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Building & Renovating

How Safe Is Your Bathroom?

Slippery tiles often cause accidents in the T&B. To keep your family safe, it's best to invest in the right materials and accessories.

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Photography: RJ Yu (Main Photos)

In most homes, the family shares a common bathroom completed with basic fixtures, simple accessories, and a modest aesthetic that complements the home’s overall look. Those who live with their grandparents even add grab bars and chairs to make the space safer and more comfortable for them. Since the family bathroom is used by all members of the family, it’s a must to keep it safe, functional, and relaxing. After all, we don’t want to encounter accidents caused by slippery tiles and faulty accessories.

In designing a family bathroom, keep in mind that you need to prioritize the materials, layout, and overall function of the space. “Door size and bathroom layout should be considered carefully especially if there will be an elderly with special needs who will use the space. In some instances, the space might need to accommodate a wheelchair. You might also need to install safety rails on the walls,” says interior designer Nikki Audine. To help you achieve a safe and functional T&B, Nikki shares these handy reminders:

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Invest in the right materials.


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Don’t treat the bathroom only as a space where you take a bath or brush your teeth. Scrimping on bath fixtures and quality materials may cause bigger problems in the future. Here’s a list of items you need to prioritize:

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Tiles

“Choose antibacterial, non-slippery tiles that dry easily. Some tiles can still be wet even after an hour,” says Nikki. Remember that you don’t have to spruce up your bathroom with expensive tiles. Settle on accent and floor tiles that don’t chip or crack easily. You can always mix expensive pieces with budget finds to complete the space.

READ: 4 Tips When Buying Bathroom Tiles

Water Closet

“It’s important to get a water closet that is sustainable. There are water closets in the market that use less water when flushing (around 5 liters per flush) and there are also dual-flush toilets that allow you to use a low amount of water when flushing liquid waste. The usual water closet uses up to six liters per flush,” explains the designer.

In choosing a water closet for your bathroom, don’t be swayed by affordable pieces. Beyond the price tag, inquire about the features each water closet has. There are brands that highlight anti-bacterial seats, the liters per flush, and design to name a few. Opt for a low flow model and don’t just buy the one with most features as it may cost a lot to have these replaced in the long run.

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Water Heater

While some homeowners prefer not to have a water heater, it’s an item you can consider if you’re sharing the bathroom with the elderly. “Invest in a reliable water heater brand. If you’re buying a multipoint water heater, it’s important to know that you need a shower with a mixer. If it’s a single point heater, you may use the telephone shower that comes with heater or you may also tap it in your existing shower. It’s best to consult with a reliable plumber when assessing water connections and modifications. Don’t forget to look into the water pressure in your area as there are heaters that do not work properly when the pressure is low,” suggests Nikki.

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Shower

Be on the lookout for brands with water-saving features.

Bidet

“As intimidating as it seems, there are bidets in the market that come with the shower seat. It also allows you to control the pressure of the water,” says Nikki.

Exhaust Fan

No one likes using a stinky bathroom. An exhaust fan helps get rid of odors and keep the bathroom smelling clean all day. “Consider the area of the bathroom and proper ducting. Do not install an exhaust fan directly on your ceiling without ducting. Consult with an electrician to avoid errors and accidents,” shares the designer.


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Buying materials and accessories just because these are on sale.

Like a follow-through to investing in the right must-haves, it helps to avoid shopping for items just because they have a red or orange price tag. While you can save for now, buying replacements may cost you more in the long run. “Avoid low-cost water closets and bathroom fittings. For angle valves, choose stainless steel instead of chrome,” explains Nikki. Know the brands you’re purchasing as it’s best to go for trusted names. “Understand the wattage and PSI of your water heater. Make sure that both are suitable with the heater to avoid tripping the breaker,” she adds.

Make the most of the available space and consider measurements.

According to Nikki, most bathrooms are standard in size and there are smaller ones. “Choose bathroom fixtures that can fit perfectly. In a small space, avoid bulky sinks and water closets,” says Nikki. Always measure the space and the area where you intend to place a fixture or an accessory. Consult with a professional and don’t hesitate to ask store attendants for tips.

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READ: 4 Tips on Planning a Bathroom Layout


If the space doesn’t allow it, do not install a shower enclosure.

Shower enclosures add a touch of elegance to the T&B. However, if you’re dealing with a compact space, it’s best to let go of this feature. “It’s not necessary to install a full shower enclosure as this can sometimes serve as an obstruction in smaller bathrooms,” suggests the designer.

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READ: The Anatomy of a Bathroom

Keep your bathroom functional and inviting by cleaning it regularly.

In any space, maintenance is key. Aside from scheduling a monthly general cleaning, make sure you remove the stains on the walls and floors. “Always inspect the area under the sink and look for leaking spouts or pipes. Remember to wipe the fixtures from time to time—especially the faucet and shower to maintain the finish. Invest in antibacterial cleaning materials,” Nikki shares.

READ: How-To: Cleaning Bathtubs and Sinks

Install extra accessories to ensure the comfort of the elderly.

Accessories like grab bars make it easier for our relatives and family members to move around the space with ease. They can also instantly hold on to these bars to avoid tripping. Place these strategically near the toilet and around the shower area.

Interior designer Nikki Audine is one of Real Living's go-to makeover designers. For consultations, you may get in touch with her through email at vvaudine[at]gmail.com.

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