Thursday, September 30, 2021

More than Just a Handicap Accessible Bathroom

White bathroom with a zero entry shower for ultimate accessibility.


Designing a handicap accessible bathroom ensures that anyone with a disability can easily and safely make full use of the space. Out of accessibility design was born aging in place design, which aims to do the same for the elderly. 

New retirees who downsized into homes they planned on staying in for the remainder of their lives quickly spotted a problem. They didn’t need a handicap accessible bathroom, but weren’t sure whether or not they would in the future. 

Thus, universal design was born. The theory of universal design makes bathrooms accessible to everyone regardless of ability, age, size, etc. Universal design creates spaces that are comfortable, functional, and look good enough that anyone would want one.


9 Necessities for Universal Design in the Bathroom

The bathroom can be one of the most dangerous rooms in the house for anyone, let alone the handicapped, aged, or children.  The CDC says that about 235,000 people over the age of 15 visit emergency rooms for bathroom-related injuries every year. 

Making the bathroom safer is a main priority for universal design in the bathroom. Functionality is the other big player. Many people worry that a functionally accessible bathroom doesn’t look as good as a traditional one. While it needs to incorporate certain specifications, creative architects and designers have made a universal bathroom cosmetically indistinguishable from any other bathroom.

Let’s take a dive into the minds of the makers of a universal design bathroom. Here are 12 things they think about and how they make it look good.


#1 No-Drama Doorway

You can’t enjoy that bathroom unless you can easily get into it. The hallway outside the door should have a width of at least 36 inches to ensure enough space to get a wheelchair turned to face the door. The doorway itself should be at least 32 inches wide. Doors that swing out instead of in leave more space inside the bathroom.

There are many handsome options for doors. A simple way to get a gorgeous doorway with plenty of clearance is double doors like French doors. Pocket doors are a great option too since they move completely out of the way.


#2 Main Floor Living

One-level homes are all the rage for aging in place and universal designs. You have everything you need all on one level and don’t have to worry about the dangers of stairs. Most multi-level homes have half bathrooms on the main level that have to be converted  at great expense to make them accessible. 

Full bathrooms on the main level are becoming much more common. The spa bathroom trend is also helpful, introducing luxurious elements into the bathroom that go hand in hand with universal design: think wet rooms, grand entries, roomy square footage, etc. 


#3 Expand the Bathroom Real Estate

You’ll need an open area of about five feet in order to achieve the right turning radius for a wheelchair, but this can also end up looking out of place unless you’re creating a luxurious bathroom with a generous amount of space.

These large bathrooms can be dressed up with spa-like features that make the space feel less empty but maintain the area you need.


#4 Light It Up

Take something that’s already potentially dangerous like the bathroom and you’ll multiply that danger exponentially if it’s dark. Lighting is one of the easiest ways to make a bathroom safer. Another trick is to use contrasting colors so that things like edges of countertops and freestanding tubs pop out of the design so they are more visible.

Employ general lighting across the room, vanity lighting, sconces, and lights over the tub and shower. Include some accent lighting too. It not only gives the room some mood but brings additional lighting and safety.


#5 Hardware Matters Too

Knobs and pulls on the cabinets, handles on the doors, and faucets all play a huge role in accessibility in the bathroom. Small knobs or ornate pulls can be hard to grasp and sometimes make it more difficult to get things done in the bathroom.

Long d-shaped pulls, one-handed or touchless faucets, and lever door knobs make it easier to get full use of the bathroom.


White floating vanity in a white bathroom providing better bathroom accessibility.

#6 Floating Vanity

A wall-mounted or floating vanity is a must-have in an accessible bathroom. They provide clearance under the sink for wheelchair access and can allow for you to sit while you use the space. They can also be placed at any height (since they’re not dependent on the floor).

Floating vanities are right on trend. Choose from dozens of options in all styles to create a bathroom that’s easy to use and looks great. 


#7 Zero-Entry Bathing

Any raised areas on the floor are a potential hazard. Transitions between one room and another should never have a raised edge. The same goes for the shower and bath. Having to climb into a bathtub or step/wheel over a shower pan decreases accessibility significantly. 

