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The bath vanity and bathroom cabinetry you choose is essential to any bath remodel. But you aren't done there. Depending on your personal tastes and budget, there are numerous ways you can make your bath truly unique -- and they are only limited by your imagination. The best way to get ideas for remodeling a bath include the Internet, TV shows, library books and magazines.
Be sure to consider different styles such as contemporary and traditional -- and don't be afraid to mix aspects of these styles if you want. One way to make your bath stand out is to have curved bath cabinets, either on the wall on on the floor. Curves soften a room and make it more soothing, but you might have to consult a professional woodworker to have these cabinets made. You might also consider a claw foot bath tub, typically associated with old heavy, cast-iron tubs of by-gone years. Newer ones incorporate a variety of styles, colors and faucet fixtures. A claw foot tub has a lip that curves back on itself forming a smooth rim so it can be attractive to the eye. Sometimes one end can be higher offering a place to recline.
If your bathroom gets less usage, why not install a glass shelf cabinet with lighting to showcase some treasured porcelain or other collectibles? Glass shelves can also be mounted on the wall to hold candles, fluffy towels, even herb pots if you have a lot of natural light in the bathroom. Another way to make your own personal statement in the bath is through ceramic tile or mosaic patterns behind your bath vanity, on the floor or around the tub. These designs can be used no matter what your personal style and they can be custom created by you or an interior designer.
For your bath vanity you can select a showy wood species such as bird's-eye maple. If you purchase veneer bath cabinets, this can be quite affordable. Using wainscoting along a bath wall is another idea that will set you bath apart. If you have a family heirloom piece, don't be afraid to incorporate it into your bath design. With the variety of bath cabinetry and bathroom vanities now on the market, it will be easy to match or contrast.
The types of wood used to manufacturer bath vanities and other bath cabinets are much the same as those used for kitchen cabinetry: cherry, maple, oak, plantation hardwood, alder and birch. Cherry wood has always been associated with elegance but may be a little too dark for a bathroom environment, depending on the size. Maple and oak bath cabinets are popular for both traditional or casual bath decors. Maple offers a close, uniform grain while oak is an open-grain wood that can have red or white color tones.
Plantation hardwood's ability to be machined easily has made it another popular choice for bath vanities and cabinets, and alder -- with its straight, close grain -- can vary in color from quite light to dark. Keep in mind you can stain a light wood dark, such as maple with mocha stain, to completely change its appearance. You can also mix woods if you like. Most people who mix wood or stain do a light with a dark contrast. Some bath vanities and cabinets are made with a dark frame and a lighter insert. Like cherry, this works best in a larger room; otherwise it might look "too busy."
Additionally, birch wood is used for bath cabinets. Its colors go from cream to reddish-brown. If you have limited natural light in the bath you might want to consider a lighter wood as a dark stain in this instance is likely to make your room look smaller. When you buy bath cabinetry, get details on the top coat and process that is used to protect it. Since the bath is warm and steamy, you want to ensure the top coat on whatever wood you choose will protect your investment in such an environment.
When shopping for bath vanities and cabinets, check warranties. Some less-expensive options offer no warranty protection and it might be worth more money to get a product that does. Over time, you'll thank yourself for this.
After shopping showrooms and the Internet, you might find you are still looking for just the right bath cabinets or vanity. Some people who are having a custom remodeling job done in their bath turn to a professional wood-worker to have custom bathroom cabinets designed uniquely for their specifications.
While this process might be more expensive, it can pay off by increasing the value of your property as well as giving you more satisfaction. A professional woodworker will be able to take individual features you see on a variety of bathroom vanities and combine them into a perfect product. He or she may also be able to obtain different types of wood than is offered in retail stores.
One example is heart-pine wood. Longleaf pine, also called heart pine, is one of 11 species of southern yellow pine. Originally cut from old-growth forests in the south and southeast, heart pine is now being salvaged from old buildings and being re-milled into exquisite cabinetry. It is easy to cut but hard to shape, so make sure you hire only a professional woodworker to make your custom bath cabinetry from heart pine. You can get heart pine that has a perfectly clear grain or a knotty one depending on your tastes.
Keep in mind that the finish on wood has a lot to do with how the final product looks. Sometimes heart pine is called "pumpkin pine" because has an orange-brown appearance. Because the heart-pine a woodworker may use to create custom bath cabinets for you was originally from dense, old-growth stock, it will likely wear well. Always discuss with a professional woodworker your typical usage of the bath and make sure it's a good choice for you.
After you've spent a great deal of time deciding which of the many styles of bathroom vanities and other bath cabinets you like, you might be wondering what to do with the floor. After all, the bath gets dirty, wet and steamy on a routine basis. What kind of flooring will both accent your bath cabinets and give you peace of mind that your investment will be easy to maintain?
Even if you have created a classic traditional bathroom style statement, choose hardwood flooring for your full bath. Even if it is warm and inviting, it is sensitive to water pools and steam over time.
However, there are other types of flooring that can be made to mimic wood or stone that would work great in a bath. One option is vinyl flooring. The protective top coats used on this type of flooring, such as urethane, make it easy to clean up and resistant to scratching. You can learn about two different types of vinyl flooring now offered: felt and fiberglass.
Vinyl tile utilizes a four-layered construction including a protective layer, clear film layer, printed design layer and vinyl backing layer. It is also water resistant and comfortable to walk on. However, vinyl flooring products do not have as long a life expectancy as ceramic tile and do not increase your home's value like higher-end products will, so you should compare it to other options before you make a final decision.
Either way, the numerous styles of flooring for bathroom now offered by Armstrong will ensure you can find one that accents your lifestyle and the look you desire in your new bath.
We all know how much time teenage girls spend in the bathroom. They lean over the sink and fix make-up and hair over and over. That's how the cabinet below the sink and mirror got its name: bath vanity.
Bath vanities are the cabinets below the sink that hold an assortment of items from toothbrushes, hair dryers and shavers to extra shampoo, soap and cotton balls. Some bath vanities come with a sink receptacle, but most often a counter top and sink are chosen separately. Also, sometimes bath vanities are sold with mirrors or bath medicine cabinets and sometimes those are separate. The sizes and ranges of styles of bath vanities are vast, probably because bathroom sizes range so greatly and also because the bath is one of the most popular rooms in the house to remodel.
A bath vanity can have a contemporary or more traditional style, so before investing in a new one you should take some time to consider which you prefer. Do you want to change the look of your bath entirely or just replace the bath vanity and other cabinets? Keep in mind that the bath vanity becomes a catch-all over time. You might be surprised at what you find in there!
So, if you think your bath vanity is too big for the room consider finding other ways to store some items that aren't used every day. Also, you can use unique storage ideas for common bath items such as jars and baskets, opening up more space in the bath. Before you buy a new bath vanity just because you like the look, take stock of what storage you need -- even make a list. Then judge your final choices by how well the drawers and other storage spaces will fit your families exact needs.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|