Bathroom hacks you can’t live without

towelsBathrooms can be a nightmare – from a lack or storage leading to stray toiletries and towels to endless cleaning difficulties. To ease the pain, here are some handy hacks sure to transform your bathroom into your favourite room of the house.

Get yourself organised
Unless you are extremely lucky, most bathrooms are limited in size. This can make storage solutions a big issue, leading to some very frustrating clutter. Here are some quirky but helpful ways to make the most of the space you have.

  • Wine rack towel holder – do you have a wine rack that you never seen to fill? By screwing it to your wall and rolling your towels instead of folding, you can create a stylish towel rack.
  • Hang your towels here – there are a whole host of towel rack alternatives out there (if you don’t have a wine rack knocking about). Give your bathroom some personality by painting old cabinet doors or coat hooks to match your colour scheme. Attach hooks on to a shabby chic headboard for a Parisian feel, even attach hooks on to a surf board for a fun beach vibe – the possibilities are endless.
  • Let them eat cake – do you own an attractive cake stand but haven’t got round to baking those cupcakes yet? Place it in the bathroom as a great storage solution for your small bottles of lotions and soaps.
  • Never lose those pins – are you always trying to recreate the perfect up do but keep losing your hair grips? Stick your pints to a self-adhesive magnetic strip which can nestle comfortably underneath your bathroom mirror. Potential hours of searching solved in an instant!

Amplify your sound
Do you like to relax in the bath with your favourite tunes, or are you into a bit of shower karaoke in the morning? Amplify the sound in your bathroom by placing your music device or phone in your sink – just make sure you turn the taps off first!

Save on ironing time
If ironing is at the bottom of your favourite chores list then this hack will save you time and stress.   By closing your doors and windows and having a hot shower, the steam in the room will help de-wrinkle your clothes.

Keep it cleacleaning tapn
Struggling to keep your bathroom clean and finding that commercial products just don’t cut it? Try out some of these more traditional methods that even Kim and Aggie would approve of:

  • A mix of vinegar and baking soda will do wonders for your toilet without resorting to using bleach. Just had a party and have leftover cola? The acidity in the drink works wonders in dealing with lime scale.
  • Sprinkle some salt on a grapefruit and use it to scrub your bathroom free of soap scum. Not only will it end up smelling delicious, you are once again avoiding using any dangerous chemicals.
  • Struggling to clean your shower head? All you need to do is pop some vinegar and water into a plastic bag and submerge the shower head in it for 30 minutes, securing with an elastic band. Rinse afterwards with hot water for sparkling results.

Do you have any more helpful hacks for the bathroom?   Let us know in the comments below!

Image Credits: FlickrPixabay

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11 Tips for an Easy and Affordable New Home Makeover

You’ve got a new house, but it doesn’t quite feel like home yet. Give your new place the makeover it needs to make it feel like it’s truly yours.

We’ve put together a list of 11 things you can do to drastically change the appearance of your home, easily and affordable. By the time you’re done, the old owners won’t even recognize the place anymore.

 1. A FreshFarbroller Coat of Paint

Perhaps the most cost-effective way to dramatically change the appearance of any room, a fresh layer of paint is the first order of business for any new  home makeover.

 2. Install Interior Shutters

Swinging wood shutters add charm and privacy to your home. They’re also easy to install.

 3. Refinish Kitchen Cabinets

You don’t have to replace the cabinets to make your kitchen look brand new and you don’t need very many supplies for this project either. Some cleaner, sandpaper, paint brush, the finish of your choice, and a weekend of time is all you need.

4. Refinish Your Wood Door

Damp weather and bright sunshine damage the appearance of your front door over time. Rather than replacing it, you can refinish it with a few affordable supplies.

5. Power Wash Your Deck

If the previous owner failed to maintain their deck, chances are it has more blemishes than you can count. However, a power wash and thorough scrubbing can revive that old deck in no time.

6. Install Stair Bracketsdeck_washing

Decorative stair brackets added to the exposed side of your staircase adds architectural flair and elegance. They’re easy to install using adhesive and nails.

7. Add a Back Splash to Your Kitchen

Backs splashes are affordable, easy to install, and easy to clean. With so many options available you can find exactly what you want to complement your kitchen.