You can get around this with walk-in bathtubs but a favorite trend that fits right in with this is the walk-in shower/zero-entry shower/wet room. Spa-like wet rooms are essentially expanded showers or shower/bathtub combinations that are a waterproof room within a room. They are ideal for universal design bathrooms.


Hand held shower attachment at the perfect height for universal design.

#8 Hand-Held Shower Attachments

Once upon a time, a handshower was a tell-tale sign of an accessible design. But these days, no luxurious spa shower is complete without one. The functionality of the handshower has moved beyond necessity and become an item of luxury. 

In fact, the latest in shower technology not only has accessible attachments, but panels that come much lower in the shower for an experience everyone can enjoy. Think, body jets, steam showers, and more. 


#9 Inconspicuous Toilet

It’s hard to get around those taller toilets made for accessibility. They stick out like a sore thumb. But there’s one very good way to skip the whole dilemma. Wall-mounted toilets.

A wall-mounted toilet removes the taller toilet completely from the equation. You can mount it at any height for the ultimate in universality and style. Some well-placed and discreet grab bars can add support that anyone can appreciate.


Include universal design in your bathroom plans. Ensure that your bathroom is fully functional today and into the future for everyone.


Get More Great Ideas for the Bathroom


Wednesday, September 22, 2021

9 Cheap Ways to Remodel Your Bathroom . . .

. . . But Still Look High-End

Blueprints for a bathroom remodel.


An Instagram-worthy bathroom remodel is the envy of every homeowner. But at some point, reality kicks in. High-end remodels full of marble, custom tile, gorgeous fixtures, and luxe spa features can break the budget in a hurry.

Do you have to give up on your dream bathroom? Never. There are plenty of ways to get a gorgeous and luxurious bathroom on a budget. In fact, here are 10 ways to upgrade your bathroom for cheap.


1. Repair Instead of Replace

You can save a lot of money by doing some repairs on existing items in your bathroom instead of replacing them. This works best for cosmetic and minor issues. For major items, be sure to consult an expert.

A leaky faucet may just need a gasket replacement. An endlessly running toilet probably needs a new flapper. A single cracked floor tile doesn’t mean the whole floor needs replacing. 

If the bathtub looks a little aged, you might consider giving it a thorough scrubbing or even bringing in a professional cleaner. A good cleaning is an excellent way to give new life to your bathroom. You can fix superficial damage to many bathtubs and sinks with a refinishing kit.


Composite marble on a countertop with toothbrushes and soap.


2. Lookalike Products

If you have your heart set on a marble vanity top you can save money by opting for a marble look-alike. Engineered or cultured marble and marble-look granite has the same look but at a much nicer price. Or trim even more from the budget by going with an epoxy-topped concrete countertop. 

Wood look tile or vinyl on the floor offers the look you want at a fraction of the price. Instead of hardwood cabinets on the vanity, try a high-density fiberboard cabinet finished to look like hardwood (or veneered). 

Sometimes, as is the case with wood look tile and HDF cabinetry, these lookalike materials have better durability than their counterparts adding value to your bathroom remodel.


3. Refresh with Hardware

That old shower surround or dated vanity can be spruced up with some new hardware. New drawer pulls or knobs can transform the look and feel of your bathroom. A good cleaning and a new spa shower may be all it takes to amp up the shower.

A new sink faucet may make you forget that the sink itself is a holdover from the past. Consider something flashy or edgy that draws attention to itself and away from the plainness of other elements that you’d rather replace.


4. DIY

A huge amount of your bathroom remodel budget goes to labor. The craftspeople who work on your remodel do excellent work and can be worth every penny for things you know nothing about. However, if there are things you have some skill in (or could easily learn), do it yourself. 

Painting, installing a toilet, replacing knobs, even tiling are great projects for the skilled adventurous. Be realistic about what you actually have the skill and time for and you’ll achieve a cheap bathroom remodel with some DIY.


