Bathroom and kitchen upgrades are among the most popular home renovations, but not just because the improvements are likely to increase the home’s value. Renovations to these high-use areas can enhance the practical enjoyment of your home while adding aesthetic appeal and style.
Home Upgrades that Really Work
Ideas and inspiration to create more functional spaces
(Family Features) Bathroom and kitchen upgrades are among the most popular home renovations, but not just because the improvements are likely to increase the home’s value. Renovations to these high-use areas can enhance the practical enjoyment of your home while adding aesthetic appeal and style.
A Better Bathroom
Aging and Accessibility
Create a New Kitchen
It’s the hub of the home, so it’s no surprise that many homeowners start with the kitchen when they’re planning functional upgrades. New appliances, countertops and tilework all add to the style and function of a kitchen, but don’t overlook these highly functional features that can make your home more enjoyable.
Find more ideas and inspiration for your kitchen or bathroom upgrade at jcpenney.myhomeprojectcenter.com.
Planning Your Project
Define your desires. Although obvious, many homeowners find this to be among the most challenging aspects of a renovation. Start by determining the scope of your project. It may be just a new tub or shower, or it may be the entire kitchen. Some homeowners find it helpful to consider their project in terms of must-haves and nice-to-haves so it’s easier to make adjustments as obstacles or finances require.
Set a budget. The easiest way to overspend on a renovation is to go into it without an established budget. If you specify what you can afford from the outset and plan against that budget every step of the way, you’re more likely to feel satisfied with your investment in the long run.
Expect the unexpected. If possible, review a blueprint of your home (or have your contractor take a look) to identify details behind the wall, like the layout of the plumbing and electric lines, which can be costly to relocate. It’s also a good idea to take a thorough inventory of your current space so you’re aware of any damage or wear that will need repaired before you begin.
Hire the help (or not). With some preliminary information on the complexity of the job and a better idea of exactly what you’re hoping to accomplish, you should be able to make a decision about whether the project is something you’re prepared to tackle on your own or if hiring professionals is more likely to provide the results you’re seeking.
Monitor progress. Even if you’re handling the project on your own, it’s a good idea to continually monitor the project in terms of budget, timeline and quality of work. It’s easier to make corrections as you go than to get to the end and discover a problem that needs reworking.
Photo Courtesy of Getty images (Main image Kitchen with brown chairs)SOURCE:
JCPenney Home Services
Bringing an outdated bathroom into the now is a sure way to infuse value and personal enjoyment into your home. Whether you’re tearing down and starting fresh or simply looking to infuse some new life with a few key elements, these ideas can give you the inspiration you need to transform a tired toilet into a modern marvel.
Ideas for an On-Trend Bathroom
(Family Features) Bringing an outdated bathroom into the now is a sure way to infuse value and personal enjoyment into your home.
Whether you’re tearing down and starting fresh or simply looking to infuse some new life with a few key elements, these ideas, paired with an option such as Wellborn cabinetry, can give you the inspiration you need to transform a tired toilet into a modern marvel.
Make a singular statement
Try a timeless tub
Float your vanity
By mounting the vanity to a wall, the space is broadened, naturally making the bathroom look and feel larger. Additionally, the wall mount allows homeowners to customize the space in terms of countertop height and comfort.
Although the aesthetic benefits often come at the cost of limited under-sink storage space, this potential pitfall can be overcome with a customizable U-shaped drawer option, such as those offered by Wellborn Cabinet, that allows functional drawers to be placed within the wall-mounted cabinetry. The storage-enhancing drawer option complements the Wall Mounted Vanity program available in the Aspire Cabinetry line, which offers mounted vanities in more than 40 door profiles, featuring door style selections of wood, decorative laminate veneer, textured melamine, smooth melamine, solid high gloss, matte and designer colors. For more information, visit wellborn.com.
Infuse unexpected color
Introduce ample lighting
Trick Your Way to a Bigger Bathroom
When knocking down walls to create more space isn’t an option, there are still plenty of ways you can maximize a small bathroom space to make it look and feel larger than it really is.
Opt for monochromatic cabinetry. Whether you buy new or paint existing cabinets, make them blend in monochromatically in the lightest shade possible. White and light colors reflect light, making the room seem brighter and more spacious. To maximize the illusion, extend the monochromatic scheme throughout the space, including floor tiles, wall paint, ceilings and even the decorations.
