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Simple steps to a better bathroom remodel

Nicola Jane Ford is a freelance writer and the author of the novel Scatter, a psychological suspense mystery. She is a frequent contributor to, often writing about home and travel.

Better bathroom remodel tips

Want to update your bathroom, but don't know where to start? Well, one place is somewhere -- anywhere -- you haven't been already. You don't have to replace like with like. For example, if you're taking out a standard-issue bathroom vanity cabinet with two sinks, don't automatically plan to put a brand new version of the same thing back in. Try something different!

Design trumps the dollar

The room shown below also offers a lesson in how a good eye for design can mean a lot more than a big budget when it comes to your bathroom remodel.

To start, you might consider installing pedestal sinks with a small cabinet in between -- as shown below. Pedestal sinks are not only a cost-effective purchase, but because of their sleek lines, they'll make your room appear more spacious. (A small powder room would be perfect with one pedestal sink.)

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The simple wainscotting was created using in-stock supplies from Home Depot (beadboard and four-inch pre-primed MDF baseboard). This wall paneling, coupled with the contrasting latte-colored paint and the stained concrete floor, gives the whole space an air of class.

And while the dark wood floor cabinet and the two matching medicine cabinets look expensive -- in truth, they were an affordable purchase from a local Target store.

Better bathroom remodel tips Better bathroom remodel tips

Sink smarts

If you want something a little more unique for your bathroom remodel, keep the cabinet and install vessel sinks -- eye-catching glass or ceramic bowls that sit on top of the counter surface, as shown below. In this master suite bathroom, the basic oak cabinetry was simply repainted a metallic silver color.

The countertop was replaced to accommodate the new sinks, and, for both utility and beauty, surfaced with small tumbled marble tiles. Sleek new faucets, enhanced lighting and tall mirrors -- one for each sink -- were added to complete the look.

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Better bathroom remodel tips Better bathroom remodel tips

Think big -- or, at least, tall

Have a tall ceiling? Then why are you using standard-height fixtures and fittings when remodeling your bathroom? Open up the space with furnishings worthy of the proportions. The room below features paneling much like that shown in Bathroom 1, but travels another foot higher up the wall.

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The framed mirrors over the sinks are three times taller than they are wide, enhancing the sense of spaciousness, and were positioned to reflect the artwork on the opposite wall.

The shower curtain itself (picked up at Bed, Bath & Beyond) was cut into two pieces as a play on a sweeping window curtain theme. The curtain rod was hung about 10" higher than typical, and the curtain itself is connected to it with everyday ball chain (the same kind of material you see on keyrings) allowing the standard-size curtain to do its job while almost appearing to float.

Better bathroom remodel tips Better bathroom remodel tips

You don't always need to go custom

So if you think you need to custom-order everything to make your bathroom beautiful and luxurious, think again. It's imagination -- not money -- that is key to any successful home renovation project, including a bathroom remodel.

Choose quality elements that catch your eye from a variety of sources, and mix and match them to create a room that you just love.

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All "after" photographs courtesy Steve Price, Beautiful Remodel, Arizona

Better bathroom remodel tips

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