When it comes to deciding on the material you’d like to use for your bathroom vanity countertops, you may be stuck at a crossroads. Both granite and marble are two of the most popular countertop materials for bathrooms, but how do you make that final decision when it comes to choosing one of them? As with everything, there are positive and negative aspects to consider with each material before making that final investment. Countertops are important because they add to both the function and décor of your bathroom, so it’s important to make sure you consider the impact of each material before making your final decision. Below, we’ve included some of the things you’ll want to consider if you find yourself between a rock and a hard place.

Marble
Marble is often viewed as a luxury item, and it’s not exclusive to countertops. The most contemporary and luxurious bathrooms make great use of marble, using it for walls, shower interiors, tub exteriors, and more. Marble is also slightly more expensive than granite. Marble starts at approximately $25 more per square inch than the cost of granite. Marble is less resistant to chips, scratches, and stains. If not cared for very carefully, marble will begin to show signs of wear and tear over the years, and it is difficult to restore pieces of the marble that are chipped or stained. Marble holds larger more spacious patterns and gives off that luxurious appearance that is often associated with this type of stone. Ultimately, marble may provide your bathroom with a more appealing design, but will be more costly and require a greater level of maintenance and overall care.

RHIPhoto Credit: oliveglassandmarble.com

Granite
Granite’s design differs from that of marble and it is easy to recognize by a few tell-tale signs. Granite has grains that are recognizable in specks throughout the material. The design is typically smaller and can include a multitude of colors such as blue, green, orange, pink and red. Granite is harder than marble so it is more durable and resistant to chips and scratches. Both granite and marble are porous, so without a seal, liquids can penetrate the materials and leave permanent stains. However, with a seal, granite is ultimately more resistant to stains and can withstand water damage longer. Over the course of ownership, granite ultimately requires less maintenance than does marble. Furthermore, granite will save you about a quarter of the price of marble per square inch.

RHI1Photo Credit: akrongranitecountertops.com

When comes down to that final decision, it really just depends on your specific taste in the difference appearances between granite and marble, especially if you are trying to achieve a certain color pattern. Cost may also be a factor, especially for larger vanities and countertops. The last thing to consider is the maintenance that you are willing to put out for your bathroom countertop over its lifespan. If it will experience minimal to no use by adults exclusively, marble might be a great option; but if the countertops will experience frequent use by children or guests, granite might be the smarter choice.

Tile can be an effective and affordable way to spruce up your bathroom design. What’s great about tile is that it doesn’t only have to be used on the floor, but it can also be used for the walls, tubs, vanity countertops and more. Tile can be used for a whole floor renovation or it can be used to cover old and outdated materials that need replacing. Sometimes tile gets a bad rap; glossy wood floors and luxurious marble are seen as the materials of the contemporary style, but this idea comes from the idea of tile that was used in the bathrooms of the early 2000s, which now seem outdated and less than sophisticated. But tile can have a truly luxurious and transformative effect on bathrooms as long as it’s the right size and design. Check out some of our favorite tile designs below to get a head start on generating some tile ideas.

Tile the Walls
As we mentioned above, tile doesn’t have to be exclusive to floors. Some of the most attractive designs exist where tile is used to cover the walls of the bathroom, inside of the shower, etc. Most people expect tile to be on the floors if it’s going to be anywhere at all, so finding tile in creative patterns elsewhere is always a nice surprise that really adds to the overall décor of the bathroom.

BathroomPhoto Credit: bathroomist.com

Unique Tile Patterns
Where tiled bathrooms exist, we are used to seeing some sort of rhythmic design, usually with blue and grey undertones that match our expectations for what a bathroom should look like. Another great way to use tile is to create your own unique design and don’t be afraid to break from the norm when laying down a new design. These unique tile pieces blend together to present a quilt-like pattern and add magnificent volume to this rustic-style bathroom design.

Bathroom1Photo Credit: trendier.com

Patterned Tile
Tile can be simple and blend together, it can be sporadic and create a free-form feel, or it can be highly symmetrical and create a unique and edgy pattern of its own. The type of tile you choose is entirely up to you, but if you enjoy form and symmetry we suggest searching for the design and pattern that is going to make your bathroom truly special and can be a focal point in the bathroom.