8. Update Kitchen and Bathroom Faucets

You can find stylish and functional faucets that are reasonably priced and easy to install. Small changes like this have a big impact on the appearance of a room.

9. Install Dimmers on Your Lights

Dimmed lights dramatically change the atmosphere of a room. Installing dimmers is easier than you think and doesn’t cost much either.

10. Replace Your Shower Head

You can install a new shower head for the purpose of saving money on your utility bill, increasing water pressure, or simply for aesthetic appeal. Most shower heads can be replaced in less than five minutes.

11. Replace Cabinet Knobs

Adding or replacing knobs on cabinets gives your new home a custom look that you can easily change whenever you want. Installation is a breeze and affordable knobs are easy to find.

 

Image Credits to: CaptainsavehomeWikipedia

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Invigorating spring and summer colour schemes for your home

Invigorating spring and summer colour schemes for your home

It’s your home, and everyone loves the personal touch that decorating brings to your room. This summer, it’s all about the style statement, so don’t whimper out and opt for bland colours, take one of these striking colour palates and incorporate it into your home.

Black and White

It might seem like a simple and classic combination, however done right, the black and white palette adds real depth to a room, especially when utilised with a modern and contemporary twist. From incorporating the style into the wall decoration with a striped design, to adding furniture and decorations that complement the style perfectly, you have a whole heap of options when it comes to this colour palette. Here are some of our favourite room additions with this colour scheme.

Black and White Chevron Rug – Urban Outfitters, £69.

Chevron Lampshade In Black – Not On The High Street, £30

Bossenden Wall Clock – House Of Fraser, £40

Coastal Cool

With the sun baking down, and the mild breeze providing a refreshing cool as it calmly blows over the garden and into your home, you can be forgiven for allowing your mind to wander with daydreams of a beached coastline, with radiant heat beaming down and the cool ocean waves whipping at your toes as you stroll over the perfect white sands. It sounds idyllic, but for most of us, the majority of our summer will be spent at home, so now is the perfect time to implement those elements of coastal cool into your house. It gives your rooms a light, breezy feel and with cool vibrant colours, it provides plenty of energy. Colours to incorporate are vast, but mainly focus on aquatic blues and greens, sandy yellows and natural browns.

MissPrint Home Dashes Cushion – John Lewis, £28

Wooden Frame Tealight Holder – Laura Ashley, £22

The Ascot Rug – The Rug Seller, £75-£359

European Clean

In the summer, there’s not colour that emphasises the warmth quite like a clean crisp white. We see it time and time again in the world of sashion, expecially in the summer. Be it in a light and airy linen shirt for a man, or a striking dress or jeans on a woman, white is a colour that really comes into its own in the warmer months. Although it might not be the most practical of solutions, the colour will provide a refreshing and fresh feel. Use white as a neutral backdrop, and then accessorize with statement complimentary pieces in your favourite colors, or create a monochromatic design by enveloping the room in an all-white palette. Mix and match with tones from the coastal cool selection, to add a real touch of summer to your rooms.

Knitted Pouffe – Etsy, £65

Baby Betty Vases – Brissi, £24

 

This article was provided exclusively to First Home News by Kate Hobbs, who has a passion for home interiors and trends.

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Home touches for the ultimate spring feel
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Home touches for the ultimate spring feel

We might still be in February, but to the optimistic amongst us, Spring is just around the corner. With the warmer days  hopefully soon arriving on the horizon, despite cold temperatures, the sunshine is just beginning to peek through the clearing clouds. It’s never too early to shake off the misery of winter and implement spring into your home, so with that in mind, here are our top tips for getting an early start on your spring decor.

Kitchen: Cooking with Colour

Many kitchens sport drab matching walls and a spaghetti stained backsplash. A spot of paint can change that. Choose a paint colour like bright orange, yellow or sky blue for one wall or area. A streak of highlight will renew your faith in spring veggies and freshly baked bread. Take your update to the next level by purchasing a coloured mixing bowl, bright spatula, blender or toaster matching the colour of your freshly painted wall. Guests will appreciate your thought to go the extra step in contrasting your stainless steel accessories with a few coloured ones. Your kitchen is going to pop and you can revel in your mastery after just an hour with the paintbrush.

