How to freshen up a drab or dated bathroom

Does your bathroom feel a little too chilly? A little dated? Somewhere between modern minimalist masterpieces and cozy country design we find the popular style of bathroom that manages to feel cool and up-to-date but also warm and welcoming. To achieve this careful balance of seemingly disparate design demands, here is a design recipe for bringing warm, welcoming updates to your home bathroom.

Enticing Stone Tile

Naturally, in any bathroom space, a fundamental part of the design will be the tile. For that welcoming, “spa-like” look, nothing beats an element of stone tile. It looks beautiful and feels satisfying to the touch, while also being highly functional. If the budget allows, including some stone in the design, either as a singular material or contrasted against other porcelain tiles, will bring a lot of richness to the palette and a sense of sophistication.

Even if you choose not to tile all of the wall surfaces, I recommend having at least one area tiled floor to ceiling in some form of tile, with other walls bare, as opposed to having all of the walls tiled up to the same minimal height. This creates a finished look, with the contrast between the tiled walls and bare walls appearing intentional.


To make a bathroom feel inviting but airy, and warm but also contemporary and clean, it’s important to achieve balance. Using a lot of white or crisp just-off-white will make the room feel larger and lend pleasing contrast to warm elements.

It’s important to remember that not every element has to be visually warm for the overall effect to feel that way. Subdued gray and gray-beige shades ground the space and bridge the warmest and coolest elements, making these non-hue hues a good addition to any contemporary bathroom.

It also helps to find a balance between traditional and contemporary elements. This keeps a room feeling current but not coldly minimalist.


One key part of a design palette that sometimes gets overlooked is rich, inviting texture, and this element is especially easy to forget about in a bathroom space, with its many hard, glossy surfaces.

Introducing tactile textures into your bathroom brings a human touch, so look to accessories such as woven baskets or boxes, aged metal finishes or stacks of folded towels to break up hard surfaces like stone counters and porcelain fixtures.


One of the best ways to add texture to a space is to introduce a healthy dose of wood through elements such as the vanity, shelving, furniture pieces (like an accent stool) or small accessories. Wood brings an inherent sense of natural elegance that comes through whether the wood is just lightly stained or hard-lacquered.

Even just a single small element of wood will pleasingly contrast crisp tile. Just make sure the piece is well-sealed to prevent moisture damage, and as long as it doesn’t regularly sit in pools of water it will hold up just fine. I’ve used attractive midcentury-style stools in many bathroom projects to double as an occasional seat and a place to set down a book, glass or towel.

RELATED: Midcentury Modern Style Secrets

Furniture-Style Vanity

Sleek bathroom vanities can be beautifully simple in a modern space, but to add some warmth and personality, consider using a traditional or vintage furniture piece instead. After all, almost any furniture item, from an antique chest of drawers to an old kitchen island cart, can be retrofitted to become a vanity as long as it is the right height and is sturdy enough to hold a sink. A good craftsperson can advise you whether a piece you have or are shopping for can be converted, or you can look for captivating creations at local fairs.


You may have read about how certain colors are “warm” (like reds, oranges and yellows) and other colors are “cool” (like blues, many purples and a lot of greens). However in practice, any color that makes you happy can make a space feel more warm, and a dose of color of almost any kind can make a space feel more welcoming.

In-Floor Heating

If you want to make the room feel a lot warmer physically without jacking up your heating bills, consider installing an in-floor heating system during a renovation. Heat radiating upward from the floor will make the space feel warm even if the overall space isn’t technically heated to as high a temperature as with typical heating systems — plus you won’t have to deal with icy-cold floors on your bare toes.


Not a fan of bold colors? A bit of graphic pattern is another way to add a sense of life to a space. Pattern draws the eye in and keeps it moving, which gives a room a sense of energy. Consider choosing a tile in an interesting angular shape, such as classic chevron or a hexagon.

Bathrooms are a great space for a more dramatic floor pattern. A bathroom floor tends to be a relatively small area for splurging on a great tile, and a busy pattern will hide the occasional tiny stray hair or bit of debris between cleanings.

Don’t be afraid to use wallpaper to bring pattern and interest to walls without tile. If your bathroom is ventilated, the paper should hold up just about as well in a bathroom as it would in any other space. If your bathroom isn’t ventilated, you should be addressing that issue anyway to avoid mold and mildew before moving on with the rest of the design process.


