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Ideas for an on-trend bathroom

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Bringing an outdated bathroom into the now is a sure way to infuse value and personal enjoyment into your home.

Whether you’re tearing down and starting fresh or simply looking to infuse some new life with a few key elements, these ideas can give you the inspiration you need to transform a tired toilet into a modern marvel.

Make a singular statement

For a bolder look, the best approach may actually be quite simple. Use a single material throughout the room for big impact. For example, run the same tile you select for the floor up the walls, across the vanity, around the shower and up to the ceiling. It’s a dramatic approach, but with the right color and pattern, it can work, especially with a pale or neutral tone. The same concept applies to other materials, such as plaster or concrete, which can create a uniform look that makes a statement.

Try a timeless tub

Freestanding tubs were once associated with older, outdated homes, but like many things in design, these stand-alone vessels are once more back in vogue. Today’s freestanding tubs offer tons of style to fit nearly any design motif. If the claw-foot style of yesteryear is your thing, there are plenty of contemporary takes on the look for an updated, traditional bathroom. There are also a wide range of sleek styles that look nothing like the classic version for a completely fresh, sophisticated bath. Give your tub extra star power by setting it against a backdrop of tile or reclaimed wood, and punch up the style with standout fixtures to make your tub a truly unique feature of the bathroom.

Float your vanity

Take a look at today’s trending bathroom designs and you’ll see floating vanities cover the pages of most design magazines and articles. Floating vanities, also known as wall-mounted vanities, mount directly to the wall, providing more floor space and creating a streamlined look.

By mounting the vanity to a wall, the space is broadened, naturally making the bathroom look and feel larger. Additionally, the wall mount allows homeowners to customize the space in terms of countertop height and comfort.

Although the aesthetic benefits often come at the cost of limited under-sink storage space, this potential pitfall can be overcome with a customizable U-shaped drawer option that allows functional drawers to be placed within the wall-mounted cabinetry.

Infuse unexpected color

If you think of bathroom fixtures as purely functional, think again. Not only can they add a stylish focal point to your tub (and shower and sink, for that matter), the ultra-practical fixtures can actually be a source of color. Bold brass and gold tones are in style, or for something completely different, explore a new look like solid black fixtures that pop against several different textures and surfaces.

Introduce ample lighting

Sub-optimal lighting can hamper the ambiance of smaller spaces like bathrooms. If the space has a window, ditch any coverings that restrict the natural light and instead rely on textured glass windows that provide privacy while allowing light to shine freely. Another option is a skylight, which is surprisingly easy to add. If access to the roofline is an issue, consider one (or even a couple) tunnel skylights. Also give care to selecting the right fixtures for the space. Not only should they coordinate well with the overall decor, they should provide plenty of task and ambient lighting to make the room both useful and inviting.

Trick Your Way to a Bigger Bathroom

When knocking down walls to create more space isn’t an option, there are still plenty of ways you can maximize a small bathroom space to make it look and feel larger than it really is.

Opt for monochromatic cabinetry. Whether you buy new or paint existing cabinets, make them blend in monochromatically in the lightest shade possible. White and light colors reflect light, making the room seem brighter and more spacious. To maximize the illusion, extend the monochromatic scheme throughout the space, including floor tiles, wall paint, ceilings and even the decorations.

Place cabinets strategically. Think of the spaces in your bathroom that you don’t usually use, such as the area above the doorway. Especially if you have high ceilings, you can install decorative storage shelves to house items you don’t need in everyday reach like bathtub salts, scrubs and more. You can also use the shelves for storing extra toilet paper and cleaners to free up valuable storage space below the sink.

Maximize vertical space. Consider extending cabinetry up to the ceiling. Adding color at a vertical height can cause the eye to go up and therefore enlarge the bathroom space and feel. It is also a wise use of unused space rather than borrowing from limited floor space, which can make the space feel cramped.

Consider open storage. Open storage shelves trick the mind because the airy openness can give the illusion of taking less space than enclosed storage. However, be mindful of over-filling shelves, which can create a cluttered look. Instead use the open space as an opportunity to feature artwork or other accents that add life to the room.

For more information, visit wellborn.com.

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Home Care

Spending time on household chores may improve brain health

Engaging in household chores may be beneficial for brain health in older adults. In a recent Baycrest study, older adults who spent more time on household chores showed greater brain size, which is a strong predictor of cognitive health.

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Photo by @deconovo from Unsplash.com

Engaging in household chores may be beneficial for brain health in older adults. In a recent Baycrest study, older adults who spent more time on household chores showed greater brain size, which is a strong predictor of cognitive health.