Bathroom: Appropriate accessories

No matter what colour scheme your bathroom is, throwing away the plastic accessories and updating them with rustic things from around the house will make your room a much more inviting space. Update the toilet paper holder with a wicker basket you’ve been using for random bits and bobs. Grab unused containers and fill them with all your cotton essentials. Take an empty vase and fill with freshly cut flowers or some bright artificial ones to provide a real feel of spring. And the ultimate trick for the ladies, a cake stand is the perfect way to show off and keep your makeup organised for a fuss free morning.

Bedroom: Perfect pillows

Decorate with a few spring coloured throw pillows to get your home completely revamped for the summer days. You can recover the old pillows with your own fabric or buy an entire new set. The bed is the staple item in the bedroom, so find your favourite comforter to snuggle up. Really tired of your old room? Cover the headboard with a bright or striped fabric to give off a plush new bedroom aura.

Living Areas: Recover your drab lamps

The simple task of changing a lamp cover will shake off gloomy winter nights and help you to embrace spring. Choosing one piece to change in a room is a quick fix and you’ll see a noticeable difference. Go to your local homeware store to see what colours could brighten up your room. Don’t assume popping pink is your only choice, but a light yellow, bold colour or fun new print could do your home the favour it’s been seeking. Don’t want to buy an entire new lampshade? Choose from hundreds of fabric choices at the craft store. With scissors, adhesive, a trim piece and a bit of patience, you’ll have yourself a statement new decorative item.

Outdoors: Get in the Garden

Plants bring life to a home in every way. The freezing temperatures of January and February have now passed and it’s time to dig up the weeds and leftover foliage of the winter. Spring geraniums, begonias, and pansies are all great summer plants that will continually bloom throughout the warmer months. Don’t have the luxury of a front garden or a home in the countryside? Make room for a few potted plants inside your home on bookshelves and the mantel piece, as will add a feel of spring to your home, even on the rainy summer days.

Photo Credit: jinkazamah via Compfight cc

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Affordable ways to freshen up your bathroom decor
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Affordable ways to freshen up your bathroom decor

When the average person decorates a home, the bathroom rarely gets much attention. Perhaps it’s relegated to room-of-necessity status, and therefore doesn’t warrant much on the design front. Even so, a few intentional flourishes – and not necessarily expensive ones – can work wonders for this room. Here are a few tips on how you can freshen up the bathroom without breaking the bank in the process:

1. Splash a bit of colour on the walls. Bathrooms are notoriously drab when it comes to colour and decoration. It seems most homeowners are content to whitewash the room and settle for the odd decoration in the windowsill or above the sink. Add a bold splash of colour to the mix, and you suddenly have a much livelier space that is considerably warmer and more inviting.

2. Add some artwork to the mix. There is certainly nothing wrong with hanging some artwork in the bathroom. When it comes to creativity, the bathroom often gets overlooked, but that only means that you can really transform the space by embracing your creative flair. This is a chance for you to express your personality. Don’t feel the need to limit yourself to pictures of flowers or country farm landscapes. For more, check out this list of tips on hanging art in the bathroom.

3. Incorporate tiles into the decor. Adding tiles to the countertop or even as a backsplash behind the sink is not going to set you back much – especially if you install them yourself. Well-placed tiles add colour to the space, which needs to tie into the overall colour motif already at work in the bathroom. If you do take a DIY approach to tiling a countertop, make sure that you run a bead of caulk between each tile to keep water from seeping in, fostering mildew and doing damage.

4. Re-glaze old, worn-out fixtures. If you have any vintage or worn-out metal fixtures in the bathroom, have a closer look to see if they could use a new finish. Purchasing new fixtures is downright expensive, but having them professionally re-glazed is going to cost significantly less. It’s a subtle but effective way to inject some new sparkle into a worn-out bathroom.

5. Repurpose vintage furniture. This is a wildly popular way to liven up the decor in any room of the house. In the bathroom, you have to be a bit more creative, as a lot of furniture wouldn’t really fit in this room. One clever approach is to take an old vanity, cut a hole in the top and fit your sink into it. Suddenly, you have a hand basin, a mirror and – depending on the vanity – some extra storage space down below.

