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Practical upgrades pay off in kitchens and bathrooms
February 7 2012
(ARA) - Practical pays off when it comes to kitchen and bath renovations. Gone are the days when virtually every kitchen or bathroom remodel involved top-of-the-line luxury upgrades and a budget big enough to fund an Ivy League education. Today's homeowners want more value for their remodeling dollars, and that means turning to improvements that make both functional and fiscal sense.

If you're contemplating a kitchen or bathroom remodel, here are some pointers for keeping it practical:

Be like the Swiss . . .

That is to say, stick with neutrality in both the bathroom and the kitchen. Choose neutral colors for the walls and for parts of the room that might be especially costly to change later if your taste in bold colors doesn't play well with the preferences of potential buyers. Keep fixtures such as sinks and toilets, tiling and flooring in neutral tones and use accessories like shower curtains, towels, artwork and small appliances to put your personal color stamp on the room.

Reflect action

No matter how big your bathroom feels to you, there's no downside in making it feel bigger. Use mirrors to make the room appear larger than it is. Wall-to-wall, counter-to-ceiling mirrors, free of frames or bevels, fit with contemporary styling and can make a modestly sized bathroom feel much larger.

Sink into it

Sinks play a pivotal role in the usability and desirability of both bathrooms and kitchens. In baths, replace dated, single-basin vanities with dual-sink models, which are in high demand by homebuyers. For kitchen sinks, which are on display in your home 24/7, opt for a blend of practicality and beauty. Kohler's Vault family of fabricated stainless steel sinks blend form and functionality. The sinks can be installed as undermount or self-rim, so they work with virtually any decor. Log on to www.kohler.com to learn more.

There's a place for us . . .

Storage is a significant issue in virtually every American home, and both homeowners and home buyers are acutely aware of how much - or how little - storage the average bathroom or kitchen has. In both rooms, adding cabinets and shelving can improve the room's livability and practicality. Storage is so important, you may want to consider replacing a powder room pedestal sink with a modestly sized vanity. If you really want to make a storage splash in a bathroom, add a shower storage unit.

And speaking of showers . . .

A great shower isn't just a luxury, it's a practical concern as well. Americans rely on their showers for more than just cleanliness - a shower is also a spot to relax and decompress. It pays to shell out a few more dollars for touches - like a good showerhead such as the Kohler Flipside Showerhead -- that will turn your shower space into a more welcoming experience. Shower surrounds have made it particularly easy to upgrade an existing shower. Sterling has introduced the Accord seated shower, with a seat that is movable and removable. The seating area is the largest available to consumers, and allows you to relax in a seated position, leaning against the shower wall. Log on to www.SterlingPlumbing.com to learn more.

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