Interior Design & Flooring

Modernizing your bathroom

Fri, 02/21/2014 - 12:14

Whether you're hosting a large dinner party or housing guests for the weekend, there's one area of your home that will be frequented throughout the duration of your visitors' stay: the bathroom. As you plan your remodels for the upcoming season, consider the ways in which your bathroom can be upgraded in both style and environmental awareness. While most homeowners may not know how to best incorporate eco-friendly additions to their buildings and are hesitant to hire an outside contractor to modernize their space for them, they can rest assured knowing that there are several quick and easy ways to renovate this space with comfort, looks and the environment in mind.

Appliances of the future

Water conservation is key when constructing a modern, energy-efficient bathroom. Investing in low-flow appliances may help people save money and water by cutting the amount of wasted resources. These products are manufactured with energy efficiency and style, so consumers need not worry about whether these appliances will match bathroom decor.
One of the appliances that presents the perfect opportunity for improvement is the toilet. HGTV reported that the average toilet once used 7 gallons of water, until new laws enacted in 1994 said they could only use 1.6 gallons. Within the last 10 years, manufacturers have continued to refine this figure, looking for ways to drastically eliminate the amount of water wasted during each flush. Ways in which companies have worked to revolutionize the porcelain throne include adding pressurized air and introducing two waste-elimination options. The first, known as pressure-assisted toilets, use air to push water faster, reducing the total amount of water used during the process. However, this type of appliance requires the use of electricity and may produce unwanted loud noises. Dual-flush systems, crafted by Australian company Caroma, allow users to choose which dial best suits their needs: liquid waste, which only uses .8 gallons of water, or solid, that implements the full 1.6 gallons. Whichever option is chosen, these revolutionary products can help homeowners save up to $100 per year, according to George Whalen, a water conservationist cited by HGTV.
Toilets aren't the only bathroom appliance that can be replaced to reduce utility costs. Low-flow shower heads can use up to 36 percent less water than more conventional heads, according to Waterpik. Similar to their waste-eliminating counterparts, these installations can save you up to $100 on bills. 

Working from the floor up

While people who visit the bathroom probably won't be sitting on the floor, there are ways in which making simple changes to the base of the room can drastically alter the modernity of the area. Picking which material to use as tiling, for example, is key to crafting an eco-friendly space. Mother Nature Network recommends ceramic, as the material is less likely to be affected by water, is efficiently manufactured and can be made from entirely recycled products. Glass tiles do not produce mold, stain or absorb moisture, according to Freshome. Constructed from recycled glass, this type of building item can be used on both bathroom floors and walls, for more ambitious remodelers.
Radiant heat flooring in the bathroom can ensure that temperatures never become too hot or too cold, as the underfloor heating provides optimal comfort for residents. Due to the nature of the system, allergens and mildew are much less likely to spread in the area as the air stays trapped in one space. Additionally, this type of installation can significantly cut energy costs over time as it requires much less electricity to power. Before you set down the tiles for your new floor, consider investing in radiant heating to go underneath them.