Place cabinets strategically. Think of the spaces in your bathroom that you don’t usually use, such as the area above the doorway. Especially if you have high ceilings, you can install decorative storage shelves to house items you don’t need in everyday reach like bathtub salts, scrubs and more. You can also use the shelves for storing extra toilet paper and cleaners to free up valuable storage space below the sink.
Maximize vertical space. Consider extending cabinetry up to the ceiling. Adding color at a vertical height can cause the eye to go up and therefore enlarge the bathroom space and feel. It is also a wise use of unused space rather than borrowing from limited floor space, which can make the space feel cramped.
Consider open storage. Open storage shelves trick the mind because the airy openness can give the illusion of taking less space than enclosed storage. However, be mindful of over-filling shelves, which can create a cluttered look. Instead use the open space as an opportunity to feature artwork or other accents that add life to the room.SOURCE:
Wellborn Cabinet, Inc.
(BPT) - When it comes time to sell your home, not all rooms are created equal. Sure, potential buyers will walk through the entire house, but their opinion of a few primary rooms can ultimately determine whether they choose to offer or walk.
Your bathroom(s) — especially your master bathroom — are among these key rooms. As you prepare to put your home on the market, it’s time to take an honest look at these spaces. What do the bathrooms say about your house? Do they say "buy me now" or "no thanks"? If it’s the latter, then it’s time for a few home improvements that will turn the sale of your house from stale to sold.
A sound investment?
Yes, it is. In fact, bathroom remodeling projects are some of the most cost-effective improvements you can make to a home, according to HGTV. A minor bathroom remodel has an average return on investment of 102 percent at the point of sale. A major remodel returns 93 percent of your investment. That means your newly upgraded bathroom will actually help sell your home for more money in the long run.
So what are you waiting for? Improve your bathroom today with these six tips below.
* Replace that old flooring. Carpet and tiny tile flooring — offering two different looks and feels — are both similarly outdated when it comes to bathroom decor. Alternately, hardwood floors can add a more current, upgraded touch and can be achieved with water- and stain-resistant ceramic tile that looks like hardwood. This delivers a distinctively modern look in a medium ideal for the humid bathroom environment.
* A new look for a familiar soak. Nothing conveys the comfort of an extraordinary bathroom like a luxurious soak in the tub. To set your bathroom, and your home, apart from the competition, replace your existing tub with the Studio Fold Over Edge tub from American Standard. This tub uniquely allows for a custom finish to the front apron to match wall tile and décor, creating a handsomely coordinated room. Plus, the tub’s spacious bathing well and extra lumbar support mean relaxation and enjoyment for you before the sale.
* Shed a new light. Proper lighting is essential in any bathroom and up-to-date light fixtures are a great way to increase the wow factor for potential buyers. If your bathroom currently displays the outdated style of exposed bulb fixtures, try replacing them with contemporary wall sconce lights to create a look that is sure to draw your visitors' attention.
* Find a first-rate faucet. Even a perfectly functional bathroom can be discredited by potential buyers if it showcases dated brass faucets and accents. If your space is guilty, try replacing the existing faucet with an American Standard Patience bath sink faucet. Offered in widespread or single handle models, these classically chic styles allow for easy operation by all users in the home. Plus, the choice of popular polished chrome or brushed nickel finishes provides a high-style look to entice home buyers, while delivering a water-efficient performance.
* Sink that old sink. Those rounded-edge Formica sinks had their share of the limelight, but now their time has passed. Today’s modern bathrooms have become edgier, especially when it comes to sinks. Straight-edge designs, made from natural stone, quartz or contemporary solid surface material, are popular sink solutions today. Replacing your old sink with a newer style helps ensure your bathroom isn’t left behind. Home buyers notice sinks, and this is one project you should tackle for higher return when you sell.
* Shower your bathroom with a new upgrade. Your showering experience should be as customizable as it is enjoyable. The GROHE SmartControl thermostatic trim offers intuitive, push-and-turn button operation for water temperature and flow rate control, all in a sleek, low-profile design. Available in both round and square styles, in stylish chrome, brushed nickel or white finishes, it’s the shower system you’ll enjoy every morning — and so will your home’s next owners.
