Tips for Buy A Bidet

If you’ve traveled outside the United States, it’s likely you’ve been in a bathroom with a bidet. Whether or not you used this puzzling porcelain device, or—sorry folks, but I speak the truth—had the faintest notion of its purpose is another matter.

In brief, a bidet is a fixture equipped with a water stream meant for post-toilet personal hygiene. (Read an excellent description of the mechanics here.) It’s a common sight in bathrooms throughout Europe and Asia.

In Japan, where bathing is a revered ritual, nearly every home boasts a toilet with a built-in bidet, a modern hybrid that’s become a must-have amenity in many luxury hotel bathrooms.

All of which makes America’s cluelessness about bidets even more confusing, especially considering how aggressively scrubbed and germ-free we’re taught to be. As Starr Vartan, blogger for the Mother Nature Network so aptly puts it: “What could be cleaner than actually washing oneself after using the toilet?”


Green Advantages

But like other green energy advocates, Vartan’s fondness for bidets goes beyond basic hygiene. Many eco-conscious folks argue that bidets help conserve trees by cutting back on the manufacture and overuse of toilet paper. What’s more, bidets save water—not only what is required to make that toilet paper, but also the countless gallons Americans squander showering when the quick-yet-thorough cleanup a bidet provides may be all that’s necessary.

 Health Benefits

Folks with certain medical issues might be missing even more by not installing a bidet in their home. Conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease or hemorrhoids can make the use of toilet paper inefficient or uncomfortable. Instead, a bidet’s gentle stream can provide soothing relief and thorough cleaning.

Pregnant women and those with reduced mobility may also find that a bidet with an electronic keypad control helps reduce unnecessary stretching and straining.

Types of Bidets

While the numerous advantages of a bidet may sound appealing, the installation of an additional fixture in your bathroom may be out of the question. Fortunately, there are all sorts of options you can buy that don’t require a complete remodel. These range from so-called “smart toilets” with built-in bidet functions (not to mention foot warmers and Bluetooth music systems, but that’s a whole separate story). You’ll also find a number of high-quality seats and hand-held attachments on the market that provide add-on bidet functions to an existing toilet.

  • Toilets with integrated bidets: Most of today’s high-tech toilets incorporate a bidet function along with all sorts of pampering features. Toto’s compact Washlet G500 comes with a built-in deodorizer, sensor-activated lid opener and hands-free automatic flusher. Kohler’s San Raphael includes a remote-controlled bidet as well a night light, warm air dryer and energy-saving dual-flush technology.
  • Bidet seats: Easy to install and simple to use, a bidet seat instantly converts your toilet into a high-tech throne. With electronic models, the touch of a button extends a small nozzle beneath you that sprays a comfortable stream of warm, aerated water. When you’re done, the nozzle automatically cleans itself before retracting back into its sleeve. Many models also come with heated seats and air dryers, while some, including the popular Brondell Swash 1000, also boast energy-efficient tankless water heating systems. There are a number of eco-conscious, non-electric bidet seats as well. These require only water pressure to operate, and tend to be less expensive than their electric and battery-operated counterparts.

How to Save Money on Bathroom Renovation

Bathroom remodels run the risk of emptying your wallet. Here is how to save money by nipping problems in the bud.

Each item is a potential problem that typically drives up costs.  Following each item is a suggested solution.


1.  Size of the bathroom will change

Solution: Resize only if absolutely necessary to accommodate your needs. This is the single most expensive aspect of the bathroom renovation; avoid at all costs.

The reason is because plumbing–particularly the toilet discharge and sewer pipe–are expensive to move.


2.  Load-bearing walls must be removed or moved

Solution: Explore possibilities of expanding through non load-bearing walls–walls that do not bear weight.  These walls can easily be removed using simple hand tools.  Often, no permits are required for this.  As a rule of thumb, exterior walls tend to be load bearing.  Interior walls that run parallel to ceiling joists tend to be non load-bearing.

If you do want to move that load-bearing wall, it is possible to do on your own.  Materials do not cost a lot.  Mainly, you need to correctly calculate the load and purchase a beam suitable for carrying the load.


3.  Walls cannot support additions of new vents, ducts, wiring, windows

Solution: Walls do not necessarily have to be totally replaced to accept these additions. Bad studs can be sistered to increase their load-bearing capacity.

  Raise this issue again with your contractor or seek a second opinion.

4.  Drywall is water-damaged; needs full replacement

Solution: Drywall often must be completely replaced in bathroom renovations due to the high moisture content; this is common enough and should be anticipated. Confirm with your contractor that full replacement is needed.

  It’s possible that only the affected areas need to be replaced.

