Splurge or Skimp?

Certified master kitchen and bath designer Anthony Passanante offers a few tricks of the trade on planning your bathroom budget.

Passanante chose stainless fixtures and hardware to add a touch of sparkle to the room. The custom mirror reflects the entire space, making the room appear larger than it is.
Passanante chose stainless fixtures and hardware to add a touch of sparkle to the room. The custom mirror reflects the entire space, making the room appear larger than it is.
Photo by Laura Moss

Splurge

●It’s worth it to invest in high-quality custom cabinetry that’s going to survive in a bathroom. “There is a lot of water and moisture in a bathroom,” says Passanante. “Good quality cabinetry is treated to withstand all that humidity.” Plus, it adds to the overall look.
●Quality plumbing fixtures are worth the extra cost. “They should have brass interior fittings,” he says. “No plastic interior parts.”
●“I recommend splurging on a toilet,” says Passanante says. “Ours has a seat that heats up instantly when it senses you’re in the room.” Some models even raise and lower the lid automatically.
●A large mirror makes a huge impact. Plus, its reflection instantly makes a space look bigger.

Skimp
●The kids’ bathroom is a good place to cut corners. “Put the money into the powder room and the master bath,” suggests Passanante. For example, use ceramic tile in a shower or tub surround in a kids’ bath rather than marble.
●Skip radiant floor heat. Passanante agrees it’s a nice feature but in his own bathroom, he instead situated the registers for the forced hot air on the baseboards of the vanity cabinet. “It blows the heat out and warms the room from the ground.”
●Ask yourself if you’ll really use a tub. Many homeowners can use the kids’ tub for the occasional bath. “Tubs can be expensive, especially if you add the air, the lights and the aromatherapy,” says Passanante.
●Polished chrome hardware and fixtures tend to be the least expensive option, while also being the most durable. “It adds some bling,” says Passanante, “without the dollars.”

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