Your bath or shower keep you clean, but when the time comes to return the favor, things can go downhill fast. From mildewed grout and discolored tiles to soap scum and stuck-down hairs, you’d best be equipped with plenty of patience—and possibly a hazmat suit—to tackle this unpopular task. But don’t lose hope! We’ve rounded up a collection of expert bath design ideas to help you meet one of your home’s biggest challenges: maintaining a sparkling clean bathroom.
If you’re planning a new bath remodeling project, keep these smart tips in mind and, before you know it, you’ll be unwinding in a bathroom that’s alluring and low-maintenance.
Embrace Space: It just makes sense: the more open and spacious your bathroom is, the easier it will be to keep it spotless. Consider replacing cabinets, drawers, and cupboards with open, hanging shelves, low-profile ledges, and similar storage solutions to create a less cluttered space.
Freestanding Tubs: With their easy access and lack of tiling and grout (or even edges and corners), freestanding tubs are both visually stunning and a breeze to keep clean. In bathrooms with limited floor space, one side of the tub can be positioned in tight next to a wall or tucked against a corner to allow easier access for cleaning.
Frameless, Semi-Frameless, and Walk-in Shower Panels: Generally speaking, showers with more glass surface area, lighter frames, and fewer chrome connectors, brackets, or enhancements are the easiest to maintain. The glass panel(s) opposite the source of the spray should be angled to minimize the transfer of spray to other areas. And a shower head with a long hose makes rinsing down glass walls and other surfaces, as well as kids and pets, much easier.
Protect with Coatings: Many bath manufacturers today offer coatings for their products and features to help them resist dirt, grime, soap scum, and even fogging. There are also reasonably priced DIY versions on the market that you can apply. Either way, take advantage of these surface treatment innovations to keep bath cleaning and routines as effortless as possible.
Go for Less Grout: Grout is perhaps the most dreaded bathroom component to clean. Even environmentally unfriendly bleach is often not strong enough to restore grout to its original smooth, clean appearance. However, by lining your bathroom with larger tiles, particularly for walls in wet areas, the amount of grout that needs to be maintained can be drastically reduced. For the most effortless cleaning, oversized tiles—up to 12” x 24”—should be installed as closely together as possible. In fact, just a 1mm gap is ideal. If you don’t like the look of big tiles, consider applying an epoxy grout. Much easier and less hazardous to install than a decade ago, epoxy grout resists stains and discoloration for several years or longer. Additionally, despite being a costlier alternative, you can also do away with grout lines completely by installing colored glass or large porcelain panels instead.
Smart Storage: Handy storage solutions including shelves, cubbies, ledges, and more can be built right into your shower or bath surround. Keeping all of your shampoos, soaps, and beauty products in one place makes it a fast and easy process to give everything a quick rinse after each use, minimizing gunky plastic bottles and dangerously slippery floor surfaces.
Ventilation: When it comes to keeping any bathroom clean, moisture is an ever-present foe. Whether you have a single tiny window or a modern exhaust fan, you need to make sure that air circulates freely throughout the room so that the surfaces are not always slick with moisture—a situation which will eventually result in the growth of mold and mildew. When installing a new fan, confirm that the extraction rate is sufficient for the size of your space, and run the exhaust during every shower or bath as an extra defense measure.
Helpful Habits: Squeegee glass surfaces after every steamy shower to keep them clear. Also, mom was right; get in the habit of wiping down bathroom fixtures frequently—daily, in fact. It’s really the easiest way to keep your bathroom clean and presentable.
By incorporating these strategies into your next bathroom renovation, you can create a space that looks great and doesn’t require maximum effort to maintain. While some homeowners may focus strictly on outfitting their spaces with their ideal fixtures and features, like new showers, glass enclosures, and various bathing accessories, it’s important to remember the basic qualities, like hygiene and design, that truly determine how inviting and comforting a bathroom is.