Don’t think rugs are fit for the bathroom? While a moist space does have its considerations, a durable rug can make an excellent addition to a bathroom — like a bath mat, but with more style. Besides giving you a cushy place to plant your feet (especially appreciated on cold winter mornings), a rug can also add some color, pattern and texture, making it a decor triple threat. Olefin is a good material for bathroom rugs because it appears similar to wool, but as a synthetic, it won’t absorb water.

Warm Metals

Silver-toned metal finishes like stainless steel and chrome are often associated with a “clean” look, but golden tones have been overlooked for too long. The fact that metals like brass or bronze have a bit of color in them helps hide typical bathroom blemishes like water spotting and fingerprints. Plus, they add some visual warmth to the space, which goes a long way in a space filled with chilly porcelain.

Find brass a little too brash for your taste? Consider using nickel finishes, one of my personal go-to’s, for a crisp metallic option that is a touch warmer and more refined than cool chrome.

Feel free to use a brushed finish to hide prints and spotting on elements you will touch, and a polished finish for those you won’t (such as lights). However, it’s best to keep the finish of your items consistent across each category: lights all in one finish, fixtures in another consistent finish.

Storage Niches

Not every project is lucky enough to have space in the wall cavities available to turn into a niche, but it is usually an option somewhere in the space if you’re willing to have the walls examined to check. This is usually easy during a major renovation when walls are being opened or built from scratch anyway.

Adding a wall niche (which is often fairly simple with modern kits) creates a functional storage space that’s great for daily-use products like shampoo, soaps and creams. The open storage helps create a more relaxed vibe for an air of casual elegance. For products you don’t want fully on display, a frosted or tinted glass door will partially obscure labels and details for a tidier look.

Glass Shower Panels

What better way to show off beautiful details like a feature tile, new niche or sleek shower kit than with a glass shower panel?

Whether you add a glass shower panel or door to a tub surround, or skip the bathtub altogether, using glass instead of an opaque curtain will avoid breaking up the sight lines, which in turn makes the space inside and outside the shower area feel bigger and airier.

If you prefer a shower curtain to a glass panel, I suggest using one with a mostly white background and not too much dramatic patterning to avoid demanding too much attention. That funny pink and brown bacon-print shower curtain you spot online might be good for a laugh, but it will visually shrink the space a great deal. I suggest adding any quirky touches in small doses closer to the walls rather than in the middle of the room.

Interesting Mirror

Adding canvases or photo prints to the bathroom can bring a lot of personality and interest, but it is usually not good for the lifespan of the art itself, making it a risky move (at least with a piece you want to keep pristine). However, a beautiful mirror can serve a functional purpose and dress up your wall at the same time.

Consider using a mirror in an engaging shape such as a circle or oval, or a traditional style with ornate curves, to play against the many right angles found in most bathrooms, creating a more relaxed appeal.

A thick, bold or textural frame, along with a unique shape, turns the mirror into a statement of its own. Look to vintage shops for interesting older mirrors that need just a coat of paint or gold leaf to become a dramatic new addition to your space.

Alternately, if you want to make a smaller bathroom look as spacious as possible, choose a large slab mirror running wall to wall or inset into the tile. This will appear crisp and elegantly simple while making the room look twice the size.

Sense of Fun

Ultimately, bathrooms tend to be very functional spaces, designed to be easy to use and easy to clean, but not always designed to spend a lot of time in. Including an element of fun or whimsy will make your bathroom feel uniquely yours. Add a style element like a framed photo or painting, or a quirky art object to give your space a sense of personality, and that will be the most welcoming part of all.

Original blog post by Fox News . [Read More]

How to design a media room

Technology and interior design are both crucial aspects of any media room. If your home doesn’t have a dedicated space solely for TV binges and movie nights, you’re not alone. Many households integrate the TV into a larger living room. It’s important that you design this space to ensure a fully functional and comfortable experience as you tune into nightly news and everyday entertainment. Here’s a rundown of some of the key features to consider.

Integrate surround sound technology . [Read More]

6 Tasks That Every Smart Homeowner Does in October

The temps are starting to drop; the smell of wood smoke is in the air.

Temps are more chilly than warm. That’s when veteran homeowners know it’s time to do these six things if they want to avoid grief or overspending:

#1 Buy Appliances


Whisper to them. Do a rain dance. Whatever it takes to get your old appliances to wait until fall to go on the fritz. Manufacturers bring out their latest models during the fall, and store owners offer big sales on appliances they want to move out — like last year’s most popular dishwasher. So September, October, and November are great months to buy.

