, 2014

If you are considering selling your home, keep this in mind: the appearance and features of your bathrooms can literally make or break a sale. If a bathroom in your home is lacking key features and elegant enhancements, you risk losing a sale to an otherwise interested buyer. But don’t fret, there are a number of simple upgrades that can improve the appearance of your bathroom and even increase the resale value of your home.

Fixtures are quick to replace and can significantly enhance features and appearance. Consider replacing existing sinks with a more contemporary vanity. Features that appeal to large numbers of people include storage space, water saving faucets, lighting, and mirrors. Be sure to pick a vanity that is appropriately sized for your bathroom to guard against making the space look crowded or too small.

Replacing old toilets with eco-friendly options can also greatly increase the appeal of your bathroom. Matching accessories such as toilet paper holders and toilet brush holders can further improve the appearance and attractiveness of your commode.

If possible, look into upgrading lighting. This can be done by adding a skylight or window for natural light. It can also be done by replacing old fixtures with more efficient and attractively designed light features.

Finally, take into account the state of your tub or shower. Upgrades that can make a space more inviting include shower bars, rain shower heads, and built-in shelving. You can further enhance the area around your shower by replacing towels bars with heated warmers and choosing soft colors for tiles.

Many upgrades can be done with little to no experience, though some installations may require professional help. Take time to plan out your redesign before you start and enlist the help you need to ensure spectacular final results.

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