6. Make a sink skirt. In many cases, the dirtiest place in the bathroom is underneath the sink. Rust and grime have a habit of building up here. Naturally, you want to keep your bathroom as clean as possible, but there are situations in which – no matter how much cleaning you do under the sink – it still looks a bit frightening. If this situation sounds familiar, tasteful sink skirt may be just the solution. You can fashion one out of a bed sheet without any sewing necessary. Here is a tutorial that shows you how.

7. Refresh your countertops with new accessories. Sometimes, breathing a fresh breath of life into the bathroom is as simple as reorganising the countertops. You may not even have to go shopping. Search the cupboards for attractive mugs, jars and bowls that you can use to arrange some of your toiletries. A ceramic saucer or small plate could even be used as a soap rest. Take this opportunity to remove unsightly items from the countertops as well. For example, a can of shaving cream is probably better off stored in the cabinets rather than displayed out for everyone to see.

8. Add a bouquet of fresh flowers. Fresh flowers can liven up any room – and the bathroom is certainly no exception. If the season is right, try slipping a few wildflowers from the garden into a small vase placed either on the countertop or on a stand by the bathtub. If you are looking for a longer-term option, purchase an orchid from a local garden supply shop and hang it on the wall. Orchids can survive for a long time with minimal care, so there’s no need to change it out.

9. Look for ways to tie everything together. Perhaps the most important decorating tip for any room of the house is to be intentional with your tie-ins. Purchase a bathmat that matches your shower curtains. Likewise, choose an accent colour to showcase ever so often – in the tiles of the backsplash, tied into a painting in the wall and featured again in a vase on the windowsill. Being intentional with colour tie-ins can subtly transform a previously drab room into something truly memorable.

Many thanks to Thomas Smith, a freelance writer for Total Bathroom Enterprises,  for contributing this exclusive article to First Home News

Image credit: athomenetwork, license Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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Cleaning guide: Tips for cleaning after renovations
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Cleaning guide: Tips for cleaning after renovations

So you’re now a homeowner and the first thing you do is get your house the way you want it. You might not think of it as being the most pressing of matters, but sooner or later, you’re going to want to carry out some renovation work. Whether you’re planning something as simple as fitting an upgrade to your kitchen, or something more drastic along the lines of knocking through a wall to improve the flow of your home; whatever work you’re carrying out, you’ll undoubtedly leave a reasonable mess to clear up. The dust that comes hand in hand with building work gets everywhere and you’ll undoubtedly be finding plaster for weeks after. In order to keep your home clean, and shorten the mess time you’ll have to endure, here are our top tips on how to clean up before the dust settles.

Clear the area

It might seem like an obvious suggestion, but ensure you move everything that is removable. Before your renovation you should remove everything possible such as ornaments, lamp shades, curtains, etc. If you don’t take them away before the renovation begins, then remove them before you start cleaning and clean them separately to ensure you get rid of all the dust and dirt.

Wipe down everything

Use a wet cloth to wipe down the walls, the furniture, the skirting boards, the windows and ledges, the floor, your ornaments, the doors, the door handles, the light fixtures. You might think it sounds like overkill, however the dust truly does get everywhere. You might not think a surface looks overly dirty, but still give it a wipe. The last thing you want is to leave apparent ‘clean’ areas, only for the slightest of dust to begin spreading around your room.

Vacuum awareness

A lot of plaster and dust can damage many vacuums such as a Dyson or Henry, so be aware that they might not last long after the cleaning. It is possible to hire industrial vacuums and these will make light work of your mess, whilst ensuring your household hoover doesn’t get clogged up. After wiping everything down, you need to vacuum as well. This includes the walls, all ledges and the floor.

Give it a mop

Mop wooden or tiled floors after vacuuming. Make sure you mop after vacuuming because it makes the dust wet which the vacuum won’t like, and will struggle to pick up. Mopping should get rid of the last of the dirt but wipe the floor with a dry cloth afterwards to make sure.

Leave the floors until last

As you clean the walls and the windows it’ll cause dust and dirt to fall onto the floor. So there’s no point in cleaning the floor until you’ve cleaned everywhere else. Do it logically to prevent making more work for yourself further down the line.

Keep checking back

After a renovation, the dust can take a couple of weeks to settle so make sure you keep checking back every few days and do a brief clean to stop the dirt building up. After a few weeks do a big clean again to make sure all the building dust is gone.   It may take a couple of weeks and a lot of cleaning but now you are free to enjoy your new renovation without inhaling dust and dirt. Enjoy you new, clean home.