But October is right in the middle — when there’s still plenty of selection, and retailers might be more willing to haggle.

Refrigerators are the exception because new models don’t come out until spring.

Please click here to read the full article . [Read More]

How To Keep Your House Clean

Here is a great infographic to keep your house clean.

How to Keep Your House Clean

Source: Houselogic

Why Are So Many Millennials and First-Time Buyers Getting Left Behind?

Millennials represent the largest demographic group of first-time homebuyers,  yet in recent years,  according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), their share of home purchases has dropped to a 30-year low.   Why? . [Read More]

Home Office: Top Features

Every home office needs the basics of a desk and chair, but here are the top features you can add for maximum comfort and functionality.


Your home office should include a desktop surface big enough for your computer, printer, and telephone, and still provide enough space for you to work. Image:

While every business — and every business owner — has a unique set of needs, all home offices share a few basic requirements. Some, like adequate lighting and comfortable seating, are obvious. Others, such as visual cues that separate work space from family space, are more subtle.
“Remodeling” magazine’s “Cost vs. Value Report” puts the average cost of converting a 12-foot-by-12-foot room into a home office at $29,066, which includes custom cabinetry, 20 linear feet of desktop, a wiring upgrade, and new wall and floor coverings. Whether you go whole-hog or pick and choose, here are the top features to incorporate for maximum comfort and functionality.

A proper work surface . [Read More]

Refacing Your Kitchen Cabinets: The Options and Costs

Want to reface your kitchen cabinets? Smart decision. Kitchen refacing is more cost effective and takes less time than a full remodel. Here are options and costs.


Refacing your kitchen cabinets includes covering the exposed frames with a thin veneer of real wood or plastic laminate. Doors and drawer fronts are replaced to match or complement the new veneer. New hinges, knobs, pulls, and molding complete the transformation.

What are the Pros and Cons?

Kitchen cabinet refacing pros:

  • Costs about half as much as replacing cabinets.
  • Takes less time (a week or less!) and money.
  • It’s less hassle than tearing out cabinets.
  • You can still use your kitchen while refacing.
  • It’s a green kitchen remodeling solution because you’re not adding to the landfill.
  • Kitchen cabinet refacing cons (there aren’t many):
  • Refacing won’t fix a bad kitchen design.
  • You might be tempted to spend more on exotic veneer and hardware (saving you less).

What are Your Refacing Options?

Your choices for the finished look of your cabinets are virtually limitless. Veneers are available in a wide variety of colors, patterns, textures, grains, and more, which you can mix or match to get a relatively low-cost kitchen facelift.

  • Rigid thermofoil (RTF) doors, which feature a durable plastic coating over fiberboard, are an affordable alternative to wood or laminate doors.
  • Plastic laminates come in hundreds of colors and patterns, are durable and moisture-resistant, and are reasonably priced. You can pick matching or contrasting laminates for your doors and drawer fronts.
  • Real wood veneers include many standard species, such as oak, cherry, and maple, and you also can choose from an array of stain colors. Wood veneers are the most expensive option. Wood must be carefully sealed to protect against moisture.

Further customize and update the look of your cabinets with new kitchen cabinet hardware.

What Does Refacing Cost?

A professional cabinet refacing for a typical 10-foot-by-12-foot kitchen starts at around $1,000 to $3,000 for laminate. Expect to pay $2,500 to $6,000 for real wood veneer. Costs can rise to $7,000 to $9,000 or more for a large project with high-quality wood veneer.

Finishing the project with new hardware (pulls, knobs, hinges) runs $2 to $4 per piece, up to $20 to $50 each for high-end hardware.

In comparison, completely replacing old kitchen cabinets with new cabinets starts at $4,000 to $5,000 and up for stock cabinets; $8,000 to $10,000 for semi-custom cabinets; $16,000 to $20,000 and up for custom-made cabinetry.

How Do I Know If My Cabinets are Good For Refacing?

Refacing is feasible if your existing cabinet boxes are structurally sound and in good condition. Cabinets with water damage, warping, and broken frames are poor candidates. Particleboard cabinetry sometimes requires fasteners, in addition to adhesives, to ensure that the veneer is secure.

How are They Installed?

A professional installer will come to your house to measure your cabinets and determine the amount of veneer required, the correct sizes and quantities for door and drawer fronts, and how much hardware is needed. Newly ordered doors and drawer fronts may take one to two weeks for delivery.

