7 Bathroom Remodel Ideas That Really Pay Off

Good bathroom remodel ideas aren’t just about saving you money. They’re about helping you start your day off right.

Let’s get real: The first room you stumble into in the morning—bleary-eyed, dazed, and yawning—should be a soothing oasis. A bathroom that achieves those lofty heights? That’s a bathroom you can love. That’s why these most special of rooms are second only to kitchens as the areas homeowners eagerly spend time and money renovating—and that catch a buyer’s eye when you’re trying to sell.
Bathroom remodel ideas: where to begin

But exactly which upgrades are the best, in terms of both usefulness and return on investment? Do you need to start knocking down walls and renovate the entire room, or you can you start smaller?

Before you go nuts installing saunas and rain shower heads, check out this second installment in our series Renovations That Really Pay Off, for some smarter tweaks you’ll be very glad you made.
Reglaze, don’t replace, the tub

“No, no, no—do not put in a new tub,” says Rebecca Knaster, associate broker with Manhattan’s William Raveis. “It’ll cost thousands between the tub and the installation.” Instead, have the tub reglazed for “around $1,500,” which will make it look brand new.

Matt Plaskoff, founder of One Week Bath, agrees that if the shower area “is in decent shape,” it’s best to concentrate on the front part of the bathroom, which “sets the tone for the space.”
Invest in a new sink

Face washing, teeth brushing, gerbil bathing—your sink sees a lot of use. It’s also the very first thing a buyer notices in a bathroom, says Knaster.

“Step 1 for getting the most bang for your buck is a new contemporary sink,” she says. “It will set you back a few hundred dollars and make all the difference.”

Just note whether the bathroom sink you already have is an undermount (where the edge is below the countertop to create an uninterrupted surface) or overmount (where the sink lip comes up over the countertop), says interior designer Randal Weeks, founder of Aidan Gray Home.

An undermount can be difficult to remove unless it’s under a formica top. If the sink is adhered to the surface, the top will also have to go, which quickly drives up the cost. One easy and dramatic sink upgrade Weeks recommends for an inexpensive bathroom remodel is replacing separate hot and cold faucets with a sleek single-handle faucet that starts at $70.
Go for timeless tile

Bathroom remodel ideas in general should appeal to a broader range of people and provide better return on investment. While natural stone is hot, Weeks prefers neutral styles for this reason. Pricey stones are taste-specific, he notes, and can give a busy look that’s a turnoff regardless of expense.

In fact, Weeks says one of the biggest issues buyers consider when making offers is the cost of redoing other people’s “bad choices.” So go for crowd-pleasing features such as bright white subway tiles, which run a mere 21 cents each. The payoff?

“You can add $10,000 of value to your home by selecting timeless elements that won’t date it.”
Upgrade your lighting

It’s not just Snow White’s evil stepmother and the Kardashians who spend lots of time staring into the mirror on the bathroom wall. For most of us, lighting and lighting fixtures are critical elements.

“Dated light fixtures are a turnoff,” says Knaster. “For no more than $100 you can buy a basic but nice bathroom light fixture.”
Install a double vanity

The last thing you need in the morning is a battle with your partner over who gets the sink. It’s no wonder “I’m looking for a double vanity” is one of the most common things heard by Will Johnson, a Hendersonville, TN, real estate agent and founder of the Sell and Stage Team.

A double vanity typically costs between $200 and $800, with installation falling around $220, Johnson says—and it’s a wise investment when you’re undergoing a bathroom remodel. Johnson has clients who “won’t buy a house simply because there’s only one sink in the master bathroom!”
Swap in new fixtures

“Old materials such as bronze can instantly date your bathroom,” says Johnson. To knock out this easy DIY update, simply purchase new door handles, drawer pulls, and towel bars for a bathroom remodel that’s quick, easy, and inexpensive too. A nice chrome drawer pull can cost as little as $3, while a towel bar can average $30.
Get a water-saving toilet

