Bathroom Remodel Update

Small, narrow bathrooms can be cramped and uncomfortable, and sometimes we just don’t have enough extra space to enlarge them. If the bathroom is upstairs, simply increasing the footprint of the house may not be possible. There are DIY solutions to this home renovation dilemma, though, such as a clever re-purposing of some space borrowed from another room, or from the attic eaves.

Given how many trades are required for a typical bathroom remodel—plumbers, electricians, tile setters, cabinet installers, and more—it pays to find a top-notch general contractor to manage operations. Meet with at least three contractors, preferably those you find through word of mouth. Make sure the person you settle on has an up-to-date license and insurance, including workers’ compensation. And scrutinize the contract; it should list every product down to the model number and finish. And don’t automatically go with the lowest bid.

But inform him that if he gets the work done within the five-day limit you’ll pay him a $1,000 bonus. You’ll pay a $500 bonus plus the daily extension fee if the work is done within seven working days. You just gave incentive for the contractor to triple his or her profit and to get your job done quickly. Either way you get your project done at or very near your $5,000 limit as long as you don’t go crazy on materials.

Consider the purpose of the space as well. Are closets or bookshelves accessible? Do you have a great view you want to feature? (See focal points, below.) However, do not automatically push all furniture against the walls. Living room furniture placed around the perimeter of a room does not encourage conversation and can create a cold feeling or ambience. A chair without a nearby light source will not become a place to read the latest book by your favorite author or complete your latest craft project. A long and wide island in the center of your kitchen between your sink and refrigerator means you have to walk around it every time you go from one to the other.

Now your bathroom is clean and has a theme. The next step is to accessorize and perhaps repaint it. Do you like the color of the walls? If you find simple white walls pleasant and comforting, keep them that way. If you would like to give the room a whole new look, repaint it with a color that resonates the bathroom theme you have in mind. For instance, use sea foam green to bring back your fond memories of a vacation in the Caribbeans, or use golden yellow to create a bold visual interest that reminds you of a sunflower garden, etc. Keep in mind, however, that the color of the walls should not clash with the shades of the tiles and bathroom fixtures.

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