When all the materials are in hand, your installer removes old cabinet door and drawer fronts, and prepares the surface of the cabinet boxes by washing the exteriors with a degreaser and lightly sanding the finish. Any significant flaws in the surface are repaired or filled to ensure a smooth, secure fit for the new veneer.

The installer applies veneer to the cabinet faces and any exposed cabinet ends, then mounts the new doors, drawer fronts, and hardware. The process typically takes two to four days.

Can I Do Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Myself?

Detailed instructions and adhesive-backed veneers make cabinet refacing a feasible do-it-yourself project.

If you have extra time, patience, the necessary veneering tools, and a knack for precision, you can save money by tackling kitchen cabinet refacing on your own.

If you opt to do your own kitchen cabinet refacing, you’ll spend about $200 to $500 on average for materials. Specialized tools (rollers, blades, irons) add $5 to $60 to the cost.

Read more: . [Read More]

9 Garage Organization Ideas

Sure, you’ve been wanting to organize your garage for years — you’re just waiting for the right inspiration. Well, the wait is over. Here are 9 great garage organizing ideas that are simple, cheap, clever, and possibly life-changing. Run through our slideshow, then get organized!

Instant Mudroom


Wish you had a place for everyone to remove shoes and drop trash before stomping inside? Stake out the entryway corner of your garage to create a de facto mudroom. Add a tray for wet boots and a simple rack for hanging whatever. This thrifty home owner used items she already had and spent a mere $13 to put this mudroom together.

Credit: Lori from Thrifty Decor Mom

Pipe Dreams


Give each of your long-handled landscape tools a home of their own with leftover pieces of plastic PVC plumbing pipe. Cut small sections of pipe at an angle so it’ll be easy to make a screw hole, then attach the pieces to your garage or shed wall. Lay out the tools beforehand so you can set proper spacing; label with masking tape.

Credit: Marji Roy

Peg Board Tool Cart


This clever homemade tool cart has it all: It puts tools right where you can reach them, it stores stuff vertically on pegboard so you can organize a lot of tools without taking up much floor space, and it’s got wheels so you can move it out of the way easily. The total cost was under $50, but you’ll need some welding skills to put the frame together.

Credit: Brad Justinen/Instructables

New Life for Your Old Kitchen


Tired of your old kitchen cabinets? Don’t toss them: They’ll make great storage for your garage. Measure your space to see if they’ll fit (check that you’ve got enough room to open car doors). Top them with an inexpensive laminate countertop for convenient, low-cost storage.

Credit: Vickie Hallmark

Corral Your Playthings


Basketballs and soccer balls tend to wander; you can make a ready-access cage for athletic balls using bungee cords. The cords bend easily for storing and retrieving, yet hold all your gear snugly when not in use.

Credit: Wendy Edwards

Off-the-Shelf Storage


DIY storage solutions, such as this sleek modular system, offer configurations with hooks, bins, cabinets, and shelves that you can design and set up yourself. Six 4-by-1-foot panels (24 sq. ft. total) with shelves is about $250.

Credit: Flow Wall System

Hang ’Em High


Take advantage of garage nooks with platform storage designed to hold seasonal items, such as sporting equipment and Christmas lights, that you tuck away for months each year. Fasten the platform to wall studs and suspend it from ceiling joists so you won’t need legs underneath.

Credit: Nicholas J. Olejniczak

Let’s Re-Cycle


Your garage is a great place to repurpose old items and give them new life as storage containers and organizers. With a little modification, this old crate serves as a bicycle rack and a helmet cubby.

Credit: Kelli Bramble

Get Rid of Stuff


It’s going to be hard to organize your garage if you stash things you never use! Hold a garage sale to shed little-used items before you start organizing. Leftovers? Donate them to ReStore and other charitable organizations.

Credit: Leslie Hoyt, Home Stager/Organizer at

Read more: . [Read More]

Home-style Green Bean Casserole


This essential holiday casserole gets a much-needed makeover from fresh veggies and a lightened, but super-rich homemade sauce.

Ingredients . [Read More]

Retro Beach Kitchen Style


The punchy turquoise hue of the vintage-style appliance puts a chic spin on the space. A tumbled-glass back splash mimics natural sea glass and contrasts the sleek concrete counter tops. Reproduction pendant lighting and period bar stools top off the soda fountain look the homeowners hoped to achieve.

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