This may not sound like a bathroom remodel idea that will do much—it’s just the toilet! But beyond updating the look of the room, a toilet replacement could save you some serious green. Old toilets use 6 gallons of water per flush, gobbling up about 30% of all residential water in U.S. homes. Go green when you swap out your throne. New WaterSense models using only 1.28 gallons per flush (e.g., TOTO’s Carlyle II 1G toilet) conserve up to 18,000 gallons of water annually. The initial cost of $974 will shave more than $110 per year off a water bill and add up to almost $2,200 over the lifetime of the toilet. Bonus: The latest water-saving thrones actually work.
But skip the bidet

Bidets may be considered the Rolls-Royce of toilet upgrades, but most bathrooms simply don’t have room for them. What’s worse: Most Americans have no idea what on Earth these things are and may even be weirded out by them.

“My personal opinion is that our society is not accustomed to this practice and doesn’t see the extra value in them,” says Tracy Kay Griffin, an expert designer at Express Homebuyers in Springfield, VA. “We haven’t renovated a home yet where we thought it would be a good investment to add a bidet.” Just say nay to the bidet.


6 Kitchen Renovations That Really Pay Off

Kitchen renovations can cost you big time, but when it comes to home improvements, this is the sort of project that has a lot of pay off.

It’s impossible to own a home without pondering the occasional (or hey, a whole lot of) home improvements. And the great thing is that a lot of the time, creative energy, and yes, cash you spend on such renovations don’t just translate into a space you love, but also into a higher home price whenever you decide it’s time to sell. Only which ones offer up the biggest return on investment? To find out, we’ve launched this new series, Renovations That Really Pay Off—and, for our inaugural installment, we’re tackling the big kahuna: kitchens. Here are six home improvement projects in this all-important room that experts say come with significant financial benefits down the road. Cha-ching!
Kitchen renovations made easy: amp up the appliances

Call it a need for eye candy, but shiny new appliances—fridge, stove, stainless-steel dishwasher—have a huge impact on prospective home buyers, according to Realtor® Top Solutions.

Range Hood and Contemporary Kitchen Cabinets Signature Pearl

High-end appliances are also typically the most expensive kitchen renovation, usually with an equally high ROI. Cannistra mentions one home with outdated appliances that sat on the market unsold; once the owners updated everything, “they received two offers the first week” and the house sold at “significantly higher than asking.”

But don’t feel like you have to replace appliances at once. Just swap out what you can—when you can—so by the time your home’s on the market the overall buyer impression is “Hey, nice kitchen!” rather than “The ’70s sure were a crazy time, eh?”

One caveat: “Keep the appliances and plumbing where they are,” suggests Justin Riordan, founder of Spade and Archer Design Agency, “because the rule of thumb is to add $5,000 each time you relocate either.”
Refreshed cabinets

After appliances, cabinets are the most expensive item on a kitchen upgrade checklist, averaging between $3,900 and $12,000. So don’t leap into trashing the old ones.

“If you have existing wood cabinets that are still in decent shape, instead of completely refacing them, give them a fresh coat of paint,” says Tracy Kay Griffin, designer for HGTV’s “Get It Sold.” Rust-Oleum makes an easy-to-use Cabinet Transformation kit.

Another small remodeling project with instant impact: replacing the cabinet hardware. “Choose a satin or brushed finish so they don’t show fingerprints,” says Erin Davis, lead designer and co-owner of Mosaik Design & Remodeling in Portland, OR.
Kitchen sink

Given the sink is the most used item in your kitchen, a brand-new one will pop—even if it’s on an old countertop. So consider installing one with two troughs or made of stainless steel, the most popular material, according to Consumer Reports.

For the truly budget-friendly kitchen renovation option, get a fancy new faucet, suggests Griffin: “This is quick and inexpensive but can make a huge difference.”
Charging stations

The home invasion of smartphones, tablets, and other constantly charged electronics means there are never enough power outlets in a kitchen. This may explain why the National Kitchen and Bath Association’s annual trend report shows that almost two-thirds of homes have rigged up charging stations where all these gadgets can easily be plugged in.