If you’re searching for that perfect house, make sure you check out Keepmoat’s range of ideal homes for first time buyers.

Zayabibu via Compfight cc

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Inventive storage for smaller rooms
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Inventive storage for smaller rooms

As much as we can all dream about a vast and open new home, the reality is that your new house may not be as boundless in reality when compared to your dream pad. However, that doesn’t mean you have to cut back on your belongings, as a smaller houses just means you need to get creative when it comes to storage ideas. Here are our top tips to maximise storage space in your new home.

 

Bedrooms

We’ve all had that problem when your wardrobe is too small and there’s no way all your clothes will fit.  Luckily most storage spaces can be modified to include shelves or cubbies to store more clothes, shoes or accessories. Wardrobe doors can also be adapted to create more storage; by attaching a shallow shelf on the inside of the door, you can create a wonderful space to keep little nick-nacks, from items of make up for her, to a selection of work ties for him. Under-bed storage is a great way to utilise hidden space. If your bed doesn’t possess built in storage, then try rolling containers to make life easier. If under-bed storage isn’t an option then over-head cabinets may be the answer; fixed to the wall above a bed means you can creates storage options without compromising on floor space.

Bathrooms

Bathrooms can become very cluttered, especially in hurried times, such as the morning rush, small additions such as baskets are a good storage tactic. Towel racks can be helpful with storage too; if they are wall mounted with a flat top, this can give you a bit of extra storage space without getting in the way. If you’re struggling with a lack of floor space or drawers then wall-mounted shelves could be very helpful.

Kitchens

As one of the busiest and most chaotic rooms in the house, most kitchens are in desperate need of more innovative storage ideas. Kitchens with limited floor space may benefit from having a bin attached to the inside door of a cupboard. If cupboards are filled to bursting point then try hanging hooks on the wall or ceiling for pots and pans. This could stop the avalanche every time you need pan from the bottom of your cupboard. Additionally, try some shelving with tall, vertical slots for cake tins, baking trays and even cook books. Invest in a magnetic knife strip that attaches to the wall to keep your knives at hand level whilst also helping to de-clutter your drawers while keeping countertops empty.

Living Rooms

Height is always your friend in a small living room. Try floor to ceiling shelving for your DVDs, games and decorations. Ottomans and chests with storage space inside are also a good idea as these can double as more seating as and when you need it. We’ve all seen wall-mounted TVs but what about wall-mounted TV cabinets? Instead of having your TV stand on the floor taking up room, try a cabinet hung on the wall that includes shelves for remotes, wires, DVD players or game consoles. Even better still, your cabinet can be closed to shut out any clutter when you’re trying to impress.

Hallways

These can be tricky as they may be narrow but still messy! Try putting hooks directly onto the wall for coats. These could also be used to hang different sized pockets for shoes, keys, umbrellas and anything else that has the potential to clutter your room. If your hallway isn’t too narrow, incorporate a bench with hooks above and storage inside. Not only does this provide good storage space, it also makes a home seem more welcoming from the very start.

Photo Credit: MAZZALIARMADI.IT via Compfight cc

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Choosing the best bathroom lighting
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Choosing the best bathroom lighting

Bathrooms can be one of the most difficult rooms in the home to decorate. Unlike the living and dining room, you aren’t going to be using the room for ‘down time’, which means that you need to keep the room functional whilst also adding some form of personal style and charm to the room. With issues such as shower and bath steam, splashing water and slippery surfaces to bear in mind, getting the right mix in your room can be tricky. The same goes for lighting the room. With everyday tasks such as shaving, applying makeup and styling hair being carried out in front of the mirror in the room, getting your lighting choices right can be tough. Here are our favourite options when it comes to nailing your bathroom lighting.

Things to bear in mind

Before you jump into selecting your preferred style of lighting, you need to consider how light your bathroom generally is. Does the room have access to a lot of natural light through the daytime? Also, consider the reason you’re debating a change in lighting style, if you’re not happy with the brightness of your room, you’ll need to opt for a brighter light and bulb. If you’re unsure how bright your lighting needs to be, consider a dimmer switch option.

