5 Ways to Make a Small Bathroom Look Bigger

small bathroom

Whether your bathroom is small and cramped, or it just feels like it, there are ways that you can increase its size, at least perceptually. Here are five tips to steer you in the right direction.

Walls and flooring – keep them soft and light

The color of its walls and flooring can have a big impact on how you perceive your bathroom. Colors will not only affect the ‘mood’ that your bathroom conveys, but they will also affect how you see your bathroom size-wise. Lose the contrasting colors and crazy wallpaper and replace them with a simple, light-colored theme and a soft wall pattern, if any. If your bathroom is too ‘busy’ or has starkly contrasting colors, this tends to make it look smaller.

Bring in the lights

Lighting isn’t just good for the eyes; illumination can also help to make your bathroom seem larger than it really is. If you can, incorporate natural lighting, such as through a skylight or through generous use of windows. If those options are not available to you because of budget, space, or privacy reasons, adding more light to your bathroom, specifically in low-light areas, can really open things up, especially when used with lighter colors in your bathroom.

Use mirrors to your advantage

Just like the mirror in Snow White had magical properties, mirrors can work their ‘magic’ to make your bathroom seem more expansive. If possible, place a mirror opposite an outside window, or place mirrors opposite each other to improve your bathroom’s perceptual space. If you’re an abstract thinker type with a penchant for the scientific side of life, you can even use your mirrors creatively to bounce light off from each other to further brighten the space.

Replace your low-setting, wide cabinets with tall, skinny cabinets

Just like vertical lines on your clothing will make you look taller and slimmer, opting for tall, skinny cabinets vs. clunky, wide-based cabinets will give your bathroom the perception of being taller than it really is.

Remove the knick-knacks and doodads

small-spaces-bathroom-idea
While decorating your bathroom to make it feel more ‘homey’ may appeal to you, too many decorations, ornaments, floor mats, wall-hung candles, and pictures will actually clutter your room, making it feel more restricted. Allow the room to “breathe” by removing some of the bric-a-brac.

Regardless of budget, these small and simple remodeling project ideas can make a big impact on how you—and your guests—perceive your bathroom’s available space.

4 Benefits To Installing Low-Flow Appliances In Your Home

It’s never a bad time to make your home a little bit greener. The benefits are overwhelming, and most common upgrades will pay for themselves within a year or two, and then again when it comes time to sell your house. One easy way to make your home more efficient is to install low-flow fixtures and appliances.

Low-flow fixtures come in many different shapes. Some, like aerators for showers and faucets, are either screwed right on to the opening or installed somewhere in the plumbing near the actual faucet or shower head itself. Others take the shape of full appliances that can be replaced wholesale. No matter the shape, though, low-flow upgrades offer many benefits for your home.

1 – They Save You Money

This is doubly Low-flow water fixtures help to save on energy coststrue for appliances and fixtures that are used all the time. Showers and faucets, for example, which are used multiple times per day, will pay off the cost of upgrading in less than a year. The EPA estimates that if everyone in the country switched to water-efficient appliances, the country would save $8 billion annually.

2 – They Save Energy

When most people think of conserving with low-flow appliances, they generally think only of the savings on the water bill. That’s not the whole story. In fact, switching to water-efficient appliances and fixtures will also save money on energy costs, as you end up using significantly less hot water. You also extend the life of your water heater.

3 – They Save the Planet

Few people realize that one of the biggest quality of life issues facing the world today is a severe shortage of fresh water in many regions. Switching to low-flow appliances and faucets lets you do your part to help out. This is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to make sure that we leave the planet a little better off than when we found it.

4 – Many Communities Offer Incentives

If all of these reasons weren’t enough, many communities, municipalities, counties, and even states offer incentives for installing low-flow and water-efficient appliances and fixtures. And since the EPA claims that ultra-high-efficiency WaterSense products perform better than traditional counterparts, a tax incentive is basically free money to upgrade to higher quality fixtures and appliances.

The expert craftsmen at Handyman Matters can help you save energy and money by installing low flow fixtures and appliances. Enter your zip code above to find a Handyman Matters in your area or call us today at 1-866-FIX-MY-HOME to schedule your appointment.

