By Alan Knight
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We all know that the bathroom is most likely the smallest room of significance in your home, yet it is also the room that calls out for more attention to the need for decoration.  You may have the luxury of a spacious master bath or you may be looking at furnishing a rather small space.  Regardless, you can, with a little forethought and planning combine both beauty and practicality.  Let's look at the options for you.

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Why not have both a shower and a soaking tub.  Some like taking showers, while others prefer the long, warm bath experience in a deep soaker.  If you and your spouse have a different approach to bathing, why not solve the problem by offering both choices.  If the bathroom is large enough, go for one of the new shower suites, where you can walk in at a zero threshold or a shallow one into a shower surround that can be as large as you want it.  With all the prized accessories, such as a corner seat, sunflower shower heads (maybe double) and features such as convenient and elegant grab bars, soap receptacles and slip resistant floors.  These can be custom designed and can really show off a bathroom. 

If the bathroom is tiny, try to hide the shower in a corner for convenience. A four foot by five foot shower stall can be very functional for almost any sized person. Now for the bathtub. I have not seen a more beautiful and elegant soaking tub that even comes close to the Dual Ended Pedestal Tub. Let me describe it for you. First, it should be made of cast iron, overlaid with rich porcelain glass. The pedestal base which some call a “skirt” is also made of cast iron. Yes, the tub is heavy. Don't try to lift it. Leave that to the installers (plural). Based on the size, the tub can reach over 500 pounds. 

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Also, be sure to have your contractor check the floor to make sure it can handle the weight (most can). The dual-ended design simply means there are two identical ends to the tub and it is perfectly symmetrical. The drain is in the center of the tub instead of the end and the faucet is also aligned in the middle on the roll top as well. What makes this tub so special in my opinion is the elegant and timeless look. It could just as easily be resting in a French palace of the nineteenth century. It is not only beautiful but comfortable. Each end is sloped and seems to fit the back perfectly. Add a brushed nickel or oil-rubbed bronze faucet with the British telephone spray wane, along with matching drain and accessories. Some like the tub caddy that drapes across the tub and offers a tray for a wine glass or book. Lighted candles around the tub offers a touch of romance. Now this tub, unlike the earlier mentioned shower, is the focal point of the entire bathroom.

Check out this short video showing several types of tubs.

If you're looking at a working-functional design for the sink, I would recommend two basins, both mounted on a granite countertop with cabinets below.  Why?  Men have a tendency to have less care in the bath than the ladies.  He will also tend to spread out his day-to-day toiletries, such as shaving cream, deodorant, cologne, etc.  The women would rather keep their personal items put away.  They often bring in baskets to use both for decorating and to house their bath items.  If you can afford to be a little more extravagant you might consider repurposing existing furniture. It's good for the environment and good for the budget. A rustic, vintage look with a dark finish on the dresser, wood framed oval mirror and vintage designed faucet with exposed piping and a European reproduction sink with added décor will speak volumes. Add your own personality and finishing touches to this simple bathroom design with color in the accessories, maybe a corner cabinet that is an antique (or reproduction), possibly a vintage rug or two, and you've created a unique and beautiful bathroom.
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Another create personal touch is color.  Don't forget to decorate the bath with color because it can add so much for so little.  As a matter of fact, I would not even begin to undertake a remodeling of a bathroom without first deciding on colors.  Use wall color to add memorable drama, with finishes being relatively simple.  If your bathroom is small, go ahead and use any color you want to create interest and just plain have fun with bathroom decoration ideas.  Keep the ceiling white, but otherwise be as creative and funky as you wish.  Browse home design magazines and websites for ideas. You can also visit a local paint store to check out color swatches, which may help inspire a color scheme for your bathroom space. Create a focal point in your bathroom by applying wallpaper, painted stripes or tile on “one” wall. This is less expensive than applying a design to each wall while still introducing a design element. Shop at local discount retailers, but don't forget about yard sales, estate sales, community arts and crafts fairs, antique shops and thrift stores to find items for your bathroom. These locations not only offer unique pieces that will make your bathroom beautiful, but they are also budget-friendly and give you an opportunity to truly define you and your spouse's style. You can find shelves, decorative vases, rugs, shower curtain hooks, candles, candle holders, mirrors and faucet fixtures.

Think about purchasing wood pieces and brackets at the hardware store to
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create shelves for your bathroom.  Have them cut down to size to fit your bathroom walls, decorate them with paint or fabric, rather than paying for expensive shelving options that may be too large for your space or limit the level of depersonalization to your bathroom space.  Shelving can create spaces in smaller bathrooms.  Add accents to your bathroom by using fresh flowers.  Not only will they provide a pop of color, but they'll give a natural scent to your space.  If you have laminate counter tops don't be afraid to “paint” them. I have seen this done and it looks pretty darn good if the painting is done right. I recommend you use a high volume, low pressure spray gun to apply an acrylic enamel finish to the counter top. You can even use a multi-stone additive to the paint to create an impressive finish. Some companies offer a weekend training school to teach the art of refinishing counter tops, as well as bathtubs, sinks, cabinets and appliances. Our company, Tub King, Inc. in Jacksonville, Florida, offers a good one.

Window treatments for the bathroom should reflect your decorating style and complete the room, just as any other space in your home.  Again search through some home magazines for helpful tips, pictures and other information.

Follow your interior décor style in the bathroom, as in other rooms of your home.  If your home is traditional décor, trim the windows and doors with decorative molding, and use crown molding at the ceiling and across the tops of the windows.

Gorgeous bathrooms don't just happen...they are created.  Do your research properly and you can create a bathroom that is not only functional but beautiful as well.

In this article I have discussed several ways you can combine functionality and beauty to create and elegant bathroom that makes taking baths or showers something you look forward to, without breaking the bank. I cover ideas for any size bathroom along with a wide variety of budgets, decorating option and bathtub or shower styles.
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Have a question? Feel free to contact me at the number or email listed at the end of this article and I will personally get back to you. It’s been my pleasure sharing this information with you.
Alan Knight is the owner of Tub King, Inc., and in Jacksonville, Fla. He has many years of experience in the antique and senior bathtub industries. In addition to providing superior products, Tub King has been honored with “Best of Jacksonville Chamber Awards” for four years running. If you would like to contact Alan Knight, call (800) 409-3375 or (800) 843-4231; or send an email to 

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