Start your bathroom project today
The bathroom is one of the most important rooms in your home for potential buyers. It can also be one of the most enjoyable rooms while you're still in your home. Make these upgrades to your bathroom so that you can relish these improvements, as well as entice buyers when it comes time to sell.
(BPT) - If you’re thinking about remodeling your small bathroom, you may know that studies show updating a bathroom of any size can increase the value of a home. However, there’s a statistic from a Houzz survey you might not know: 75 percent of people who renovate a master bathroom don’t make it bigger.
Enlarging a small master bathroom is often impractical; you may need to take space from another room, or extend an exterior wall to accomplish an expansion. Both options have disadvantages and costs. The truth is, you don’t need to move walls or spend like a home improvement show host in order to create big luxury in a small master bathroom.
Here are five ways to make a small bathroom space feel lavish and spa-like:
1. Rethink the shower stall versus tub debate.
Many large luxury bathrooms have a separate shower and soaking tub. In a small bathroom, which may be used by multiple members and generations of a household, creating an upscale feeling by separating the tub from the shower might not be a realistic option. Instead, look for ways to boost the appeal of your tub/shower space, perhaps by choosing a visually appealing, bright-white model for an updated, yet classic, style.
For example, Americast bathtubs from American Standard combine unmatched strength and durability with elegant, traditional design lines that blend perfectly with stylish bathroom decor. Patented three-layer Americast construction gives the tubs a porcelain enamel finish, sound-dampening qualities and superior resistance to damage, all in a lightweight material that makes for easy installation.
2. Step up your shower game.
The shower isn’t just where you get clean; it’s also a morning wake-up tool or end-of-day relaxation therapy treatment. Deluxe showers often feature multiple jets, rainfall showerheads and hand showers. Replacing an ordinary showerhead with a shower system is a cost-effective and easy way to add a luxurious experience to the shower.
Options like the GROHE Retro-Fit Shower System offer a drenching rain showerhead, along with an integrated hand shower for ultimate convenience. Since the main showerhead is mounted on a movable arm, you can position the spray overhead (to function as a rainfall shower) or at an angle for additional comfort, all with the choice of spray patterns. Even better, the system works with existing plumbing, eliminating any need to open the wall to change piping. For added indulgence, consider a shower system with an elegant brushed nickel finish to elevate the look of your overall shower and bathroom decor.
3. Splurge on luxury materials.
Yes, materials like travertine tile or granite countertops can be costly, but when you’re renovating a small bathroom, you need less of those materials. Adding marble tile above a small tub/shower area will cost far less than outfitting a large walk-in shower. Replacing a modestly sized vanity with a new cabinet and granite countertop won’t be nearly as expensive as redoing a large, double-sink vanity.
When you have less real estate to refurbish, high-end materials can be a cost-effective choice. For a reasonable price, you can use quality materials to significantly boost the upscale feeling of your small bathroom.
4. Add pizzazz to functional elements.
You can increase a small bathroom’s feeling of extravagance by adding some flare to functional items like faucets, mirrors and cabinet hardware. For a modest investment, you can turn everyday, often-overlooked elements into items that underscore the overall beauty of the room.
For example, replacing an ordinary or outdated faucet with a modern-style option from the Colony PRO bath collection is an affordable way to improve aesthetics and functionality. Sleek styling translates well into modern bathroom design. Plus, single- or double-handle design means that faucets are user-friendly for children and adults of all ages and mobility levels.
Replacing a typical bathroom medicine cabinet or mirror with a luxury model is another way to elevate a small bathroom to premium status. Today's medicine cabinets come with an array of leading-edge features, such as defogging functions, built-in electrical outlets, night lights, USB outlets, interior lights and set-in magnifying mirrors.
5. Lighten up the space.
Finally, adding more natural light into a small master bathroom can make the space seem larger and more appealing. If your small bathroom already has a window, forgo blinds or shades in favor of easy-to-apply privacy film. Readily available in home improvement stores or online, in a breadth of simple or fancy patterns, this opaque film allows light to enter the room while providing the necessary privacy.
If your budget allows, consider adding a skylight for natural lighting and passive ventilation. Even if your small master bathroom is on the ground floor, it may be possible to use a tube skylight to bring more natural light into the space.
Achieving ultimate comfort and luxury in your small-space bathroom is at your fingertips, easily and affordably.