Businesses such as Kitchen TuneUp can modify cabinets or drawers in one day by adding hidden power strips and other tech-friendly amenities.
New countertops

A new countertop may be pricey, but Realtors agree that the impact of these kitchen renovations on future home buyers is huge. And don’t just take it for granted that you should go for granite; the NKBA report shows that quartz countertops have more cachet these days.

Also remember that replacing a countertop “provides an opportunity to install a new glass or subway backsplash for additional punch,” says Davis. “A budget-friendly option is to install a 4-inch-high splash out of the same countertop material.”
Wood floors

When it comes to kitchen floors, nothing beats good ol’ wood. The NKBA report shows that wood is the most popular kitchen flooring, favored by 82% of homeowners. And compared with the fancier and hard-to-install tile options, it’s a relatively inexpensive option, too, averaging $9 to $12 a square foot.
Bonus: One renovation that may not be worth it

Sure, knocking down a wall to create the oh-so-trendy open kitchen may seem like the thing to do these days, but in purely financial terms of ROI, it may not make much sense as a kitchen renovation.

“While open floor plans remain a popular choice among buyers, the return on investment for tearing down a wall to create a great room isn’t as high as other kitchen renovation projects,” says Melanie Cameron of the Cameron Team at Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage in Wilmington, NC.

The reason: According to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost Vs. Value Report, small kitchen renovations have a ROI that’s almost 20% higher than a major renovations. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t open your kitchen up if that’s what you’re pining to do; just don’t bank on it paying off big time down the road.

Forget Man Caves, Backyard Bar Sheds Are the New Trend

The new home and garden trend is sweeping the internet, and it’s actually pretty amazing and doable. We’ve seen she-sheds, but this puts a different spin on making the most out of your shed. DIY bar sheds are popping up all over the place, and some of them are pretty darn creative. With a wide array of different options, this is one of the least daunting DIY home projects we’ve come across in a while.

The fun thing about bar sheds is that you can get as creative and elaborate as you’d like. Plus, it gives you a place to put all of those beer mirrors and bar games you’ve been storing in your garage since your college days.

Check out some of these amazing bar sheds and prepare to be inspired to transform your own basic shed into a mini-backyard pub that’s sure to impress.

This bar shed was created by adding some new doors, a bar, seating, a little porch and some fun pub games.

This bar shed proves that even a tiny shed can make a cool bar. They simply cut an opening in the side of the shed and added a couple of bar stools to create a place for guests to lounge.

On the outside, this looks like your standard backyard shed, but when you open it, you’re all of a sudden looking at a 1950’s inspired bar.

This rustic backyard bar uses string lights and a pop-down bar top to create a welcoming watering hole.

This classy, fully-loaded bar shed is complete with a TV and looks so cozy, you may never want to leave it.

Want more bar shed inspiration? Head to Pinterest or contact SemBro Designs for some amazing ideas that you can easily replicate.

Laminate Vinyl Flooring Benefits for your Home

Laminate vinyl wood flooring magnificent grey mixture wood pattern SemBro Designs

Want to know the Laminate Vinyl Plank Flooring Benefits for your Home. You will find many benefits of laminate Vinyl Plank Flooring for your Ohio home. At SemBro Designs we stock many different styles and colors for you to choose from, come see for your self.

Laminate Vinyl Flooring Design

Convenient Packaging: Natural hardwood flooring comes in planks that are 8 or 10 feet in length, and sometimes even longer. By contrast laminate vinyl planks that simulate hardwood are sold in convenient 4 foot strips. They are also available in tile form in varying sizes.

Versatility: Today laminate vinyl flooring can simulate the look of dozens of different natural hardwood materials. The printing process can also reproduce the appearance of a variety of natural stone, and ceramic flooring materials. With EIR embossed in register texturing they are even able to somewhat reproduce the surface texture of these natural materials.

