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There’s just something so luxurious about granite, isn’t there? Even in cooler climates, this natural stone soaks up the warmth emitted from floor heating and from regular forced air or electric room heating. In warmer climates, the stone is naturally cool and comfortable on bare feet.

What’s not to love?

You might be wondering whether or not granite is the right material for your bathroom. If you decide it is, you might also be wondering whether you need to embark on a whole bathroom renovation in order to install it. All good questions! So, I thought I’d put together a pros and cons list. That information should, at the very least, give you a place to start.

Pros

  • Granite can be cut to any shape. So, if your bathroom countertop sports strange dimensions, don’t worry. You, too, can have granite.
  • Granite offers homeowners a wide range of colors and designs. The hardest part will be deciding which one to choose. Consider the other elements in your bathroom, and the rest of the house, too, to help you make your choice.
  • Granite is very strong and durable. Cracking that surface is not an easy task! You can be sure that once your granite countertop is installed, it will look its best forever (with proper care, of course).

Cons

  • Cost. Yes, this is a biggie. The cost can vary depending on the color, design, size, availability, etc. Rest assured, however, that you will get your money’s worth. Granite is a huge plus when it comes to selling your home. If you’re not planning on selling, the stone’s long-lasting beauty will provide you with years of enjoyment.
  • Granite must be sealed as soon as it’s been installed. Otherwise, stains or water splotches that are left on the surface for even a short time can end up damaging the look and finish.

What do you like or dislike about granite?

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Do you ever catch the renovation bug? It’s really hard not to with all of those home renovation shows on television. At any point in the day, you can flip channels and see a multitude of home design inspiration ideas. On one show, a designer is gutting a bathroom and turning it into a kind of bath-steam room. On another show, a homeowner is choosing new light fixtures. Watching other people refresh and restore their bathrooms makes me want to do it, too!

As usual, the first consideration before launching any home renovation project is the budget. If you have a large enough budget that can be dedicated to renovating your bathroom, by all means, I encourage you to take the leap. A well-designed bathroom will always pay back that investment. Even if you’re not planning to move, the simple enjoyment of using a fresh and stylish bathroom every day is enough to justify the money you spent on it.

If a bathroom renovation isn’t quite in the budget, don’t feel sad! In fact, there are so many things that you can do – yourself – do update and upgrade your bathroom. Forget about hiring a designer. With a little planning and know-how (Google’s great for that!), you’ll have a bathroom that will make you proud.

Check out these do-it-yourself ideas, and let me know what projects you’ve embarked on!

  • Repaint (or buy a new) bathroom vanity.
  • Install a floating or pedestal sink to free up floor space.
  • Add shelving to those empty walls, especially over the toilet.
  • Add a cupboard to the hallway outside the bathroom to store towels and other bathroom essentials.
  • Get organized by reducing the number of knick knacks and loose items sitting on the countertop.
  • Splurge on one or two high-priced pieces will make your bathroom look spectacular.
  • Use paint to add drama to a small bathroom.
  • Install a large mirror to add the illusion of extra space.
  • And yes, any of us can even create our very own bath-steam room by buying a steam generator and installing shower doors that seal when the shower’s in use.
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Photo: steamshowersinc.com

There was a time when the only way you could enjoy the relaxing and healthful benefits of a steam shower was to purchase a gym membership or visit a spa. Those public spaces were really the only venues able to afford the cost of installing a steam shower.

Lucky for us … and whether or not you have a gym membership or like to visit the spa … the price of purchasing, installing, and maintaining a steam shower has come down considerably. They are now extremely affordable. Who doesn’t want such a luxurious addition to their home bathroom? The concept of a home spa has been growing in popularity over the last decade. A steam shower is the ultimate in home spa treatment. Definitely consider adding one to your bathroom!

The question, though, is which steam shower is right for you? Because, as you may have already guessed, there are numerous options from which to choose.

The first consideration for most of us is budget. Although steam showers have come down in price, they’re not completely inexpensive. Individual models range in price depending on size and accessories. So, begin by deciding how much you’re able to comfortably spend, including the cost of installation. Then, go shopping!

How It Works

Basically, a steam shower is just a regular shower that’s completely enclosed. It has to be so that all the beneficial steam stays within the unit instead of escaping out into the bathroom. The steam generator (vital to the whole operation, of course!) heats water to a boil before releasing the steam. The beauty of the generator is that it requires very little water and takes just minutes to bring that water to the right temperature. Steam showers can actually help you reduce your overall water usage. How’s that for practical?! Most steam showers come equipped with a bench allowing you to relax and enjoy all those health benefits.

Ready-To-Go Or Custom-Made?

If your budget allows, consider having your steam shower custom designed. Then, the tiling you use in your shower can match the rest of the bathroom. Repeated design elements, like matching tiles or colors, help tie together all the elements in the bathroom. That design strategy also helps tie the look of the bathroom to the rest of the house.

If you’re not interested in diving into the whole custom-made scenario, you still have a lot of options. Typically, steam shower walls are made of acrylic and can be purchased in a few different colors. Choose the color that best matches your bathroom’s current color scheme and your bathroom will look amazing for a long time to come.

Choose Your Accessories

Of course, a steam shower doesn’t actually need any accessories to be a healthful and enjoyable experience. But, if you really want to deck out your home spa, then you should consider adding a few elements to round off the whole relaxing experience.

You can, for instance, have aromatherapy dispensers installed. These units will release your favorite scents while you enjoy the steam. Aromatherapy is used to hydrate and promote healthy skin. Some people also find that it improves their mood and general feelings of good health.

Chromatherapy, also called light therapy or color therapy, is a popular addition. Special chromatherapy lights dot the interior of the steam shower unit. These bulbs cycle through a rainbow of colors leaving you feeling refreshed and energized.

There are even more fun possible accessories to add to your steam shower treatment. Add in foot massagers, radio, iPod hookups, even hands-free telephones!

Even if you choose a ready-to-go unit, there are still so many ways to customize your steam shower and make it your own.

If you already own a steam shower, which accessories have you had installed?