(BPT) - Researchers predict that rising water prices could mean within five years a third of American households will not be able to pay their water bills, despite the replenishment of water reserves around the country.
What's more, the National Weather Service warns that drought could increase or reoccur if the country experiences a period of sustained heat and dryness.
Fortunately, there are many ways for you to reduce the amount of water your home uses each year. One of the best places to start conserving water is in the bathroom, where toilet flushing, long showers and deep soak baths account for the largest portion of a home’s water consumption, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Here are simple ways you can significantly reduce your home’s water consumption, lower your water bill and do something good for the environment:
Ditch water-guzzling fixtures
Flushing the toilet accounts for about 30 percent of a home’s annual water consumption, making it the largest user of water in the home, according to the U.S. EPA. Prior to 1994, most toilets used 3.5 or more gallons of water per flush (gpf). Current federal guidelines require that toilets use no more than 1.6 gpf, but you can do even better.
* Toilets: Replace dated, older toilets with ultra-high-efficiency models like the American Standard H2Optimum ultra-high efficiency toilet, which uses an average of 1.1 gpf — that's 31 percent less than federal mandates. Exclusive PowerWash siphon-jet bowl cleaning technology drives this water-saving toilet to remove every trace of paper and waste, while its EverClean antimicrobial finish helps it stay cleaner, longer.
* Faucets: Inefficient and leaky bathroom faucets also waste thousands of gallons of water each year. WaterSense-labeled faucets use a maximum of 1.5 gallons per minute (gpm) and as little as 1.2 gpm, decreasing water use by 30 percent or more. The Fluent collection of high-efficiency bathroom faucets uses leading-edge technology to reduce water consumption, while producing a strong flow rate, all with high-style design to coordinate with various bathroom decors.
* Showerheads: A significant source of water usage in a home can be attributed to showerheads, pouring up to 40 gallons per day down the drain for an average family, according to the EPA. Since showers account for 17 percent of a home’s water use, replacing an older, less efficient showerhead with a WaterSense-certified one can curb waste in the shower. An example is the Hydrofocus 6-function showerhead that uses only 2 gallons of water per minute, while delivering a concentrated and invigorating spray. Its innovative pressure-compensating operation features a plentiful water flow across all spray patterns for a customized showering experience that caters to your family's personal preferences.
Make easy habit changes
Replacing inefficient fixtures is an investment that will pay off over time. However, there are simple habit changes that are free and will produce results right away. Your family can easily reduce water use in the bathroom by:
* Turning off the water when brushing their teeth. Running the tap while brushing can waste as much as 3,000 gallons per year, the EPA says.
* Taking showers instead of baths. It takes an average of 36 gallons to fill the bathtub. Plus, if you take baths less often, when you do indulge in one it will feel like a treat.
* Taking shorter showers. The longer the shower runs, the more water goes down the drain. Never turn on the shower and walk away to do other things while the water warms. If you get delayed or distracted, the water could run for a long time before you actually step into the shower.
* Washing hands in cold water with soap, rather than letting the water run until it gets hot.
* Shaving at the sink, rather than in the shower. Shaving in the shower extends your shower time, unnecessarily consuming more water. Just don’t forget to turn off the water while shaving at the bathroom sink.
Taking steps to reduce bathroom water usage can help save you money in the short term and benefit the environment in the long run. These changes are simple to implement, with rewarding results to both your wallet and our planet Earth.
(BPT) - During the 1950s, the average-sized American home was just around 1,700 square feet. Fast forward to today, and the average size has increased to about 2,600 square feet, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. While many Americans think the bigger the better, there is a growing trend of homeowners around the country opting to downsize to tiny homes, condominiums, apartments or just smaller single-family homes.
Deciding to scale down is driven by many reasons — the quest for less maintenance, parents recently becoming empty nesters, an increase in the cost of living or simply looking to live a greener lifestyle. However, having less square footage doesn’t need to mean skimping on style or function.
If you are planning on downsizing, here are four tips for thoughtful small space home design.
1. Think durable material that can handle double duty.
As people continue to downsize, it is important to maximize space by having rooms work double duty. If your home isn’t large enough to accommodate an eating area and an office, have your kitchen island work as both.
To keep up with daily wear, such as sliding pots and pans, plates, spills and more, look to a high performance countertop such as Neolith. This material is scratch, heat and stain-resistant. It’s also non-porous and hygienic, so there’s no need to worry about cross-contamination on office papers by day and food by night.
