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5 must-haves for your bathroom remodel

Remodeling your bathroom is a big step toward a more comfortable living environment. Homeowners looking to refurbish an aging house or simply looking for a new look can find a lot to change about this oft-visited room of the house. For example, if you've just moved into an older house, you may want to replace the aging fixtures with fresh, eco-friendly installations. If your home was built some time in the previous two decades, its appearance may not exactly be in line with modern trends – and that requires a facelift.

Here are the five must-haves for anyone considering a bathroom remodel:

1. Floor and wall tiles
No matter how often you clean, the years will take a toll on the floor tiles in your bathroom. Because the room is constantly filled with moisture, it's hard to remove every speck of mold that crops in tiny crevices and cracks. Replacing the tiles in your bathroom is an absolute must. And you can add some to the walls as well. Combining accent tiles with a fresh coat of paint will add some depth to the room and create a more visually appealing space.

Even a small bathroom can benefit from a few upgrades.Even a small bathroom can benefit from a few upgrades.

2. Point of use electric water heater
Installing a point of use electric water heater will ensure that your bathroom faucet always has plenty of hot water. The unit is small enough to fit under the vanity sink and will quietly provide a boost to your hot water. This is especially useful for bathrooms in remote parts of the house that are far from the main water heater. In cold climates, the plumbing between the heater and the sink can actually sap the heat from the water, leaving you with a tepid tap. A point of use unit will solve that problem in a snap.

3. Built-in shelves
Popular Mechanics magazine recommended ditching the plastic shower caddy and opting instead for built-in shelves. The result is infinitely more contemporary and much easier to clean. Shower caddies can harbor bacteria, and, for large families, they provide inadequate storage space. As you plan your remodel, include shelving in your shower to save on space and add a touch of sophistication to the room.

4. A theme
To keep a consistent look, try sticking to one theme when remodeling your bathroom. This Old House magazine suggested choosing something comforting, so your theme will depend on what you find relaxing. You might decorate the room with shells to create the feeling of being at the beach. Or you might replicate a dark, spa-like atmosphere. For something simpler, you may just pick a few colors and materials to create a cohesive look.

5. Fixtures
Your top priorities in remodeling your bathroom are probably the vanity, toilet and shower. Once you've got those taken care of, think about the other fixtures in the room. Towel racks, mirrors and lighting are small touches that will add a lot to the room. Remember to consider this when planning your remodel budget.

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