VICTORIA - Bathrooms covered in outdated tile with coloured sinks and bathtubs can be an eyesore for many homeowners, but instead of spending money gutting and renovating, the space can be updated by combining modern design and personal tastes.
When clients approach Victoria interior designer Nicole Scott about updating their washrooms, she said they are often tired of living in a room that represents a previous owner's or tenant's style.
"It is usually that people have said to me that there is this oppressive feeling of it being someone else's tastes and they want to change the feeling of it," she said.
Unlike larger rooms in a home, bathroom redesigns — as long as major fixtures aren't being moved — can be tackled by the homeowner.
Homeowners may have to develop their design around larger items in the bathroom that because of budget can't be removed, Scott noted.
"I think that the first thing people need to figure out is what is the overall feeling or style they want to achieve and then you can pick all of your colours and finishes based on that," she said. "If you live in an older home and like more traditional style you can pick fixtures and go in that direction.
"For tenants in an apartment who aren't able to change very much you may want to go with the retro feel of the tiles you can't change, and run with that."
A quick and economical way bathrooms can be updated to reflect personal style is by incorporating art and artifacts.
Scott said even though washrooms can have limited wall space it's a great option to use unusual and interesting visuals.
"One of the things I'm obsessed with right now is vintage soap labels," said Scott. "On eBay I just ordered some for myself and a client. We have these great vintage soap labels that you can frame inexpensively and put two or three on a wall.
"I also love industrial and so if you find a cool sign even with just an arrow on it it's interesting to have an item like that because it's unexpected in a bathroom."
A vintage decor item Scott doesn't recommend using is wallpaper. She also said she avoids using medium-density fibreboard cabinets or other wood items.
"It can trap moisture and start to swell and warp over time," said Scott. "I would stick to hardwoods, natural stones and metals — the tried-and-true materials that have a lot of longevity."
While there are several ways to save money in your bathroom update, there are areas where Scott said it's worth spending the money.
Even though there are products that are marketed as being suitable to cover laminate countertops, Scott said she would never paint a counter top.
"There are also other inexpensive materials like remnant pieces of actual stone," she said. "If you're willing to shop around a bit you could find pieces of granite or quartz.
"Another thing you can do if you hire a designer you can get a better price. But another thing I always tell people is to go to the home shows because all the stone guys are there and are always giving out promos.
"If you attend you can go back a week later and get a discount because you went to the home show and shook his hand."
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