2. Less is more.
According to popular belief, it is better to fill a space with several small pieces of furniture. However, design savvy professionals and homeowners are turning this idea on its head by using fewer, yet larger pieces to furnish living rooms, bedrooms and dining rooms. By doing so, this creates an optical illusion of space and adds a designer’s touch.
3. Make a statement.
When designing a small space like a bathroom, thoughtfully selected wall colors can make a huge difference. To really make a statement, think beyond paint with unexpected textures, designs and materials such as Neolith sintered stone in the La Boheme design. This decor is an accurate interpretation of Lebanese-inspired cedar that adds visual interest and is much easier to maintain than its natural counterpart.
Finish off the look with oversized art, large mirrors to bounce light around the room, a floating sink and toilet, and open shower to pack a punch in a small space.
4. Bring only what you love.
It may seem obvious, but when moving or scaling back on your next home, be sure to take an inventory of everything you own, and only bring items that make you happy. Without the extra storage space larger homes afford, downsizing is a great opportunity to really ask yourself, “Do I love this and do I need it?” When you have only the possessions you love surrounding you in your new space, it will automatically feel bigger.
To start your small space project, experiment with different styles and colors through online design tools, like the visualizer on www.neolith.com. While smaller rooms demand creative thinking and individuality, quality design is well within reach.
Home upgrades are all about adding comfort, convenience and beauty, and the bathroom is no exception. It may be the smallest room in the house, but these ideas for enhancing the most functional features of your bathroom, including the sink, toilet, bathtub, floors and storage space, are sure to make a big impact.
5 Bathroom Upgrades for Style, Function
(Family Features) Home upgrades are all about adding comfort, convenience and beauty, and the bathroom is no exception. It may be the smallest room in the house, but these ideas for enhancing the most functional features of your bathroom are sure to make a big impact.
Sink: More than just a bowl for capturing water when you wash or brush, the sink can actually be a statement piece within your bathroom. More traditional options range from decorative self-rimming to sleek undermount styles, while vessels in all shapes, sizes and materials lend an artistic flair. Wall mounted sinks reflect a trend toward floating vanities and today’s pedestals are anything but boring.
Toilet: Keeping a sparkling clean bathroom is now easier with the new American Standard ActiClean self-cleaning toilet, which also offers stylish design and affordability. The ActiClean combines the power of revolutionary VorMax flushing technology with a fully integrated self-cleaning system, eliminating the need for in-bowl or in-tank cleaning solutions. A convenient flip-up door on the tank’s top houses the control panel for the cleaning system, which is activated at the user’s touch for a one-minute Quick Clean or 10-minute Deep Clean cycle.
The toilet tank and bowl feature EverClean, a permanent finish that inhibits the growth of stain and odor-causing bacteria, mold and mildew on the surface to help the toilet stay cleaner, longer. The system, which operates on four AA alkaline batteries, runs independently from the normal toilet flushing operation, meaning the toilet will always flush, even if the cleaning cartridge or batteries have run out. Additional features include a slow-close lid and anti-slip bumpers that lock the seat in place.
Tub: Few people will argue that nothing beats a long soak in a warm tub. Now, the bathtub’s appearance and special features can be specially tailored to satisfy your personal preferences. Extra-deep, extra-wide, with and without jets, free-standing or integrated into the architecture – the possibilities are nearly endless. Keep access in mind when you choose your style – don't select a tub so deep it’s difficult to climb in and out, and remember practical considerations like bathing children.
Floors: Because it offers broad aesthetic appeal and it’s relatively easy to keep clean, tile flooring is a top choice for bathrooms. Not only can you add style with the color and texture of the tile, you can take your flooring to even greater levels with special patterns and designs. Another flooring enhancement: heated coils that run below the surface to keep cool tile warm and cozy when it’s cold outside.
Storage: While aesthetic appeal is important, a bathroom without sufficient storage space is truly lacking in function. Be sure your design includes a place to keep essentials like towels and personal grooming items. Whether your storage space blends in or stands out is entirely up to you; some vanities actually look more like stylish furniture and open shelving is a popular choice for a modern space.
With the wide range of options available, it’s easy to create a bathroom that delivers the perfect combination of style and function.
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