5. Keep the Footprint

Some of the costliest items in the budget come when you change the layout of your bathroom. Moving the toilet from one wall to another may seem pretty simple but it requires a shift in the plumbing and that can be involved. 

Keeping the same footprint in your remodel will save you a bundle. If you really feel that your layout must change, ask the experts how to change things up with the least impact. Slightly adjusting the layout will cost less than completely stripping it back and starting over. 


6. Recycle

There’s nothing better to save money than to buy used or repurpose something you already have. If you saved a sink from another remodel or you can move a bathtub from one bathroom to another, that’s money you don’t have to spend. 

Check out  websites like Craigslist or shop stores like ReStore that sell used bathroom items. You may just find a gem that makes your bathroom unique. Lighting is an excellent item to buy used. The technology hasn’t changed much so it remains compatible with your electrical. 


7. Don’t Change Your Mind

One of the most costly, and avoidable, things that can happen in a remodel is deviating from the plan. During a remodel when you’re finalizing materials and colors, you’re bound to see some must-have that you can’t live without. But resist that temptation. 

Changing things once you’re already in motion is very expensive. Even if it looks like nothing is happening yet, all the behind the scenes work is well under way and any changes waste what’s already been done. Plan ahead and stick to the plan. Focus your energies on finding the very best price for what you’ve already decided on. 


Bathtub with water-saving faucet.


8. Do Your Research

What you don’t know can hurt you. For instance, did you know that round toilets and elongated ones are generally priced differently? Or that it costs more to install a wall mounted vanity than a traditional one? What about the fact that water-saving fixtures can save upwards of 700 gallons of water per year (big money savings!).

Research can help you determine what you can do yourself versus what you need to hire out. DIY can save you big money, but only if you have the skills. DIY projects gone wrong can actually end up costing you. Bottom line, find out before you start a project if you’re equipped to do it. 


9. Shop Sales

If you know a bathroom remodel is in your future, start watching for the sales. Getting a discount on your bathroom products can help offset and pad the budget a bit. 

Labor Day and Presidents Day are traditionally some of the best sales you’ll get on home products. But look for other offers as well. You may also find extra savings from exclusive sales if you subscribe to emails and newsletters from your favorite online retailers.


Upgrade your bathroom for cheap and still get the space of your dreams with a few tricks. From DIY to being a savvy shopper, you can trim up your budget and keep that money in your pocket for your next project. Kitchen remodel anyone?


Find More Remodeling Tips


Thursday, September 16, 2021

10 Top-Rated Toilet Brands

Find the Best Toilet Brand for You 

DecorPlanet top rated toilet brand in an expansive bathroom.

The toilet is one of the most complicated fixtures in the bathroom. Its function and design has changed little over the years. However, some high-tech features on the toilet can make it easier to clean, conserve water, stop pesky clogs and other unsightly issues. 


When it comes to the toilet, there’s no messing around. You need it to be functional first. But a little style, if it doesn’t interrupt the functionality, can go a long way to making your water closet a bit more interesting to look at. 

Here are 10 top rated toilets you should have a look at in your search for the best toilet brand to add to your bathroom.


TOTO

The hallmarks of TOTO are sleek design and cutting-edge Japanese technology. Their motto is “perfection by design” and they blend efficiency alongside style for products that have been leaders in the industry for decades. Their toilets and bidets feature dual flush technology, programmable functions, water conservation, and the ultimate in comfort.

Shop TOTO


Fresca

Fresca believes that the bathroom is the most important room in the house. That is reflected in the quality, durability, and cutting-edge designs they produce. They feature stylish toilets with nice perks like soft close seats and high-tech flushing mechanisms that increase flush power and decrease water consumption.

Shop Fresca


EAGO

Large sanitary manufacturer, EAGO specializes in ceramics for the bathroom that are eco friendly and comfortable to use. The one piece units feature soft close seats and high efficiency design and construction.

Shop EAGO


Laufen

A Swiss brand, Laufen employs design, quality, and function to produce practical products that respect your way of life and the environment. The selection available offers unique shapes and minimalist design that still packs a punch for functionality. 

