Spruce up your bathroom with these easy tips

Often a few small changes are all it takes to spruce up an older bathroom. Make it the sanctuary you deserve with these home improvement tips.

Spruce up your bathroom with these easy tips

Make the hardest-working room in your house the perfect escape. Your day begins and ends in the bathroom — that's reason enough to spend a little time giving it a serene, spa-like feel. Often a few small changes are all it takes to spruce up an older bathroom.

Tiles—A problem area

If old, cracked tiles, greying grout or 1970s decor are setting your teeth on edge, don't immediately start the demolition. Take a cue from earlier generations and fix it, rather than scrap it.

  • Try thoroughly cleaning the existing tiles. This will usually do the trick. For stubborn stains, use water mixed with ammonia or alcohol; remove mineral deposits with vinegar. Rub old tiles with a little linseed oil to give them new shine.
  • Repair small cracks in the tiles with matching paint from an art supply store. Mix a small amount of the paint with grout and apply to the tiles to fill hairline cracks.
  • Refresh older tiles by repainting the grout (special grout-colouring kits are available). Keep in mind that grout paint can't be used for non-enamel tiles or on top of water-resistant joint sealer.
  • Visually enlarge the bathroom with adhesive mirror tiles. They're a good choice when replacements for old tiles are no longer available. Or paint over unwanted tiles with tile primer and lacquer to cover them completely.
  • One simple but effective solution is to cement a whole new layer of tiles over unsalvageable existing tiles. This will save time and money over removing the old layer and resurfacing the wall.

Replacing damaged tiles

If left alone, damaged tiles can cause larger problems in a damp environment. So if you discover a cracked or chipped tile in your bathroom, follow these simple steps to stop further damage from happening.

  1. Completely remove the grout around the damaged tile and use a dry-cut saw to slice diagonally through the tile itself, or make several holes with a drill.
  2. Chip off fragments of the tile with a hammer and flat chisel until the whole thing comes loose. Remove as much of the old bonding material as possible.
  3. Cover the back of the replacement tile with bonding material and press it onto the wall, using tile spacers to position and fit the tile correctly.
  4. Let the tile cure overnight (or as directed by the manufacturer). Then apply grout and clean.

Mildew? No thanks!

The best remedy for mildew is plenty of air circulation. This gets rid of moisture so that mildew can't take hold — so turn on your bathroom fan. But that's not all you can do. Here are some surefire ways of minimizing mildew in your bathroom:

  • Wipe condensation from the shower wall and tiles with a squeegee after your shower.
  • Use vinegar to clean the corners between the shower or bathtub and the tiled wall from time to time as a preventative measure.
  • Paint non-tiled wall surfaces and the ceiling with mildew-resistant paint.
  • Remove the grout where mildew has already taken hold; clean thoroughly and seal the cleaned edges with new grout.

Bathroom fabrics

Well-chosen bathroom fabrics can turn the bathroom into a comfortable, attractive space and are kind to skin, depending on the fabric.

  • Choose a shower curtain that complements the rest of the bathroom furnishings. Fabric curtains are chic and attractive compared to plastic curtains, but they need regular cleaning; if you get one, make sure it's machine-washable.
  • Opt for attractive matching towels to give the bathroom a finished look. Also, thick, high-quality towels will make drying off after a bath an absolute joy.
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