Photo: marketwatch.com

Photo: marketwatch.com

Are you a soaker? I mean are you the kind of person who loves to soak in a bathtub at the start – or end – of a long day? I have to say that I don’t know many people who are. When my daughter was little, we definitely needed a tub in the house. It’s pretty hard to blow bubbles and play with water toys in a shower.

But now, the tub … well … just sits there. We have to clean it because it’s there. If it gets used a few times a year, that’s a lot. So, I have to ask, is a bathtub really necessary?

Turns out I’m not alone in wondering. Since the shower is used so much more in most households, that’s where designers have really gone all out. You can now find large two-person showers, showers with bench seating, steam showers that make you feel like you have your own personal spa. The trend has swung so far the other way that many people are ripping out what bathtubs they have in favor of a larger shower.

Other than the fact that I had a small child at the time, when I renovated the bathroom, I decided to keep the bathtub. There’s only one in the house, so it really wasn’t a big deal in terms of fighting for space. But, my other consideration was that if I ever wanted to sell my home, what would prospective buyers think of a house that didn’t have a bathtub?

Real estate agents have responded to that question with a collective, “don’t worry!” There are lots of buyers out there who would prefer not to have a tub at all. Given that I live in an area popular with young families, I don’t think I made the wrong decision to keep my bathtub. But, if you’ve had enough of cleaning a fixture that never gets used, you shouldn’t worry about doing away with it. In fact, and as I mentioned above, modern showers come with so many options – like no thresholds (making it easier to get in and out for those with mobility issues), multiple shower heads that can be placed and aimed from above and/or the side, and even showers with no doors at all.

Would you remove your bathtub in favor of a better shower?

Photo: houzz.com

Photo: houzz.com

Don’t you just love the look of the bathroom in the photo above. There’s just something so soothing and beautiful about the combination of natural materials. I guess the neutral colors add to that feeling as well. But, I think that bathroom would look just as beautiful if the wood panelling was stained in a natural redwood color.

As you might have already guessed, wood – natural or composite – remains a huge trend this year. There are really natural-looking composites available, too, that are a little less expensive than the real thing, but look as if they are real wood. In this busy, digital world we live in, we seem to really yearn for a natural, back-to-basics look and feel for our homes.

At one time, installing a wood floor or walls in the bathroom would’ve been viewed as pure folly. Anyone who attempted that was asking for trouble. Mold, warping, splitting … water environments and wood just don’t get along very well.

The last number of years have seen a spike in products formulated to treat and protect wood from water damage. Most of those products are also environmentally-friendly and contain low levels of toxins. Win-win, right?

Just as in the rest of the house, neutral colors continue to rule the bathroom. Neutral does not have to mean plain old beige or off-white. Soft pastels, like grey, blue and green, add beautiful color without clashing or overpowering the space.

At one time, paint was really our only way of adding personality to a room. Now, decorative tile is the way to go. You can buy tiles with designs printed on them. Or choose textured tile, like tumbled marble. But, a particularly hot trend this year is to create a pattern or geometric design (like herringbone) out of flat, plain white tiles.

What are your favorite bathroom design trends?

Photo: ikea.com

Photo: ikea.com

If you’re anything like me, you look around your home at least once a month and wonder, first, where all the stuff comes from, and second, where it’s all going to go.

One of my bathrooms is just the worst for that. Toothbrushes, hair brushes, little scrub pads … all kinds of odds and ends just seem to accumulate on the countertop and in the drawers. For the longest time, I just couldn’t figure out why everything would just end up everywhere. Are we really that messy?

Well, I guess part of the answer is that, yes, we can be pretty messy. But I think a better, maybe more accurate, answer is that we just don’t have enough proper storage space in the bathroom. I’m going on the theory that if everything had a home, it would be easier to put things back consistently.

Given that most bathrooms are fairly tiny rooms, the question of how to get more storage into them is a tough one to answer. I figured you’re in the same boat that I am, so I thought I’d do a little research to help out both of us.

Shelving

If you’ve got the space, add a narrow shelf directly above the toilet. If your bathroom is particularly small, use clear glass or mirror for the shelf. You can even pick up a spice rack and use that as shelving, too. That will give the illusion of space while providing a place to store loose bottles and soaps.

Towel Racks

A small rack or ring screwed into the wall near the sink is ideal for holding the hand towel. But, if you don’t have that space, or if your wall is tiled, consider using the back of the bathroom door. Buy anywhere between one and three towel racks of varying sizes to hold all the towels you’ll need for that bathroom.

Craft Containers Or Drawers

Check out dollar or craft stores for drawers that can be placed inside a bathroom vanity or under a wall-mounted sink. These give you options for organizing all those little loose ends, like Q-Tips, razors and small bottles, that end up piling up on the countertop.

Share with us your own bathroom storage solutions.