5.  Sink, tub, and shower fixtures to be removed and replaced with new ones

Solution: Do they functionally need to be replaced or just aesthetically? They may be ugly but operable, and can be replaced easily by yourself at a later time. If that fails, buy on your own and supply to contractor. Or instead of replacing, you can install a liner over your tub or shower. If you don’t like the idea of a liner, you can always refinish your bathtub.

Bathroom Vanity Ideas

Bathroom vanity units are one of the easiest, fastest, and most satisfying bathroom remodeling projects you can take on.


Exaggeration?  Hardly.  When you compare them to kitchen base cabinets, you’ll see just how easy they are.


  • Top and Sink Included:  Many bathroom vanities are bundled with an included top and sink. All you need to do is add the fixtures and hook up the plumbing.  Some even come paired up with fixtures.  Not only that, the tops are pre-drilled for easy insertion of the fixtures.
  • Often Free-Standing:  Free-standing bathroom vanity units only need minimal installation. A few screws into the studs behind the unit to stabilize it, and you’re good to go.
  • Easily Shippable:  Most bathroom vanities are flat-packed, shipped flat, and easily transportable.  They can even be ordered on-line.  Shipping costs for these small units are minimal compared to shipping cabinets for an entire 10′ x 10′ kitchen.
  • Scalable In Predictable Sizes:  Bathroom vanities start at 24 inches and can even scale up as big as 60 inches wide–that’s wide enough to accommodate two separate sinks.  48 inch bathroom vanities, while not wide enough for two sinks, will accommodate large sink basins.  While not practical for one person to wrestle, 72 inch wide vanities are available, too.
  • Money-Saving:  Labor charges for installation?  How does zero dollars sound?  The hardest part is assembling the vanity.  Installation is a snap.  Cutting out labor changes means you have more money to spend on other parts of your bathroom remodel.  I estimate that roughly half of the cost of a professionally-installed bathroom vanity is devoted to labor.


Bath Vanity Common Sizes


About 22″.  By “depth,” we mean, if you are standing at the sink, the distance from the back wall to the front edge of the counter.


About 34″.  Like depth, this measurement rarely varies.


Vanities can be as small as two feet wide–barely big enough for the sink–to behemoths that are 6 feet wide that can accommodate two sinks and acres of counter space.

The scaling:

  • 24 Inch
  • 30 Inch
  • 36 Inch
  • 48 Inch
  • 60 Inch
  • 72 Inch

Minimum and Medium Level Remodels

You want nothing more than a nicer, prettier bathroom.  You have been perusing Pinterest, walking wistfully down the bathroom fixtures and tile aisles in the local Home Depot, and talking to your neighbors.  But can you translate bathroom dreams into bathroom reality?  Only money can tell.

Money is the sticking point in any remodel.  Throw enough money at any home project and it will get done.  Problem is, most of us do not have a bottomless bank account to draw from.

 How much will your bathroom remodel cost in a realistic sense and what will get done?

1.  Minimum:  Do-It-Yourself Surface Remodel

Cost:  $1,000 to $5,000

When you take on the work of remodeling your bathroom yourself, costs are slashed dramatically.  Costs can go as low as the high hundreds, as long as you are satisfied with a surface remodel.

A surface remodel means that core elements–plumbing, electrical, and wall structure–are left untouched.  Shower or tub, too, are only minimally restored.  Nothing is moved and the footprint–or plan–stays the same, more or less.

A surface-level, light bathroom remodel might look something like this:

  • Replace floor with luxury vinyl plank.
  • Remove old vanity and replace with a ready-to-assemble (RTA) vanity and sink.
  • Install new toilet.
  • Install new mirror.
  • Paint the walls.

2.  Low-Medium:  Remodel Using Contractor and/or Sub-Contractors

Cost:  $15,000 to $17,500

This estimate is based on a 35-40 square foot bathroom, which can be imagined as a larger guest bathroom for a small house, or a small master bath for a large house.  All fixtures and other items quoted are basic and functional. The remodeling contractor would do the following:

  • Install a standard porcelain toilet.
  • Lay down moisture-resistant vinyl wallpaper or paint with latex paint.
  • Install a 30-by-60-inch porcelain-on-steel tub.
  • Install ceramic tile surround, around tub, with basic four-inch square tile.
  • Install a solid-surface vanity counter with integrated sink. Install single-lever shower temperature and pressure balanced shower control.
  • Install recessed lighted combination mirror/medicine cabinet.
  • Lay down ceramic tile floor.

For Contractor Remodels, Location Affects Estimates

Location barely affects the minimum do-it-yourself remodel because outside labor is not involved.  But it does affect any remodel that uses contractors and/or trades (sub-contractors).

California and the Pacific Northwest max out the bathroom remodeling estimates, with figures reaching $18,000. Southern states (east of the Mississippi) have the lowest bathroom remodeling costs, ranging around $15,000.

