4 easy bathroom updates you'll be happy you made

Simple fixes that make the bathroom safer and more accessible

Published: August 10, 2015 08:00 AM

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If you're undertaking a full bathroom remodel, seriously consider outfitting it with aging-in-place features, even if you don't need them right now. Because they're so well-designed, they won't be conspicuous, and if you—or someone you are selling your house to—need them one day, you'll be good to go. If you can't do a remodel, you can still retrofit an existing bathroom with some easy yet meaningful fixes:

Switch showerheads

Handheld showerheads elegantly solve multiple problems. You can keep the showerhead stationary when you want to and still adjust it daily whether a 6-foot-2 adult needs it or a 4-foot-2 child does. Plus you also get the flexibility of a handheld for hard-to-reach places or those times when the family dachshund needs a spray wash.

Use the space you have

If your bathroom isn't large enough to accommodate a curbless shower, look for a replacement shower enclosure that fits into the tub's existing footprint and is easy to step into. Choose a color that contrasts with the floor so that the edge is easy to see.

Replace the toilet

The seat of a standard toilet is about 14 or 15 inches above the floor. Most comfort- height toilets are 17 to 19 inches high, which can make it easier to get on and off. Ten of the 12 recommended toilets in our tests are comfort height and range in price from $100 to $425.

Turn up the task lighting

Lights in the shower should be bright enough for shaving, bathing, and reading shampoo labels. Choose a recessed light and lightbulbs designed for use in wet areas. LEDs have dropped in price, and once you change one, you won't need to again for years. CFLs are cheaper, but frequent on/off cycling—common in bathrooms—will shorten a CFL's life.

Top comfort-height toilets from our tests

More great choices. For more top-performing toilets, including WaterSense water-saving models, check our full toilet Ratings and recommdations.

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