Shop Laufen


Icera

Icera’s aim is to improve the quality of life with luxury bathroom design, ecological efficiency, and practical performance. Their industry-leading toilet fixtures help you complete a suite that results in a unified experience. Look for their EcoQuattro flushing technology that allows for max water force without extra water.

Shop Icera


American Standard

American Standard raises the bar for the industry. Their care and commitment is reflected in every product they create. Look for quiet yet powerful units that keep things cleaner longer. Some toilets can handle high traffic and larger masses with ease and that means no clogs.

Shop American Standard


Duravit

A leading supplier of bathroom ceramic, bathroom furniture, accessories, bathtubs, and more, Duravit makes the bathroom simple and functional.  The one-piece configuration keeps the focus on precision in design and functionality. “WonderGliss” treatment on the ceramic helps make cleaning easy and sanitation simple.

Shop Duravit


Grohe

Grohe sees design as more than simple aesthetics. Design also incorporates quality. That means the perfect synthesis of form and function. Grohe’s motto and their products exude “smart looks, smart technology, and smart price”. These elongated seat toilets are minimalist but get the job done with style.

Shop Grohe


Neptune

Innovative and relevant, Neptune’s products spring from customer needs. The well thought out products give you the ability to create your own chic and enjoy a perfect balance of form and function. Contemporary in design and forward thinking in their technology, these toilets deserve a look.

Shop Neptune


Barclay

Quality products born from concepts from around the world, Barclay toilets aim to bring the best to your bathroom. They aren’t afraid to travel through time either, where they find the styles and technologies that bring you unique bathroom products. 

Shop Barclay


Ready to find the toilet that’s perfect for you? Start now at DecorPlanet. Our selection is sure to offer you something different.

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Thursday, September 9, 2021

10 Must-Haves for the Smart Bathroom

The bathroom is a place you spend a lot of time. It’s where you begin and end the day. It’s a place of practicality and luxury where you seek daily basics and occasional pampering. Now it’s also a place of technology. 

It’s about time to get your bathroom caught up with the rest of the house. You have kitchen appliances you can control from your phone and smart connectivity throughout the rest of the house, so why not the bathroom?

A high-tech bathroom offers you a variety of functional and lavish features. Everything from tracking your BMI to getting the latest traffic update can be at your fingertips in a smart bathroom. Explore these 10 smart features you should consider for your bathroom.


Small towel warming rack mounted to a bathroom wall.

1. Warming Towel Racks & Drawers

The only thing not to love about a nice hot shower is when it’s over. You can make that better by providing a warm towel to wrap up in as soon as the hot water stops flowing. These come in a couple of different versions, both of which blend right into your bathroom layout seamlessly. 

Warming drawers can be incorporated into your vanity and let you store and warm towels. They were originally designed for kitchen use, but they do a great job in the bathroom as well. Just switch it on before you get in the shower and you can enjoy pampering every day.

The warming towel rack is available either mounted to the wall or freestanding. You can get electric or hydronic versions in several configurations. They come in the usual bathroom finishes so your fixtures can coordinate.


2. Smart Showers

You’ve heard of the spa shower, smart showers go beyond even that. You can set water temperature, flow rate, and even how long your shower lasts. Many can be controlled by app or voice command. You could get the shower going even before you get out of bed!

Add to that some spa features like rain shower heads, steam features, and body jets, and you’ll never want to leave your morning shower. 


Smart toilet in a gray bathroom.

3. Smart Toilets

Japan has been perfecting the art of the toilet for many years. Automatic opening and closing lids, seat warming, auto-flush, night lights, and cleaning features are just a few of the perks of the smart toilet.

Cleaning, both the toilet itself and you, are at the forefront of the smart toilet world. Some have redesigned flushing features that aim to reduce splashing all while cleaning the toilet bowl better than conventional toilets. They also have touchless flush and touchless lids so the whole experience is more hygienic.