Data Sources

Giving ballpark estimates for home remodeling jobs is a slippery task. Without taking into account every factor–bathroom condition, locality, time frame, and far more–bathroom renovation estimates can vary considerably.

Even if you were to nail down these flexible factors, three contractors would give you three different estimates.

Remodeling magazine’s annual Cost Vs.Value report compares changes in job costs with Realtors’ perceptions of what those jobs bring to a home’s price at resale.

For example, you may covet the idea of including a self-sanitizing toilet, or those lovely heated floor tiles when you remodel or add a bathroom, but the cost to value benefit would likely not reflect well in an increased resale price.

How to Keep Your Bathroom Cleaner Longer

I hate cleaning the bathroom. It’s a chore; I don’t like being on my knees on the hard tile floor scrubbing soap scum off the bathtub or brushing my toilet. (In fact, I don’t like cleaning anywhere much at all.) And I’m sure not a lot of my readers like doing it, either.

But there are some things that you can do to avoid dirtying your bathroom too much, so that you need to clean it less often. I actually have adopted some of these habits, and they have helped me quite a bit!

Brush your teeth face down

Well, I’ve always done it this way, but I see a lot of people who brush their teeth facing the mirror. You know what that does, though? It sends lots of little toothpaste bubbles on the mirror and everywhere on the countertop.

I’ve noticed that if I bow my head and keep it close to the sink, most of these bubbles end up in the sink and rinsed away. Silly? Maybe. But I find it saves me a lot of mirror-cleaning.


Wipe your shower walls every time

What’s more time-consuming? Scrubbing your shower walls for hours every few months, or taking an extra minute to wipe away the moisture after each shower? I sure prefer the second option.

Not only does this extra habit keep mold at bay, but your shower/bath walls will look extra clean for longer periods of time, and scrubbing will be much easier and less time-consuming. Think of all the soap scum and body oils that don’t get to dry on your wall because you wiped it away!

Flush every time

Well, I’m actually a bit conflicted about this one. On the one hand, flushing every time avoids dirty (and smelly) buildup in your toilet. On the other hand, it wastes a lot of water.

If you care about a sparkling clean toilet bowl every day, I suggest you flush with every use. It’ll sure help keep it clean.

You can also use those “clean as you flush” products like Scrubbing Bubbles so you don’t have to actually scrub very often.

Personally, I don’t mind a little grime if it saves water, especially if you just keep the lid closed the rest of the time. But that’s a personal choice, so you make your own!


Wipe your counters after putting on makeup

Makeup can be an annoying source of dirty grime on bathroom counters. Have you ever tried to scrub out set makeup stains from counters and corking? It takes a lot of work.

So instead of leaving that foundation powder or the bits of eyeshadow that fall off your brush and on the counter, you can just take a second to wet a bit of toilet paper or paper towel, and clear it right off. It’ll keep your counter cleaner and much, much easier to clean once you have to scrub it.

Dazzling Showers Tips

If you are considering adding a tile shower or renovating an existing one, there are many more options to choose from than the ordinary porcelain or ceramic wall tile we’re all familiar with, and different ways to install them beyond the ordinary grid pattern seen in so many bathrooms.


Many of your options will involve newer materials that you may not be aware of, while other options involve style variations you may not be familiar with. We’ll also mention some tile manufacturers that can be helpful sources in your search for a truly exciting shower treatment.

Traditional ceramic or porcelain tiles are fine for showers but don’t overlook the possibility of using a natural quarried stone product. While considerably more expensive than traditional tile, natural stone give a truly luxury look to your home.


One good source of both information and products is Arizona Tile. The example shown here is Jura Beige, from a limestone quarry in Eichstatt, Germany–Medici Walnut Bathroom Shower Tile, ST-205


Note: Arizona Tile really has gorgeous tile, and it’s the go-to place if you’re looking to break out of the rut. John Huarte and wife Eileen began Arizona Tile in 1977 in San Diego and now service primarily the Western U.S. from 25 locations. While Arizona Tile does have a healthy range of porcelain and glass tile, they excel with granite, marble, limestone, travertine, slate and onyx slabs and tile.

Small Bathroom Inspire You

Small bathroom design has to be smart bathroom design because there is possibly no other room that needs to function as well as a bathroom. After all, one isn’t required to cook or entertain, but one certainly needs to bathe!


There are certain rules to decorating a small bath, but in the right space, rules can be broken. May these inspirational small bathroom photos, along with decorating ideas and tips for small baths, help you create a bathroom that functions and looks as grand as a large one.

When I tour a home, I often hear, “Oh, we wanted a bathroom [over there, on this floor, off this bedroom, etc] but the area was just too small.” Never underestimate the power of a good floor plan. It may be to your advantage to hire a designer who knows how much space a person needs for legroom, door swing, etc, and can coordinate a fully functional bath to fit your space. Oftentimes, if you can get plumbing and wiring to it, you can fit a bath.