Downlights

Arguably the most ideal solution for the bathroom is the downlight option. Built into the ceiling panels, the flush fitting of each individual light will provide a full room lighting that illuminates all areas from the ceiling down to the floor. Easy to utilise in the bathroom and shower areas, this option will give an even lighting for the whole room; perfect for the morning ritual of shaving for men and applying makeup for women. Pay close attention to lighting the shower area. A nice feature is to position downlights close to the back wall near your shower to create a dramatic shaft of light.

Spotlights

Spotlights might not be a good option for if you have a wet room, but if your shower is enclosed and stand alone, then spotlights can work. Be cautious with the positioning of your lights, as if you’re not wanting to use downlights, any other solution will cast a shadow in the room, depending on which way you position your lighting.

Be inventive

Bathrooms are rooms of convenience, however that doesn’t mean that your decoration and lighting should be boring and tasteless. There are plenty of ways to spruce up your room in modern and contemporary ways, and being creative with bathroom lighting shouldn’t only be left to hotel rooms. Glass panelling with lighting solutions built in mean that you don’t simply have one light source in your room. Switch things up and utilise this to provide an upward light source, as opposed to the downward shining lights every room needs. They might be a bit more costly, but taps and other standard features of your bathroom can utilise lighting and LEDs to add an ambiance and depth to your room. Be inventive, and don’t simply play it safe.

Photo Credit: -mrsraggle- via Compfight cc

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How to create the ultimate family bathroom
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How to create the ultimate family bathroom

Bathrooms aren’t the most stylish of rooms, and often don’t showcase the greatest of personal style when it comes to decoration. Everyone loves to accessorise when it comes to a living area, but for many, the bathroom is a place in which you only require the essentials. If you’ve got a young family, or are expecting your family to grow in the not too distant future, we have some top tips on how to  make your bathroom area more child friendly, to make those bath times an enjoyable experience, rather than a chore.

Brightness

This tip can generally be applied to any bathroom, which are very rarely seen decorated in dark and gloomy shades. Especially with children, it is even more important to give a light and airy feel to the room. Kids love brightness and if you’re looking to make the room inviting enough to make bath-time an easy, regular occurrence and not a chore, make sure that you get the colours right. No-one would enjoy an hour in the bath surrounded by dark brown walls, never mind a child – make the room fun.

Kid it up

Juggling a grown-up room with making it appealing to kids is tough. You don’t want to decorate the room in a juvenile way, as then the room is a no-go should you have visitors around. You want to provide the sophisticated feel of the rest of your house, whilst also utilising elements that your kids will love. Don’t line the walls with Thomas the Tank Engine, as a year or so down the line, even your kids will be tired of it, and you’ll be forced to redecorate. Decorate the room like any other in your home, in an adult way, but make sure you add kid’s additions like accessories that are easily removable when the time is right. Bath toys are always a favourite, so stock up on rubber ducks and frogs for when bath time rolls around.

Keep is safe

Flooring is vital for safety in the bathroom. Modern day wet rooms are often decked out with floor tiles, which is the more convenient option, as a carpeted floor will eventually lead to a smell of dampness. The danger with tiling however, is that the floor can become extremely slippery when wet. With youngsters not being the most sure footed, make sure you have appropriate slip proof rugs in areas prone to moisture, such as near a shower. Also, slip proof mats near the sink will stop any potential accidents.

Accessories

Adding a few small touches through nifty kids’ accessories can make your children feel right at home. If the sink is still a bit high, let them choose their own step stool to make the room more accessible to them. Little touches, like individual toothbrush holders are cheap, can be fitted where necessary and removed when the time is right. They don’t add too much of a juvenile feel to your nicely decorated new bathroom either, which is always a bonus.

Cupboards

Even though your children will need access to some of the cupboard contents in your bathroom, a lot of personal grooming tools will need to be kept well clear of wondering hands. If you have self standing drawers that are easy to access from low heights, fill them with soaps, toothbrushes and other items that aren’t dangerous. Make sure that razors, clippers, scissors waxes and any other items are well out of harm’s way though. Adding a fitted wall cupboard to your room plan will make sure it looks good in place, and is convenient for your storage needs.

Images used under creative commons courtesy of Rachel Carter.

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