Cleaning: The wear layer of a laminate floor protects the material from stains and some spills making cleaning and maintenance relatively easy. Typically the only regular requirement is sweeping or vacuuming of the floor to remove grit and dirt which can slowly erode the floors wear layer over time.

Installation: The installation of a laminate vinyl click together floor is one of the easiest do it yourself flooring projects you can undertake. New innovations in the manufacture of this material have made it so you do not even need to use adhesive. You just roll down a sheet of underlayment material, and then snap the planks or tiles of the floor into one another. An entire room can usually be finished in just a day or two.

Underlayment For Laminate Vinyl Floors

Goes Anywhere: With the exception of carpet, laminate vinyl flooring can be installed over almost any existing floor in the home. As long as a moisture barrier is in place and water prevention measures are taken it can also be installed at any grade. This removes the hassle and expense of having to remove old flooring installations before installing new laminate vinyl materials.

The Elements: Laminate vinyl flooring is resistant to many of the outdoor agents that can discolor other flooring materials. The wear layer protects it from stains and smudges due to dirt and mud making it a great material for hallways and entryways. It also resists fading from UV light exposure making it popular in sun rooms.

Health: Laminate vinyl flooring is naturally resistant to the growth of mold and bacteria. It can also be treated with special allergen resistant and anti-bacterial coatings to make them even safer.

Expansion: The nature of the installation process means that the flooring material is not adhered directly to the subfloor. Rather all of the pieces of the floor are interlocked, or adhered one to another. That means that the material can expand, or contract, due to changes in pressure and temperature, without buckling and snapping against the subfloor.

Acclimation: Hardwood needs to sit in an environment for 3-6 weeks so that it can acclimate to the temperature and pressure of the area. Laminates vinyl planks can be installed in as little as 8 hours overnight acclimation.

Look for our Laminate Vinyl Planks Floor Buyers Guide coming soon.


From kitchen upgrades to total home remodeling, SemBro Designs and Remodeling knows how to do it right and we love to build the confidence of every Columbus client, year after year.

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Home Maintenance and Safety Checklist for July

With summer in full swing and vacation just around the corner, this month’s to-do list focuses on Home Maintenance and Safety Checklist. A few simple preventative measures can save you from property loss and make your getaway the stress-free break you intended. Care for your house inside and out, and enjoy the good times of summer.

Parades and fireworks and clambakes. With summer in full swing, the month of July can seem to zip by. Make the most of your month with these 14 to-dos, covering everything from weekend guests to flag etiquette.

Things to Check Off Your List in an Hour or Less

1. Clean porch lights. If you have glass light fixtures that are easily removed, bring them inside and wash in a dishpan of warm water with gentle soap. If the fixtures must stay in place, turn the power off and carefully wipe the exteriors with a damp microfiber cloth; dry with a soft cloth. When finished, change lightbulbs as needed.

2. Unfurl a flag for the Fourth. Get in the Independence Day spirit by putting up an American flag on your porch in time to celebrate the Fourth of July. Don’t have room for a full-size flag? Try lining your walkway with mini flags, or hang a pleated fan above the door instead. Whether you hang your flag vertically (as shown here) or horizontally, be sure you keep the union (the part with the stars) in the upper left corner.

3. Clean windows inside and out. Keep that summer sunshine streaming in by giving windows a quick rinse with glass cleaner or a vinegar solution, then squeegee them dry or wipe with a clean microfiber cloth. If you want to avoid using a ladder outside, reach exterior windows with a window-washing hose attachment or telescoping window washer, or hire a window-washing service to get the job done.

4. Check window screens for holes. It’s summer, and the mosquitoes are out in full force. If you’ve been getting bitten inside the house, check your window screens and screen doors for small holes and tears. Use a screen patching kit from the hardware store to repair any damage, and keep those pesky bugs outdoors where they belong.