If you need further convincing, check out this beautiful but tiny under-the-stair bathroom featured on Home-Designing.


Inspire Your Bathroom Redesign

Looking for bathroom paint colors handed to you on a silver platter?


In a sense, that describes this gallery of paint color ideas, fully arranged by professional designers, and copy-able by you for instant designs.


Even homeowners who know nothing about how to coordinate colors can execute these schemes.


All paint manufacturers’ sites are found on this master list:  Paint Manufacturers List – Makers and Retailers

Behr, a respected manufacturer of wallet-friendly paints (sold at The Home Depot), calls this bathroom scene Wistful Washroom.


This is a paint scheme that is bold and friendly, with a two-tone wall design that makes the clawfoot tub pop out, and creamy off-white baseboards for a classic, antique look.


  • Left Wall- Applesauce 350C-3
  • Back Wall- Banana Cream 350C-2
  • Baseboards- Vermont Cream W-B-400

How to Choose Small Tubs

If you crave a luxurious soaking tub but are cursed with a tiny bathroom, here’s some good news: There’s a wide assortment of scaled-down tubs that deliver maximum comfort in a minimal footprint. I recently posted some tips for choosing a bubble bath-worthy tub that will fit within a small space. Here’s a sampling of reasonably-priced small tubs that meet the necessary criteria: no more than 5 ft. long, deep enough that water won’t slosh over the sides during an extended soak, well-constructed, widely available and priced under $900:

With its beveled edges and gently curved base, this narrow soaking tub from Kohler takes its design cues from Craftsman furniture. The Archer 5′ x 30″ model features an accessible 19-inch step-over height, and, with the required slotted overflow attachment ($106 – $190) a very comfortable soaking depth. The Archer is manufactured of lighter weight ExoCrylic™, which makes for easier installation and a 90 percent reduction in VOCs (volatile organic compounds), an eco-friendly plus.

Kohler’s 5′ x 30″ ‘Expanse’ model may be compact, but its clever, space-saving design allows plenty of extra room to stretch out and soak. The tub’s graceful, curved lines coordinate with both modern and traditional decor.

The ‘Evolution’ is a bather’s delight, thanks to its comfortable back support and dual molded armrests. However, the real “ahhh” factor is the required Deep Soak® Max Drain (about $150), which allows an extra 3 inches of water.

Bathroom Wall Surfaces Tips

Bathroom remodeling: after doing the shower/tub, counter, cabinetry, and floors, now you have to think about wall covering, too?  Why not just good old paint?

Paint is fine, but moisture should be your main concern when choosing a covering. Unchecked moisture, both from tub/shower overspray as well as moisture-laden air, is devastating for bathrooms. Even well-vented bathrooms have moisture issues.

Here are five options for bathroom walls.

Peelable Vinyl Wallpaper

It Is 100% waterproof wallpaper
Pro Easy to install because it can be unpeeled and reapplied more than once
Con Some types are not good for direct moisture

Vinyl-coated wallpaper is best for bathrooms. All-paper coverings will degrade in the moist environment.

But if vinyl wallpaper makes you think of a downmarket Days Inn, think again. Vinyl wallpaper has grown up and become sophisticated. Purveyors like Tempaper and Timothy Sue offer gorgeous wallpapers that have graced style and shelter magazines.

Just be sure that your present wall surface can accept peelable wallpaper. It will not stick to matte, flat, or rough surfaces. Also, it works best for indirect, ambient moisture. So use in conjunction with a lower wall cover listed below, such as beadboard or tile.

Unlike paint, you can actually try out wallpaper before applying it. Buy a roll or cadge a sample, stick it up in the room.

Large patterns will visually reduce the size of your bathroom. Verticals draw your eye upward and make the room feel taller. Horizontals seem to widen it.

“Bathroom Paint” vs. Regular Interior Paint

It Is Paint that has properties that make it better-suited for bathrooms
Pro Mold- and mildew-inhibiting additives
Con Costs up to twice as much as regular interior paint

How can you go wrong with bathroom paint?  After all, the paint is designed just for that room.

There is no true “bathroom paint.” As Steve Revnew, VP of Product Innovation at Sherwin-Williams told us, paint sold under the “bathroom paint” imprimatur is paint that can be used anywhere in the house. It simply has anti-microbal properties that allow you to choose flatter sheens than you normally would in a bathroom.

With regular interior paint, the main thing to avoid is getting a flat or matte surface paint because their pores trap water. A classic way to avoid this is to use semi-glossy or glossy sheen; water beads up on these surfaces. But these premium paints with mold-killing additives let you have those desirable flatter sheens in the bathroom.