“Scientists already know that exercise has a positive impact on the brain, but our study is the first to show that the same may be true for household chores,” says Noah Koblinsky, lead author of the study, Exercise Physiologist and Project Coordinator at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute (RRI). “Understanding how different forms of physical activity contribute to brain health is crucial for developing strategies to reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia in older adults.”

In this study, published in the journal BMC Geriatrics, the researchers looked at the links between household chores, brain volume and cognition in a group of 66 cognitively healthy older adults living in the community. The participants attended three assessment visits at Baycrest Hospital, including a health evaluation, structural brain imaging and cognitive assessment.

Participants were asked about the time they spent on household chores, such as tidying, dusting, meal preparation and clean up, shopping, heavy housework, yard work, home repairs and caregiving.

The researchers found that older adults who spent more time engaging in such activities had greater brain volume, regardless of how much exercise they did. This was observed in the hippocampus, which plays a major role in memory and learning, and the frontal lobe, which is involved in many aspects of cognition.

Although it is possible that individuals with larger brains are more likely to take up household chores, there could be several explanations for the brain benefits of household physical activity.

First, we know that heart health is closely tied to brain health. It could be that household chores have a similar effect on the heart and blood vessels as low-intensity aerobic exercise.

Second, the planning and organization involved in household chores may promote the formation of new neural connections over time, even as we age.

Third, it could be that the older adults who engaged in more household chores spent less time being sedentary, which has been shown to be associated with negative health outcomes, including poor brain health.

“Besides helping to guide physical activity recommendations for older adults, these findings may also motivate them to be more active, since household chores are a natural and often necessary aspect of many people’s daily lives, and therefore appear more attainable,” says Dr. Nicole Anderson, Senior Scientist at the RRI, Director of the Ben and Hilda Katz Interprofessional Research Program in Geriatric and Dementia Care, and senior author of this study.

This study was funded in part by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

As a next step, the researchers would like to assess household physical activity more objectively using wearable technology. With additional funding, they could also plan controlled trials with the aim of increasing individuals’ household activity and studying brain changes over time.

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Home Care

Fresh ideas for home upgrades

Spring means it’s time to start sprucing up your home and garden with a little TLC inside and out.

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Photo by Daiga Ellaby from Unsplash.com

Spring means it’s time to start sprucing up your home and garden with a little TLC inside and out.

If you’re unsure where to begin, consider these tips:

Make function a priority.

While aesthetic changes may boost value and please the eye, be sure to consider upgrades that make living easier, like organization units that give you more space or upgrades that create additional living space.

Keep budget in mind.

Make a list of the projects you’d like to complete and estimate how much each will cost. Use the list to determine what you can afford to complete now.

Do your research.

If you’ll be making a significant purchase such as a new vacuum or grill, be sure to explore your options, read reviews and shop around for the best prices for greater confidence in what you choose.

Set yourself up for a more enjoyable spring with more home and garden tips at eLivingtoday.com.

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Home Care

When to update home and garden goods

As you tackle spring cleaning this year, take stock of your common home and garden equipment to determine what may need updating.

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Photo by Tom Byrom from Unsplash.com

Investing in quality products, properly maintaining and storing them all have an impact on how long they’ll stay in good working condition.

As you tackle spring cleaning this year, take stock of your common home and garden equipment to determine what may need updating.

Lawn Mower: If your mower needs a repair that exceeds its value, it’s time for a replacement. However, there may be other signs that an upgrade is warranted. Rough operation, frequent breakdowns or other indications of faulty performance deserve a second look. Before you buy new, remember to check your warranty to determine whether repairs might be covered.

Vacuum: Many homeowners discard their used vacuum when it stops picking up dirt and debris as efficiently as it did originally. Before you move on, be sure to check that performance issues aren’t the result of clogged hoses or a filter than needs cleaning or replacing. A belt may also be worn or need adjusting. Other signs it may be time to replace the vacuum include damaged or frayed cords, motor issues like overheating or making strange noises.

Grill: A grill may last anywhere from 5-15 years, depending on the quality of the materials and how it is maintained. However, it’s common to have to replace parts along the way. Signs you may need a new grill include a firebox (the main enclosure) with cracks, rust or holes and burners that distribute heat unevenly. Damaged grates can affect even grilling if they’re warped or if they’re flaky or rusted, they can contaminate food. If you’re not able to replace the grates, or any other essential part, including hoses and connectors for a gas grill, you’ll be better off replacing the unit.

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