Ever-Growing List Of Small Home Repairs?

Human beings are not only creatures of habit, we tend to be an extremely adaptable species.  For proof, look no further than your own house.

The odds are there are several small items in need of repair that you have put off fixing, and in the process, you’ve learned to work around the inconvenience they present.  In fact, you’ve put up with the situation so long that, most of the time, it doesn’t even seem like a problem any longer.  For example:

  • The wobbly towel rack that’s worked its way loose from the wall
  • The warped drawer that’s difficult to open or close
  • The sliding shower door that’s come off of its track
  • The ripped screen in the screen door
  • The cracked floor tile in the entryway
  • The “ding” in the wall caused when a piece of furniture banged against it

Without even thinking about it, you’ve become accustomed to stepping over or around the cracked tile.  You brace yourself in order to tug extra hard when you need to open the drawer.  You’ve stopped using the wobbly towel rack altogether.  You’ve moved a chair in order to conceal the damage to the wall.

You’ve told yourself that any one of these jobs is just too small to worry about right now.  You’ll get around to fixing all of them one of these days.  But more days go by, and instead, the list has just gotten larger.  You could probably go along like this for quite a while, finding new ways to live with the problems.  But, as with so many things in life, these situations don’t go away, or get better on their own.  It’s time to address them head-on.  You either need to set aside the time to handle the repairs on your own, or call in an expert.

That’s where Handyman Matters can come in, well… handy.  Their qualified craftsmen can handle more 1,162 home repair projects, large and small.  You tend to consider calling in an expert when you have one big job that needs fixing.  But why not bring in someone to tackle the half-dozen or more “honey-do” items that have been stacking up around your house?  In a single visit, a Handyman Matters craftsman can address the many little and mid-sized repair projects that have disrupted the orderly flow of life around your home.

Call 1(800)FIX-MY-HOME or go to www.handymanmatters.com where you can enter your zip code to find the phone number of the office that serves your area.

Types Of Shower Doors For A Bathroom Remodel

A focal point of any bathroom is the tub or shower, so when planning a bathroom remodel, it’s important to take into consideration how you may want to “change up” a shower door to its best effect.

Shower doors primarily fall into two types:  Bypass doors and pivot doors.

Bypass Shower Doors

Bypass are also known as sliding doors, and consist of 2 or 3 panels that slide past each other on tracks situated at the bottom and top of a shower unit.  They take up less space, which is why they tend to be the most popular.

Bypass doors are also more of a challenge to clean and to keep clean, as the tracks tend to collect water, soap and other debris, creating an environment where mold and mildew can grow, so they require more frequent maintenance.  If you’ve had this type of arrangement in your bathroom for a while, it might be time to consider making a switch.

Pivot Shower Doors

Pivot doors—also called hinged or swinging doors—generally take up more space and therefore are generally utilized in larger bathrooms.  It is possible, however, to mount them so that they open inward, although this is often less practical.

A less commonly seen shower door is the rounded type.  This is curved glass, operating on a hinge, just as pivot doors do.  These work well fitted into corner spaces in smaller enclosures.

Most shower doors are framed, the glass surrounded by an aluminum or composite casing, and these latch into a track.  The more modern trend is toward frameless doors which require less upkeep and fit well into contemporary bathroom design.

Types of Glass For Shower Doors

There are a variety of choice in the types of glass available in shower doors:

  • Clear glass is most popular.  It allows light to penetrate and lessens any sense of feeling confined in a too-small space.
  • Frosted glass provides a stronger sense of privacy and is available in different colors, designs and patterns.
  • Rain glass is textured on just one side, smooth on the other, and offers the same features as frosted glass.
  • Tinted glass provides a sense of privacy and comes in such a wide variety of colors that it’s easy to choose one that will complement the décor of the rest of the bathroom.

Do I Need A Shower Door?

Some modern bathroom designs eliminate the need for a shower door altogether.  There are many wraparound shower ideas that incorporate block glass and stone or tiled walls separating the enclosure from the rest of the room.  These lend the bathroom a more open or expansive feel, and they are easier to enter and exit than through a standard shower door.