Part bidet and part toilet, the washlet toilet offers an array of cleaning features that are so good you’ll be able to eliminate toilet paper altogether. Remote controlled water temperature, angle of spray, and water pressure leave you fresh and clean. Top it all off with a warm air dryer and you’ll be sitting pretty.


4. Heated Floors

Heated floors have been more of a system for heating the house rather than a luxury item. But what better place to include a little more luxury than the bathroom? The harder, water resistant surfaces of the bathroom tend to be colder, and that’s not a good thing when you’re ready to step out of a nice warm shower. 

Heated floors are basically a radiant heat system that uses either electricity or hot water beneath the floor to heat the room. They make cold tile warm and eliminate vents blowing air on you when you’re dripping wet. 


A smart bathroom mirror on the wall of a gray bathroom.

5. Smart Bathroom Mirror

The smart bathroom mirror is far more than a reflective surface. It can also give you the time, weather, traffic, display emails and messages, and play music and video. It’s the ultimate multi-tasking tool of the bathroom. 

You can also get models that have built-in lighting that can be dimmed or brightened according to what works best for you. Medicine cabinet versions offer storage so everything you need is close. Many smart mirrors also have anti-fogging technology so you don’t have to worry about condensation on the mirror after your shower. 


6. Home Assistant

Your best thinking often happens in the shower. You remember things, have great light-bulb moments, and solve problems there. As often as you have an epiphany in the shower, you probably also forget it the moment you walk out of the bathroom. Time to invite Siri or Alexa into the bathroom!

Now you can record your great ideas so you won’t forget, order more as soon as you run out, and keep lists of things to do. You’ll also be able to play your favorite podcasts or music in the morning. Be sure to protect your device from direct contact with water and you’re ready to go.


Touchless faucet at a bathroom sink.

7. Touchless Faucet

Touchless faucets have been around for several years, but their popularity soared as we all tried to be a bit more vigilant about hygiene in 2020. It senses motion and turns the water on and off automatically. Touchless faucets are not only more hygienic, but also more water efficient. They come in all shapes and finishes to suit your bathroom style. 

If you’ve not been particularly impressed with touchless faucets in the past, the new high-tech versions have smarter sensors and even use their own water flow to power their batteries so you don’t end up with less responsive sensors.


8. Water Efficiency

One benefit of ever-advancing technology is better efficiency and more earth-friendly features. Many faucets and toilets, even showers use technology to limit water flow without sacrificing water pressure. Look for WaterSense certified products, which are certified by the EPA.

Toilets that use 1.6 gallons of water per flush or less are considered water conserving. However, WaterSense toilets use only 1.28 gallons of water per flush. That adds up to 13,000 gallons of water saved every year for a typical family. 

WaterSense bathroom faucets use no more than 1.5 gallons of water per minute and provide 60 psi of water pressure. You won’t notice any difference in these WaterSense products, except when your water bill comes. 


Chromatherapy bathtub with specialized lighting.

9. Chromatherapy Bathtubs

Chromatherapy or color therapy uses colored lights in a bath or shower and is meant to create a soothing, therapeutic environment. It is much like essential oil therapies that tout specific herbs that produce specific results.

White light is for purifying, yellow is stimulating, red brings courage, green creates balance, orange invigorates, etc. Chromatherapy bathtubs are large soaking tubs with customizable LED lights in and around the tub. 

Many of these bathtubs also incorporate additional therapies like massage and heating—all controlled by app or remote. You can also program the settings for the exact experience you desire. 


10. Smart Scales

Smart scales measure all sorts of body composition metrics (BMI, BMR, body fat, muscle mass) in addition to your weight. They use a technology called bioelectrical impedance, which sends a mild electrical current through your body.

Connect to your favorite app and fitness tracker to keep track of your progress. Most can track several users. It’s a good idea to find a model that you can disable the impedance features since it isn’t approved for people who are pregnant or have implanted health devices like a pacemaker.


Amp up your bathroom game and add some high-tech features. It’ll make your daily routines easier, more sustainable, and luxurious beyond belief. 


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