What Danger Lurks in the Bathroom?

Bathroom remodeling is one of the best investments you can make in your home. It is one of the top features for good resale value, but it’s also one of the areas for “creature comforts.” That is, it can be the restful, relaxing haven in your home. If your bathroom is outdated, or if you simply want to redesign the space, take safety into consideration as you plan your remodeling effort.

First, no one is getting any younger. Safety is an important part of any home and it should be paramount when remodeling your bathroom. It’s no coincidence that 80 percent of home accidents occur in the bathroom, and 60 percent of those are in the tub or shower. There are easy solutions, but the details are most important.

Choose flooring wisely. Go for non-skid tile that has a textured surface. Shiny marble or ceramic tile is not only slippery when wet, it can be slippery when dry. It’s also especially hard on the feet and legs while standing for any length of time.

Think about how the bathroom functions for you. Do you ever really use that sunken tub or Jacuzzi? If you do, how many times have you either fallen or nearly fallen trying to get in and out of it? Sunken tubs or giant soaking tubs have fallen out of favor in the last few years, and they’ve been replaced by bigger showers. These showers have non-skid flooring, ease-of-entry with no lip or step, and superior drainage. The doors are easy to open and close, even for aging or arthritic hands. The showers contain seats and grab bars. Institutional, you say? Have you actually looked lately? Grab bars are stylish, vogue and far from institutional.

Have enough cabinet and closet space to keep clutter at bay. If you have enough storage space in your bathroom, you should be able to keep all your personal toiletries out of sight, resulting in a clean, clear counter top with sink. Be careful about hair dryers and curling irons on the counter tops – their hanging cords can be falling hazards.

Finally, make sure you have a lighting plan. You should think carefully about the options for natural lighting in the bathroom and complement them with LED or soft lighting. The bathroom and shower areas should be well-lit to help prevent falls. Work with your electrician to determine where you’d place electrical outlets – the building code may not be the same as your lifestyle. More on lighting plans next week.