Need Help?

Ultimately, the ideal shower set-up for your home is the one that finds an ideal compromise between function and your personal taste—what looks good and feels right for your bathroom?  Consult with your local Handyman Matters office where their craftsmen are happy to listen to your ideas and share their expertise.  Call 1(800)FIX-MY-HOME or enter your zip code at handymanmatters.com to schedule a service call or to get more information about our services.

Remodeling Your Bathroom For Accessibility

Unless you have an unlimited supply of cash, or you figure you won’t be staying in your current home much past retirement, you will want to approach a bathroom remodel or upgrade with an eye towards what is both attractive now and functional as you grow older.

The image of an accessible bathroom as something clinical- or sterile-looking is outdated. It’s not only possible to have an appealing and charming powder room that incorporates accessibility features, it’s become easier than ever, thanks largely to the aging Baby Boomer population that has begun requesting such things.

Grab bars, head rests and other assistive technology are far less blatant and cold in appearance than they once were. And if homeowners aren’t ready to incorporate all of these elements into a current bathroom scheme, remodels can still be designed to add these elements with a minimum of fuss and disruption later.

Walk-in tubs and showers have crossed over from being viewed as “old people’s” things to being trendy and convenient for everyone. And the technology of lighting design has advanced to such an extent that bathroom illumination can be flexible, so as to allow for adjustment from recessed to bold and all degrees between, depending on individual need at the time.

There’s a potential financial bonus to bathroom design, as well. Bathroom upgrades ensure greater resale value. And if a member of your household has any type of physical challenge, and if the remodel is focused on making the space compliant with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) regulations, there is a possibility that Medicare of Medicaid will cover some of the cost if the remodel includes things like environment accessibility adaptions or assistive technology. Don’t assume these are covered, however, without checking with your doctor or local Medicare policies.

Don’t reject the idea of accessible bathroom design out of hand without first exploring the new technologies and products available to add both style and increased quality of life to one of the most important rooms in your home. For additional advice or assistance in any of your home upgrade or repair projects, call 1(800)FIX-MY-HOME or go to www.handymanmatters.com to enter your zip code and find the Handyman Matters office nearest you.

5 Simple DIY Home Maintenance Tips

Home Repair

Here are a few suggestions that even the most inexperienced DIY-ers can feel comfortable tackling around your home.

  • 1.  Sluggish/Clogged Shower heads – Hard water can be a shower head’s worst enemy, since its mineral content will build up inside and impede water flow.  You can partially fill a sturdy plastic bag with vinegar and wrap it around the bathroom shower head.  Take pains to secure it with duct tape or twine and leave it overnight.  The vinegar will significantly clean out the deposits, and you will have a much better water flow.
  • 2.  Water Stains on the Ceiling – If your ceiling has just one or two minor water stains, you may be able to avoid re-painting the entire thing by trying this simple method.  Fill a spray bottle with a solution containing 10% bleach and 90% water and spray the spots.  Within a couple of days the stain will likely disappear.  This works on both flat and textured surfaces.  Note:  Be sure to wear protective eye gear when trying this!
  • 3.  Sticking Vinyl Windows and Doors – When sliding vinyl windows and doors refuse to open and close easily, it’s likely because debris has become lodged in the channels.  A simple solution is to spray polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) spray lubricant onto the contact points and then wipe them out with a rag.  PTFE is the same substance used in coating non-stick cookware.  This Teflon spray product can be purchased in any home improvement store or even online.  Caution:  Do not use oil lubricants, since they can attract dirt, as well as damaging the vinyl surface.
  • 4.  Filling Old Nail and Screw Holes – An old tip for repairing these holes, courtesy of Popular Mechanics, is to pop a wooden golf tee into the opening.  Then saw the tee flush with the wood’s surface, sand and finish.
  • 5.  Removing Toilet Bowl Stains –Once again, vinegar comes to the rescue.  Create a paste by mixing vinegar with baking soda and apply it to the stains in the toilet.  Allow the solution to set for an hour or longer, then scrub with a brush, and the stain should lift away.  Because it’s biodegradable, the vinegar and baking soda combination is also environmentally friendly.

