Photo: ytc-tiles.com

Photo: ytc-tiles.com

So, you’ve embarked on a very exciting … ok, somewhat stressful, bathroom renovation. You know which fixtures you want to include; you’ve picked out the new toilet and sink. You’ve even decided on a brand new vanity.

Now comes the hard part. What will you put on the walls – paint, tile?

Given the fact that over the last few years I have renovated no fewer than three bathrooms, I’d like to share the tips I’ve learned for figuring out the answer to that question.

The first bathroom I renovated happened to be the powder room. I decided to use the same tile that I’d used in the hallway and the kitchen. It really was beautiful tile, all terra cotta but with subtle variations in the orange and brown tones. The problem that I realized months after the renovation was that the little pockmarks in the surface that make it look so natural have a nasty habit of capturing dust and dirt.

I ended up having to mop nearly every day just to keep them looking clean!

Tip #1 Find a tile you love, then ask as many questions about it as possible. If you find that there are characteristics that you can’t live with, take elements of the tile that you want and look for another tile that’s similar.

Tip #2 Start with one tile that you love, then build one or two other tiles into the design. One type might be the floor tile, while another will be great on the wall. Approach your choices with an eye to combining the tiles. The finished bathroom will look like an interior designer had a hand in creating it.

Tip #4 As per my own experience, consider how much future maintenance the tile you’ve chosen will need. Perfectly smooth porcelain and ceramic tiles are nearly maintenance free. All they need is a quick wipe or mop and you’re done. However, natural stone may need to be sealed periodically, and a light colored grout may show dirt more quickly than a darker color.

Tip #5 Subway tiles may be a huge trend right now, but consider whether or not they fit the style of your bathroom and home, in general. Also consider how you’d feel when that trend falls by the wayside and something else takes precedent in the public imagination.

Over to you: What factors helped you decide which tile to choose for your bathroom?

 

Photo: cafepress.ca

Photo: cafepress.ca

Independence Day is just around the corner. Are you ready for the big day? Raise the flag, get the picnic food ready … but, have you given much thought to the bathroom?

I find that the bathroom is always the one room in the house that ends up being neglected as far as holiday decorations go. I’ll hoist the flag outside, even drape a flag in the living room window, pull out the Independence Day themed kitchen towels, and anything else I can dig out of the holiday decorations bin I keep in the basement.

This year, I’m determined to extend the celebration all the way to the bathroom. But, what decor can I place there? Hmm, a little bit of research actually ended up yielding a huge amount of simple ideas, like the fun shower curtain pictured above.

Check out these ideas:

Photo: cafepress.ca

Photo: cafepress.ca

I love this fireworks beach towel. Very apropos, don’t you think? Or how about this toilet cover and mat set?

Photo: amazon.com

Photo: amazon.com

Not ready for that level of decor? How about something a little more subtle? These candles shine a pretty light while reminding those visiting the bathroom that there’s reason to celebrate.

Photo: pier1.com

Many people forget that the bathroom is a perfect place to hang art. This weekend, hang a colorful and patriotic wood curl wreath on the bathroom door or wall. It’s a decorative reminder of why you’re celebrating.

Photo: pier1.com

Photo: pier1.com

I hope these ideas have jumpstarted your thinking on how to make the bathroom one of the most festively decorated rooms in the whole house.

Over to you: Let me know what elements you add to the bathroom to give it that celebratory flare.

eco bathroom accessoriesSo, we’ve talked about greening your home from design to construction. What do you do once it’s built? The last thing you’ll want to do if you’re at all concerned about living in an environmentally-friendly home is to bring potentially toxic products into that space.

Of all the rooms in the house, I would say that having eco products in the bathroom is extremely important. Towels, soaps, bath mats … you name it, there are products in the bathroom that touch our skin every day. It’s those items that you can easily switch up for greener versions.

Cotton towels certainly aren’t toxic. Cotton plants are sustainable and can be recycled or even composted once you’re done with them. There are more options, too. Try bamboo towels for a super soft touch. Look for recycled sailcloth shower curtains for an eco look that’s sure to be a conversation piece.

Natural body washes, organic Shea butter and herbal balms make clean and conscientious additions to a green bathroom.

Here’s an idea you might not have thought of. How about environmentally-friendly toilet paper and facial tissues? True, both of those products are already made from a renewable resource, namely trees. If you search, you can also find toilet paper and tissues that are at least partially made from recycled materials. There are more options out there in terms of bathroom papers, too. You can find bamboo toilet paper. Or biodegradable mini towelettes, if you prefer to reduce your water use.

Finally, look for biodegradable, environmentally-friendly cleaning products. These days, you don’t even have to mix up your own solutions if you don’t want to. Many eco products are available for purchase ready-made. Look for green glass, tub and tile cleaners as well as natural air and fabric deodorizers.

Which natural products have you introduced into your bathroom lately?