5. Check safety devices. Carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors should be tested monthly; replace batteries as needed, and replace the entire device if it is more than 10 years old. Interconnected smoke detectors (when one alarm goes off, they all sound) are the safest because it is more likely that everyone in the house will hear the alarm. Also, take a moment to check the expiration date on any fire extinguishers in the house and replace them if needed.

6. Prepare for summer guests. Before guests arrive, be sure to clear out your own personal items, make up the beds with fresh sheets and set out a stack of fresh towels. Small extras such as bottles of water, a basket of travel-size toiletries and a card with the house Wi-Fi password will be much appreciated. If you host frequent overnight guests, consider adding a trundle bed or bunk to make the most of the space, especially if you know you’ll be having kids visiting.

7. Care for furry friends. Summer poses some unique challenges for our pets, but with a little extra care, you can ensure your furry friends are healthy all season long. If you will be traveling this summer without your pet, be sure to plan ahead to set up care. Most pets are more comfortable in their own homes, so consider using a professional pet sitter rather than a kennel, which can be stressful. To keep pets safe in the heat, you should provide access to shade and ample fresh water and never leave pets in a car unattended.

8. Refresh summer whites. Fresh, clean and crisp, nothing says summer quite like white linens. Keep your white textiles looking their best by laundering slipcovers, cushion covers and curtains, or sending them out for dry cleaning if they’re not machine washable. Keep white upholstery and Roman blinds looking fresh by vacuuming them regularly using your vacuum’s upholstery attachment.

9. Check Bathrooms for Leaks around Sinks and Toilets. While it’s okay that your toilets and pipes sweat a bit, you should look for leaks near anything that is puddling or dripping. The last thing you want to come home to is water damage from an unattended gusher.

10. Run Water and Flush Toilets in Unused Spaces. That bathroom no one ever uses? The toilet probably has quite the ring since you last checked it. Make sure everything is still in tip-top shape and give it a flush.

11. Conserve water. Cut down on unnecessary water use by watering your lawn and garden during the cooler, early morning hours. If you water when the sun is high, much of the water will simply evaporate instead of sinking into the soil where the roots can access it — and it can even scorch tender leaves. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends using a WaterSense-labeled timer for your sprinkler system, which acts like a thermostat for your lawn and can reduce water use by up to 15 percent per year. Inside the house, keep an eye out for leaky faucets and have them repaired promptly.

12. Keep landscape fire-safe. If you live in an area with dry summers (such as California), it’s important to remove weeds, fallen leaves, needles and other items that could become fuel in a fire, particularly from the area immediately surrounding your home.

13. Check fences and repair or replace as needed. Inspect fencing and gates around your property. If you find damaged areas (for example, broken boards, sagging areas and soft or rotted wood) schedule repairs or replacement as needed.

14. Upgrade pool safety measures. If you have a pool in your backyard, it is essential to keep it securely fenced with a self-closing, self-latching gate at least 4 feet high, to prevent children from jumping or falling in. Place a safety cover on your pool when not in use, and never allow anyone to swim in your pool alone. The American Red Cross also recommends installing a pool alarm that will go off when anyone enters the pool. And if you have children, it’s important to make sure they all learn to swim well, whether or not you have a pool of your own.

15. Add shade to the yard. Make your backyard more comfortable with an umbrella or shade sail. With ample shady spots to sit, you’ll likely find yourself wanting to spend more time in your outdoor space — and shade is a must for summer backyard parties.

16. Keep your home safe while traveling. Before you leave on a trip, take some time to put safety precautions in place. Let your neighbors know when you will be away and ask a friend to check on your house from time to time. Motion-sensing exterior lighting, timed interior lighting and well-trimmed hedges can make your home a less appealing target for break-ins. If you will be away for a longer period of time, have your mail held for you at the post office and hire a lawn service to keep your yard from getting overgrown while you are away.


From kitchen upgrades to total home remodeling, SemBro Designs and Remodeling knows how to do it right and we love to build the confidence of every Columbus client, year after year.

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