Bathroom2Photo Credit: freshome.com

Shower Interior
Even if tile isn’t your first choice for the flooring or walls, it can be a great solution for the shower interior of a walk-in unit or steam room. If your shower unit has glass doors or is visible from the rest of the bathroom, this can be a great way to make your whole bathroom feel like it has received a makeover while focusing your time and money on one simple area.

Bathroom3Photo Credit: freshome.com

What’s your personal take on tile in the bathroom, or even the rest of the house? Do you have tile in your home? Is it something that you would consider using for a renovation? If not, why not? If so, what is the design or structure you chose? Leave your suggestions and feedback in the comments below!

BathroomPhoto Credit: civilfloor.com

As we mentioned in a previous post, tubs are becoming one of the trending designs of 2016. The great thing about tubs is that they come in so many different varieties that you’re sure to find something that will work perfectly with your specific bathroom design.  One of the most essential ways to pick out a tub is to think about the function the tub will have in your bathroom. Will it be a luxury item that works something like an indoor spa? Will it be for a kids’ bathroom and serve a purely function purpose? Will it act as a dual shower-tub combo, or will it be a piece that is used only as a bathtub? The answers to these questions can provide crucial advice to choosing the tub design that will be just right for you.

Types of Bathtubs
Alcove: This bathtub is the most common style and has only one finished side. It’s made to fit into a typical three-sided alcove that’s about 5 feet wide and 30-36 inches from front to back. Often, it’s part of a tub-shower combination. Cost: $300 to $2,000.

Drop-in: Supported on all sides by its rim, this tub might be inserted into a raised platform or installed below floor level. Cost: $800 to $2,000.

Freestanding: This type of tub occupies a space all its own, often as a centerpiece of the bathroom. Clawfoot tubs or tubs with bases fit into this category, as do more stylized options such as copper soaking tubs. Cost: $2,000 to $6,000.

Corner: These tubs are designed to fit into the corner of the bathroom and usually aren’t very spacious because of their triangular shape. More often than not, a corner tub is the only option for a small bathroom. Cost: $800 for basic model.

Bathtub Materials
Acrylic: About 90% of bathtubs sold are made of acrylic, with good reason. Acrylic is lightweight, which makes installation easy. Acrylic is resistant to chipping and cracking, and the non-staining, non-porous surface is easy to clean. Many color options are available.

Fiberglass: Often acrylic tubs are reinforced with fiberglass, but gel-coated fiberglass is not as common as it was 15 years ago. It’s inexpensive, but it scratches easily and is impossible to repair if chipped.

Cast iron: Porcelain-coated, cast-iron tubs are extremely durable and good at retaining heat, but they’re also more expensive than comparable acrylic tubs. They’re extremely heavy, too, which makes installation difficult (ask your remodeling contractor if your floors need structural reinforcement to support the weight). Porcelain enamel coatings offer the widest variety of color options among bathtubs, but chipped finishes are difficult to repair.

Enameled steel: Generally made as a cheaper alternative to cast iron, allowing the look without the cost, these tubs chip more easily.

Copper: Although an expensive option, copper tubs can be ideal if you’re looking for something to match Victorian or rustic décor. Keep in mind that copper scratches easily and the metal achieves a patina with age.

Stone and Wood: If you’re looking to make a unique statement in your bathroom, wood and stone tubs are the way to go. However, they’re extremely expensive and difficult to clean and maintain. Plus, a wood tub is going to be prone to rotting and warping.

After you’ve decided what kind of tub and which materials will work for your bathroom, it’s time to pick out additional luxury features such as hydrotherapy, chromatherapy, chromotherapy, jets, whirlpool features, and more. The functional purpose of your bathtub will play a large part in determining which (if any) additional features you choose to install.

If you already have your ideal tub installed in your bathroom, what features did you choose? If you don’t yet have your dream tub, what does your dream tub include? Leave your feedback and questions in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you!