Not all home repair and restoration projects can be managed as easily or as quickly as these.  For the more extensive and challenging tasks that need to be addressed, remember that you can always count on Handyman Matters.  Call 1(800)FIX-MY-HOME to locate the handyman nearest you.

The Benefits (as well as Things to Consider) of a Walk-In Shower


Years ago no one would have considered the concept of a walk-in shower in their house’s bathroom.  Such things were reserved for locker rooms and health clubs.  Now they’ve become a popular trend in private homes for a number of appealing reasons.

Walk-in showers offer extra space as well as giving your bathroom an open and airy appearance.  They are easily accessible and user-friendly. The elimination of thresholds makes them safer alternatives for children, seniors and for anyone dealing with mobility-restricting challenges.

  • Benefits…

With fewer parts where grime and soap scum can accumulate, they are easier to clean.  For these same reasons, the threat of mold is greatly reduced, with fewer places in which it can gain a foothold.   Showers can be designed with or without glass partitioning, depending on personal tastes.

Walk-in showers require no special ventilation or lighting.  The placement of accessories (shower heads, wall niches, grab bars) can be tailored to suit the homeowner’s needs and aesthetic preferences.

  • Things to consider…

Because this type of shower has an opening to the rest of the bathroom, its walls should be water-proofed or tiled at least as high as the shower head, and the fixtures adjusted to confine the water’s direction to within the stall area.  Just a small degree of slope will prevent water from flowing out into the rest of the room, yet not alter the floor enough to prohibit easy access.  Your shower’s stall space should have dimensions no smaller than 36 by 36 inches, and ideally, 42 by 60 inches.

Unless you are skilled in bathroom remodeling, this isn’t a do-it-yourself job, since significant structural and plumbing issues need to be addressed.   Your local Handyman Matters office is happy to offer guidance and expertise if you are considering this type of upgrade.  Call 1(800)FIX-MY-HOME or locate us at www.handymanmatters.com where you can enter your zip code to find the phone number of the office nearest you.

Eliminating Mildew in your Bathroom and How to Prevent its Return

Wall with brown mosaic pattern

Once mildew arrives in your house, it can take hold and begin to spread quickly.  Ironically, advances in better home insulation have had the side effect of allowing mildew and mold to grow more readily, particularly in poorly ventilated areas. Consequently, newer homes are often subject to the invasion of the various fungus that cause these problems.  Prime areas for a moisture/fungi breeding ground are crawlspaces, basements, attics, kitchens and, of course, your bathroom.

  • Ventilation

The first and most important step in mildew mitigation is to increase ventilation, especially in your bathroom, where water is run regularly and collects most frequently.  Leave the bathroom door (and windows, if possible) open after you shower or bathe, and always use the exhaust fan.  If you don’t have an exhaust fan, it’s important to have one installed.

Once mildew has taken hold in your bathroom, it can be nearly impossible to eliminate it or to prevent its return.  However, this can be accomplished with the following preventive measures:

  • Preventive Care

First, clean walls thoroughly with a mixture of 50% bleach and 50% water.  Allow all surfaces to dry thoroughly and then re-paint with a fast-drying primer followed by the application of a specially formulated bathroom/kitchen paint.  If this paint does not already have a mildew-cide ingredient, have the clerk add one when you purchase it.

  • Replace Caulking

Mildew will also form inside caulking, so it’s important to remove old caulk from tile and other surfaces, and replace it with a mildew-resistant form of grout.  Pay particular attention to the areas around the tub and shower enclosure where water can collect and stand for a longer period of time.

Keep in mind that, depending upon how long mildew has been present, there may be moisture damage to the wood and framing as well, and these are issues that must be addressed.

If all of this seems intimidating or too complicated for you to handle as a do-it-yourself project, your local Handyman Matters office is always willing to step in and tackle these repairs and restorations for you.  Call 1-800-FIX-MY-HOME or go to www.handymanmatters.com to find the phone number of the office nearest you.

