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2008 Trends in Bathrooms Tempt Buyers by Carolyn Capalbo

If you are thinking of putting your house on the market, take a weekend to improve it without breaking your budget.

Real estate agents are advising that in today’s realty market, home owners do not get their money back on big renovating jobs. Therefore a small reno job is all that you should be considering to make your home more attractive to prospective buyers.

The new trend for bathrooms is for the area to become a ‘haven’ – a place to luxuriate and relax in hot bubbly water. Transformation into a haven can be achieved for very little initial outlay as this is usually a small room, and most of us have white bathroom fitments already.

Almost all of us can paint the walls, doors and windows in our home. Not only is it an easy job, it is a cheap job, and it makes a huge amount of difference in a home. The last two years have seen a big change in home decor; color schemes are almost non-existent.

To modernize your bathroom, paint it all in white, cream, pale beige or silver gray. The favorite color scheme is white all over with either silver gray or beige trim. This may sound austere to you, but it does suggest a recent decorating job to the prospective buyer.

You could completely remodel your bathroom just by using color – or rather neutral non-color! Do not be tempted to omit painting the bathroom ceiling. It may look pristine now, but once the walls are completed, the white of the ceiling will look shabby. Keep a fan running near the open window and do it all in one go.

Bathrooms suffer through a lot of steam due to showers and baths. It is advisable to paint them using the range of paints especially designed for bathrooms; these help to prevent fungus forming on the walls in the moist atmosphere.

If you decide not to paint white walls, but to choose a beige or gray tone, buy a small pot of the paint and come home and run a tester. Do this by painting a large square on the wall, say two foot by two foot and leave it to dry. (Drying makes a big difference to the color.)

If you are replacing flooring in the bathroom, then check out the bamboo colored wood floor tiles. Choose the same tone in your bathroom storage baskets, to carry the look through. If your bathroom still has all the teak or dark wood trim, consider painting them all white if they are not oiled.

If the sealant around the tub is old or grubby, it is a few dollars for you to replace it and it makes a big difference. Putting in a new set of bathroom taps will especially enhance the vanity unit; it is easy to do and also very inexpensive.

Once you have the bathroom decorated, resist the temptation to go out and buy some nice brightly colored towels and baths to ‘liven it up’! This is a dated idea, and your bathroom will look more attractive if you stick to the neutrals and earth tones.

The type of lighting you have will also make a big difference to your color choice, so look at your two by two foot painted sample and decide if you really like the shade, by morning, by evening and by artificial light.

Once all this hard work is over, we come to the fun part. Creating the ‘haven’ feeling is mostly a question of color and lighting. If you have chosen neutrals you have the correct foundation for projecting a cozy ambiance.

Of course, the bathroom must be a functional place in the morning when there is a scramble to get to work and school etc. Lighting needs to be serviceable at this time of the day, but if dimmer bulbs are used they can become more welcoming in the evening.

If this idea is not practical, then use a secondary lighting system. Either have a wall lamp with a warm-tinted lampshade or use a pink or amber bulb in the light, or simply use candles (or both!).

A shower curtain with a filmy over-curtain will soften the feeling of having a cold plastic sheet around the bath tub. If you are lucky enough to have room for a narrow shelf unit or side table, this would go a great way towards promoting the haven atmosphere. It is somewhere to rest your glass of wine, cup of coffee or book!

Soft music playing creates the atmosphere that you want, and the last touch would be something to keep the air sweet: perhaps a bowl of oil scented potpourri (in neutral colors?).

Carolyn Capalbo is an expert military relocation specialist and real estate agent serving Virginia’s Prince William County real estate market. Visit to find updated market information about areas in Prince William, including Fairfax County real estate.

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