Ideas For Your Master Bedroom Renovation Or Update

    

The master bedroom, the best room in the house, just for you, and full of amenities – or at least, it should be.  If you haven’t yet taken advantage of the term “master bedroom” now’s your chance.  Even with the simplest update, you can turn your bedroom into the cozy haven it was meant to be. Here are our tips for updating your master bedroom…

    • Ceiling Fan – White noise… A cool breeze… what’s better for sleeping than those two things?  Disguise the fans in your home by installing ceiling fans.
    • Closet Built-ins – Sometimes organizers aren’t worth the fuss.  Don’t lose crates to the back of your closet, or overfill flimsy, stackable shelves.  Whether your closet is on the smaller side or is a walk in, creating a built-in interior will help add structure and visibility to your organization plan.
  • TV Built-ins – While having a TV in the master bedroom is a wonderful amenity, it shouldn’t be the room’s focus.  Tuck your TV out of the way when it’s not in use by having a cabinet to store it in.  Built-ins can not only hide your television, but can also act as secondary storage, providing shelving and drawers for books, seasonal clothing, or your favorite tchotchkes.
  • Bathtub Upgrade – It’s the simple things – like jets in your bathtub – that can improve your mood, your bathroom, and even your day.  Relax after work in a bathtub fitting of a master bedroom.
  • Lighting Installations – Even though it may not seem like it, lighting can drastically effect how a room is perceived.  Harsh, overhead lighting, or yellow-y bulbs can strain your eyes.  In a room made for comfort, make sure your wattage and positioning reflects that.  Have multiple lights at various levels, this will help even out brightness of your room.  Each main surface in a bedroom should have a light, and provide extra watts to the places where you get ready the most or the places where you read at night.

Not feeling that DIY? Let us take care it for you!  Handyman Matters specializes in master bedroom renovations.  Give us a call today to get started on your free estimate – 866-FIX-MY-HOME.

Ideas For Your Summer Bathroom Remodel

The most telling room in any home is the bathroom.  Whether it be a master, a full, a ¾ bathroom, or a powder room… the state of the water closet is like peering through a keyhole to the condition of the rest of the home.  Is it outdated, dirty, or broken?  Bathrooms should inspire a feeling of cleanliness and hospitality, not of unease.  Take care of your home and its inhabitants by having a relaxing lavatory.  Handyman Matters has identified a few bathroom ideas, to improve each powder room in your home.

  • The Master Bathroom – Vanity

     
The biggest challenge for the master bathroom is organization.  For a room designed for the daily routines of (typically) two people, storage can be hard to come by.  For those of us with more beauty products than we know what to do with, there’s the bathroom vanity.  In modern bathroom designs, the vanity can be tucked away, between sinks, in extra counter space, or it can stand out as a small table.

  • The Full Bathroom – Free Standing Tub

     
A full bathroom is designated as having a shower, a tub, and a toilet.  When you have a full bathroom you typically have a spacious room.  What’s better in a large space than a statement piece?  The latest design trend for the modern bathroom is the free standing tub.  Whether it be Victorian inspired, contemporary, or more of the Jacuzzi vein – there’s a variety of kinds to help you bathe in style.

  • The Powder Room – Wallpaper

     
The smallest bathroom is the powder room.  When it comes to the ½ bath, the powder room has just a toilet and a sink. It may be small, but it is one of the most functional bathrooms in the home, most commonly serving the needs of your house guests.  Although this room is compact it doesn’t have to be bland.  The best way to add interest to a small bathroom is by installing printed wallpaper.

  • The ¾ Bathroom – Tile

     
Just the essentials in this room: a shower and toilet.  Smaller rooms with showers often fight the effects of humidity.  For this room think water resistant, think tile.  Unlike wood flooring and wallpaper, tile rarely warps or peels due to water damage.  A bonus feature is that there are many graphic options for tile to add a little intrigue as well as functionality.

Add a little luxury to your life and the lives of your house guests with a bathroom remodel.  The summer is a great time to revamp different areas of your home.  Whether you need repairs, extra cabinets, new appliances, or an accessible install – Handyman Matters is here to make that a reality.  Call us today to schedule your free estimate, 866-FIX-MY-HOME, or head to handymanmatters.com.